Only dead fish swim with the stream

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Only dead fish swim with the stream

Machine Gun Etiquette

Machine Gun Etiquette.

I first saw The Damned at London’s Lyceum Ballroom in The Strand on Sunday 5th July 1981. It was their 5th anniversary gig. 5 years of anarchy chaos and destruction. It was a life changing experience, it really was. I was just a bit too young to have seen them in their first incarnation but never mind. There were no disappointments for me with the 81 line up. Paul Gray is the best bass player they’ve ever had IMHO, and he’s back in the band again. I bought the t-shirt and everything. Kept that t-shirt for years until it fell apart at the seams, I keep meaning to get another.

5th Anniversary gig shirt design
5th Anniversary gig shirt design

Depends on what day you ask me but today, for me their best album is Machine Gun Etiquette. I love Damned Damned Damned, The Black Album and Strawberries almost as much but there is just something about MGE. Personally I’m not so keen on the MCA era stuff and hate Eloise with a vengeance.

The band were written off as has beens after Brian James left. He was the main song writer and was responsible for those classic singles New Rose and Neat Neat Neat. Despite no interest from the music industry they returned from the wilderness like a Phoenix from the ashes in 1979 with a storming album. It’s got such a great fuck you, we are gonna do what we wanna do and we don’t care what you think attitude.

I can’t love it enough. It’s also the last album they ever made that could really be described as a punk album, at least in my opinion. They still describe themselves as a punk band or at least The Captain does. For me though they are now a rock band with a punk attitude. Nothing wrong with that and in fact it’s better than trying to be 18 when you’re 60. Doesn’t affect their following though. Still plenty of Mohicans around when they play live.

Machine Gun Etiquette cover
Machine Gun Etiquette

I rarely listen to albums now, it’s all assorted tracks on the iPod but I can still listen to this all day, every day. There are no tracks I don’t like on it.

Steve Lamacq’s Christmas Punk Party

On the 8th December 2016 BBC Radio 6 Music’s Steve Lamacq held a Christmas Punk Party at the Maida Vale studios with The Damned and Ruts DC. There were a limited number of free tickets (200 or so I believe) for a live broadcast. I applied and was lucky enough to get two, one for me and one for Mrs Spike. Fantastic night standing right in front of the band. I was standing behind the person who filmed this…

The rockumentary about The Damned, Don’t You Wish That We Were Dead is highly recommended if you haven’t seen it.

 

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