dammed forever eneko etxeandia   It’s a long time since British group The Damned last played here in a proper venue. At least thirteen years… It’s great news they’re coming back. I play guitar in Lie Detectors and we offered to open for them. Imagine how pleased I was. They offered us a pittance, but, to tell the truth, I think we’d even have been happy to play for nothing. I have to admit that with some groups I’m quite the groupie. That said, when I’ve had the chance to play with some other groups I like a lot I’ve come across some real jerks, so I tend to be careful in situations like that. Often the big stars are the nicest and it’s second level guys who act the super star.

That didn’t happen this time. They were nice people, approachable. When you see one of your favourite musicians watching the concert you’re playing, it’s a real shot in the arm for a fan like me. There was Captain Sensible, sitting
down three metres away from me, smiling and doing an OK sign. As if that weren’t enough, who did we come across the next day while we were wandering around Bilbao? None other than the dear Captain himself. Just when we were about to go back to Donostia, walking around and trying to come down from our buzz, a car going to the airport stopped and he sprang out to say hi to us, take a last picture and ask us to send him records and T-shirts. What a bloke!

Three months ago at SXSW festival they showed a documentary about the group for the first time: “The Damned: Don’t you wish that we were dead”. The director of “Lemmy”, Wes Orshoski, has made it after pulling together footage of Captain Sensible, Dave Vanian many other people down the years. Amongst others, Lemmy and Chrissie Hynde appear. There are some bores who turn up in all the documentaries and films about rock. But in this case their presence is fully justified: not a lot of people know that both Lemmy and Chrissie were members of The Damned for a short time. For some years Motorhead and The Damned went along parallel paths and, as well as being friends, they had the same concerts, recording sessions, record companies and management. The history of the Damned is full of conflict... Lemmy says they were completely mad and the best, truest punk band. They never had a Machiavellian manager like The Clash and The Sex Pistols, always ready to play the press, or clothes designers… It was four different characters together, and that was what lit their spark. They’re also excellent musicians. If you don’t believe that, listen to “Machine Gun Etiquette”, “The Black Album”, “Strawberries”, “Phantasmagoria” and the latest, longest lasting line-up’s “Grave Disorder” and “So, who’s paranoid?” A wonderful mixture of rock, psychedelia, garage and pop.

They still do fantastic concerts. The concert in Bilbao was amazing. They aren’t one of those drunk English punk bands we get to see here so often. They’re in a different league. We hope we are able to see the film they deserve so much.