Saturday May 28th 1977 – The Damned & The Adverts Eric's, Liverpool.
above; The Damned
The Adverts first nationwide tour was with Stiff label-mates The Damned. The tour posters pasted on billboards up and down Mathew Street read, "The Adverts know one chord, the Damned know three, see all four at Eric's". The Adverts single One Chord Wonder was released during April of 1977 a few days after their BBC Radio 1 John Peel session. The release was followed by positive street feedback from UK punks.
In December 1975 Chris Millar (Rat Scabies), showed up for an audition with the London SS. At this point the London SS consisted of Mick Jones [Later The Clash], Tony James [later Chelsea and Generation X] and Brian James [Later The Damned] . Chris had been playing drums & had gained some live experience with his band, Tor. He notes that Brian James was interested, but Mick Jones and Tony James, who both looked like they should have been in Mott The Hoople, treated him with disdain. At this point The London SS was loosely “managed” by entrepreneur Bernie Rhodes. Rhodes, & his business partner Malcolm McLaren, were searching for another group to join a movement alongside the Sex Pistols. Apparently, Bernie Rhodes would always say that 3 bands were a movement, and Malcolm & Bernie were very keen on movements.
On 14th February 1976 Brian James attended a party where the Sex Pistols were performing. The show ended in chaos with a member of the Pistols entourage, Jordan, dancing on stage naked from the waist up. Brian talked to the Pistols after the show & was immediately impressed with their attitude, especially Johnny Rotten's. By mid-January 1976 Brian James & Rat Scabies had left London SS to form their own band. James & Scabies had hooked up with Ray Burns [Captain Sensible] and they went in search of a vocalist, that considered among others Chrissie Hynde and Sid Vicious, Sid simply missed the audition.
above; Interesting early video of the Damned playing The Pistols, Pretty Vacant.
When Dave Lett [Dave Vanian]tried out, the chemistry was right. Dave was a grave digger during 1976, he was born in Newcastle and grew up Hemel Hempstead. His musical influences included 60s US Garage Punk, Rock & Roll, The Velvet Underground & Iggy Pop.
Brian James named the band in homage to the 1969 movie “Village Of The Damned” the screen version of John Wyndham’s book, “The Midwich Cuckoos”.
They would comment later, that the The Ramones playing live at The Roundhouse on 4th July 1976 just 2 days before their debut was a huge motivator, and that the event had energized them. Their first gig on July 6th 1976 was supporting the Sex Pistols at the 100 Club in London. They played the Nag’s Head in High Wycombe the following week.
The Damned were not concerned with political posturing as many were during the early period.
To The Damned, Punk Rock was all about the music they played & the attitude required to play it. The musical landscape of the mid 70s had an overblown sense of its own importance. There was an old order to overturn. Punk Rock said, Look at me, my ideas & performance are as valid as yours – so fuck you.
It was time to tear it all down & start over. Is it time to do it again?