The Damned are an English punk rock and later gothic rock band formed in London in 1976. They were the first punk band from England to release a single (“New Rose”), put out an album (Damned Damned Damned), and tour the United States. They are considered one of the founders of gothic rock.
The Damned have incorporated many different styles into their music and image; such as garage rock, psychedelic rock, cabaret and the theatrical rock of Screaming Lord Sutch and Alex Harvey. Vanian’s vocal style has been described as similar to a crooner, which is unique for a punk rock vocalist. Throughout their history, The Damned have dissolved and reformed many times, with singer Dave Vanian as the sole constant member. However, the lineups have always included either guitarist Captain Sensible or drummer Rat Scabies (or both). The line-up currently includes original members Vanian and Sensible.
Original Damned members Dave Vanian (David Lett), Captain Sensible (Raymond Burns), and Rat Scabies (Chris Miller) had been members of the Masters of the Backside, which included future Pretenders frontwoman Chrissie Hynde. Original Damned guitarist Brian James (Brian Robertson) had been a member of the punk band London SS, a band that never played live, but included members who later found fame in The Clash and Generation X. Rat Scabies tried out as drummer for London SS, but was rejected. While the band were auditioning for a frontman, James and Scabies had invited two men who agreed to try out; Sid Vicious and Dave Vanian. Only Vanian showed up and thus became the frontman of the Damned.