The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

The Age of Innocence #3

The Damned, 1976

This is my first attempt to piggyback on a theme started by Tom, and when I saw it, I knew I had to get the jump on The Damned, who I've long credited as my second favourite band (we'll get to my first favourite later). I first heard about these musical miscreants in the pages of Creem magazine, a review of Machine Gun Etiquette I believe, and when I saw an import copy of their double-LP The Black Album in an indie record store for the then-ungodly sum of $20, I pounced on that puppy promptly. Granted, Wait for the Blackout may not in retrospect have the same impact of New Rose--the first official release by any of the original British punk bands, on Stiff Records in 1976--but I was hooked with the first power chord. But this photo comes from the sleeve of New Rose, the first broadside against the U.K. musical establishment, with its "Is she really going out with him?" intro and some of the coolest sounding raw fuzz guitar imaginable. On the label of the single sits the simple instructions 'Turn It Up' and the flipside is a metamphetamine cover of The Beatles' Help, played twice as fast and eliminating some of the lyrics, in a vain attempt to only pay half-royalties.

Plus you've got to love a band that somehow managed to combine Iggy and the Stooges and German Expressionism.

God bless The Damned.


Tom Sutpen said...


I can't say I had The Damned planned next for this series, but they were impending, no doubt.

Luckily I found The Black Album in a dinky little record store in Cambridge. It was a realtively early Punk purchase, and whoever ran the place had to be perpetually stoned because they priced it for around 10 . . . 10!! . . . bucks. I got it home, hurled the first disc on the turntable, broke out the headphones, jacked the volume up to eleven . . . and never looked back.

swac said...

Heathen that I am, I prefer The Black Album to London Calling. Don't get me wrong, I love the Clash, but sometimes I felt they were a little too much in love with their self-appointed role as "rock revolutionaries." The Damned just didn't give a f@#$, and what could be more punk rock than that?

mwl said...

The Black Album is still my favourite album. thank you Stephen for buying it!

mister muleboy said...

SWAC -- you promised in this post to give us more on your favourite band.

But I can't find that needed info!