The Damned – Not of this Earth – Interview

The Damned

Not of this Earth (Cleopatra)
An interview with vocalist Rat Scabies
by Lex Marburger

So why, after all these years, a new Damned album?
I was working with (Bruce?) and (Chris?) a lot, and we were putting a band together, (mumble) and we came up with a few songs, some ideas, and we just wanted to finish up what we started.

How do you feel in regards to all these other old punk bands getting back together and trying to do something?
Well, it’s a little late, y’know? (Mumble)… Punk Rock… (mumble)… wrong time… (mumble). But then you never know, if someone offers enough money, who knows what might happen. I’m not really doing this to “show how it’s done.” Well, sort of, but not really. There was a kind of a thing, “what kind of record do you make…” We’ve done the indie pop thing, we’ve done the punk rock thing, so (mumble)… can’t really think “what am I going to do?” like go and get a program, go and make dance records, get a metal guitar player, make a metal band. None of that makes sense, really. You just have to do what you enjoy. Which is what (mumble).

So what would you call Not of This Earth?
I don’t know and I don’t care, really. It’s got the same attitude as in 1976, with just “do what you want,” (mumble). What am I supposed to say? I’ve done the punk thing, I don’t need to do it again.

Whatever happened to Captain Sensible?
I don’t know, I heard he was in jail, I don’t know if that’s true. If I don’t see him for a hundred years, it would be too soon. I think he’s (mumble).

So, tell me about the album.
I decided we weren’t going to rehearse. We weren’t going to go into the studio and write the songs there. That’s boring, and (mumble). So we just did a tour, with 28 shows back to back, and on day 29 we went into the studio and recorded it like a show, with an audience of three. We played three sets, and chose from that (mumble). I like it, there’s stuff going on in the background that you’re not supposed to hear, ’cause it’s live.

I liked the addition of the organ.
Oh, yeah, James Taylor. He does all of the Hammond stuff. He’s a gentleman and a scholar, and one of the nicest guys in British show business. He was great, he (mumble).

“Prokofiev” sounded a lot like really old Hawkwind, that space rock, simple repetition thing happening.
We wanted something different, something you could really play in a club, we wanted to experiment with sound, and play a groove on (mumble). So I wanted to make (mumble) …the same thing… (mumble).

Also, after that track, there’s this bit with an answering machine…
Oh, you got a Japanese version! That was a mistake, it just got on somehow. It’s not supposed to be there. (Mumble).

Why Japanese only?
Because they were the ones who financed the album, and they can do whatever (mumble). But we tightened it up a bit for over here.

Any favorite tracks?
I don’t know. “I Need a Life,” “Testify,” “Shut it,” I like a lot, I never did something like that before, and “Prokofiev.”

On most of those tracks there are these guitar hooks that you really don’t hear anymore. Not only that, there are guitar solos, and you never hear those these days.
Yeah, very old fashioned, isn’t it? The idea wasn’t to just be a regular rock band, but to be better at it than anyone else. And Chris is such a great guitar player (mumble).

What else can you tell me about the album?
I got a witch to do the artwork for the cover.

So, does that mean you’ll be fabulously successful?