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June 02, 2018

THE DAMNED: DON'T YOU WISH THAT WE WERE DEAD

Don't You WishFinally there exists a beautiful top-to-bottom documentary about the incendiary rock ‘n’ roll band that recorded the first Punk single (“New Rose”) in 1976, and went on to keep reinventing themselves five decades over. They’re still at it today. The Damned’s single “Smash It Up” (from their third record “Machine Gun Etiquette”) was so aggressive that it was banned by the BBC. The band’s founding drummer Rat Scabies met guitarist Captain Sensible at a London concert hall where they had jobs cleaning the toilets. Such are the tidbits and details that documentarian Wes Orshoski (“Lemmy” 2010) delivers with loving attention. In-depth interviews with band members present and past (especially the band’s longtime vampire-inspired singer Dave Vanian) give way to great archive footage to tell the story of a band that never got the attention they deserved.

The Damned2

Exhaustive interview clips with the likes of music legends Glen Matlock (The Sex Pistols), Chrissie Hynde (The Pretenders), Clem Burke (Blondie), Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys), Steve Diggle (The Buzzcocks), Mick Jones (The Clash), and Billy Idol add to this film’s addictive vibe. Whether or not you are a fan of punk music, there is plenty of honesty and energy to inspire you. Perhaps the film could have been better edited, but it hangs together well enough to hold your interest for nearly two hours.

“It’s an attitude and it’s a lifestyle. It’s about not taking any shit from anyone — thinking for yourself, trying to improve your lot in life; that’s punk rock.”

Not rated. 110 mins. (B+) (Three stars — out of five / no halves)

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PATREON BUTTON

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

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