The British punk scene was one of the most inventive, culturally important and exciting periods of music of the 20th Century. At its height during the late 1970s, bands such as The Clash, Sex Pistols, Siouxsie and the Banshees and Buzzcocks revolutionised a whole industry. However, arguably the true pioneers of the movement were The Damned. Often unfairly overlooked, they were the first British punk band to release a single, an album, and to break America.
Wes Orshoski’s documentary The Damned: Don’t You Wish That We Were Dead aims to put the record straight. The original line-up (Dave Vanian/Captain Sensible/Rat Scabies/Brian James) may not have lasted long but the reformations, changes, bickering and recriminations never stopped. Following the turbulent group as they celebrate their 35th anniversary, both The Damned on their world tour and Scabies/James in their new band, we’re treated to a look at where they are today and how they got there.
Along with contemporary footage, Orshoski charts their course from the beginning. Using the original quintet themselves, along with interviews with former member and notable figures of that era, he paints a vivid picture of a band one death short of world stardom. As with his previous documentary Lemmy, Orshoski produces a vibrant roller-coaster ride. The Damned: Don’t You Wish That We Were is a brilliant, exciting and colourful portrait of musical genius and borderline insanity in all its splendour.
The Damned: Don’t You Wish That We Were Dead is released on DVD & Blu-ray by Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment on Monday 29 May.