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Interview With David Vanian Of The Damned
Graham Clark, Features Writer
The Damned were one of the first punk groups. They are still recording and released a new album earlier this year. The band are touring and play The Plug in Sheffield on Sunday 2 December, here we talk about the band and surprisingly Betty's in Harrogate.

The tour comes to Sheffield, have you good memories of Yorkshire?
Of course, I like to visit classic English tea rooms and Betty's in Harrogate is one of my favourites. One time I visited was in winter, cars were abandoned everywhere because of the snow but I managed to get to Betty's, there wasn't a queue which meant I could go straight in. It is always a great experience.

There is another tea room in Carlisle that I always like to visit too called John Watt and Son - you can smell the coffee even before you go to the shop, they do all the mixing of their teas and coffees in the basement. I always make a point to stop off there too.

Another good one is the Willow Tea Room in Glasgow. There are not many of these places left in the country so they need supporting.

How do you decide on the set list when you go on tour?
It is always difficult because everyone has their favourite. You can never get complacent but there are certain songs which we have to keep on there which the fans coming to the gigs expect to hear such as Smash It Up.

Did Barry Ryan ever give you his opinion of Eloise?
Yes he did. We did an interview on breakfast TV and he was on the programme too and he said he liked our version and the energy that we had given to the song.

Your new album is produced by legendary producer Tony Visconti, how did Tony get involved?
I wanted him to be involved as he is one of those producers from the Golden Age of music. He produced classic albums for David Bowie, T Rex and Thin Lizzy amongst all the other great artists he has worked with over the years so he seemed such a good choice. We recorded the album live and he was able to bridge the gap between old and new for the band.

Were you surprised when the album entered the album charts in the Top 10?
The album went straight in at Number 7, it was quite a surprise, mind you these days albums do not sell in the quantity that they used to do, its more about streaming tracks.

It is over 40 years now since punk took off, do you think times have changed for the better?
It's a funny time now. We've got all this amazing technology and anyone can make a record now even in their bedroom but it doesn't always mean it's good. Musicians these days expect it to be easy but back then you had to play all these small clubs, some of which were not so good and work your way up, that's how it was then.

These days everyone expects music to be free, there is more music around than ever now but because the record sales are not there anymore artists are not getting paid like they used to so that's where the touring and live gigs comes in.

40 years on we are all still experiencing new things and still pushing the envelope.

The Damned play The Plug, Sheffield on Sunday 2 December

Also by Graham Clark...
Mariah Carey, Leeds Arena
Alexander's Christmas Menu, Skipton
Rita Ora - Phoenix (Atlantic Records)
James Come Home To The North
Compilation - Dave Pearce - Dance Anthems (New State Music)


Interview With David Vanian Of The Damned, 1st December 2018, 9:11 AM