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The Damned - Don't You Wish That We Were Dead

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Despite the fact that they were the first British punk band to release a single (1976), release an album and tour the United States (both 1977), the Damned, still working to some extent today, have been perennially underrated. That is the underlying theme of this documentary, which is an excellent chronicling of the life of the band provided through vintage and current film clips and commentary from founding members David Vanian, Brian James, Captain Sensible and Rat Scabies as well as a host of other luminaries. Two telling comments that come from band members bookend the presentation; at film's beginning a clip of Captain Sensible at a radio interview finds him relishing the fact that the Damned are still around today and that he's still playing punk rock at 60-years-old. To the complete contrary near the end of the film Scabies goes on a rant, addressing one of the filmmakers as he walks, saying that he doesn't care about "your documentary" and that the public, music industry and no one else cares about the Damned. Clearly plenty disagree; among those reminiscing and marveling about the Damned here are Chrissie Hynde, Billy Idol, Dave Gahan (Depeche Mode), JJ Burnel (the Stranglers), Nick Mason (Pink Floyd and one time Damned producer), Clem Burke and Chris Stein (Blondie) and Glen Matlock of the Sex Pistols. Loaded with insightful commentary from all and packed with performance clips and backstage antics, Don't You Wish That We Were Dead covers everything from the band's various break-ups (and the reasons behind them) to playing shows with Lemmy Kilmister on bass as the Doomed to explaining how Rat Scabies got his unsavory nickname, making for a very entertaining and educational look at this groundbreaking band. Factor in all the included bonus features and you've got a keeper that will stand up to multiple viewings.

The Damned - Don't You Wish That We Were Dead
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