Captain Sensible
Captain Sensible
Flipped out and Flippant
(or not?)

Bimble Interviews Captain Sensible
Most people know the name Captain Sensible in one of two ways: either as the zany guitarist of The Damned or as "That bloke that did 'Happy Talk'".

But Captain Sensible, I've always felt, is both sorely underrated as a musician/guitarist and under-celebrated as a man of worth. In his pre veggie-pacifist-born again hippy days the Captain would outdo the best of them. His insults and damn right cruelty to The Damned's audience would justifiably bring spit, beer cans and whatever else was to hand, raining down upon them. Most of us realised early on that his insults and fury were all done with tongue firmly in cheek and with the best possible taste. He just loved getting a reaction. He'd taunt them, get them really riled up and then when the shit really hit the fan he'd be on the mike proclaiming "I love you people, your the nicest bunch of people in the whole wide world. Except that man there, you are the ugliest cunt I have ever laid eyes upon". And the missiles would fly again.

Suddenly in the early eighties the Captain's character seemed to totally change with him tuning into the veggie-pacifist revolution that took place at the time. The change came about apparently after he visited the band Crass's house for dinner. And it was on Crass Records that the captain released his first solo single entitled 'This Is Your Captain Speaking'. Soon after he signed a solo deal with A&M records and released 'Happy Talk'. A syrup-drenched ditty originally from the musical 'South Pacific'. Which would go on to be a No 1 hit single. This would lead to him not only becoming a firm favourite with housewives - and kids TV - but also to his becoming an ex-Damned member. When in 1984 he was unceremoniously booted out of the band. Undeterred the Captain forged ahead with his solo career releasing countless singles and albums with varying degree's of commercial success. Then after almost eleven years as a solo artist we heard that the captain had rejoined The Damned.

With all this in mind I decided that it was a good time to call in the good captain in for questioning. I donned my best P.C Pig helmet and asked him to accompany me to the station. He admitted it was a fair cop and stated that he would come along peaceably as long as the stations drinks machine served a good pint of real ale, which of course it did.

[B] Now Captain let me take you back. Does this face look familiar to you?

[C] Err...

[B] Tell me about your pre-Damned days weren't you once in a band called Oasis?
[C] Yeah I was in a band called Oasis which was a kind of cabaret type band. I remember we used to do 'Tie The Yellow Ribbon Round The Old Oak Tree' and an Elvis Presley medley and stuff like that. We played in working men's clubs all round the south of England. I used to get a fiver a night for doing that. Which was a lot of money in those days believe it or not. We're talking nineteen seventy blah blah. I remember telling these people change the fucking name. No bands ever gonna get anywhere with a name like Oasis. I really honestly thought it was the biggest pile of shit going. Well I still do I think its an appalling name but it means something else now doesn't it.

[B] Can you remember your first ever gig?
[c] Yeah that was Genetic Breakdown in about '73. We played a talent contest in Thorton Heath in a pub called The Brigstock Arms. We were allowed two songs and we only got through about one and a half. As they pulled the plugs on us because we were so loud, so obnoxious and so awful. But we had loads of spirit. I remember I was shitting myself before we went on but afterwards I felt so good that I thought blimey I'll have to do this again. 'Cause you know it's fun showing off, I've never grown tired of it.

[B] What about Johnny Moped there must be a tale to tell there?
[C] Well basically with Johnny Moped his dad is his granddad and his sister is his mum. It was one of those inter-family naughty escapades that resulted in a child that has got an extraordinary outlook on life. Which Johnny Moped certainly has, he's a wacky guy.

[B] I heard that when they recorded they're album he had to be kidnapped to do the recording as his wife didn't approve of the band.
[C] Definitely yeah, what a chore that was. We'd say " we'll give ya a lift home Johnny " and he'd say (Putting on a dodgy cockney accent) " Oh good cause Brenda's mum will be really upset if I miss dinner tonight. You know might think I'm off recording an album or something. Then the shit really would hit the fan and I'd have to sleep in a bush on the Purley Way ". Which is what he has to do when he's in the doghouse. They boot him out and he has to sleep in a hedge.

[B] Nov 76 your first single 'New Rose' has just been released how did that feel, having your first piece of plastic out?
[C] That was great, but I wanted 'I Fall' to be the single. That was the other track that was up for it. I thought that 'I Fall' should have been the single 'cause it was fast. I thought that 'New Rose' was a bit turgid and when the Pistols first single came out I couldn't believe it. It just sounded like a mundane old rock band. I was expecting something a little more... of the spirit of the times.

[B] What's the most scary gig situation you've ever been in?
[C] Cor blimey err...The gun getting pulled on me in America. It was after the yanks did something or other pretty stupid. And it looked as though there might be some sort of nuclear confrontation and I was saying "You Americans think you can use Britain as a little aircraft carrier sitting on the fringes of Europe to do your dirty work for ya, but we're not gonna take it blah blah blah". So someone takes offence to this, runs out to his car, gets his pistol, comes back in and fires a couple of shots off and, well they hustled me off the stage and that was the end of that gig. I don't know if he was actually shooting at me but they got me off the stage pretty damn quick. Another time I had a metal chair in the face. It was in San Francisco and I had to have stitches in the back of me head because I saw it just quick enough to be able to turn away. The Damned have been attacked in Lincoln. We were attacked by a whole bunch of blokes about 30 or 40 of them, all with iron bars and bricks and stuff. We actually had to fight our way out of that one. They'd smashed all the windows of our van, out the back. We had to get the mike stands back out and get stuck in, which was not really my cup of tea after a hot sweaty gig just spreading peace and joy through out the world ya know.

[B] Even Vanian involved in the old fisty cuffs?
[C] Oh yeah, he's quite a strong bloke old Dave. He actually really used to a grave digger. He really lives the lifestyle. I know it sounds weird but he really is into it. The whole lifestyle, the motorbikes, the ex-grave digger bit and all that stuff. I like the bloke a lot, he's a bit of an enigma. I think he's tinged with madness. I really think he is, because of the twenty years I've known him he's never changed and he's always backed up whatever he said. Once I went round his house, he was living in a basement and he'd had a flood. I said " 'ello Dave how's it going " he said " The drains have flooded can you help me get this carpet out ". Actual sewage had come up through the drains and it wasn't very pleasant. We got the carpet out and I said " What's that under there then, that's a pentagram. Is that like satanic stuff or what? " And he says " It must have been put down by the previous owners of the flat ". Now does that ring true to you, the blokes sitting there dressed up as Dracula, with a hearse sitting outside the house and he's telling me it must have been someone else who done the pentagram. I don't think so, do you.
[B] Machine gun etiquette, I've heard stories that all the bass playing on that was played by you. Is that True?
[C] Well Algy had this thing about whisky. Algy's a lovely bloke but he could get quite aggressive. If the bloke from the record company (Roger Armstrong). Who was also producing the album with us didn't get the bevies in Algy would get extremely agitated and would smash things. So you had to get him a bottle of whisky to keep him quiet. He would drink half the bottle and then would be good for about half an hours bass playing. Anything he did after that would be completely out to lunch unfortunately. So I would have to repair bits and bobs, yeah. He knew all the songs he just couldn't handle the liquor.

[B] Whatever happened to the okapi suit?
[C] When I came across it somebody in a support band was wearing it. I think it was in Hull and I said please please give it to me. Then I said flog it to me. Then I got someone from the merchandise stall to go up and offer him ex amount of Damned albums for it and then in the end we just stole it. I wore it for a photo session and it became kinda my bag. It must've really pissed this poor band off. Though unfortunately I did contract crabs, cause we used to sleep around a bit in those days and the thing was infested with them. Then one day somebody said would you sell me your thingamme. Expecting me to say no fuck off and I said yeah certainly, here you go. So that's what happened to it. It was riddled with all sorts of disease's, so I sold it.

[B] Tell me about the song 'Curtain Call'. Paul Gray once told me that it was only worked on in the early hours. Is that true?
[C]Yeah but only because Rat hated it, so we could only work on it when he was in bed. That's why there's the dawn chorus on there it was "Oh no Rats getting up". One Morning I heard the dawn chorus outside the window and said " Listen to that ". So we just stuck the mike out of the window.

[B] What about 'Strawberries'. What sticks in your head about those times and that album?
[C] I remember during the recording of one track, late at night, after a session down the pub the engineer said through the headphones "Guys you don't appear to be on the case tonight" and at that point Paul Gray collapsed and landed on his flightcase. He was actually pissing on the floor at the time (!), with his bass around his neck, urinating on the floor {!!} and he collapsed on his flightcase. I thought that was the funniest thing I'd ever seen. I had this in my ear "Your not on the case" and then Paul was on the case, that tickled me. That's one incident that springs to mind. But you know with 'Strawberries', 'The Black Album', and 'Machine Gun Etiquette' we tried to experiment a little bit and a lot of people said "This ain't fucking punk". Well we made one great punk album ('Damned, Damned, Damned') and 'Machine Gun Etiquette' was pretty punky as well. You can't just keep going over old ground and keep rehashing it like The Exploited did. You die creatively if you do that. And people have said astounding nice things to me about the stuff. People have come up to me and said "When my girlfriend left me I had a nervous breakdown and the only thing that got me through was your music". Someone else said "I was gonna commit suicide and its only The Damned that got me through". I mean we must have been doing something right. It means so much when people come up and say stuff. Of course you get other people who come and say "Well that ain't fucking punk" but that doesn't go down too well with me. Good luck to 'em you know, but punk's not punk any more. Dance music is now the Punk music. At least that's what the anarcho set listens to and what is punk, punk is an attitude. It's got nothing to do with music, its a lifestyle. It doesn't matter if a band does this or a band does that, bands are two a penny.

[B] What did you think of that whole Nirvana/Seatle/Grunge thing? Did you think that it had any relation at all to punk?
[C] No nothing what so ever. No not one fucking slightest piece no. I did not detect the spirit of punk in any of that stuff, no absolutely not. Black Flag maybe and The Dead Kennedy's and Bad Brains, but not the Seattle thing. The Seattle thing and all that grunge thing just sounds like heavy metal badly played and I didn't like heavy metal anyway.
The Captain
[B] Have you heard the compilation from Seattle I think it was called 'Another Damned Seattle Compilation'
[C] I've got it but I haven't played it. I'm not saying that because of snobbery. I'm just very particular about what I listen to. I mainly like girly pop but not The Spice Girls. I like Republica and Dubstar, but I mainly like Japanese girly pop. There's a band called Puffy a duo, they're a couple of teenage girls. But my favourite Japanese pop group is Fifty Four Nude Honeys there's not fifty four of them but they're pretty nude. There's about eight of them in the band and they wear the skimpiest costumes you ever saw but it's quite punky, punky/poppy. Its a really good record its called 'Go Go Cabaret' and it's great. I mean obviously they just get people off the street who look good. They get these teenage girls, they bung 'em in the studio and they can't sing. You know the same set up as the Stock Aiken and Waterman thing, but there's something wonderfully naive about it. I do like ultra pop. I really like anything that's really really poppy but not The Spice Girls 'cause it's just a bit too cynical for me. It sounds like Gerry, who was the mouth, she wanted to get her hands on the cash and wanted to be the manager of the band or at least have the control. You can imagine her saying (Putting on his best Ginger Spice voice) "Well the last album was written by these songwriters who are actually on more money than we are, girls wat ya fink its not right is it ,its not Girl-Power. Right we're gonna write the next album ourselves". So, can't write songs can they. So even with the best production team in the world they came out with a donkey of an album. Because they'd written the songs, it'd all been rushed and Gerry thought it wasn't fair that every one else got all the publishing money. Girl power blah blah. So this is an indication of what Gerry's all about. She sacked the manager on the flimsy pretext that he was bonking Baby Spice. Baby Spice didn't seem to mind and what's wrong with the manager bonking one of the girls anyway. It's one of those things that goes on isn't it, people shag. What did Gerry really want, she didn't want Baby Spice to stop bonking the manager. I mean what's the manager gonna give Baby Spice more money than Gerry? No she wanted her fingers in the till and she thought that was the way she could do it Blaming it on Baby and so'n'so having an affair. Yeah that's what it was all about.

[B] So if they ask you to write the songs for the next album are you gonna do it?
[C] Err..yeah probably would, actually, yeah {he says in Alan Partridge tones} and I must say about that Spice Girls scenario, it's not unique there's one in every band {he winks several times}

[B] Who was your Ginger Spice then?
[C] What in The Damned ? err..Anyway what's the next question? Is this going on the internet. Yeah bung it on the internet, that'll be great.

[B] I hear your keen on the internet, have you discovered any interesting websites?
[C] Yes I have yes. Well there's one called Ha Ha... I'm gonna get a terrible reputation. There's one called Spice funnily enough, in America. There's this girl and she's got a camera sitting on top of her computer and she just puts this thing on while she's watching the telly and the camera takes a photo of her every minute. It's not like a video it updates every minute. Now during the course of the evening she gets more relaxed, maybe has a drink. Then she'll go into another room and comes back wearing something a bit skimpier and err..(Laughs). I just think that's brilliant. Not only because I'm a filthy old leach but also I think it's fascinating that there's this bird in America it's absolutely innocent and it's happening right now. There's also one on top of the Empire State Building, it's looking over the top of Central Park and that's updated every minute. So if ever the Empire State Building ever fell down, you'd probably be the first to know as you'd see all these bricks and stuff falling about. Another one I liked was the toilet. If you go into your browser and type in 'peeping tom' and 'video camera' you'll find all these 'instant now video camera' sites. There's just loads of them. People put them sticking outside they're window and you just see people walking past. The one in the toilet was great because you just looked down at this fucking karsee and just waited for someone to come in and have a crap. Though to be brutally honest the whole thing was a hoax. It was just a still camera and I was fooled as much as everyone else. They had a hit count thing at the bottom, you know, how many people had been sitting, looking, waiting for somebody to come in the toilet. And it was something like fifteen thousand people all over the world and I must admit I was fooled by it. I love the web for that I think it's brilliant. But also flippancy aside it's a brilliant tool for people to get their idea's across because you can't ring up The Sun newspaper and say look I've got some great anarchist idea's. Would you give us a page to put my case across. They'd say no fuck off. Or if you phoned up Tony Blair and said look can you take some of my idea's onboard there's not a hope in hell. But you can spread your idea's on the internet and I think that's brilliant, really happening.

[We then pause to get more drinks in. The tape then drops back in on a rather interesting Captain rant!]

[C] Your a vegan and I'm pretty much a vegan. I'm a non-aggressive peace 'n' love merchant and I hate all that backlash against political correctness because the hidden agenda is, to start calling black people 'coons' and stuff like that again and to start telling jokes about Irish people and that's not on. I don't think you can go back to that again P.C is pretty cool and people slag it off and say [putting on a cockney accent]"well you know you can't fuckin' 'ave golly wogs anymore, it's absolutely ridiculous". Who fucking wants a gollywog anyway it's a symbol of racism. I don't want one. Then people say "Look at Brussels they're tryin' to 'ave straight banana's and they wanna call carrot's courgettes and they think British chocolate can't be called chocolate cause it's not good enough for the bloody Europeans". Well it isn't, it is not good enough. If you've ever been to Europe and tasted European chocolate which has got like 70 per cent cocoa in it. Where as the British stuff has got about one per cent. You would then understand why they're saying that. And straight banana's that's a hoax done by The Daily Mail newspaper. They're all hoax's fed in by the anti-Europe brigade. It's ridiculous that you can control people by lies, absolutely amazing. I mean I've got no love for European government and stuff, but I can spot a xenophobic rabid right wing backlash when I see one. The more they go on about it the more I think, well maybe it would be nice to go across borders without getting stopped by jack booted fucking coppers every five minutes. I do a lot of travelling around the borders of Europe and it is nice, I must say it is nice, not to have that shit. When I come back to Britain I get it at bloody Newhaven or Heathrow but I don't get that when I go from France to Germany, it's excellent. All borders should be open between every country not just Europe. There should be a world. I would have no passports for definite. And if that meant people from an extremely poor country in the third world, not that were not heading that way ourselves. But if people from a poor country could go to a rich country to better there lives then it would be great. As the rich country would come down in the economic thing and poor countries would have less people there to look after and the whole thing would balance out. You see when they talk about capitalism and market forces they don't take it to its logical conclusion which means no borders for trade but also no borders for people either. Which would empower the poor.

[B] But they don't want to empower anyone though do they?
[C] Who the capitalists, of course not, no

[B] And I don't mean the government's I mean the people with the money who are running... [C] Who are really running things, yeah.

[B] They don't want anything that's gonna empower people. They're trying to find ways of controlling the internet. Legal gateways you'd have to go through under the pretext of keeping porn out of children's way.
[C] You tell me how many Tory MP's have not got child porn sitting under there files, in their offices in the houses of parliament. You show me a clean and decent Tory M.P and I'll say yeah ok we'll have censorship on the internet.

[B] What about this new government? Any thoughts on Blair's new blue?
[C] Haha..It's a bit embarrassing for those of us who have been involved in trying to get a Labour government elected. Which I'm ashamed to say that I was one. I was involved with the red wedge thing for two elections. With Billy Bragg and the rest of them and I do feel a trifle let down. Pretty daft eh ! But there's still some decent people within the Labour party. We might shame them into getting rid of fox hunting, stopping selling arms to Indonesia and things like that. And it was very nice to see the smile wiped off John Selwin Gummer's face.

[B] Do think punk and punk-politics actually changed anything?
[C] Yeah I think so, definitely yeah. 'Cause look at the road protests and reclaim the streets and all that stuff. That's eclipsed anything that the punk brigade ever did. But yeah, obviously it's... a continuation of a fine tradition. I go on those dance road protest things. If someone tells me about them. Where you find out about these things I don't know. I've been to some marvellous things where you sit there and there's kids making sandcastles in the street and big dance/rave systems belting it out. I get myself a couple of bottle's of cider and sit there and get extremely drunk. I have a fucking good time and I watch the coppers powerless to do anything and all the car drivers going beep beep beep and I think, yes this is excellent.

[B] I went to the anti-criminal justice act rally in Hyde Park and I saw you wandering around there...
[C] Was that where the coppers were all steaming in? Yes and that's what actually caused the riot. Did you say hello?

[B] Well, I shouted Captain, expecting you to turn round and go "Wot"...
[C] Yeah right so I never say wot hahaha

[B] ..And you flew off like you were thinking oh fuck someone's recognised me. I don't wanna speak to any daft old punks about The Damned at the moment, this is more important. Which is understandable. Do you ever get sick of being recognised?
[c] (Thoughtfully) Yeah! Sometimes I'm into it and sometimes I'm not. Like most people I'm moody and sometimes I can take it and sometimes I can't.

[B] At what point did you decide to record some stuff on your own? Was it around the time of 'Strawberries' or before that?
[C] Oh well before 'Strawberries'. Chiswick records used to block book a cheap 'n' nasty little rehearsal/recording studio in Croydon and we used to get a great result out of it. But I would sit in there with Rat or Algy Ward or whoever I was working with. Trying to put some demo's together and I'd sit there for there for days waiting for Dave Vanian to turn up and I got so used to it that it actually pushed me into singing. We'd go down the pub and we'd be saying "The fucking guy isn't here. What the hell are we gonna do. The recording session's end tonight. Lets just put a vocal down to give an idea of what it should sound like". So that's what we'd do. You'd go in, sing your vocals, finish your song and give it to the record label and this went on and on. Dave used to turn up occasionally and do some songs and stuff. Anyway I ended up learning how to sing, but I never wanted to, I hated singing, still do, but that's how it happened.

[B] What about 'Silly Kids Games' from 'The Black Album', a hint of things to come?
[C] Yeah!

[B] And later you borrowed part of it's melody for your solo single 'Come On Down'
[C] (Feigning surprise) Oh yeah. Also there's another one. I did this John Peel session where I had a song called 'Baby Sign Here With Me' and the organ solo on that was the one that eventually went on to 'I Just Can't Be Happy Today'. That session's gonna be released soon. It's by my band called King. Which came before the other band called King. So it show's you how fucking old it is. We're talking decades 'ere guvner.

[B] Happy Talk,(He grimaces) did you make a lot of money from that?
[C] (Sounding ashamed) Yeah I did actually yeah, I must admit though, I've spent it. But you know I was kicked out of The Damned and I didn't rejoin them for about ten years. Except for one tour where I was back as a guest in 1991. Anyway I had some very very bleak years. In '89 I ran a small label called Deltic Records and to be quite honest I had bailiffs at the door. I could hardly afford to feed and clothe my kids. I had no income coming from anywhere. I don't get any royalties because for certain reasons certain old labels don't pay me royalties. I'm still fighting to get them now. Certain members of The Damned who aren't in the band at the moment, say they own the rights. They collect the money and don't pay me. So it's all a little bit grim really and I don't really want to go over it cause it's so tedious. But let's just put it this way, there are some people who are attracted to the showbiz lifestyle for the fact that it's easy to get your fingers in the till and make easy money. Me I'm an idealistic guitar player who wants to change the world and that's why it's so easy to rip me off.

[B] So does Dave get his money?
[C] (Long pause) I can't really speak for Dave. I think it's really sordid to talk about money absolutely terrible. I read so many interviews with bands that go on about being ripped off. Who moan on about showbiz and blah, blah. It gets so that its almost not worth reading the interview as it's just a drag. Unfortunately all that managers or unscrupulous breadhead types are interested in is the cash and the creative types are only interested in the creation of the 'Art'. Now these two principles just cannot mix it's like oil and water. One of them will never understand the other. Which makes it so easy to rip idealistic musicians off. With me every time someone talks about contracts my eyes glass over and my mind wanders. I just can't listen to it for more than about thirty seconds. I can't talk about this anymore.

[B] Do you think in the long term 'Happy Talk' helped or hindered your career?
[C] It depends which way you look at it. I would never have done that karaoke programme on Sky TV, with Suggs, if it hadn't been for 'Happy Talk'.

[B] So it brings a bit of money in?
[C] Well yeah But on the other hand I'm a reasonably good guitar player and I could be doing recording sessions for people. I'm flying over to Detroit in two weeks to do an album with another band. People in America recognise that I'm a reasonably good musician. Whereas in Britain I'm a joke. Because of 'Happy Talk', which is a real shame. Having said that Terry Wogan asked me to do Blankety Blank (U.K gameshow) and I told them to fuck off. I do get offers like that, but I never do them. You'll never have seen me do anything like that. I've had so many offers but I've never done 'em. 'Happy Talk' I did because we needed an extra track on the album I'd recorded about nine songs on the album and the producer said to me "Well if you haven't got any more songs we'll do a couple of cover versions. I went home and found 'Happy Talk' in me mum and dads record collection and said lets do that.

[B] And it got to number one in the charts ?
[C] It did yeah, but I didn't want it released as a single. When the record company said "Can we shelve doing one of your own songs as the first single and do 'Happy Talk' instead". I said no. So they went away, had a think about it and then phoned me about a week later and said "Look Captain someone from EMI has heard your version of 'Happy Talk' and they're in the studio now with one of there artists doing a very similar version. If you don't let us at A&M release this on your behalf you won't be at number one, someone else will. And I must say you might regret this for the rest of your life!". And I said (panicked voice) I always said I didn't want it released. What shall I do, what shall I do, err, Yeah release it, release it, ok. They were lying, there was no one from EMI in the studio or anywhere else. They were lying and they conned me into No1. I was hoodwinked. John Peel though thought it was brilliant. He was the first D.J to play it. He said "Listen to this, from Captain Sensible of all people". As before that I had a reputation for scrapping and drinking and stuff. I did all the kids TV programs but I went on pissed as parrot. I whacked someone round the ear'ole with a broom once, if I remember rightly and then passed out on the floor. I had to be carried off on a stretcher, live on Saturday morning kids TV.

[B] Did you get thrown off of A&M because of no more 'Happy Talks'?
[C] No, I left my manager. A bloke called Andrew Miller and the funny thing was I was never signed to A&M, his production company was. So I worked with Andrew, but Andrews production company is the one who is signed to A&M. At the time he said to me "We're not gonna do this the stupid way Captain, signing you to A&M. We're gonna do this the clever way. We'll just give them the product through the production company and that's the way we'll do it". I thought at the time oh yeah brilliant, we can do what we want and they'll release it. Now when Andrew and myself parted company I was out of A&M. As I didn't have a record contract with them.

[B] Were they glad times or sad time's
[C] A&M were brilliant, really good. I remember once I was standing on the top floor of this swish hotel in Paris and they asked me if I minded The Rolling Stones sharing the same floor as me. I had to think about it, but I said "Yeah alright then, let 'em up". Haha, It's honestly true.

[B] Captain, your an old pirate an ain't I glad, haha.
[C] Yeah exactly. For about three years, whenever I went to Paris, I had a chauffeur driven limo at my disposal. I was so big in France. I was number one for seven weeks and some of the subsequent single's were massive hits. I was really badly behaved though, but they loved me for it. I used to get The Dolly Mixture's, the three girls that I had singing with me. We'd be on these prestigious T.V programmes and we'd be singing the song and we'd fuck it up and I'd just chuck the mike away and I'd be rolling around on the floor, biting the girls ankles, not even bothering to mime any more. Yeah it was great those days.

(Talk then turns to the time of the release of the 'Come On Down' single, its accompanying video and the subsequent aborted tour)

[C] (Sings the tune)la-la-la-la Yeah great and I like that video a lot. That's probably the best of the lot, not the greatest song.

[B] I saw a gig you did around the time of 'Come On Down'. It was at Queen Mary College, London.
[C] That was the last gig I did before I had my extremely heavy nervous breakdown. Yep I was having one at the time.

[B] Yeah right 'cause you didn't play much guitar at that and somebody told me it was because you were ill. You had Dave Berk (from Johnny Moped) on drums?
[C] Yeah and Clive Gates doing keyboards who was from the band New Musik, he's a legend. Dave Berk now works for the Gas Board. I think Clive does as well actually. There both into computers. They design software and run whole departments.

[B] Tell me about Auntie Pus. The lunatic that used to accompany The Damned on tour.
[C] Raving mad! We'd park up outside a music shop. I'd go in to get some guitar strings and afterwards we'd be sitting there in the van with the engine running saying "Where's Puss". Suddenly you'd turn round and see some worker from Woolworths holding the shop door open and Puss would come out holding a whole load of stuff, electric kettle's, toasters, this and that. He'd bung 'em into the van saying "Drive off quick I've nicked 'em". We'd be saying "Well how the hell did you get away with that. They held the door open for ya". He'd say "Look if you come out with so much stuff. They don't believe your nicking it". He was actually a brilliant thief. He used to go up and down the queue of people outside the gig, selling toasters and stuff. It was absolutely brilliant.

(Captain suddenly notices an old adversary's latest single playing in the background)

[C] Fucking Paul Weller, how has he got away with it for so long. A man with very little talent and he can't play guitar. The trouble with Paul Weller is with all other musicians, you know that there parents have said to them "Fucking get rid of that guitar, turn the fucking noise down, get out there, fucking do your work at school and get a fucking job! Don't be a cunt all your life, your never gonna make a fucking living out music!" Now there's one musician I can think of whose not like that. Whose Dad said to him " Right take that guitar, go down, 'ave the lessons, learn how to play and we might make a fucking packet of money!!" Now I'm not going to tell you which musician that was but his manager is called John Weller. (much laughter)

[B] Since 'Happy Talk' you've done loads of single's and what, 6 albums? Have you a favourite?
[C] Yeah 'The Universe Of Geoffrey Brown'. It's my 'Sergeant Pepper'. It's the most perfect album I've ever done. It's a beautiful record and I listen to it sometimes, not often, but I listen to it and I think wow! I've never ever matched this in my life. It is such a beautiful record as it's got a lovely story. It's full of idealism and sadness about the world, sadness about the boneheads who are running the planet and stuff like that. It's all done from a really sort of hippy-dippy, cutesy point of view. Which is basically where I'm coming from you know. I like it a lot. It's got actors in it as well, well drunks from Brighton. But yes it's a great record. And it will be filmed one day! 'The Comic Strip' people came very close to doing it as an hour long episode. It's a good story. It's about a bloke who works in the Ministry Of Defence. He gets rid of his car and starts riding a bicycle, because err.. because he gets a message from aliens!! Hahaha, but it's a lot deeper than that. But that's a kind of scratchy outline.

[B] The spoken stuff's very professionally done it sounds very sort of Radio 2 is it or 3 ?
[C] (Sounding outraged)Radio 4!!!Get out of 'ere haven't you ever listened to 'The Archers!!

[B] No I haven't!! 'Meathead' is my favourite I love that album. Let me shake your hand for that one.
[C] (Shaking hands meekly) Thank you, thank you Bimble

[B] I read somewhere you said you designed that as a headphone album for druggies is that right?
[C] Yes

[B] But your not really into drugs are you !!
[C] Ooh I am!!

[B] Oh you are!
[C] Oh yeah!! I can't handle pot because it's a little close to err.. it's a head trip!! and it unfortunately belts me straight back into my acid days. I actually used to do acid every day for about six months. And I think once you've had a couple of breakdowns and your a bit on the edge of society anyway, as I am. I think most people who feel anxious and not quite there would say "you wouldn't catch me taking acid or even grass or anything, I can't do it" But I absolutely love drugs I think it's brilliant. The problem with society is that people drink to much of this fucking stuff!! And then they go home and beat their wives up. So to me if your gonna ban something ban fags and booze, but then again I don't wanna ban anything. But society does ban drugs and I can't see the point in banning cannabis which is relatively safe doesn't do anybody any harm. It doesn't cause people to beat other people up. Whereas this stuff, in the wrong hands obviously does cause those things. In the wrong hands it can turn a normal person into a thug. So err..fuck off cunt!!!

[B] There must be a humorous Captain Sensible story about his days on acid.
[C] Yeah I did do a lot of acid and it was all done in Brighton, funnily enough. Just before I joined The Damned. I was eventually run out of town by the fuzz. I went to court and I got away with it 'cause I had a lawyer who lied. I sat there in the dock and she said to the court (Putting on posh voice) "If my client is found guilty he will lose an opportunity that he has to start a life on the right side of society. Having procured a job at Barclay's Bank blah blah". And I said to her afterwards "Who were you talking about there I ain't..." and she said "Shut up". I thought that was absolutely brilliant.

[B] So your LSD tinged brain is responsible for your love of psychedelia? 'Cause you love all that stuff don't you?
[C] Oh yeah absolutely and I like some of this psychedelic-techno/trance stuff. I think that's absolutely brilliant and I quite like a great game called 'Wipeout' on the playstation. That's full of trancey type music.

[B] You've got your own psychedelic band haven't you?
[C] Yeah called 'The Space Toad Experience' How that happened was that we used to have jam sessions down at one of the local pubs. One of them's a train driver, one's a psychiatric nurse I'm unemployed and Space Toad's a busker and whoever drums is whoever we can find on the night. We do it cause we love the psychedelic stuff. We all used to go to festivals in the early seventies. At Wheelie, Bumpton and The Isle of Wight and we're just trying to recreate that psychedelic groove. And now funnily enough we get invited to the festivals to play. Somebody said about us "You sound like all the psychedelic bands from the early seventies. That I've ever heard, all wrapped into one". It was the bloke that books all the bands for the green stage at Glastonbury that said that to us. I thought that was really nice of him. We always play Glastonbury, right up the top of the hill. It's less muddy up there as well.

[B] Have space toad experience had anything released?
[C] Yeah we recorded an album called 'Time Machine' Which is a pretty cosmic record. It's out at the moment on 'Blueprint' from County Durham. It's a very psychedelic record. Its very good and we out-do The Floyd on 'Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun'. We do a ten minute version of it. They were actually a good band 'Floyd', in the early days. You wouldn't believe that now, by listening to the turgid old shit that they come out with now. But we do a marvellous version of it, very flipped out.

[B] Naz Nomad and the Nightmares: what did you think of that?
[C] I thought lovely, yeah, great record. We got very into the sixties garage band punk revival albums. 'The Great British Psychedelic Trip' is my favourite, but there's a whole series of them 'Pebbles' and 'Nuggets'. We heard these records and thought bloody hell this is fantastic. I had no knowledge of garage music at all. When The Damned started we were trying to play our very best, but we sounded punky cause we were like sort of well..we were. But listening to stuff that had been done ten years before by bands like 'The Seeds', 'The Chocolate Watch Band', 'The Electric Prunes' I couldn't believe it. We started getting into this and just decided to.. well they decided to record a covers album. While I was out recording 'Happy Talk' and the rest of my solo stuff. So that was there way of getting in the studio and doing something while they were waiting for me.

[B] Dave seemed to invent a new voice for that didn't he, did you notice?
[C] Yes, that's where he got his new voice from. Before that every thing Dave Vanian did was kind of double tracked, kind of shouted and not brilliantly sung. And he actually developed a new voice, your absolutely right. And he's now one of the best singers in the business. Whether people wanna hear that statement or not, it is true. He's a fucking good singer because he puts a song over really well. He's sort of like a bit of an old fashioned crooner but with a wild tinge. I like writing songs for Dave and I hope we can record a new album. He's a good voice to hang a song on. He can really put a song over.

[B] So how long have you been back with The Damned now?
[C] For the two years on and off. We've toured Japan twice, we did a month in Australia which was brilliant. We played places like 'Willabong' and 'Byron Bay' lovely places that nobody's ever heard of. I did actually go mad out there, madder than usual. I was going onstage wearing a schoolgirls uniform. For the last four or five songs in the set. And I actually couldn't get out of character. For three days I was a schoolgirl, it was really strange. It sounds like I'm joking but I couldn't get out of character. I'd get up in the morning and I'd go (Girly voice) Ooooh and I'd skip down the corridor to get me breakfast. And I'd become really bashful you know, if someone said "I hope you don't do blah blah tonight " I'd go "Oooh no". It was really well over the top. I thought for the first couple of days that I went through this thing where I couldn't get out character, I thought it was funny. By the third day I couldn't sleep all night. I was really frightened, really scared and I put the schoolgirls uniform away. I zipped it up in a bag and didn't allow myself to wear it for the rest of the tour. Are you laughing?

[B] Of course I'm laughing
[C] Haha, why, it's true. It's a true story.

[B] I was just imagining you mincing around Japan in this schoolgirls uniform.
[C] No it was Australia, that's what made it worse. It was the month in Australia that I was mincing round with the schoolgirls' uniform on. I got up in the morning and I didn't wanna wear me mens' clothes. I wanted to wear me schoolgirls uniform.

[B] You've never been frightened to wear woman's clothes though have you.
[C] No I think it's great that people can express themselves in anyway they want. But I was scared because I couldn't get out of character, that was what frightened me.

[B] You can chose to answer this or not. How did Patrica Morrison get the job of playing bass in The Damned?
[C] She was the best bass player that we could find at the time. We auditioned about two hundred people and she was just the best, she got the job.

[B] Huh!! come on. I'm gonna be honest. Fucking 'Love Song' at Guildford, she fucking trashed it. She can't play!!

(Quiet, tense moment while he decides how to answer)

[B] He's gonna punch me now and we're gonna have to stop the interview.
[C] No she's brilliant and we are gonna rehearse. We don't actually rehearse that much. I mean a lot of bands, you think oh they've really got an edge to them. There really sort of fast, really sort of punky, there really anarchic, they've really got the vibe. But they all go in and do rehearsals three days a week. Their standing there looking at each other rehearsing. That's how you get good, that's how you play perfectly. I don't fucking wanna play perfectly. I'd rather that we stood for something. And I would rather that we stand for not rehearing haha, because it's soul destroying. But yeah being honest I have noticed maybe we could do with a bit more rehearsing but you know maybe we will maybe we won't. I think at the end of the day what is really gonna make or break the Damned-mark seventeen or whatever we are, is the new recording's. It's not the fact that maybe someone who wasn't there when it was recorded the first time didn't play 'Love Song' properly. 'Cause we don't rehearse a lot and she a brilliant woman. She is a really nice woman and I won't hear a word said against her. So shut yer fuckin' gob.

[B] So for all you people on the net/in Japan that don't realise, this is a new line up with no Rat Scabies in the line-up.
[C] It's the people in Japan that know, they've seen us twice. We've toured Japan twice once with The Buzzcocks and once without. The Buzzcocks are brilliant a great band to tour with. Really funny to see Steve Diggle and Pete Shelley who are both wonderful people. But one of them is just a great all round geezer and womaniser. Who likes drinking beer and playing loud guitar. And the other one is not really what you would call a womaniser, but he still drinks loads. He is what you would call an arty kind of intellectual type. So I'll leave it to you to work out which one's which. But they don't get on and that's such a shame cause they're both lovely blokes, its a real shame. I got on so well with them all. We almost toured with The Buzzcocks in America and I hope we will do. Ahh I'm going all luvvie, I love The Buzzcocks.

[B] What's your relationship like with Dave Vanian these days ? 'Cause there was a time when you didn't get on wasn't there?
[C] No I don't think so. I don't think there was ever a time that we didn't get on. No I've never had any grievances with Dave ever. Only one thing really, once we came off stage in Germany, it was a particularly grim gig where I was getting gobbed at and beer and stuff chucked on me. And I came off stage and he still looked immaculate. I just couldn't fucking believe it. Now that got to me a little bit. I mean if I wore a suit onstage or even if I wore a suit to walk down the road. At the end of the day I would look like a slob. I just can't carry it off, but he can. But no I've got no problem with Dave at all, never have had. He's a smashing bloke. He's what you call an old fashioned gentleman.

[B] What did you think of Carol Clarks Light At The end Of The Tunnel, The Damned Biography ?
[C] All I can say is that Rat must have been a better shag than I was. That's all I'm saying and you can draw whatever you want from that. Well she put Rats point over didn't she, he must've had a bigger knob than I have.

[B] There's your old favourites playing on the jukebox (Sex Pistols)
[C] I would have gone to see them but I was taking me dad on holiday in Ibetha of all places. Dad's like seventy odd, he's got arthritis and I was taking him on holiday 'cause it's good for his joint's and stuff. But I would have loved to have seen The Pistols on that reunion tour. I'd have loved to have seen them.

[B] Lydon's voice was so different though wasn't it. It was like the lead singer of Pil singing Sex Pistols songs, which obviously it was.
[C] Yeah and it's gonna be even funnier when they have there next revival. When there sixty-five-seventy years old, as they will. Well there gonna need the money aren't they. You don't get much on the pension.

[B] Having established yourself as a solo artist, why do you now do The Damned in favour of your solo stuff?

(Thinks about it)

[C] I like standing behind the fucking singer, with me guitar pulling faces at him. I like trying to steal the glory off of the singer. I like writing songs and I like playing the guitar but I've never ever enjoyed being the frontman. I'm never happy with it. Which is why, I suppose, whenever I've done these TV programs. When they've wanted me to be a celebrity or something like that. I've always gone on extremely tanked up and made a fucking arse of myself. Because I'm not that sort of person. I am not naturally funny. I'm funny by default because maybe err... I wear a funny hat or something.

[B] Or because you're prepared to put girls knickers over your head in the middle of a gigs and stuff.
[C] Yeah.

[B] So your not happy with being the centre of attention ?
[C] No not at all.

[B] Your much more into the band unit kind of thing?
[C} I never wanted to be the front man.

[B] Have you ever been accused of that within The Damned. Of wanting to steal the limelight. 'cause there was a time when you were doing lots of vocals. Did anyone within The Damned ever suggest that.
[C] No no, people in The Damned know that I had to literally have me arm twisted up me back to sing something. Never wanted to do it, never, still don't. Which is why the 'Meathead' L.P has got hardly any vocals on it.

[B] You've done a lot of singing for a man who doesn't enjoy singing.
[C] Yeah I know, but I like instrumentals myself and I like some of these dancey instrumentals that are in the charts occasionally. I think they're great. Instrumentals are back and its brilliant.

[B] Are we ever likely to see a Captain Sensible solo tour
[C] (Tittering to himself) Nah no plans for that no. It'd be nice to get some recordings together with old Drac (Vanian) and if that don't happen then I'll have to go out on me own and do something, once again.

[B] So are there plans afoot to do recordings with The Damned?
[C] With Drac yeah. There's a lot of songs being chucked about. I've sent him a load of my ideas and he's sent me some of his and two other people in the band are writing songs as well so everybody's going for it.

[B] Ever thought about writing your autobiography
[C] Yeah I spoke to a bloke in Australia who was gonna do it with me. But unfortunately he lives in Australia so it didn't happen. I'd like to do it but I'd wanna do it properly. 'Cause people don't really know what I've actually been through. They don't know about my upbringing. That my mum was crazy and attacked me, burnt bible's in the dustbin etc, etc. They don't know about my nervous breakdowns. They don't know that underneath this sort of flippant lunatic exterior. I am actually a deeply sensitive person. Who really would like to change the world you know. So yeah I would like to do my autobiography and I would like to spill the beans on some of the shit-cunts that I've met over the years in show-business. Especially when I think they need a kick up the fucking arse. So yeah I'd like to do it but I haven't met anyone with the wit and the ins to the publishers, so far. It would have to be the right person cause it would need a lot of work doing on it. I mean I wouldn't do it like I Was A Teenage Sex Pistol or something like that. I would really wanna like Tell the story. Because in some ways I am a glorious kind of shining survivor and in other ways I am a complete disaster of a victim. So it would be an interesting book to read. And a lot of interesting people, I have brushed shoulders with during my years in showbiz. Paul Daniels for one.

[B] Tell us about Paul Daniels.
[C] No, Wait for the book.

[B] What would it take to get Sensible, Vanian and Scabies back onstage together?
[C] Rat to pay me the money the money he owes me.
Rat photo
[B] End of subject?
[C] Well if you want I'll tell you why ? It's very tedious but I'll encapsulate it in the shortest possible time. Stiff Records released the first two studio albums and a live album called 'Not The Captains Birthday Party'. Now when stiff went bust Rat boughtI can't do that and he knows that I can't the rights to these three albums. He licenses these albums to other record labels around the world and I don't receive any royalties. You have to pay the people who played on the records the royalties. But Rat doesn't seem to think that he needs to pay me. I can't work with someone who's done that to me.

[B] Do you have any inclination as to his angle on it?
[C] Yeah I know exactly what his angle is "Get yourself a good lawyer Captain, cause I've got the best in the business" that's the attitude. I don't think it's a case of doing things by the book, it's a case of "I have received certain remuneration and if you want to receive your share your gonna have to play dirty, the same as I am".

[B] Your's and Rat's friendship is such an integral part of The Damned.
[C] It was, yeah.

[B] And it goes all the way through.
[C] Yeah.

[B] On the live video 'The Final Damnation'. Where Rat hits you on the back as you leave the stage together. It was like there they are 'old mates' again and it seemed to signify that it was all gonna be healed.
[C] But at the time he still owed me, I don't know how many thousands of pounds. Now I don't know whether you would work with someone on that basis but I certainly can't. I have an aversion to being shit on, especially by people who say they are my friends. I can not do it, I may be strange but there you go. I've got a lot of time for Rat. He's witty, he can be charming, he's certainly got a brain in his head, but unfortunately his brain is greedy, he's too greedy for his own good.

[B] Do you think he still holds any grudges ?
[C] I don't think there's any grudges between me and Rat at all. I don't think he dislikes me.
[B] What are you immediate plans for the future?
[C] I'm going to America to record an album with this dodgy band called 'Sonny Vincent's Rat Race Choir'. It's an unfortunate name, but there you go. I did an album with them in Nashville about four or five months ago. I'll be anywhere anytime, if someone sends me a plane ticket. 'cause I just love travelling. So if anyone wants to put Captain up for a couple of weeks in... I don't know somewhere like New Zealand which I particularly like, or San Francisco or Argentina, Japan I like as well. If anyone wants to put me up then, there you go. Just send me a plane ticket. In return I'll teach them a bunch of Damned songs. I'll entertain them in the pub and well, you can't ask for better than that can you. But I will be anywhere, anytime for a plane ticket, I love it. Travelling's brilliant and the beers of the world, you know, tantalise the taste buds.

[B] Lastly tell me about your latest record.
[C] Humbug/New millennium communications haven't actually made me a millionaire yet, but recently they've put a compilation of mine out. It's compiled from the four albums we've done together and I think it's out for a fiver. It's about an hours worth of music for a fiver. I chose all the songs and it's a really good album. It's called 'A Slice Of Sensible' it's a great album.

[B] Occasionally though I've had some difficulty finding your stuff in the shops. So Humbug Records sort out your distribution yeah !!
[C] Well they're just a small label. You can't fight the majors. I found that out when I was doing Deltic Records on me own. Is that Paul Bloody Weller playing again? Come and do yer guitar lessons son otherwise we're not gonna become millionaires.

[B] Right that's it. Any last message's for your multitudes out there captain ?
[C] Yeah send me plane tickets you bastards.

[B] Captain Sensible thank you very much.
[C] Thank you Bimble.

When we had finished our conversations, well when closing time at the inn came, I accompanied the good Captain on part of his train journey home. We had to change and wait for a connection so we bimbled into a late night store. Whereupon I noticed a load of Spice Girls magazines and after his earlier rant, I thought this might provoke an entertaining reaction. The Captain seized one of the said mags from the shelf. I feared he was about to do untold damage, when I saw a glint in his eye. The offending article had a little dainty necklace attached to the front of it with the words GIRL POWER engraved on it. This seemed to totally placate the good Captain and he went swooning up to the counter, money in hand. Having completed his essential purchase we left the store with Captain feverishly trying to detach his prize, discarding the unwanted mag. And on doing so, bugger me if it wasn't too small to go over the Cap's bonce. He left me then, heading back towards his train muttering something about a hardware store and a bath chain. Oh well old punks never die, they just mellow out and take up knitting or some such thing. Anyway, must go now as I've got a cardigan to finish.

Peace 'n' Love Bimble.

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