Backstage at Barclaycard presents British Summertime Hyde Park...

You can’t talk about the British punk rock movement without giving a special mention to The Damned.

The anarchic rock group, with a penchant for the gothic, paved the way for the likes of The Clash and The Sex Pistols to break into the late Seventies music mainstream and, forty years later, they’re still going strong.

Clash writer Hanna Flint caught up with Captain Sensible, founding member of The Damned, at Barclaycard Presents British Summer Time Hyde Park, to chat about music, the current state of British politics and Phil Collins.

- - -

- - -

So I have a connection to The Damned. I used to go to school with [former drummer] Rat Scabies’ kids!

We didn't always see eye-to-eye me and Chris, but we called all our kids classic working class names. He's got Alfie and Wilf and I’ve got Daisy, Sid and Fred - it sounds like a musical.

Are your kids musical?

Only one is.

Phil Collins had his son playing drums for him yesterday at BST Hyde Park - could your musical kid join your band?

Oh right. No, I think they have to find their own way. I would encourage them to do it but I certainly wouldn't bring them on stage, I think that's wrong! They should struggle like everyone else does. They should get in the back of the van and do shitty gigs and if they survive that, getting on the road, and sleeping in the back of the van, and getting paid very little, and struggling, then if you survive all that then, yeah, sure you can say you're a musician because it's not easy.

It shouldn't be easy at the start. All this 15 minutes of fame, the whole wannabe Simon Cowell, X Factor route to success is bollocks.

What's the last book you read?

I'm reading one that's called How The Little People Won Brexit, because you know talking heads and people on TV were telling us, "if you vote for Brexit we're absolutely doomed," and they were trying to denigrate all the people who voted for it as racist, right-wingers. It's such a difficult decision as I love Europe but I don't like being in a super state which has a united army and you don't have much say, and I hate NATO as well. I just think that these huge organisations that make decisions on your behalf, I just say "fuck 'em."

Did you vote in the last election?

Yes, I voted for the Green candidate, Caroline Lucas, because I live in Brighton. She's fantastic. You know politicians have to take note of what normal people think, not what spin doctors think.

Are you a Corbyn fan?

Yes, I totally love Corbyn. I say that having lived a life of, you know, I worked for the Labour Party. I banged on doors, I canvassed during elections for Stan Bowden for Croyden North East which was where I lived. I was only a teenager. Then I worked with Red Wedge and did stuff with Neil Kinnock - me, Paul Weller and Billy Bragg. I'm a socialist, the Labour Party left me for a while, with Mr Blair. He won elections and the right wing press loved him.

I'm a member of an organisation called Bring Back British Rail, because we own it anyway, we subsidise it, we should reunite it as a nationalised industry. Some things are too important to leave to money grabbing private firms. Health, you know they're privatising that by the backdoor. Water, electricity, I would even take it as far as banks.

Do you think musicians and artists should be getting more political with their music these days?

Course they should. We've got enough "boy meets girl" songs. The Beatles were really good at it. 'I Wanna Hold Your Hand', 'Ticket To Ride', they had all these wonderful songs and it's been done. There's more important things [to sing about].

- - -

- - -

Words: Hanna Flint

Buy Clash Magazine


Follow Clash: