Captain Sensible


Friday 19th May 2017

Photo by Mrs Sensible 

Name, where are you from?
Captain Sensible, from the Costa Del Croydon.

Describe your style in three words?
Unrepentant ageing punk and ex 80s chart-topper.

What’s the best gig you’ve ever been to?
Stereolab, Glastonbury. 10/15 years ago. Whenever. I was down the front. I didn’t notice it coming, but one of their long meandering Moog driven grooves nudged me into a blissful hypnotic trance. Amazing!

If you could be on the line up with any two bands in history?
The Groundhogs, to try and get a handle on Tony McPhee’s amazing psych-blues guitar technique... and the Hollies, to hear those incredible harmonies performed live.

Which subcultures have influenced you?
The ‘67 Summer Of Love, where it seemed wars really could be ended by a little love and peace. Whatever happened to the beautiful dream of the hippies?
Punk, ‘cos we weren’t going to accept our allotted place of being on the bottom rung of life’s ladder.
Goth, 'cos 1 - I’m in the Damned and 2 - It’s a great look.

If you could spend an hour with anyone from history?
An hour with Harold MacMillan to try and dissuade him from giving a job to the ghastly Dr Beeching... who, through his fraudulent survey and report destroyed so many important railway branch lines around the country.

Of all the venues you’ve played, which is your favourite?
So difficult... but I had SO much fun at the Marquee in Wardour St. Not just at our gigs either, I virtually lived there through ‘76-80. Saw so many great bands... boy could that place get hot. And everyone smoking too. No AC at all. I saw people pass out onstage.

Your greatest unsung hero or heroine in music?
Saxophonist, Elton Dean for:
1 - His incredible playing on Soft Machine 3 and 4 and... 
2 - ‘cos he had his name stolen by former bandmate Reg Dwight. What an absolute cad!

Captain Sensible, real name Raymond Ian Burns, is one of the founders of British punk band The Damned. One of the bands that found success and artistic freedom releasing through pioneering UK label Stiff Records, The Damned are considered the first UK band to release a punk single with 'New Rose' pipping Sex Pistols to the post by five weeks. The Damned were also one of the bands that featured on the bill at the now legendary 100 Club Punk Festival in 1976. Find out more about Stiff records in our Subculture Unsung feature here.

The Damned are still active today having just completed a headline UK tour in support of their upcoming album 'Evil Spirits'. The album is the first new material since 2008, recorded in New York with legendary producer Tony Visconti. Find out more at

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