Captain Sensible

Musician — Croydon

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 www.officialdamned.com

The first track you played on repeat?
'I’m A Moody Guy' by Shane Fenton. Still love it.

A song that defines the teenage you?
'Action' by Sweet

One record you would keep forever?
'Up Up & Away' by 5th Dimension. It’s fabulous to sing along to.

A song lyric that has inspired you?
'Out Demons Out', Edgar Broughton Band. It’s real power to the people stuff.

A song you wished you had written?
'I’m A Believer' by Possibly the greatest pop song ever.

Best song to turn up loud?
The hypnotic, glorious psychedelic grooves of 'Jenny Ondioline'.

A song people wouldn’t expect you to like?
Rachmaninov’s 2nd Symphony... despite the chaotic image I’m really a helpless romantic.

Best song to end an all-nighter?
I don’t think you can beat Sailing By - the BBC post shipping forecast song... maybe the ultimate chill-out tune?

Any new bands you are into at the moment?
Wand - ‘Broken Candle’ 
El Perry Del Mar - ‘This Loneliness’ 
Sleaford Mods - ‘Jobseeker’.

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 www.officialdamned.com

The first track you played on repeat?
'I’m A Moody Guy' by Shane Fenton. Still love it.

A song that defines the teenage you?
'Action' by Sweet

One record you would keep forever?
'Up Up & Away' by 5th Dimension. It’s fabulous to sing along to.

A song lyric that has inspired you?
'Out Demons Out', Edgar Broughton Band. It’s real power to the people stuff.

A song you wished you had written?
'I’m A Believer' by Possibly the greatest pop song ever.

Best song to turn up loud?
The hypnotic, glorious psychedelic grooves of 'Jenny Ondioline'.

A song people wouldn’t expect you to like?
Rachmaninov’s 2nd Symphony... despite the chaotic image I’m really a helpless romantic.

Best song to end an all-nighter?
I don’t think you can beat Sailing By - the BBC post shipping forecast song... maybe the ultimate chill-out tune?

Any new bands you are into at the moment?
Wand - ‘Broken Candle’ 
El Perry Del Mar - ‘This Loneliness’ 
Sleaford Mods - ‘Jobseeker’.

The Damned - 'A New Rose'

The Damned - 'Standing On The Edge Of Tomorrow'

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