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Kieron Tyler’s book Smashing It Up: A Decade of Chaos With The Damned

Smashing It Up: A Decade of Chaos With The Damned, Book by Kieron Tyler

“The story of The Dammed has been the black hole at the heart of the British punk scene – until now. Kieron Tyler’s mix of meticulous research, in-depth interviews and intelligent perspective has unearthed a saga as compelling and ridiculous as any in British rock history. [he] not only gives the damned their due at last, but forces us to rethink much of the accepted history of punk itself.”


Peter Doggett, author of Electric Shock: From the Gramophone to the iPhone, 125 Years of Pop Music and There’s a Riot Going On: Revolutionaries, Rock Stars and the Rise and Fall of ’60s Counterculture on Kieron Tyler’s Smashing It Up: A Decade of Chaos With The Damned

“It’s impossible to get a real understanding of punk rock without talking about The Damned. Their story has never been told, and it was well worth waiting for.”


Bob Stanley, author of Yeah, Yeah, Yeah: The Story of Modern Pop on Kieron Tyler’s Smashing It Up: A Decade of Chaos With The Damned


Kieron Tyler’s Smashing It Up: A Decade of Chaos With The Damned celebrates one of the great British rock bands.


From rank outsiders to pop stardom a decade later, The Damned blazed an anarchic trail through punk rock to achieve massive chart success. A beacon for the Sex Pistols and The Clash to follow, they flung down a musical gauntlet in 1976 with Britain’s first punk rock single “New Rose”, led the way for British punk in the US and always made great records: all during a whirlwind career complete with levels of self-sabotage that would have instantly killed off any other band. They split, reformed, behaved badly and raised the profile of goth rock. Here, for the first time, is the not-so-sane story of Captain Sensible and the always enduring The Damned.


Smashing It Up: A Decade of Chaos With The Damned is the definitive biography of The Damned. Drawing on in-depth new research and interviews with associates and band members – including founders Brian James, Chris Millar (Rat Scabies), Raymond Burns (Captain Sensible) and David Lett (David Vanian) – Kieron Tyler presents an alternative history of British punk, one fixing The Damned firmly at the head of a pack including the Sex Pistols and The Clash. From their individual involvement in the birth of British punk rock, Kieron Tyler brings the band together, sees them sign to Stiff Records, make friends with Marc Bolan and Motörhead, and charge off the rails at high speed.


Conflict was rife: managers and labels came and went; bridges were burnt; opportunities  squandered. Yet through it all, The Damned always had great songs and made fantastic records. Their influence spread to the US as they travelled from their groundbreaking early sound to new artistic heights. They split in 1978, swiftly reformed, made the timeless Machine Gun Etiquette album – and hit the pop charts. They embraced psychedelia and celebrated lead singer David Vanian’s fascination with horror and retro-glamour. And when Captain Sensible became an unlikely solo pop star – amazingly, with Rodgers & Hammerstein’s ‘Happy Talk’ – The Damned simply dusted themselves off without him and headed into the Top Ten. Inevitably, disarray followed the successes of 1986 and, here, Kieron Tyler unveils the messy aftermath for the first time.


Smashing It Up: A Decade of Chaos With The Damned reveals how – and why – the wayward, wild and wilful Damned are the punk band that have survived.




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