Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Extended Addam's Family: Dave Vanian

David Lett, who changed his name to Dave Vanian when he became a musician, is the lead singer in the Punk Rock band The Damned. Having previously worked as a gravedigger, Vanian formed The Damned in 1976 along with guitarist Captain Sensible and drummer Rat Scabies, and throughout its numerous breakups and reformations, has remained the band's only permanent member. The Damned enjoyed immense success in England and the United States, being the first British Punk band to have a single, an album, and to tour the US. Their influences come from many different genres including garage and psychedelic rock, cabaret, and "theatrical screaming" :). The Damned's first gig was at a free festival in Croydon, and they played again in 1976, supporting the Sex Pistols (I'm sensing a theme in early gothic rock bands...). Their first album was described as "a deathless anthem of nuclear-strength romantic angst" by Ned Raggett. 
Dave Vanian is an iconic figure for many gothic gentleman as he was one of the first to wear darkly themed clothing, not just onstage, but offstage as well. His looks were described as "vampiric" and an NME reporter once said that Vanian "resembled a runway model from The Addam's Family." He is a fairly private man, keeping his personal life to himself and even declined to volunteer any input for The Light At The End of The Tunnel, a biography about The Damned. 
After The Damned broke up in 1989, Vanian became the front-man of the rockabilly group Dave Vanian and the Phantom Chords from 1990-1999. Along with guitarists Roman Jugg and Brendan Mooney, basist Bryn Merrick, and drummer Clyde Dempsey, the band released two singles and planned to put out an album, but it was never released. Dave Vanian and the Phantom Chords hasn't released anything since 1995, after The Damned reformed in 1993. 
I like his skunk hair :). Maybe its supposed to be more Sweeney Todd though
Vanian's love for horror movies and film noir lead him to host a TV special for a time called Dave Vanian's Dark Screen in which viewers would send in their amateur horror movies in hopes of winning prizes. Recently, Dave Vanian composed the soundtrack for the movie The Perfect Sleep (A thriller featuring a man returning to the city of his nightmares to rescue his true love, lead by his childhood caretaker, fending off assassins, and confronting his dark past). To find out more, you could have a look at the official webpage of The Damned. Or read the band's biography, although you apparently won't find much from Dave Vanian in it. 

Song of the Day:
I've never really listened to The Damned. I'm liking this song! 


  1. Aw yay!!! The Damned are one of my favorite bands and Dave is still a huge fashion inspiration of mine. :)

    And seriously he worked as a gravedigger. That just makes him 200% more awesome in my opinion :P

    1. I really love discovering new music, but then when I go to get some gothy bands I've fallen in love with, nowhere seems to have them. Except i-tunes where they're on super cheap 'cause no one else has heard of them! :D Yes, his grave diggingness makes him awesome!!!