Say It's Your Birthday: The Damned's Rat Scabies

Today is the birthday of Rat Scabies drummer of the Damned, born Chris Millar

on this day in 1957. While the Sex Pistols are often considered to be the

first English punk band, another band superseded them. The Damned have the

distinction of being the very first British punk band to issue an album

(Stiff's first LP, Damned Damned Damned) as well as the first to tour

America. According to The Trouser Press Record Guide, The Damned hold

a special position historically, if not musically. They had quite a checkered

past. Their first album was produced by Nick Lowe, contained the breathless

rocker, "New Rose," and garnered them a slew of fans who doted on the

stripped-down songs, raunchy guitar, and high speed delivery. But

unexpectedly, they hired Nick Mason of Pink Floyd to produce their second,

Music For Pleasure. Mason blunted their raw edges, and smoothed out

their grit. The band broke up and reformed a number of times, even performing

for a while under the name the Doomed and were dripped by Stiff in 1978. Then

three of the original members--bassist Captain Sensible, drummer Rat Scabies,

and singer David Vanian--assembled a new version of the band before recording

the vastly underrated Machine Gun Etiquette. During the '80s the

band's line-up changed several times, with Vanian and Scabies the only

original members. No one thought much of heir '80s records. In 1989, the

original Damned reunited for a successful U. S. tour. After the tour they

called it quits for the last time. It is also the birthday of Kate Bush, Andy

Scott (Sweet), and Edd "Kookie" Burns.