TR+ Extended Interview – Welcome Back: Brian James
The punk guitar-slinger of no fixed age returns with an album of no-nonsense noise. Just don’t tell the Mafia.
Brian James had stints in the pre-punk Bastard and legendarily short-lived London SS. The incendiary axeman grew up watching Hendrix and Pete Townshend reinventing the electric guitar at shows in local Crawley.
He later became the guitarist and songwriter for punk progenitors The Damned’s first two albums before forming proto-goth supergroup The Lords Of The New Church. His new album, The Guitar That Dripped Blood, takes no prisoners, even as he avoids coffin-dodgers in suburban Brighton…
Has the Damned documentary (Don’t You Wish That We Were Dead) made a reunion more likely?
I doubt it. Dave [Vanian] hasn’t seen it apparently, but Captain [Sensible] caused a bit of a ruckus at the premiere at South By South West. He’s got this problem with Rat [Scabies], so he basically upstaged the showing of it. Some people just can’t get over things, which I think is very sad. If something happened to Rat then Captain would spend the rest of his life wishing he’d made it up with him. You can’t carry grudges. It’s a waste of energy.
Your new album was recorded in an old men’s toilet, wasn’t it?
Yes, Studio 284. It’s built into a cliff in Brighton. It was considered a risk so it’s just been closed down, which is a tragedy because it’s one of the great punk rock studios; the best live room I’ve ever recorded in. A dream room for a noisy guitar player like me.