The Damned official website


Captain Sensible was born as Raymond Burns in Balham, London on 24 April 1954, moving to Croydon later on where he became interested in guitars.

His first steps on the 'showbiz' ladder were taken in a covers band called Oasis. Sensible then joined Croydon legends the Johnny Moped band before co-founding punk rock band The Damned in 1976 on the suggestion of his work colleague Rat Scabies who had just become the band's drummer. Fulfilling a number of positions during his tenure (bassist, lead guitarist, keyboards) Sensible would eventually become one of the band's main songwriters. And how can we forget his signature headwear - "a red beret".

The Damned were one of the original punk bands in the UK, certainly the first to get a record contract and release a single -
"New Rose" in November 1976. Their debut album "Damned Damned Damned" entered the charts in 1977, also a first for a punk band and by now getting used leading the field the Damned then found themselves first on the covers of the music papers, first to tour America and the first to split up and get back together again in 1978. In the original line-up Sensible had started out as bassist but took over lead guitar duties after the departure of Brian James.

Sensible left The Damned in the mid 1980's to concentrate on his solo projects, reinventing himself as an alternative pop singer with a rebellious, self-conscious image after having a UK number one hit in 1982 with a cover of "Happy Talk" the Rodgers and Hammerstein song from South Pacific. Many performances on Top Of The Pops followed usually featuring backing vocals by Dolly Mixture. The song was later sampled for rap artist Dizzee Rascal's 2004 song "Dream". Other Sensible hits in the UK and Europe were Rap parody "Wot?" (sampled in 2000 by Brazilian rapper "Gabriel o Pensador" for "2345meia78"), the Christmas sceptic "One Christmas Catalogue" and anti-Falklands War song "Glad It's All Over". After quitting A&M Records he continued recording for various independent labels, including Deltic Records and Humbug Records.

Captain Sensible has also toured with his solo band Punk Floyd. His recording of "The Snooker Song" from Mike Batt's musical The Hunting Of The Snark was used as the theme music for the BBC gameshow Big Break for many years.

In breaks from band activities Sensible has been known to produce advertisements (Weetabix, Kingsmill Bread, Wotsits, etc) while also writing music for movie soundtracks such as "Brain's Theme" for the horror flick Skinned Deep in 2004.

He sometimes makes time to perform with Dead Men Walking, a punk supergroup featuring Mike Peters (The Alarm), Kirk Brandon (Spear of Destiny) and Slim Jim Phantom (Stray Cats).

Fans of the Captain should also check out the Dr Spacetoad Experience - a band dedicated to re-creating exciting live rock festival music from the early 70's where he returns to bass duties this time.

Singer Dave Vanian and Captain Sensible got The Damned back together in 1996 co-writing "Grave Disorder" in 2001, the band's first new studio album for 8 years. This was released on The Offspring's label 'Nitro Records'.

In September 2006, he formed a new British political grouping known as the Blah! Party in his disgust at the lack of choice of policies on offer from the established parties - particularly on the subject of the Iraq and Afghan wars.

He continues to tour with The Damned world wide today - they released their latest album "So, Who's Paranoid?" on 17 November 2008.

Captain Sensible solo albums:
• Women and Captains First (1982)
• The Power of Love (1983)
• Revolution Now (1989)
• The Universe of Geoffrey Brown (1993)
• Live at the Milky Way (1994)
• Meathead (1995)
• Mad Cows and Englishmen (1996)

The Universe of Geoffrey Brown - reviewed by Jack Rabid
A Captain Sensible LP is a rare event. Since his first two albums appeared in 1981 and 1982 while he was still in the Damned, only 1989's Revolution Now and this new effort have been released. Not that it's completely his fault; this new work was completed over two years ago -- it stinks when a legend of this ability can't find someone willing to issue an already recorded album. Nonetheless, the good Captain doesn't fail us and never has. While not as strong as Revolution Now, all of his usual goofy, nostalgic neo-psychedelic guitar tricks and surprisingly crafted pop tunes are in place and sound 1993 despite his most retro prank yet: "Damned" if this isn't a concept album about one Geoffrey Brown, whose sedate corporate life is turned topsy-turvy when now-extinct aliens start leaving warning messages on his computer screen about our similar self-inflicted demise. The concept is amusing, listening to Brown's wife, co-workers and
friends abandon him as a crackpot only for the government to recognize his value in the end. It combines two common Sensible themes: our own self-destructive impulses and the ostracizing of folks who go against accepted practices and actually dare to use their own brains; can there be any other truly lasting positive message from the supposedly (not really) nihilistic (actually really fun) punk days that loony-tunes like Sensible helped found? And such glitzy tunes as "Holiday in My Heart", "Street of Shame" and the title track claw their way into your affections in a few plays. The man can write -- like his pal Robyn Hitchcock, only much more consistently and without the nonsense lyrics, Sensible loves a pop song, knows one when he hears one or writes one, and has 30 years of great pop song riffs and styles stored in his brain to compose his own. Ever since the Damned's masterful Strawberries revealed his prowess, he's been loved by those in the know: He's one-third ridiculous clown, one-third lovable English eccentric incapable of growing old, and one-third (barely noticed as a result) great artist. Sensible has made some of the happiest, most enjoyable tunes around ever by a musician so scoffed at, and this is another ambitious yet modest gem from a true personality original.
~ Jack Rabid, The Big Takeover, All Music Guide