Wonderful look at punk's all-time greats
This long-awaited (and downright necessary) documentary was crafted by “Lemmy” filmmaker Wes Orshoski, so you know to expect a comprehensive and quality work full of historical documentation and intimate, honest portrayals of the band. You’d be accurate, as this is a wonderful and lovingly honest look at the boys nowadays, as well as their 40+ year history.
The nearly 2-hour running time is jam-packed with interviews with classic members Dave Vanian, Captain Sensible, Rat Scabies, and Brian James, who unfortunately don’t all get along or play together these days, but all respect the times dating back to the band’s 1976 debut single, “New Rose”, which of course was the first “punk” vinyl single ever released, ahead of both the Sex Pistols and the Clash. The Damned never got the same acclaim or notoriety, sadly, as those bands, though their songwriting prowess, by my standards, far exceeded them. There is a bit of resentment from the members on their NOT being able to cash in on their history as well as the aforementioned, but that’s beside the point. The Damned are legends, and the fact that the original members are all alive and kicking (and playing music still) is a blessing we all have to be thankful for.
That said, “Don’t You Wish That We Were Dead” also features personal accounts and appreciation from interviews with peers like Chrissie Hynde, Mick Jones of the Clash, Don Lets, Lemmy, Billy Idol, Steve Diggle of the Buzzcocks, Nick Mason of Pink Floyd (who produced the band), Ian MacKaye, Jello Biafra, former members like Roman Jugg and Bryn Merck. Not to mention the chats with Fred Armisen (who professes a serious love for the band and manages to busk with the Captain here), Dave Gahan of Depeche Mode, Dexter Holland of Offspring, and others. It’s a serious and intensive look at the band’s history, with tons of live footage from all eras, including very early VHS clips alongside looks at recent gigs.
A treasure trove for Damned fans, this is the literal Damned bible on video. The package includes both a DVD and BluRay version, and there are plenty of nice bonuses added on, too. A great viewing for fans, both casual or hardcore.