Brian James, left in 1978. The band splintered, but after a series of brief side projects and solo recordings, they reformed.
The Damned released a series of singles leading up to 1979’s Machine Gun Etiquette, which featured a strong 1960s garage rock influence. They had established a dark, melodic style that was sometimes fast and loud, and other times relaxed with dominant keyboards.
With Sensible gone, Vanian’s Gothic influence took over unimpeded, and his smart crooning and spooky theatricality ended up more or less founding goth rock inadvertently.
The Phantasmagoria album followed. Phantasmagoria’s official follow-up, Anything (1986), was another critical and commercial flop, which ended the band’s record deal and original run. However, the non-album single “Eloise,” a cover of a 1968 hit by Barry Ryan, was a success.
The Damned received exposure to a new audience when two groups each covered a Damned song: Guns N’ Roses recorded “New Rose” for their “The Spaghetti Incident?” (1993), while The Offspring covered “Smash It Up” for the Batman Forever soundtrack (1995).
In 1993, a new line-up of The Damned appeared featuring Scabies, Vanian, guitarists Kris Dollimore (formerly of The Godfathers), and Alan Lee Shaw, and bassist Moose Harris in 1995. They toured regularly following the release of a new full-length album, Not of This Earth. The Damned split, yet again, partly as the result of legal battles.
Sensible re-joined Vanian in 1996 and yet another incarnation of The Damned appeared. This featured bassist Patricia Morrison, previously of The Sisters of Mercy. In 2001, the band released Grave Disorder and this has been followed by continual touring. Morrison and Vanian were eventually married and they have a daughter, Emily, born on February 9, 2004. While she has been replaced by ex-English Dog Stu West, her return to the band’s line-up in the future has not been ruled out.
In 2006, The Damned released the new single “Little Miss Disaster”, and the live DVD MGE25 documenting the 25th anniversary of Machine Gun Etiquette