While the Damned tour rainy England, Pinch (far left) misses his missus and his Spring Valley “Polynesian-style masterpiece” home.
“I know what the weather’s like back home. My wife keeps bloody complaining about it.” This, followed by a case of the giggles. It’s Pinch, the Damned’s drummer of the past 16 years, on the phone to the Reader during our hometown heat wave. The Damned are on tour and playing a club on the South Coast of England. “It’s pissing down rain here,” he says in a way that makes him sound homesick for heat waves. Before Pinch and his wife moved to what he calls their Polynesian-style masterpiece of a home in Spring Valley — “We’re both tiki fans,” he says — the couple lived in North Park for years. “When it started getting gentrified with all those gastro-pubs and whatnot, we moved.”
The Damned: Don't You Wish That We Were Dead
Official movie trailer
Among the first wave of punk-rock breakout bands, the Damned would eventually broaden their horizons to include goth, psych rock, and post punk. They started in London in 1976. “Our 40th anniversary is coming up. We’re the bloody Rolling Stones of punk rock, aren’t we?” In 1999, Andrew Pinching (abbreviated to “Pinch”) took over the seat that had once been occupied by the Damned’s founding drummer, Rat Scabies. “Nobody thought we’d even be alive by now, but we’re busier than ever.”
The Damned: Don’t You Wish We Were Dead, a new documentary film about the band, debuted at SXSW in March. “Tim Mays is working on possibly having a screening at the Landmark Theatre in San Diego before we play Sycuan on September 3.”
San Diego musicians may remember when Pinch was the stage manager at the Gaslamp’s House of Blues. “I basically built that place. I crawled through every single nook and cranny stringing wires and installing speakers. I was their token Brit.” Now 50, Pinch met his wife-to-be when the Damned was headlining the Casbah’s Halloween show in 1999. “I was dressed as an evil clown,” he says, “and she was a naughty nurse.”
What does he miss about San Diego when on the road? Mexican food. “You really shouldn’t be eating Mexican food unless you’re in San Diego or Mexico. What they try and pass for Mexican food here [in London] is a joke. ‘Excuse me,'" he says, speaking to an imaginary waiter, “‘but what are these grated carrots and olives doing on my nachos?’ I’m, like, bullshit!”