Skip to content
5 Albums I Can't Live Without

5 Albums I Can’t Live Without: Dave Vanian of The Damned

(Credit: Timo Jäger)

Name  Dave Vanian

Best known for  I love beautiful Victorian architecture — architecture and all that stuff.

Current city  The city I love the most is where I am: London.

Excited about  I’m very excited about the new album [Darkadelic, April 28], obviously, but that’s an obvious one.

I’m very excited to see the fourth series of Babylon Berlin, which I love. It’s the most expensive German show that’s ever been made, and hands up, applauds to the main players. It’s about cops in Weimar, Germany just prior to the war from about 1930 onwards. I prefer watching it in German with the subtitles because I actually think that you get the inference of the voice so much more than you do if it’s dark.

Preferred format  I like to listen to the format where the sound is the best. That’s the thing for me, the quality of sound. Unfortunately, as much as I love vinyl, I haven’t got a really good system to get the best out of it, but I suppose, it’s a mixture of things for me.

I wouldn’t say it’s any one thing, because I also have 78s here, you don’t get those. Although, having said that, I can now listen to 78s online that I have.

Short story long or long story short, was my father, when he was in the RAF and came back from Germany, he had a whole bunch of 78s, which I now have. I grew up with that mix of weird music.



5 Albums I Can’t Live Without:


Roxy Music, Roxy Music

They had a complete sound, but it wasn’t the smooth kind of 1930s feel [they] went to later with Avalonand stuff. Now that was how they broke America, with Avalon, but the first album, it was quirky and it borrowed from rock ‘n roll. It was very of that area of albums in the very early ‘70s, influences are very different than they were later.

No one had done it with that mix of sounds, which is so incredible. Of course, [Bryan Ferry] had such a distinctive voice as well. It was a strange voice, but on top of all that unusual-sounding material, and it was very filmic, which is something I’ve always liked. Without even the vocals the music gave you that openness and luxury, a feeling of luxury in the whole thing.


Blood for Dracula (Soundtrack), Claudio Gizzi


It was [also] called Andy Warhol’s Dracula. It was a completely different version than you’ve ever seen of Dracula, in as much as he was very vulnerable. It’s a comedy as such, but I always see it as perhaps not as comedic as other people do.

The whole beginning of the film, the intro of the film is this beautiful piece of piano music. There’s a very young Udo Kier with his hair slicked back. It’s pure white. His hair is pure white. He’s got piercing blue eyes. He’s looking ahead at something, you assume he’s looking into the mirror. He dyes his hair black as this music’s playing, this beautiful piece of music. He’s in this black outfit, it’s almost like a collared Russian-type shirt type of thing, obviously from the 1800s or 1900s.

The room, you can just see the background is full of beautiful things like stuffed birds and flowers, and books. It’s very old world, very rich, all lit by candles. Then, when the camera pans back from this long part where he’s dying his white hair black, you see that as the chair moves, there’s a mirror, but there’s no reflection in the mirror. There’s one bit where he takes a bit of makeup and he opens his mouth and you just see his fang. He just makes his lips a little red. He just looks so pasty and white. He puts some on his cheeks.

When I used to dye my head black, that piece of music was always in my head. It’s never left me from the moment I saw it in the early ‘70s.It’s phenomenal.


Scott 2, Scott Walker

My favorite song of his is a song called “Plastic Palace People”.It’s just the strangest song—and the way it’s produced is strange. It’s a really lovely little thing, a ‘60s floaty-type tune. Then, it changes into a part which is almost ‘60s country-ish, and it goes back to that. Then it has a wavering, almost psychedelically weird ending. The subject title is about a boy who’s floating over the town held aloft on a balloon that he hasn’t let go of.

That’s what I loved about Scott Walker because often the subject matter was so interesting. Some of the songs feel like you’re watching a kitchen-sink drama from the ‘60s. It’s a little new into a world that you probably don’t know yourself. I’ve always loved Scott Walker. Definitely, a Scott compilation would be very high on my list.


New York Dolls, New York Dolls

I saw the New York Dolls in 1974 at Biba’s in London, which was an incredible store. I used to go there weekly at that point, but they played in the Rainbow Room’s upstairs and I managed to get a ticket for it. I recently came across one and it was a ridiculous amount, a couple of pounds or something, unless you got some food and drink for the band. I really liked Johnny Thunders, how he played guitar.


And Suddenly It’s…, The Left Banke

This is a favorite of mine and has been forever. It was very obscure for so many years. Certainly in England, no one had ever heard of it, or heard of them. They created this incredible album, all very, very young. Their father produced it. I always thought The Left Banke has been the American equivalent to what we had in England in the ‘60s like them, the Zombies.

The Left Banke had such an interesting niche of the ‘60s music, but linked with this wonderful baroque harpsichord. I thought that had an amazing sound, and also [Steven Martin Caro]had quite a high-pitched voice, so it made it sound very different, special.