Monday, August 20, 2012

New Wave for the New Week #160

Brian James' spot in punk history was assured after he joined up with Rat Scabies, Captain Sensible and Dave Vanian to form The Damned and wrote/co-wrote their classic debut album, Damned Damned Damned.  After being such an integral part of one of the most important bands of the Punk/New Wave Era, James found himself fronting one of the Era's most sadly unknown footnotes.

After the second Damned album, Music For Pleasure, James struck out on his own.  He assembled a band that included Andy Colqhoun on bass, Tony Moor on keyboards, and ex-Hawkwind drummer Allen Powell. Collectively known as Tanz Der Youth, the quartet issued one positively brilliant single, "I'm Sorry I'm Sorry"/"Delay," in 1978.  Both sides of the single crackle with energy and excitement, maintaining the intensity of James' songs with The Damned while clearing moving forward from that sound.  In interviews, James declared Tanz Der Youth's sound to be "transmagical" and "the sound of the '80s," a mix of punk rock and psychedelia and old-fashioned garage rock.

Somehow, Tanz Der Youth landed a gig opening for Black Sabbath, but after only a few dates of being pelted with assorted garbage from the lunkheads who didn't want to hear anything but Sabbath, Tanz Der Youth quit the tour and, shortly thereafter, quit as a band.  They left behind only that one awesome single as their entire officially released output, although a bit of searching will turn up recordings of a Peel Sessions broadcast they did in September of 1978 which included both songs that appear on the single as well as two others, "Mistaken" and "Why I Die."  The MySpace page set up for Tanz Der Youth offers up a few unreleased gems as well, in the hopes that enough interest might be generated to put everything out in official form.

James drifted through the next couple of years releasing a pair of solo singles, "Why? Why? Why?" and "Ain't That A Shame," in 1979, and forming Brian James & The Brains as a touring act, before landing a spot in Stiv Bators' punk rock supergroup The Lords Of The New Church.  These days, he heads up The Brian James Gang, and has issued at least one album with that band.

For this week's entry, however, we present both tracks from an undeservedly forgotten band.  Here are audio-only clips from Tanz Der Youth for "I'm Sorry I'm Sorry" and "Delay." Enjoy!