The Damned, headed by Dave Vanian, right, plays The Regency Ballroom on Halloween. (Courtesy Steve Gullick)

The Damned, headed by Dave Vanian, right, plays The Regency Ballroom on Halloween. (Courtesy Steve Gullick)

A few words about monsters from Dave Vanian of The Damned

You have to hand it to Damned frontman Dave Vanian. The perpetually black-garbed British proto-punk artist has never rested on his laurels. He could have been satisfied with Wes Orshoski’s career-summarizing documentary in 2015, “The Damned: Don’t You Wish That We Were Dead,” or the group’s 40th anniversary posh May 2016 concert at London’s Royal Albert Hall. Instead, he undertook a celebratory world tour that lasted for nearly two years and — when it hit the Fillmore in 2017 — goth-rocked the place to its foundations. Then through Pledge Music, he crowdfunded “Evil Spirits,” The Damned’s first new album in 10 years. Produced by legendary Bowie alum Tony Visconti, it’s reverberating with socio-political anthems like “Look Left,” “Shadow Evocation” and “Standing on the Edge of Tomorrow,” all of which sound as vital as ever.

Have you ever trick-or-treated with your daughter Emily back home in Britain?

Yeah, I did. For years, Halloween didn’t happen here much, and then it gradually materialized, although it isn’t at the level it is in America. However, you kind of know areas to drive to, with houses all done up and like-minded people. My daughter had her first Halloween in America, which was tremendous. But I live not far from an old part of Harrow, and they do Halloween right, so we go up there.

How do you decorate your own house?

It depends. If I’m here around Halloween I really do the front. We’ve had whole cemeteries in the front, with hanging corpses and spider webs. And Emily and my wife Patricia both take over. I get the boxes out of the loft, and then the whole place is transformed.

Have you ever been given something just too creepy to keep?

Well, I have several things of somewhat questionable origin that I can’t talk about. I get occasional strange gifts and sometimes I get fabulous things. Once somebody gave me a package of playbills from Bela Lugosi’s “Dracula” when he was touring with a production company, long before the movie got made.

Choose A or B: Hammer films or Universal monsters?

It would have to be both. Even though they’re so different — Universal was black and white, and Hammer was so completely color, it was just saturated with it.

Cats or dogs?

Cats. Although I don’t have a black cat, I’ve got a lovely tortoiseshell who constantly presents me with beheaded mice.

Lastly, Count Chocula or Frankenberry?

Count Chocula, of course. Not just because he’s a vampire — his cereal actually tastes pretty good.

Nobody likes Boo-Berry.

No, I don’t think so. I’ve never even tried it.

IF YOU GO
The Damned
Where: Regency Ballroom, 1300 Van Ness Ave., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. Oct. 31
Tickets: $30
Contact: (415) 673-5716, www.axs.com

DamnedDave VanianEvil SpiritsPop MusicThe Damned: Don’t You Wish That We Were DeadTony ViscontiWes Orshoski

Just Posted

Pharmacist Hank Chen is known for providing personalized service at Charlie’s Pharmacy in the Fillmore.<ins> (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)</ins>
Left: A Walgreens at 300 Gough St. is among San Francisco stores closing.
Walgreens closures open the door for San Francisco’s neighborhood pharmacies

‘I think you’ll see more independents start to pop up’

San Franciscans are likely to have the opportunity to vote in four different elections in 2022. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Electionpalooza: SF school board recall will kick off a flurry of local races

‘It’s going to be a lot of elections and a lot of decisions for voters to make’

Four young politicos were elected to city government on the Peninsula in 2020. From left: Redwood City Councilmember Michael Smith; South San Francisco Councilmember James Coleman; Redwood City Councilmember Lissette Espinoza-Garnica; and East Palo Alto Councilmember Antonio Lopez.<ins> (Examiner illustration/Courtesy photos)</ins>
Progressive politicians rise to power on the Peninsula. Will redistricting reverse the trend?

‘There’s this wave of young people really trying to shake things up’

The fate of San Francisco nicotine giant Juul remains to be seen, as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is reviewing whether to allow certain flavored vape products on the market. <ins>(Jeenah Moon/New York Times)</ins>
How the vape king of teen nicotine addiction rose and fell in San Francisco

‘Hey, Juul, don’t let the door hit you on the way out’

Most Read