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Brian James and The Pig - New Rose / Neat Neat Neat

  by Cara Ross

published: 11 / 4 / 2002

Brian James and The Pig - New Rose / Neat Neat Neat
Label: Boss Tuneage
Format: CDS


25th anniversary re-recording by ex-Damned member Brian James of the group's classic single

The title of this three song EP on the Boss Tuneage label is pretty much a giveaway to what you can find held within.  Yes, it is the Brian James of punk's famous the Damned, doing his famed song 'New Rose' to commemorate 25 years since its original release.  There are three tracks here, including the title track, as well as my own personal Damned favourite, 'Neat Neat Neat', and then a third track that I’m not familiar with called 'Nurse'.  Now whether or not 'Nurse' was actually a track by the Damned, I’m not clear on, it’s not one that I recognize, and even though all three of these tracks were written by Brian James, 'Nurse' is the least appealing. His vocals lend it a very Dinosaur Jr. like J. Mascis meandering...something I wouldn’t normally associate with him. I’m trying to listen to this EP with “new ears” as much as possible in an effort to envision what a) somebody never having heard the Damned before will hear, and b) whether or not long time fans of the Damned will want what Brian James is hacking out here.  I can only say that the merit of 'New Rose' and 'Neat Neat Neat' can very well stand up on their own.  And if I had never heard the Damned before, would easily recommend this EP as a great introduction to a few truly awesome songs.  By that same token though, I need to be honest here and say that vocals aside, they’re missing something that the originals had, and a certain energy appears to be lacking, more so in 'Neat Neat Neat' than in 'New Rose', mind you.  I say all of this with much trepidation of course, because we are talking here about a man who is virtually a living legend on the punk scene.  A man who originally played in bands whose members would later move to other projects such as the likes of the Clash and Generation X, a man who was once “managed” by Malcolm Mclaren (who then later when on to famously manage the Sex Pistols), and a man, who as a part of the Damned, was a member of the first punk band to ever get officially signed. The Damned split up in 1978 and then reformed again in 1979 minus Brian James, and the stories surrounding their difficulty in recording with him are vast. The punk rock family tree that stemmed from the Damned is far too large a task to undertake in the scope of reviewing this 3 song ep.  Brian would, however. go on to head up Tanz der Youth and Lords of the New Church with the also famous Dead Boys’ Stiv Bators (that ending with Stiv’s tragic death in a 1991 traffic accident), so the scope of Brian James’ connections to almost everyone in Punk Rock is huge...from Iggy Pop to Blondie.  Here he is aptly backed by a Brighton band called FlatPig, who have clearly put a lot of work into this production themselves. How this collaboration came about in the first place I haven’t yet been able to figure out.  But, suffice it to say that even if you’ve never heard of the Damned, but like classic punk rock, then this will appeal to ,you, and whet your appetite for more, more, more, hopefully instilling a greater interest in the decades' worth of amazing music previously created by Brian James.

Track Listing:-
1 New Rose
2 Nurse
3 Neat Neat Neat

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