Brian James (guitarist)

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Brian James (born Brian Robertson, 1950[1] in Hammersmith,[2] London) is an English punk rock guitarist, who is best known for being a founding member of The Damned as well as The Lords of the New Church.[3]

He began his musical career playing in several proto-punk bands like Bastard, London SS and The Subterraneans. James moved on to The Damned, writing almost all the material on their first two albums Damned, Damned, Damned and Music for Pleasure before leaving at the end of 1977. James later formed and disbanded Tanz Der Youth and Brian James Brain's (later known briefly as the Hellions).[4]

In 1979 James played in Iggy Pop's solo touring band and recorded the single "Ain't that a Shame", which had Stewart Copeland on drums. He guested on The Saints' 1982 album, Out in the Jungle.[4] He would later co-found and play in The Lords of the New Church with Stiv Bators. He recorded three studio albums and one EP along with several live albums with the band, playing from 1982 until their break-up in 1989.[5]

From 1992 to 1996, James played guitar with the Brussels-based band the Dripping Lips. In 1992 he was invited by Scottish vocalist Robbie Kelman to co-write the soundtrack for the film Abracadabra, directed by Harry Cleven. The subsequent soundtrack album, produced by Kelman, was released in Benelux by EMI/INDISC. The band was composed by Robbie Kelman (vocals), James (guitar), Alan Lee Shaw (bass) and Paul Zahl (drums). Kelman brought in his friend and record producer Jimmy Miller to helm their second album, Ready to Crack. Shaw had moved on to play guitar in The Damned, and Nico Mansy replaced him on bass.[6]

In 2001 James recorded the album Mad for the Racket with Wayne Kramer (guitar), Duff McKagan (bass), Stewart Copeland and Clem Burke (drums) as Racketeers.[7]

James and Dave Tregunna reformed The Lords of the New Church in 2002–2003 with vocalist Adam Becvare. The lineup recorded the ten-song unreleased CD Hang On[8] and toured Europe in spring of that year. Brian James released a self-titled solo album with his band The Brian James Gang in 2006.

In recent years James is mostly focusing on his solo career: In 2012 he released an acoustic album Chateau Brian with former Lords of the New Church touring keyboard player Mark Taylor. In 2013 he revisited the material he played in his Damned years, both live by performing throughout the UK with Damned bandmate Rat Scabies and by rerecording nine Damned songs for his third solo album, Damned If I Do. 2015 saw the release of a brand new studio album, The Guitar That Dripped Blood, which featured guest appearances from Cheetah Chrome and Adam Becvare.[9]


  1. ^ [1] (...) was born in 1950 as Brian Robertson (...)London where I was born (...) Brian James, interview, 2007
  2. ^ [2] (...)I was born in Hammersmith, West London. Brian James, interview, 2007
  3. ^ Prato, Greg. "Biography: Brian James". Allmusic. Retrieved 1 May 2010. 
  4. ^ a b [3] Brian James Solo Discography – Discography @
  5. ^ [4] The Lords of the New Church – Discography @
  6. ^ [5] The Dripping Lips – Discography @
  7. ^ [6] The Racketeers – Discography @
  8. ^ Thompson, Dave. Hang On - The Lords of the New Church at AllMusic. Retrieved 30 June 2013.
  9. ^ [7] Brian James – Discography @

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