"I started listening to punk rock when I was 13 and never looked back,” says vocalist Colin Moran of the Berkshire County punk band The Damaged.
Together with his brother Kevin Moran (guitar) and fellow group members Mark Jagiello (drums) and Jay Williams (bass), Moran has indeed had little time to gaze backward, given that The Damaged has been an active part of the Western Mass. punk/ hardcore scene since 1999, and has shared the stage with such acts as Agnostic Front, the Street Dogs, the Ducky Boys and more.
The sound of the band’s second album, Victim of Circumstance, even shares some traits with a record by some of Massachusetts’ most famous punk rockers, the Dropkick Murphys. The snare drum on Victim of Circumstance was the same one used on the Murphys’ debut album Do or Die, and both releases were recorded by engineer Jim Siegel at The Outpost studio in Stoughton, Mass. When it comes to the story behind the name The Damaged, the group cites another punk ensemble as its inspiration.
“We joke that we came up with The Damaged because I have a Detriments tattoo on one arm and the Black Flag bars and the word ‘Damaged,’ in homage to the Black Flag album, on the other,” says Colin Moran. “That way I didn’t have to get another band name tattoo. Honestly, though, it’s more of philosophy. To be damaged is to be beaten but not broken and to continue to forge through the ups and downs. Our motto is, ‘Every day is a battle. But life is a war.’ It’s also, in small part, a tribute to a band whose work ethic, intense performance and dedication is something we admiree_SEmDBlack Flag.”
Tireless dedication and a focus on blue-collar values are just two characteristics that come to mind when listening to The Damaged’s take on working class punk. Tracks like “King of the Working Class” and “Suburban Grave” from the band’s latest EP, Cracks in the Sidewalk, are rife with lines about struggling to get by, while the record’s title track ponders the fate of old factory towns that have been swallowed up by chain stores.
Still, despite such dreary subject matter, Jagiello maintains that songwriting for The Damaged is actually a happy experience.
He says, “Songwriting is a lot of fun. Kevin comes into practice with a lot of different riffs and we jam on some and see what works and what doesn’t.”
“Colin and I have dabbled in writing a song or two for kids,” says Kevin Moran. “We’re still working on it. We’ll see where it goes, if anywhere. I wouldn’t mind headlining a punk rock songs for kids’ shows at day care centers in the Pioneer Valley and the Berkshires. They’d be into it. And who knows? There we’d probably find ultimate success.”