The Damned’s beret-wear­ing gui­tarist reck­ons Egg are far more than they’re cracked up to be.

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“Back in the 1980s, I par­tic­i­pated in a Ra­dio 4 show with Paul Gam­bac­cini where my fel­low pan­el­lists ex­tolled the virtues of their favourite mu­si­cal pieces. A smat­ter­ing of posh jazz and some­thing or­ches­tral later it was Egg’s turn to shine, ex­cept the back-room id­iot cued A Visit To New­port Hos­pi­tal right from the start! They played a one-minute clip of my favourite track so only the mind­bend­ing stoner fuzz in­tro was aired. Af­ter that, en­thus­ing about sump­tu­ous melody and time sig­na­ture wiz­ardry was al­ways go­ing to fall on deaf ears. On and on I droned about the dreamy am­bi­ent pas­sages, the fus­ing of pop, jazz and rock, the spec­tac­u­lar va­ri­ety of tones and tex­tures from noth­ing more than a tran­sis­tor or­gan and a cou­ple of ef­fects pedals... I wasn’t in­vited back.

I first ex­pe­ri­enced the joys of Egg at a school chum’s in the early 70s. His par­ents had one of those new-fan­gled stere­ogram af­fairs, a rare com­mod­ity at a time when most records were pressed in mono. When his folks weren’t about we’d wres­tle the speak­ers out and po­si­tion our heads be­tween them for a trip into a psy­che­delic uni­verse that was a mil­lion miles away from lessons and home­work. Anal­y­sis of the lyrics in­di­cated that Dave Ste­wart, Mont Camp­bell and Clive Brooks were liv­ing the al­ter­na­tive life­style that we as­pired to if only we didn’t have to wear these damn school uni­forms.

Dave Ste­wart had a good laugh when I told him all that when we met in a record­ing stu­dio a decade or so later. He’d had the big hits with

Bar­bara Gaskin by then, mighty pop ar­range­ments show­ing he’d lost none of his cre­ative skills. I re­mem­ber try­ing to per­suade him to get the Farfisa and fuzz units out and do some gigs play­ing that beau­ti­ful me­an­der­ing Egg ma­te­rial again. I’d be first in the queue for tick­ets if it hap­pens.

Egg’s al­bums – Egg, The Po­lite Force and The Civil Sur­face – con­tain vast sym­phonic sound­scapes that merge ef­fort­lessly from Bach to Hen­drix in a cou­ple of crotch­ets, de­spite hav­ing been recorded by a trio. Many would as­sume the fuzz-drenched key­board riffs come from a gui­tar but there are none. He’s a clever bloke is that Dave Ste­wart.” NRS

“He’s a clever bloke is that Dave Ste­wart.”



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