Dealing With Damage didn’t really form in a traditional sense, choosing instead to gradually coalesce over a period of around 3 years, starting in 2015. Beginning life, like many bands before them, as a group of friends who had shared many musical experiences over the years, with the intention of creating some like-minded music as an outlet for their day-to-day lives. Valuable contributions and work from participants in the bands early days helped craft their first live set, before momentum slowly started to gather from the start of 2017 as the line-up settled and 2 EPs were released by the end that year and Dealing With Damage got down to working out what kind of band they actually were. A third, more assured, EP was recorded for Little Rocket Records in the summer of 2019; the first release with the current, stable line-up.
The release of debut album ‘ASK THE QUESTIONS’ feels like Dealing With Damage have finally hit their stride and there’s an urgency and an energy around them now that feels really good. 2019 saw the group get to share stages with musicians that have influenced the members of Dealing With Damage greatly over the years (these include The Messthetics, Soulside, Moving Targets and Ruts DC), along with regular gigs on the UK’s fantastically healthy DIY punk circuit.
When you have a certain number of years as a music listener under your belt, citing influences becomes more or less redundant. Any true music lover will tell you that it’s a broad fucking church these days and anyone with anything about them will be listening to, well pretty much everything they can. DWD are true music lovers and while the easy peg to hang their music on is the mid-80s, US post hardcore scene (think Rites of Spring, Embrace, One Last Wish), that’s a self-imposed starting point to keep principal songwriter, Ed Wenn, focussed on producing material that a band with very busy lives can do justice to. Day jobs and families tend to reduce the amount of available time your average band has to craft the next Pet Sounds and sometimes you’ve just got to be realistic about how much you can take on. This lack of time lends a tension and focus to the songs on ‘ASK THE QUESTIONS’.
That’s not to say the music on ‘ASK THE QUESTIONS’ is one-dimensional. If you know where to look, you’ll hear echoes from a far more expansive song book: 13th Floor Elevators, the MC5, Beastie Boys, Can, Ruts DC, Wipers, Rain Parade and the folk protest music of the early 60s.
Lyrically ‘ASK THE QUESTIONS’ explores three main themes: promoting critical thinking, raising awareness of mental health issues and surviving middle age.
Ed’s experiences as the father of an autistic son are the starting point for songs such as “Strange Melody”, “Worlds Within A World” and “Sharkbait”. The songs explore aspects of both the joy of living with someone who sees the world so differently and a father’s concern over what the future might hold for a potentially vulnerable person. This ‘raising awareness though music’ of issues relating to autism, ADHD, anxiety and depression is something that has resonated with audiences and generated lots of post-gig interaction.
A scarcity of critical thinking is a concern to Dealing With Damage and on ‘ASK THE QUESTIONS’ – from the album title onwards – we find a band who crave a proper discussion on the issues of the day and who are frustrated by shallow, 2-minute-long, sound-bite-rich discussions of vitally important issues with rarely any reference to history or context. In “The American Empire” for instance, the band suggests that the United States’ own policies and actions in Latin America over many years are the cause of the very immigration ‘problem’ that the successive administrations have been complaining about so loudly. In “The People I See”, Dealing With Damage urge the listener to arm themselves with the knowledge required to see past the headlines and make informed decisions rather than being manipulated into artificial divisions that keep us hating each other instead of holding the true culprits to account. “Language Lesson” is a comment on how words and phrases are tools deployed in news reporting to colour a discussion, or distance the viewer from the reality of a situation.
Finally, songs like “Slow Shadow” and “Some Colours Never Fade” look at how punks of a certain age can use energy and the overwhelmingly positive experiences of community from their past to stare the future in the face and forge on through middle age to whatever lies beyond.
While ‘ASK THE QUESTIONS’ is self-produced and almost entirely self-recorded, the band drew the line at trying to mix it themselves and brought in mix genius and long-time collaborator Roop Coulson, from London’s Air Studios, to work the raw material into the finished article. An accomplished studio veteran, Roop works almost exclusively on high profile movie and television productions these days but jumped at the chance to “blow away the cobwebs with a bit of punk rock.”
The band joined forces with Little Rocket Records at the tail end of 2019 and are looking forward to working with the label to promote the release of ‘ASK THE QUESTIONS’ throughout 2020 with as many gigs as they can fit into their lives without getting divorced or losing their jobs.
Dealing With Damage are:
James Sherry – drums
Paul Grier – bass
Andy Myers – guitar and vocals
Ed Wenn – vocals and guitar
Dealing With Damage feature former members of Sink, K-Line, Done Lying Down, Jerrybuilt, Stupids, The Scum Children and many other bands lost in time. This isn’t important, but it is where they come from.
Pre-order ‘Ask The Questions here:
Find Dealing With Damage at: