Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Obituary - Bryn Merrick

On Saturday 12 September 2015, Bryn Merrick, former bassist of THE DAMNED, passed away at Llandough Hospital close to Cardiff, after a battle with cancer. He was aged 56.
Born in Barry, Glamorgan, Wales on 12 October 1958, Merrick first came to note in the late-70s Cardiff-based Punk band, VICTIMIZE, a band that also featured his future DAMNED guitarist, Roman Jugg. The band was renowned in Wales, mainly due to the ferocity of some its followers, which included several of Cardiff’s infamous football hooligans and the fact they supported Punk notables such as THE SKIDS, GANG OF FOUR and THE DAMNED. Two singles were released, both released on Cardiff label, I.M.E.
After the band split up, Merrick and Jugg continued to play in bands including MISSING MEN that supported THE RUTS and THE DAMNED at the London Lyceum. He also spent a brief spell in the Metal band, Storm Queen.
In 1983, he joined THE DAMNED replacing former bassist Paul Gray (who, ironically and sadly, Merrick met on the same cancer ward in 2014 some three decades since their previous meeting). His first recording with THE DAMNED was on the minor-classic ‘Thanks For The Night’ EP, the b-side of which was ‘Nasty’ that saw Merrick and THE DAMNED play on the then iconic Young Ones TV show.
During his tenure in the band, which continued through to 1989, he featured on what became the band’s most successful period playing on both the top-selling ‘Phantasmagoria’ and ‘Anything’ albums, plus the ‘Eloise’ single that peaked at no. 3 in the UK charts. He also participated on the band’s side project NAZ NOMAD AND THE NIGHTMARES playing on the 1984 album ‘Give Daddy The Knife, Cindy’.
As THE DAMNED went on a long-term hiatus, Merrick along with Jugg hooked up with the band’s vocalist, Dave Vanian, in his project DAVE VANIAN AND THE PHANTOM CHORDS which performed from 1990 through to 1995.
From 2000, he played in THE SHAMONES (under the moniker of BeeBee Shamone), a RAMONES tribute band that played in the UK for five years, which also featured former VICTIMIZE band-mate Andy Johnson.
DAMNED legend, Captain Sensible posted on Facebook stating: "I didn't see as much of him as my colleagues but I've heard many funny stories about the lovable rogue over the years... like the time he wandered into a pub across the road from the band’s American hotel - asking if they (adopts Welsh accent..) "had any fags about the place". Of course it was a gay bar. There's loads more - involving brawling, car theft, prison spells, and all the rest of it... truly, there was NEVER a dull moment with our Mr Merrick."
I was fortunate enough to meet Bryn on two occasions, once after THE DAMNED played the Ipswich Gaumont and the other before they played London’s Town And Country Club. I can remember him as being a lively, genuine character but with some kind of humbleness about him that was reassuring and endearing. What was most apparent was the joy he seemed to express at playing in THE DAMNED.
Bryn is survived by his daughter Ella and songs, Richard and Christian.