The Damned were straight-up Class of ’76 punk: The band had the first punk single (“New Rose”) and was the first punk act to baffle (or delight) America with a chaotic tour. And yet, The Damned is often left off the roster of critical ancestors (Sex Pistols, The Clash). This documentary from Wes Orshoski (Lemmy
) recounts the history of the band, and asks: How did The Damned miss its place in punk history? Is it because the members were forever breaking up and reforming? Because they could actually play musical instruments? Favored prankishness over politics? Or, as the title suggests, had the “misfortune” not to die, and thus were damned (doomed) to a decades-long slog making music outside of the canon and growing into the unthreatening spectacle of grizzled Old Age Punks? Archival footage is paired with contemporary performances and interviews. Hearing from outsiders (fans, other musicians) is useful for context, but it will be up to the true-blue fans to make sense of the story given the band members’ past, present and likely future squabbling.