quinta-feira, outubro 02, 2008
While Strummer has latterly almost been elevated to the level of sainthood...
"Joe had already made a name for himself with the 101'ers," he remembers. "I always felt like he was the most exciting bloke out there playing. In my youthful arrogance, it seemed normal to me to go and approach this guy to join us." From the off, Strummer and Jones were an explosive writing partnership.
"Joe would just deliver the words," says Jones, "and usually I'd read them, and the tune was there, like a lightbulb. He had this rhythm in his words. I soon realised that the few lines up the side were the chorus." Their first batch of songs, which made up their incendiary debut album, The Clash, were inspired by the same frustrations that the Pistols were feeling, but, says Jones, were filtred through Strummer's background on the squatting scene, "which was all about community and compassion."
Jones himself, by contrast, was always in thrall to traditional rock-star values, and flouted punk's diktats with his guitar-slinging flamboyance and long hair. As revealed in their new autobiography, also simply called The Clash, the inner tensions ran deeper. All had had difficult childhoods. Strummer was sent to public school, and felt abandoned by his parents. Both Jones's and Simonon's parents had separated, with Jones being brought up in a tower block by his grandmother. Thus, loyalty was always a crucial issue in the Clash.
Nevertheless, Terry Chimes, who was the band's drummer on the first album, recalls that "there was always a culture of conflict. It was the fuel we ran on." For Chimes, it became unbearable, and he was soon replaced by Topper Headon, a powerful drummer, whose superior musicianship helped the Clash flower beyond simple punk rock. By 1979's landmark double album London Calling, the band were embracing ska, roots reggae, soul, New Orleans funk, jazz, rockabilly, and even African rhythms.
Thus, for all their inner turbulence, and while every other punk act crumbled around them, the Clash went from strength to strength. On the new DVD, Revolution Rock, the footage from the early days is chaotic, with Strummer, Jones and Simonon firing off in all directions. Later, the performances are no less kinetic or exciting, but sharply focused around Headon.
Don Letts: "Backstage, you had Andy Warhol and all his entourage hanging out. You can't deny that there was a lot of tension in the band. I don't think the Clash could've ever been the band that the whole world waved their lighters around to. Joe was too intense - the whole thing was. They were always destined to implode spectacularly, and they did soon after that."
Shea Stadium, meanwhile, was closed last weekend, after a final baseball game. It is due to be dismantled, with turf, bricks and all manner of souvenirs being sold off to fans of the Mets and the Beatles alike.
posted by Luís Miguel Dias quinta-feira, outubro 02, 2008