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Rat Patrol From Fort Bragg: The Clash’s alternate version of ‘Combat Rock’
12.23.2015
11:08 am
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It was 1981, and looking to soak up some revolutionary—and authentically countercultural—inspiration, The Clash recorded what would become their fifth album, Combat Rock in Frestonia,” the 1.8 acre “free state” of London’s Notting Hill district, that attempted to (or did, depending on how you look at it) secede from the UK in 1977. 

The album, conceived to be a 2-LP set hot on the heels of Sandinista‘s epic three, was originally titled “Rat Patrol From Fort Bragg.” The band set up camp at The People’s Hall—the cultural center of Frestonian life—on Freston Road. Mick Jones did the first mix of the album, but the other band members were dissatisfied, and Glyn Johns (The Rolling Stones, The Who, Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, etc, etc) was brought in instead. Johns added some considerable muscle to the tracks and the album was pared down to the single LP, Combat Rock.

However, the “Rat Patrol From Fort Bragg” mixes done by Mick Jones are quite easy to find on the Internet, and in good quality, too. Here’s a sampling of what you can download for very little effort.
 

 
If ever there’s a musical artifact of the legendary tensions within the group, it’s this Mick-mixed version of “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” It’s more playful than the version we all know, sure, but there’s no way this would have ever become such a massive hit single in America.

Interesting to note how much this sounds like, ahem, Big Audio Dynamite, right?

 
The Jones-mixed “Straight To Hell” is a minute and a half longer than the Combat Rock version.
 
More after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Richard Metzger
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12.23.2015
11:08 am
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The Slits, Clash, Sex Pistols, Siouxsie, Dead Kennedys, Black Flag in ‘Punk Attitude’


 
Okay it’s been nearly 40 years since I heard The Ramones debut album for the first time and that means I’m fucking old. But I ain’t dead. In fact, I’m feeling pretty damned good. And part of the reason I feel so damned good is I’ve been on a steady diet of rock and roll since I was a itty bitty boy. Rock and roll has been the one constant in my life that has given me something that others might call a religion. From the moment I first heard “Alley Oop” by The Hollywood Argyles when I was nine years old (sitting in a tree with a radio in my lap), I was hooked.

I’ve always been a seeker, looking for meaning in life, searching for answers to the essential questions of what are we doing here and where are we going? I’ve read everything from Jung to Chogyam Trungpa to Kerouac and Crowley in my yearning for clarity and spiritual fulfillment. Aside from a few reveries and insights fueled by psychotropics or the momentary flash of cosmic consciousness you get in those special moments when something suddenly opens up your brain - maybe it’s the way a shard of prismatic light bounces off your rear view mirror or a fleet of perfectly white clouds rolling above New Mexico - my “religious” experiences have been seldom and unpredictable. But one thing, other than fucking, that consistently pulls me into the moment where bliss and contentment co-mingle is listening to rock and roll music. It’s the closest thing I have to an artistic calling or spiritual practice and when the music hits me in the right place at the right time it can be divine. And it seems that loud, fast, and hook-filled works best. The music doesn’t need to be about anything spiritual, lofty or significant. It just needs to grab me by the balls and heart, rattle my cage, and move me.
 

 
There was a barren period in my rock and roll life in the early ‘70s. Not much I wanted to listen to. I mostly bought blues and jazz albums and later reggae. Then in 1976 I heard The Damned’s “New Rose” and shortly after that I got my hands on The Ramones’ self-titled first album. These were momentous events in my life that drove me back into arms of rock and roll. Talking Heads, Blondie, Mink DeVille, Pere Ubu, Patti Smith, The Clash and Television were the second wave of musical salvation to land on my turntable that changed my life.  Punk, or whatever you want to call it, defibrillated my rock and roll heart and inspired me to start my own band. And I wasn’t alone.

In this fine documentary directed by Don Letts (who knows a thing or two about punk rock) a bunch of aging punkers talk about the roots of the punk scene and their love of the music they make. There’s not much new here but it’s good to see Steve Jones, Pete Shelley, Howard Devoto, Siouxsie Sioux, Captain Sensible, Mick Jones Jones,David Johansen, Jello Biafra, Wayne Kramer, Thurston Moore, Legs McNeil and Tommy Ramone, among many others, wax poetic about the music explosion that was detonated in the mid-70s. It’s amazing how many survived. And deeply saddening that since this film was made in 2005 we’re down to zero original Ramones.

“Punk is not mohawks and safety pins. It’s an attitude and a spirit, with a lineage and tradition.” Don Letts.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell
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05.18.2015
04:32 pm
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‘They wanted to be rock stars’: Crass co-founder disses Sex Pistols and Clash in Positive Force doc
12.16.2014
11:13 am
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Positive Force
 
Positive Force is a Washington DC-based activist collective that’s been around since 1985. The documentary, Positive Force: More Than A Witness; 30 Years Of Punk Politics In Action, explores the history of this organization, which often stages benefits with like-minded bands to promote various causes. There’s a wealth of archival performances in the film—including footage of Fugazi playing in front of the White House on the eve of the Gulf War—and this updated edition of the DVD has another 30+ minutes of rare live clips. The documentary also features interviews with such notables as Ian MacKaye, Kathleen Hanna, Jello Biafra, and Dave Grohl, who talks about his first-ever live gig, drumming for the band Scream at a Positive Force benefit.

One of the highlights of Positive Force is the interview with Penny Rimbaud, drummer and co-founder of the UK group Crass. Rimbaud’s band, which existed from 1977-1984, very much influenced the principles of Positive Force. Crass not only put out their own records and were critical of the mainstream, but they were also activists, believing that it wasn’t enough to just sing about social justice, you had to practice what you preached. In the clip, Rimbaud accuses the members of the Clash and the Sex Pistols of not meaning it, man, as he feels their drive to make it as rock stars came before all else.

If you have any interest at all in the history of American punk and/or activism, Positive Force is definitely worth your time. Pick up the new edition of the DVD via PM Press or Amazon.

All right, here’s Mr. Rimbaud:
 

Posted by Bart Bealmear
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12.16.2014
11:13 am
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The video Jim Jarmusch made for Big Audio Dynamite


 
1986’s No. 10, Upping St. was kind of an amazing album for Big Audio Dynamite. That was the band Clash Guitarist Mick Jones formed upon his ouster from that seminal punk band, and he used the freedom that came with being HMFIC to explore a mix of club and hip-hop influences with the rock and reggae influences he’d already been known for. And yet, Upping was co-written and produced by his evidently no-longer-estranged former bandmate Joe Strummer! Jones would never re-join the Clash (who, as a result, would suck mightily until they packed it in), and so that B.A.D. LP would be the only Strummer/Jones reunion that ever took place. Jones revealed last year that he and Strummer were working together again in the 21st Century, but that renewed collaboration was cut short by Strummer’s 2002 death.

Three videos were made from that album, “C’mon Every Beatbox,” “V. Thirteen,” and “Sightsee M.C!” That last was noteworthy for having been directed by the pioneering independent filmmaker Jim Jarmusch. The director had already become a celebrated figure for Stranger Than Paradise and Down by Law, but the only music video he’d made before was for Talking Heads’ “The Lady Don’t Mind.” In spite of Jarmusch’s high status among indie musicians as well as film afficionados, and his frequent casting of musicians (including Joe Strummer) as actors in his features, ”Sightsee M.C!” remains one of only seven music videos he’s directed in his long career. In a 1992 issue of Film Comment, he had this to say on the matter:

I don’t generally like music videos because they provide you images to go with the songs rather than you providing your own. You lose the beauty of music by not bringing your own mental images or recollections or associations. Music videos obliterate that. That said, one of the better videos I’ve seen is not a music video at all: it’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues” where Dylan just stands there with the cards - it’s one single shot. They lifted that out of Don’t Look Back and showed it on MTV. I saw a good video the Butthole Surfers did, directed by the actor from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Alex Winter; very weird, not your MTV fare. Julia Haywood’s Talking Heads video “Burning Down the House” was interesting - projecting fire onto the house itself, and images onto the road and re-photographing them. Zbigniew Rybczinski has done amazing things. But mostly I like videos that don’t get too complicated.

 

Posted by Ron Kretsch
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08.11.2014
05:15 pm
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Classic album covers minus deceased band members


 
Over the weekend, when the sad news spread about the passing of Tommy Ramone, a really touching image circulated online, showing the Ramones debut LP, then the same cover with Joey, Johnny, and Dee Dee Photoshopped out, and then, at last, Tommy removed as well. Dangerous Minds even shared it on our Facebook page.
 

 
The middle image, of Tommy standing alone in front of that iconic brick wall, seems to have come from a Tumblr called “Live! (I See Dead People),” which is devoted entirely to skillfully removing deceased musicians from their LP covers—sort of like “Garfield Minus Garfield,” but with a more serious intent. The subjects range from cult figures like Nick Drake to canonical rock stars like Nirvana and The Doors, and the results are often quite poignant. The blog hasn’t been updated in almost three years, so it seems unlikely the artists behind this project, Jean-Marie Delbes and Hatim El Hihi, will re-do that Ramones cover. Indeed, their Morrison Hotel still features Ray Manzarek, who passed on a little over a year ago.
 

New York Dolls, s/t
 

Ol Dirty Bastard, Return to the 36 Chambers
 

Nick Drake, Bryter Layter
 

The Who, Odds & Sods
 

Johnny Thunders, So Alone
 

George Harrison, All Things Must Pass
 

Nirvana, “Smells Like Teen Spirit
 

Jeff Buckley, Grace
 

The Doors, Morrison Hotel
 

John Lennon & Yoko Ono, Double Fantasy
 

The Clash, s/t
 

Elvis Presley, s/t
 

 
Hat-tip to Derf for this find.

Posted by Ron Kretsch
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07.15.2014
09:21 am
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Unseen photo of Joe Strummer to be turned into Christmas card
11.02.2011
04:00 pm
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“I never saw Joe pass a needy or homeless person without giving them something.” – Bob Gruen
 
Strummerville will be releasing a Christmas card this year to raise money for music in schools related charities, featuring an unpublished photo by Bob Gruen of Joe Strummer. You can order them starting November 11th.

(via Cherrybombed)

Posted by Tara McGinley
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11.02.2011
04:00 pm
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The Best of ‘So It Goes’: Clash, Sex Pistols, Iggy, The Fall, Joy Division and more


 
This Channel 4 UK program from the mid-80s compiles some incredible performances culled from Tony Wilson’s late 70s Granada TV series, So It Goes. Includes the Sex Pistols, The Clash, Buzzcocks, Iggy Pop (with horsetail sticking out of his ass and saying “fucking” on 70s TV), The Fall, The Jam, Elvis Costello, Blondie, Penetration, Wreckless Eric, Ian Dury, Tom Robinson, Magazine, John Cooper Clarke, XTC, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Sham 69 and ending with the classic clip of Joy Division performing “Shadow Play.” Many of the groups represented here were making their TV debuts on So It Goes, a regional tea-time program.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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07.01.2011
01:09 pm
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Joe Strummer Christmas Card
12.13.2010
11:47 am
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image
 
Joe Strummer painted Christmas cards each year for his close family and friends. Who knew? His last hand painted Christmas card comes in a pack of 8 and sells for £10.00. You can purchase them here. The proceeds go to the Strummerville Charity.

Below is another Christmas card I found by Joe Strummer. I don’t believe this one is for sale.  

image

 
(via Everlasting Blort via Cherry Bombed)

Posted by Tara McGinley
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12.13.2010
11:47 am
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Blank Generation
03.21.2010
07:28 pm
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image
 
It seems like there’s a new documentary on Punk Rock all the time and they all tread fairly predictable paths. Still, this episode of the great BBC series Seven Ages of Rock, titled Blank Generation is one of the better ones I’ve seen. In six parts on YouTube.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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03.21.2010
07:28 pm
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