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New species of snail is named after Joe Strummer
09:01 am


The Clash
Joe Strummer

Shannon Johnson, a researcher at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, has named a newly discovered species of deep sea snail, Alviconcha strummeri, after Clash leader Joe Strummer, telling the Santa Cruz Sentinel

“Because they look like punk rockers in the 70s and 80s and they have purple blood and live in such an extreme environment, we decided to name one new species after a punk rock icon.”

The name A. strummeri honors Joe Strummer, the lead singer and a guitarist of the British punk rock band The Clash.

The golf ball-sized snails rock out near hydrothermal vents at the bottom of the ocean, as deep as 11,500 feet.

We wouldn’t quibble with the decision to honor Strummer. After all, who but a hater would deny the Clash their due? But given that A. strummeri is yellow and spiky and the late Strummer was neither, there’s more of an actual resemblance between the snail and plenty of other potential honorees, though admittedly, they may merit the distinction in, um, varying degrees.

Joe Strummer, the Clash

Lars Frederiksen, Rancid

Billy Idol, Generation X, solo

Paul Cook, Sex Pistols

Guy Fieri, gigantic doucherocket
Via the A/V Club

Previously on Dangerous Minds
Acne bacterium is named after Frank Zappa, immediately releases four albums in gratitude

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Rock Against Racism: On the front line with The Clash, Specials, Undertones & Elvis Costello

It all began in 1968 when an old Tory coot Enoch Powell gave a racist speech against immigration and anti-discrimination legislation at his West Midlands constituency in England. Powell claimed he was horrified at what he believed was an unstoppable flow of immigration that would eventually swamp the country where “in fifteen or twenty years’ time the black man will have the whip hand over the white man.” It was an incendiary and offensive speech full bile and hate, and became known as the “Rivers of blood speech” because of Powell’s quotation from Virgil’s Aeneid about “‘the River Tiber foaming with much blood.’”

Many of the white working class supported Powell, most shamefully the London dockers’ union staged a one day strike in his favor. Powell became the pin-up of the far right and his words appeared to sanction their rise, in particular the odious neo-Nazi National Front that promoted its racist policies with the boot as much as the ballot. Against this rose Rock Against Racism—“a raggedy arsed united front” co-founded by Red Saunders, Roger Huddle and others in 1976.

At first, Rock Against Racism was just an idea—a way to bring together a new generation of youth against the stealthy rise of the far right. It may have remained just an idea had it not been for Eric Clapton announcing during a concert in 1976 that the UK had “become overcrowded” and his fans should vote for Enoch Powell to stop Britain from becoming “a black colony.” Allegedly Clapton then shouted “Keep Britain white.” His racist tirade led to Saunders and Huddle writing a letter to the music paper NME pointing out that half Clapton’s music was black. The letter ended with a call for readers to help establish Rock Against Racism. The response was overwhelmingly positive.

In April 1978, 100,000 people marched across London in support of Rock Against Racism, which was followed by a concert at Victoria Park headlined by The Clash and the Tom Robinson Band. It was a momentous event, which singer and activist Billy Bragg correctly described as “the moment when my generation took sides.”

Photographer Syd Shelton documented the rise of Rock Against Racism during the 1970s and 1980s from its first demonstrations, the concert in Victoria Park, to the gigs, bands, musicians (The Clash, The Specials, The Undertones, Elvis Costello, etc), the young activists and supporters who stood up and proudly said: “Love Music, Hate Racism.”
More rocking pictures against racism, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
The Clash’s forgotten years, 1984-1986
07:35 am


The Clash

The Clash busking in York, 1985
In its official version, the story of The Clash ends with the firing of lead guitarist Mick Jones in 1983. Though founding members Joe Strummer and Paul Simonon subsequently led a five-piece version of the group until the first months of 1986, it is not a polite thing to mention at parties. The 384-page coffee-table book The Clash
devotes less than a single page to the final two and a half years of the band’s career, and the 1985 album Cut The Crap has been left out of every Clash box set to date. In the words of Rolling Stone, “It doesn’t count, and the whole thing has basically been erased from history. The Clash as we know them ended at the 1983 US Festival.” The new Clash met the same fate as the new Coke.

While no one would dispute that it was a poor choice to fire Mick Jones, the Clash did a few things worth remembering between 1984 and 1986. Determined to make a radical break with stardom, they went on a busking tour of the U.K. that included a stop in the parking lot of an Alarm show, where the headliners reportedly came out to watch. Strummer never sounded so fired up in interviews as he did in 1984, and rock critic Greil Marcus reported that, despite the new Clash’s shortcomings, he’d “never seen Strummer more exhilarated, or more convincing” than at a January 1984 show in California.

Strummer and Simonon interview, 1984 (part two)
Danny Garcia’s documentary The Rise and Fall Of The Clash, a whodunit about the breakup, is the first movie to shed light on this bizarre period. Based on interviews with original members Mick Jones and Terry Chimes, late-period members Pete Howard, Nick Sheppard, and Vince White, comrades Pearl Harbor, Viv Albertine, and Vic Godard, and others from the band’s circle, the movie largely focuses on the role of manager Bernie Rhodes.

The Rise and Fall of The Clash trailer
Evaluations of Rhodes’ actual contribution to the band vary widely, but most parties agree that Strummer trusted the manager while Jones did not. The Clash fired Rhodes in 1978—they were managed by big-timers Blackhill Enterprises during the recording of London Calling and Sandinista!—but they hired Rhodes back in 1981. “Joe wanted Bernie back because there was no excitement in the situation with Blackhill and Joe needed to have someone like Bernie around to give him confidence,” Simonon says in the coffee-table book.

The documentary makes it clear that Rhodes exploited Strummer and Simonon’s resentment of Jones’s “rock star” behavior (dating models, showing up late, etc.) to force Jones out and seize control of the band. This part of the story reveals unfathomable dimensions of weirdness. For instance, according to Jones, in the days before he was fired, the band gathered in Rehearsal Rehearsals to write new material. There, Jones says, ruthless manager Rhodes had the Clash working on the follow-up to the platinum-selling Combat Rock, an album of. . . New Orleans jazz?

More ‘Crap’ Clash after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Happy Birthday to Mick Jones of The Clash!
07:08 am


The Clash
Mick Jones

Mick Jones was kind of The Clash’s George Harrison. He’s a gifted and distinctive guitar soloist, and was inarguably crucial to the band’s founding and sound, but he was rarely the guy out in front, and like the man said, “It’s the singer, not the song.” But imagine The Clash catalog without “Should I Stay or Should I Go,” “Train in Vain,” “Protex Blue,” or “Police On My Back?” (Yes, the last one’s an Equals cover. Whatevs, Jones completely slayed the lead vocal, and anyway, we just covered how it’s the singer not the blah blah blah, right?) And of course, the one Clash album he’s not on is the one they’d love you to forget ever existed. Jones was born on June 26, 1955, and so the punk rock pioneer who went on from The Clash to found Big Audio Dynamite turns 59 today.

Here’s a 2004 interview on Later with Jools Holland, where Jones joins not just the erstwhile Squeeze keyboardist, but Clash bassist Paul Simonon as well. There’s some great archival footage of a performance of “Clampdown,” and you can catch glimpses of one of the show’s other guests, Green Day, waiting in the wings to shit up the program. Towards the end, Holland asks Jones and Simonon if they’d ever work together again, and predictably enough they hedge, but several years later, they did play together again, as members of Gorillaz’ touring band, and on their Plastic Beach LP.

This footage of Jones out in front of The Clash on the London Calling tour, singing “Train in Vain” for a Paris audience, is mighty damn good.

Jones’ final performance with The Clash, at the US Festival in San Bernardino, CA, May 1983. He’d be ousted from the band just a few months later. This has turned up on YouTube before, but while individual tracks seem to live on uploads of the full show keep getting pulled. Enjoy it while you can.

“The Bottom Line” with his post Clash outfit, Big Audio Dynamite:

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
The Fall’s Mark E. Smith predicts ‘The Clash are going to be very big,’ 1976
07:39 am


The Clash
Mark E. Smith
The Fall

Mark E. Smith
In this fascinating document we can see the endlessly amusing and enigmatic mind of Mark E. Smith, founder and resident genius of The Fall, not even 20 years of age and several months before the Fall’s first gig in May 1977.

The date is December 20, 1976. Smith is writing a letter to another founding member of The Fall, bassist Tony Friel—Smith refers to “your ‘bass’ pop guitar.” (Friel would remain in the band only for a few months.) Smith is referencing a gig held at the Electric Circus in Manchester on Thursday, December 9, 1976, featuring The Sex Pistols, The Damned, Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers, and The Clash—quite a lineup! (Which DM reader wouldn’t give about three toes to have seen that show? Then again, maybe one or two of you were there.....) The din of the show must have still been ringing in his ears—Smith starts the letter with a snippet from “Chinese Rocks,” the legendary Heartbreakers song jointly written by Dee Dee Ramone and Richard Hell.
Anarchy Tour
The main purpose of the letter, in addition to waxing hilarious and weird in a way only Mark E. Smith was ever capable of, was to affirm his enthusiasm about this new band The Clash, who clearly made a huge impression on Smith: “New pop group the CLASH are going to be very big,once they do a tour of the Village,and then signed on to Village records Ltd.” But he wasn’t telling Friel about the band, surely. Smith and his buddy Friel had quite probably discussed The Clash already, both having most likely seen them at the Electric Circus. Indeed, later on he adds, “Combined, The Heartbreakers and Clash were better than Sex Pistols, doncha?” As in, “Right? You agree? You who saw them too?” Smith was putting on his oracle hat and predicting great things for The Clash. Seems like he hit that one on the head.

The postscript is a snippet of dialogue (real or imagined?) from the immortal 1960s TV series The Prisoner.

Here’s the full text of the letter:

? Dec. 76

for: No. 505048A99FU
from: the new number 2

Dear Above,

‘I’m livin on a Chinese rock/all my clothes are in the pawn shop’ WRONG.

And today, the new number two is wearing a ‘Healthiflex non-restricti Collar’ dark blue in colour.

New number two says “New pop group the CLASH are going to be very big,once they do a tour of the Village,and then signed on to Village records Ltd.”

Please find attached a rough ‘set’ for the Outsiders.Apologies for any ommissions. Also find attached a little pres for you,a sticker for your ‘bass’ pop guitar.Last night I did not notice any “plain clothes policemen in pop gear” did thou?

You had better stick the fucking syticker on your ““bass”” or your ass.Or I will tell news agency Tass.

I did not get any sleep last night as i was speeeeding maaaaaan.

Combined,The Heartbreakers and Clash were better than Sex Pistols, doncha? Je tres fatigue - non dormir!

too incoherent,sorry.

be seeing you,

the new number 2

No6: “How did that typewriter get here ? At night ???”
No.14: “I am not allowed to answer that.Be seeing you.”
No.6: “Moron”.

Here’s the letter (you can see a much larger version here):
Mark E. Smith letter

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
The Clash play ‘Safe European Home’ in newly unearthed live footage
05:37 am


The Clash

Web series The Big Fun Show, a project of One Billion Acts of Peace, has unearthed some unreleased footage of The Clash performing at Detroit USA’s Motor City Roller Rink in 1980. They’ve posted “Safe European Home,” from the LP Give Em Enough Rope, with the promise that if the video gets 100,000 views, they’ll post more of the show.

The video has been up for a few days now, and the hit count is still well below 5,000, so maybe we could give them a little hand? One Billion Acts of Peace is a charitable organization worth knowing about. A project of Peace Jam, it’s “an international global citizen’s movement led by thirteen Nobel Peace Laureates and designed to tackle the toughest issues facing humanity.”

Between now and December 31, 2018, average citizens around the world will work together to create one billion high quality projects addressing the root causes of the most important problems facing our planet—crucial areas like rights for women and children, access to clean water for all, and alleviating extreme poverty.

Additional information on the project is available at their web site. But OK, optimism, social change and Nobel Peace Prizes are all maybe a little hippie-ish for some of you, and you clicked on this to see The Clash. I’ll not keep you waiting.

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Sex Pistols, Clash and Motörhead covered Celtic folk style by Vyvyan from ‘The Young Ones’

Dangerous Minds has checked in on English actor/comedian/musician Adrian Edmondson before, to talk about The Idiot Bastard Band, his group with Bonzo Dog/Monty Python habitué Neil Innes, and his beloved BBC comedy The Young Ones, on which he played the insane and violent postcard-punker archetype Vyvyan Basterd. But we’ve only given passing mention to his fine band The Bad Shepherds, and that’s just absurd. The band’s specialty is Celtic folk covers of classic punk, though songs like Elvis Costello’s “Shipbuilding” and Kraftwerk’s “The Model” have found their way into the repertoire. They’ve released three albums worth of such interpretations, 2009’s Yan, Tyan, Tethera, Methera!, 2010’s By Hook Or By Crook and last year’s Mud, Blood & Beer.

Given Edmondson’s history in comedy, you could be forgiven for assuming this was a joke band, an inversion of the tired old novelty punk covers trip. But before you leap to conclude that, hear Edmondson out in these excerpts from an excellent recent interview with Outline Online

The whole mechanic of taking on cover songs is a huge mantle for you to take on; has there ever been a song that’s been too difficult, that’s wriggled away from you, that can’t be tamed?

Oh, hundreds of ‘em. Loads of ‘em. Yeah, we try loads of stuff and what we do probably represents about a quarter of what we try to do. It’s not that we don’t like the ones that don’t work, it’s just we haven’t found a way of doing it. We generally take the songs completely to pieces and then put them back together again without thinking about the original and try and find instrumentation for them. Primarily they fall down on lyrics because I’m a middle-aged man and they’ve got to suit my age, and most folk and most punk songs surprisingly do because they’re surprisingly adult in content, most of the punk canon, y’know. They were written by people who were really thinking; they’re not just solipsistic, selfish kind of ‘ooh, I’m in love, I’m not in love’ songs. They’re about social commentary and social protest and things like that and it’s very exciting. But some songs, for example, we’ve tried a few songs by The Damned and none of them worked because they’re all – and I don’t mean this to deride The Damned but they’re all just a bit childish when you take them to bits and you read the lyrics without thinking about what the music’s about. It just doesn’t work. It doesn’t go anywhere. We tried moving up the years as well thinking there must be a load of stuff in the 80s with Tears for Fears and OMD and stuff like that, so we scoured through those and tried to work on that and again, that kinda falls short, lyrically. It’s too childish. I mean, they’re brilliant, original things but they don’t fit the ethos of our band; they don’t become folk songs.

What is it about those genres that seem to lend themselves so well?

Because they’re forgotten songs and people all imagine that that sort of era is full of jumping up and down, shouting and spitting and it didn’t mean anything apart from anger in the performance. They’re disastrously wrong; they’re some of the most complex songs. The idea that all punk songs are three-chord wonders is completely erroneous. There are vastly complicated chord sequences and tuning in some of the songs we play.


The Sex Pistols’ “Anarchy In The U.K.”

The Clash’s “London Calling”

After the jump, Motörhead’s “Ace Of Spades” and more…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
‘Clash fan’ at Universal Music Group sends the most idiotic ‘cease & desist’ letter, perhaps ever…
03:23 pm


The Clash
Billy Childish

When art hero Billy Childish released his “Thatcher’s Children” pastiche/tribute/piss-take to the tune of The Clash’s “London Calling” back in 2008, probably the last thing he thought he would get would be a disgruntled letter from a conservative Clash fan, offended by the way Childish supposedly misrepresented the politics of the notoriously left-wing group. But (apparently) he did receive such a letter and it came from a legal representative of the Universal Music Group. At the end of an otherwise ordinary cease and desist letter, the UMe attorney just couldn’t resist adding the following clueless coda:

On a personal note as a fan of The Clash may i point out that your illegal use of the music of London Calling politicises the original tune in a way never intended by members of the group.

I appreciate that in its formative years The Clash may have been perceived as “anti-establishment” but the anti-right wing message contained in the lyric of Mr Chyldish is both insulting to the memory of Baroness Thatcher and President Reagan, and surely a sentiment that the mature songsmith Strummer would never have condoned. Such association could also jeopordise future commercial interest in London Calling by corporations who both fund and support politics that you misrepresent and hold up to ridicule, thereby depriving his family of income.

Wrong ‘em, boyo! I mean how much more wrong could this child of Thatcher possible be? Surely if Joe Strummer had outlived the Iron Lady, David Cameron would have asked him to speak at her funeral! Afterwards they could kick back at Strummerville!

To commemorate this stupidity of this “Clash fan,” Billy Childish is releasing a limited edition box set of “Thatcher’s Children” featuring a “God Save Margaret Thatcher” poster image he did in collaboration with Sex Pistols artist Jamie Reid and a sleeve that, ahem, strongly alludes to Pennie Smith’s iconic London Calling cover photo of Paul Simonon smashing his bass guitar (the lettering on that was inspired by an Elvis cover, so it’s not like there wasn’t already a precedent for this kind of thing. Quite a long precedent!)

Childish is also including a lithograph of this classically clueless letter from the Tory nincompoop at UMe, who deserves this disrespect, every drop of it… You can order it from L-13. You can also read the full letter there.

Below: Even better than the original?

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘Ian Rubbish’ (Fred Armisen) meets The Clash
10:50 am


The Clash
Fred Armisen

In what looks to be a dream come true for him, Portlandia funnyman Fred Armisen interviews Mick Jones and Paul Simonon as “Ian Rubbish,” one-time member of Clash-wannabe group, Ian Rubbish and The Bizarros.

According to Billboard:

The Clash collaboration represents a full-circle moment of sorts for Armisen. “I first saw The Clash in 1982 at Pier 84 in New York as part of the Dr. Pepper music series, when I was about 14 or 15,” Armisen recalls on the phone from Portland, where he’s filming season 4 of IFC’s “Portlandia.” “And after the show, I was waiting outside the gate and Kosmo Vinyl, who was a tour manager, was pointing people in like, ‘You, you and you.’ And I totally got to talk to Paul Simonon and Joe Strummer. And then a couple weeks later I got to see a dress rehearsal of ‘Saturday Night Live,’ where Ron Howard was hosting, and I totally got to see The Clash play again. It was unreal.”

Ian/Fred even gets to jam with his heros!

Thank you Jo Caulfield!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
The Clash take on Tom Snyder, armed with a teddy bear, 1981
07:51 am


The Clash
Tom Snyder

This footage is preposterously entertaining. It was 1981, the Clash were supporting Sandinista! The Clash had booked eight gigs at a nightclub called Bond’s Casino in Times Square in May and June of 1981—Richard has already written about that legendary stint in considerable detail.

(In related news, a comprehensive Clash box set dropped this week. The Clash: Sound System, designed by Paul Simonon to resemble an old-school boom box, contains the Clash’s first five U.S. releases—The Clash, Give ‘Em Enough Rope, London Calling, Sandinista!, and Combat Rock—three discs of rarities and outtakes, a DVD with videos, live material, and previously unseen footage by Julien Temple and Don Letts, and lots of other fun trinkets and doodads.)

Anyway, while they were in New York, they paid a visit to The Tomorrow Show with Tom Snyder. If you’re into the Clash and you haven’t seen this, you are in for a treat.

During the interview, Joe Strummer keeps fooling around with a cute teddy bear, but, very much in the manner of an impatient fusspot dad, no-nonsense Tom keeps taking it away from him. The band decide to affix stickers all over Tom’s body and then Joe puts a “Have a Nice Day!” plastic bag over his head. Then they debate the ins and outs of squatting. I’m making it sound silly, but somehow all this happens and they also manage to answer Tom’s questions about vacant youth and so forth with a good mixture of seriousness and silliness, and it all happens in under nine minutes.

After the commercial the Clash entertains the crowd with vital performances of “The Magnificent Seven” and “This Is Radio Clash.” While the band is doing “This Is Radio Clash,” Futura 2000 is seen spray-painting text all over the back wall and there’s generally an undercurrent of controlled mayhem throughout.

This is must-see stuff.

The interview section is here:

Don’t neglect the performances of “The Magnificent Seven” and “This Is Radio Clash” after the jump….

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Rat Patrol From Fort Bragg: The Clash’s alternate ‘Combat Rock’
01:00 pm


The Clash

It was 1981, and looking to soak up some revolutionary—and authentically countercultural—inspiration, The Clash famously 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 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.

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.

Here’s another unreleased number from the original sessions, a very different take on “Rock The Casbah” which features Ranking Roger from The Beat on vocals. I’d take this over the released version any day! (At one point Mick Jones was going to join Ranking Roger and Dave Wakeling in their post-Beat group, General Public. I went to a “sneak preview” of General Public in a club in London in 1984, but alas there was no Mick Jones, to the visible disappointment of the punters—like me—when the band walked onstage).

Ranking Roger again on vocals, on this heavily dubbed-out version of “Red Angel Dragnet.” This is pretty incredible, I think you’ll agree.

“The Fulham Song” AKA “The Beautiful People Are Ugly Too”

“Know Your Rights” in its original form. It’s wilder than the Combat Rock version, but it does tend to go on a bit (as many of Jones’s “Fort Bragg” mixes tended to).

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Shut yer fucking mouth: Punk started in New York!
02:05 am


The Clash
The Ramones

In the ongoing debate (which shoulda been settled years ago) of whether 70s punk started in New York or London, I think Joe Strummer in this performance is sending the message that it started with four guys from Queens, New York. I know in the big scheme of things this ain’t a whole lotta much of nuthin’. But for some of us old punkers, it is a bone of contention. And punk is all about contention

And this should shut the mouth of the idiots who continue to claim punk originated in England.

Case fucking closed. The Ramones started it. The Clash took the energy and ran with it. The Pistols pissed it away.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
New Jersey Calling: The Clash rock the Garden State on the ‘16 Tons Tour,’ 1980
10:46 am


The Clash
Mikey Dread

The low-fi black & white video quality of this 1980 Clash concert doesn’t detract from the enjoyment and in fact may even enhance it (the soundboard audio is top notch).

Complete Clash shows are rare enough, but this also happens to be an especially great (and super energetic) Clash gig with one of the best set lists of any of their tours. Plus Blockhead Mick Gallagher on keyboards. PLUS dub legend Mikey Dread (how much footage exists of The Clash together with Michael Campbell?) and two encores. What more could you ask for? Listen LOUD.

Shot (with at least three cameras) at the legendary Capitol Theater in Passaic, NJ on March 8th, 1980.

Clash City Rockers
Brand New Cadillac
Safe European Home
Jimmy Jazz
London Calling
Guns of Brixton
Train in Vain
White Man in Hammersmith Palais
Koka Kola
I Fought The Law
Spanish Bombs
Police and Thieves
Stay Free
Julie’s Been Working on the Drug Squad
Wrong’em Boyo
Janie Jones
Complete Control
Armagideon Time (ft. Mikey Dread)
English Civil War
Bankrobber (ft. Mikey Dread)
Tommy Gun

Part II is here.

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Paris Calling: Ferocious Live Clash show from 1980

Keith Levene of PiL on why he quit The Clash

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Punk+: Sheila Rock’s photos of The Clash, Siouxsie, The Buzzcocks, The Sex Pistols and more

Siouxsie Sioux (Feb 1979) This is certainly a young woman who knew exactly who she was, wouldn’t you say?

Nevermind those sterile museum retrospectives, First Third Books has just published Punk+, a gorgeous new coffee table monograph featuring Sheila Rock’s documentation of the formative London punk scene. Although many of the faces are familiar, the emphasis on punk as a youth culture, as a tribe, makes this a welcome departure from many other books of punk era photography. These shots are from when the participants were still really young and Rock’s intimate images haven’t lost any of their power from being overused (85 to 90% of the photographs are unseen according to her estimate).

I get sent books like this, well, frequently, and Punk+ is far and away one of the best. Speaking as a former publisher myself, this is a high quality piece to be really proud of.

With a brief introduction by Nick Logan and commentary from some of the participants, Punk+ wisely lets Sheila Rock’s portraits do the talking. I especially loved the pics of a young John Lydon in what appears to be his own flat.

Jordan outside of Malcolm McClaren and Vivienne Westwood’s SEX boutique

Girl (Leather Jacket)

Subey (June 1977)

The Subway Sect, Chalk Farm (Dec 1976)

Rob Symmons: “They’re the only public photographs of us that exist from that time because we wouldn’t have any photographs taken. When you (Sheila Rock) rang the door bell, (that little black door at the side Rehearsal Rehearsals) you asked for The Clash and were disappointed they were not there, didn’t believe us and came in to see. To save a wasted trip, you reluctantly photographed us. After we told Bernie [Rhodes] you had come to the studio one evening and taken our pictures, he was cross. I remember his exact words: “When the cat’s away. the mice will play”


Generation X (1977)

The Buzzcocks (Nov 1977)

Paul Simonon: “We did a couple of shows with The Buzzcocks and we used to go on stage with Jackson Pollack Shirts. One time they did a show with us and came on with Mondrian shorts. It was great!”


The Damned (Nov 1976)

Paul Weller of The Jam (1979)
Sheila Rock’s Punk+ is available as a signed limited edition and standard edition directly through First Third Books.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Paris Calling: Ferocious live Clash show from 1980
08:02 am


The Clash

A few years ago, there was a several gigabyte torrent file going around of every Clash performance from American television, a separate folder of the British TV clips, another consisting of their European television appearances and one that was marked “miscellaneous.” It was gold, to say the least. (The same guy had other similar mega-torrents of The Smiths, The Fall and Mott The Hoople. Naturally I snatched all of them. You know who you are, and if you are reading this, God bless you!)

One of the jewels in that digital crown was this Clash concert in Paris, live from the La Palace nightclub in 1980 in support of London Calling. Exciting, well-shot (with cameramen onstage) and the band is as tight here as you are ever likely to see them.

Set list
Jimmy Jazz
London Calling
Protex Blue
Train in Vain
Koca Kola
I Fought The Law
Spanish Bombs
Wrong ‘Em Boyo
Stay Free
Janie Jones
Compete Control
Tommy Gun

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
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