Monday, 10 January 2011

Vacuum cleaner sucks up budgie

I suppose some of you may groan when reading this post. Or you may agree with me. Or you may just have heard 'London Calling' and 'Should I Stay or Should I Go', and feel indifferent. But today I feel the urge to discuss a group once billed as 'The only band that really matters', The Clash. It isn't anything like the 30th anniversary of London Calling, none of the members have died recently (until you count 2002 as recent), and there hasn't been a statue of Joe Strummer erected or anything like that. But I was just listening to their first album today, and it brought me back to when I first heard the album. Flashback time!

Bye bye!
It was one of the very few times where no idiot had influenced me in listening to the album. I hadn't looked at some stupid list on some website, telling me what the greatest punk/debut/rock/ albums of all time were. And no-one had told me to LISTEN TO THE ALBUM QUICKLY  BECAUSE IT'S SO GOOD. I'd heard the U.S version of White Riot, which I'd obtained from Limewire (this was about 5 years ago, okay). And so I visited a proper record shop and bought The Clash's debut album. As soon as I listened to it at home, I realised I hadn't heard anything quite like it before. I'd heard some pop-punk stuff before, sum41 and Blink 182. But nothing like those military drums in Janie Jones. It's an exciting album, musically and lyrically. The Pistols may have talked like they were trying to shock your granny and that there was some sort of upcoming anarchist revolution. But when Joe Strummer snarled like a rabid dog, he didn't want to kill the Queen, he wanted to 'join the ping pong club'. On the album The Clash also sung songs about how they were sick of the USA's culture becoming so popular in the UK, London's abysmal traffic system, and the race riots that were going on at the time. They weren't making up some shocking fantasy situation, they were talking about what was going on.

My love for the band isn't really for their punk stage (although good god I love it), it's for the fact that played just about every bloody genre there was. They had many reggae covers and reggae style songs, they did punk, they did rockabilly, they dabbled in dub, they did ska, they did folky stuff. Joe and Mick were early followers of rap when it was emerging at the tail end of the seventies, which is very apparent in the very cool bass driven opener of Sandinista!, The Magnificent Seven.

But even now I'm struck by how feeble and inadequate words like 'electric' are to describe their live performances which I can only see on youtube and listen to on 'From Here to Eternity'. I've never seen them live, and of course I never will. But as stupid and clich├ęd as this sounds, their energy and music will always motivate me. Joe Strummer's words in an interview ("we're not particularly talented, we try hard") are words I can live by and can very much appreciate. Thanks for reading!

12 comments:

  1. The moment I heard "Janie Jones" open up the album I knew I was in for something special. I really like the album, sometimes more so than the celebrated (EVERYWHERE) 'London's Calling'.

    There was a vigour of pace and bursting urgency, sometimes frustrations just wanting to burst out through their songs. Oooh and 'Police and Thieves' is such a lovely cover and slower paced song to the rest of the album.

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  2. The Clash happens to be one of my favorite bands. Bankrobber is def my favorite song.

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  3. I listened to them a lot in high school, but haven't given them much of a listen lately. I need to dig up my old collection. This reminds me how much I used to enjoy them. Good read!

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  4. I love the Clash I have a poster of them in my room, cool blog following you wanna check out mine?

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  5. omg the clash shsped rock history

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  6. I'm glad the discovery and listening of The clash really had a good impact on you. What really got me interested was that picture of that Parakeet... I love Parakeets...

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  7. unfortunately, no one likes vacuum cleaners :(

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