Friday, August 18, 2006
Something For The Week End
Having had the chance to have been 16 in 1977 and to have been living in part of London's sprawling suburbs at the time, I was therefore one of those present when everything changed, what was to be known as the year zero. For this reason I can fairly say that the Clash are my band, having been one of fortunate few who saw them at their prime, and on numerous occasions, but that is another story that I might well bore you with another day. What has surprised me is how I have gone through over 100 posts without mentioning my teen heroes once. What has motivated me today is the news that the Clash bassist Paul Simonon is back making music after many years of absence, though I believe he is keeping an option on his current day time job as an artist/painter. Maybe the biggest surprise is with whom he chosen to make his musical comeback, not with some relic from punks dark past but with with Brit Pop's biggest African music lover Damon Albarn. They are going under the collective name of The Good The Bad And The Queen and also include ex Verve guitarist Simon Tong in their ranks. Being very much a London band it should come as no surprise that they have chosen Nottting Hill Gate as their rehearsal HQ, with an official debut gig, at none other than London's legendary revamped Roundhouse, planned for October as is their debut single with an album penciled in for January 2007. Mojo has described the band as being a mix of "soul, soundtrack,'60's pop with even Robert Wyatt bleeding through", we'll just have to wait and see to judge for ourselves.
Simonon was the pretty boy in the Clash, the person with the least musical training at the start, though with lots of practice and perseverance he caught up with his colleagues, even going as far as penning one of their classic tracks 'Guns Of Brixton'. Brixton was the part of London where Simonon had spent his youth, an area with a large black population and as such he was a reggae fan. Reggae was to play an important role in the Clash, not only were they to write their own reggae influenced songs such as 'White Man In Hammersmith Pallais' but they were also to cover reggae originals. Their debut album contained their version of 'Police and Thieves', here is a dub version from 1976 by Augustus Pablo & the Upsetters called 'Babylon Police Thief Dub'. The whole of the band were big reggae fans and so it was to be no surprise that they themselves got round to trying their own hand at dub, their first attempt was the very convincing 'Justice Tonight/Kick It Over' which was based on their recording of 'Armagideon Time'. Have a good week-end and see you Monday.
P.S. I really don't know where the photo was taken, what I do know is that the band played a number of tours around the period of 'Combat Rock' using flags as stage back drops, and I seem to recollect having seen this one myself but I'll save that one for a rainy day!!!!!!!!!