Why the Clash Matter


“‘The only band that matters.’ There is charismatic hubris in this phrase, a declaration of radical faith. Fuck the past, the future is here and everything in music will be ruthlessly revamped in its wake. And when the description was applied to the Clash, it was easy to believe. Today, though, it’s easy to scoff at. Since the death of front-man Joe Strummer in 2002, the Clash have ascended into rock-and-roll mythos. No fewer than thirty books have been released on the band or on Strummer. Some of them are wonderful. Others are shallow and sloppy hagiographies. Their music has been used to hawk everything from boots to smartphones. Centrists in progressive clothing like Beto O’Rourke receive high praise for quoting ‘The Clampdown’ to Ted Cruz. Separating what’s commodity and spectacle from the band’s actual contribution is getting harder. The latest in the growing list of biographical material is ‘Stay Free: The Story of the Clash.’ Produced by Spotify in collaboration with the BBC and narrated by Public Enemy’s Chuck D, it’s the first podcast dedicated to the band’s history. It is an excellent piece of work, both in terms of substance and style. Social and cultural context play a prominent role in telling the story of the band’s evolution. Strikes, riots, movements, political explosions and implosions clearly inform their philosophy and musical practices as global capitalism reconstitutes itself in the 1970s and 1980s. …”
Jacobin

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s