The Clash’s Last Hurrah: “Combat Rock Gets Stronger With Time”

For Shock, the question in 1982 was: where next? 1980s Sandinista! had covered a lot of ground on its six sprawling sides. Now, as sessions for The Clash fifth studio album transferred from London to New York’s Electric Lady studio in November 1981, their recently reappointed manager, Bernie Rhodes, anticipated a return to direct rock ‘n’ roll. He couldn’t have been more wrong. Covering dub, funk and hip-hop, and featuring guest spots from Allen Ginsberg and New York graffiti artist Futura 2000, battle rock was almost as varied as its predecessor. “The city has found its place in music”, says the singer Ellen Foleywho was also Jones’ partner at the time. Mixed by Glyn Johns back in the UK, single “Rock the Kasbah” and “Should I stay or should I go” have been perforated for maximum graphic impact.

Nevertheless, battle rock hit stores May 14, 1982 to mixed reception. “In England, people were like, ‘Oh fuck, Shock sold’ – which was ridiculous,” says the filmmaker Don Letts. “In America, they were getting better and better. Yet despite the album’s ambitious mix of styles, all was not well within the band. “They were falling apart,” admits Latvians. “Musical differences were happening. As demonstrated Mick Jones’ original battle rock to mix together [Rat Patrol From Fort Bragg]. I still have the C90. It was more dance oriented. Topper Headon had been fired a few days before the release of the album, due to his growing habit of heroin, replaced during the band’s next tour by the original drummer Sponge chimes. ” Mattress topper was the fucking rock,” says Latvians. ” Once Mattress topper was gone, there was no proper foundation.

As the title suggests, conflict was commonplace – and not just within the band. battle rock was liberated during the Falklands War. It gave a lot of Strummer songs extra urgency. “They feel like you’re a war correspondent on the front line – or postcards from the edge,” says Mark Stewart of pop group.

“Rock the Kasbah” reached No. 8 in America, as the band embarked on a stadium tour supporting WHO. ” Paul Simonon told me from the start: “If I ever get any money, To markI want a waterproof TV that I can watch in the bath,” says Stewart. ” When battle rock pierced, I was hoping Paul I have this TV.

Such celebrations were short-lived. In 1983, MickJones had been sacked; the original Shock were no more. But even today, battle rock looks bullish and bright. “They had flown into orbit, had gone through their prog phase with Sandinista!,” says Stewart. “Then they landed here. Knowing them, and what they was trying to do, that’s the classic Shock album. »

“Forty years later”, adds Paul Cook sex gun” I think battle rock strengthens over time. »

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