The Uncut Crap
Over 56 Things You Never Knew About The Clash
NME March 16, 1991
- Joe Strummer was born in Ankara, Turkey. His dad was a civil servant.
- The Clash temporarily became The Lash when they became studio players for
vice queen Janie Jones. They appear on her single, "House of the Ju Ju
- The Clash weren't always into combat fatigues. When Mick Jones and Paul first got involved with the punk experience, they used to customize ladies car coats.
- Bernie Rhodes, The Clash's notorious manager, was a long-time sidekick of Malcolm McLauren. Bernie says he invented punk rock. Nobody believes him.
- Most of the debut LP The Clash was written on the 18th
floor of a council high rise on London's Harrow Rd. The flat was owned by
Mick's grandmother, who regularly turned up at Clash gigs.
- During a tricky period in the late 70's, Manager Bernie Rhodes tried to replace Mick Jones with Steve Jones from The Sex Pistols.
- Joe Strummer played a bearded dishwasher in the mercenary army who gets thrown into a river in Alex Cox's Walker. No-one has ever seen said film (except David Quantick).
- In the early days the Clash often went hungry. Once, after a long night spent putting up posters, Paul Simonon heated up the remainder of the flour and water paste on a rusty blade and ate it.
- During a drunken scene from Alex Cox's Straight to Hell, you can see Joe Strummer kicking a tin can and calling out the names of footie players such as David Speedle, Pat Nevin, and Kerry Dixon. Joe is a big Chelsea fan...
- Joe once sent the fanzine Alternative User a thank-you present - a consignment of lawnmower parts!
- Joe Strummer toured America as an honorary Pogue in winter '87, replacing
Phil Chevron who was ill with a stomach ulcer. The Pogues took advantage of
this situation by playing faithful versions of "I Fought The Law"
and "London Calling".
- When The Clash played the "Night Of Treason" at the Royal College
Of Art in '77, the DJ and poster designer was NME's very own Savage
- Shane MacGowan was victim of a famous ear-biting attack at an early Clash
- The Spanish lines in 'Should I Stay Or Should I Go' and 'Spanish Bombs'
are not grammatically correct.
- On the TV show Something Else, Joe Strummer once suggested that band managers should be put in concentration camps.
- Pride Of The Cross, a band featuring ex-Pogue bassist Caitlin O'Riordain
(and her replacement Darryl), once performed The Clash's "Complete Control"
as a protest against Pogue Mahone changing their name to The Pogues.
- The Clash were the first (and last?) white band to have their likeness painted onto the wall of Lee Perry's famous Black Ark recording studios in Jamaica.
- Joe Strummer once said his favourite record was Van Morrison's "Gloria'.
- When The Clash first met up with beat poet Allen Ginsberg in '81, Joe asked
"Well Ginsberg, when you gonna run for president?" The response
was, Never, or I'll wind up in Diamond Hell," a weird Bhuddist allusion.
- Joe Strummer promised the town of Corby, Northamptonshire, a pink Cadillac. It was delivered but did not go.
- Joe Strummer's real name is Joseph Mellor. Mick Jones' real name is Mick Jones.
- The so-called Clash MKII - of "Cut the Crap" fame - featured two
men called Vince. One used to be in Bristol's Cortinas, the other one was
really called Greg and studied Physics and Astronomy at University College
- Strummer disliked the punk practice of gobbing. Especially after someone landed a greenie in his open mouth and he got hepatitis.
- Sandy Pearlman, producer of "Give "Em Enough Rope", so disliked
Joe Strummer's voice that he mixed it more quietly than the drums throughout
the entire album.
- There were 204 drummers auditioned before The Clash settled for Nicky 'Topper'
- Joe was formerly in dodgy pub rock bands The 101ers and The Vultures.
- Strummer realizes the evils of drugs. He once told NME, "I've
smoked so much pot, I'm surprised I haven't turned into a bush".
- The first Clash gig in Belfast was stopped by the authorities. Undeterred, the band went sight-seeing around the various trouble spots, getting their pictures taken besides security gates and confused looking squaddies.
- The Clash II went on a busking tour to promote the "Cut The Crap"
LP. They weren't any good.
- Paul Simonon was once voted the world's hunkiest man in Playgirl magazine.
- After leaving The Clash (and being named 'Tory Crimes' on the sleeve of
The Clash), original drummer Terry Chimes joined Bowie clones Cowboys
International, who were one of the least successful bands of the late 1970's.
He also drummed with Black Sabbath and Samantha Fox.
- The song "Capital Radio" claims that "There's a tower in
the heart of London / With a radio station right at the top". In fact,
Capital Radio is only half way up the tower.
- The cover of the "London Calling" is a rip-off of Elvis' "Rock
And Roll" LP from '56 and was taken by our own Pennie Smith.
- Joe Strummer - now yawnsomely familiar as an actor/soundtrack producer - once directed his own movie Cops & Robbers, staring Mick, Paul, and Clash photographer Pennie Smith.
- Joe Strummer once shared a squat in London's Albany St with a son of Terence Conran (of Habitat fame).
- We know that Paul Simonon smashed his bass guitar - as photographed on the
cover of "London Calling" - at exactly 10.50pm. This is because
he broke his watch in the process and handed the busted bits to photographer
Pennie Smith (What is this? 57 things you didn't know about Pennie Smith?
- Captain Sensible once invaded the stage during an early Clash gig on the continent. He was booted off and landed on some fencing, causing great damage to his testicular region.
- Joe Strummer once said that listening to John Peel was like a dog being sick in your face.
- Clash manager Bernie Rhodes had a Renault with the licence number CLA5H.
- "Train In Vain" isn't listed on the sleeve credits for "London
Calling" because it was originally going to be a flexi give-away with
NME. Unfortunately, the idea proved too expensive and the track went
on the LP instead.
- The Clash are crap businessmen. They signed a record contract that didn't
have a clause for tour support. As a result, they lost tons of money when
punk rockers trashed concert halls during their first shows. Also, they insisted
that "Sandinista' and "London Calling" were issued at budget
price, meaning they didn't make any money out of them.
- Topper Headon's favourite ever
drummer is Phil Collins.
- "Great Mates" The Blockheads (they of Ian Dury And...) once turned
up unexpectedly at a Clash recording session dressed as policemen, causing
Mick Jones to flush all of his illicit substances down the toilet and the
rest of the band to flee.
- "Should I Stay Or Should I Go" was written by Mick about American
singer Ellen Foley, who sang the backing vocals on Meatloaf's Bat Out Of
- And there's more! Flowered Up's
co-manager Terry stars in Rude Boy as a wayward yoof put on the straight
and narrow by Joe.
- The spread-em-against-the-wall pose on the cover of "White Riot' was
borrowed from a dub LP
- called State Of Emergency by Joe Gibbs And The Professionals.
- Both Paul Simonon and Viv Albertine of The Slits modelled for a Laura Ashley
- Whilst at public school, the young Joe Strummer was an avid stamp collector.
- During the filming for the "Bankrobber" video, Clash roadies Baker
and Johnny Green faked a bank job in South London. They were stopped and questioned
by the police, who thought they were the real thing.
- Joe has run both the London and Paris marathons. Slowly.
- "Strum Guard" is a term used solely by Joe Strummer to describe
the bandana taped around his right hand to protect it from his own vigorous
- Flowered Up's next single, "Take It", includes lyrics lifted from
the soundtrack of Rude Boy, The Clash's on-the-road movie.
- 'Rock The Casbah" had the very first rock video that starred an armadillo
(unless ZZ Top got there before them!)
- British Telecom wanted to use "London Calling" for their last
advertising campaign. They were told to bog off.
- Mick Jones played guitar on the Elvis Costello song "Big Tears"
on the B-side of "Pump It Up".
- When American writer Lester Bangs toured England with The Clash, Bernie
Rhodes tried to set him on fire.
- Songs that mention Clash members and associates: "Walk Out To Winter"
(Aztec Camera), "Punky Reggae Party" (Bob Marley), "Posing
At The Roundhouse", "Part-Time Punks" (TV Personalities), "Gangsters"
(The Special AKA), "The Feeding Of 5000" (Crass), "Tear Stained
Letter" (Richard Thompson), "Death Threats" (Throbbing Gristle),
"Joe Strummer's Wallet" (The Stingrays)
Article contribution by Tami Peterson
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