Clash city rockers
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We asked a handful of Pittsburgh-based rockers to weigh in on The Clash. Here's what they had to say:Matt Freed, Post-Gazette
Anti-Flag Justin Sane, shown singing at Club Laga in Oakland on Feb. 21, 2001, says The Clash was a band that looked like a band.
Click photo for larger image.Justin Sane, Anti-Flag (calling from Vienna): "
There are so many things that appeal to me about The Clash. For starters, The Clash knew how to nail down a great melody, on top of which you had Joe and Mick literally spitting out lyrics. It was almost a combination of a songbird from a Disney movie combined with a drunken sailor with no teeth, but somehow what should have been a trainwreck would turn into this amazing piece of music that would grip you and move you emotionally. The music was always able to grab me and stir an emotion inside of me, whether it was sympathetic or angry. The other amazing aspect of The Clash, which so many bands lack, is they were a band that looked like a band. They looked like stars. I really love that, because I don't want to go see a band that look like dudes that hang out at the mall. I wanted to see a group of people who looked like they're making the statement: 'We are the band and we are here to rock your [behind]."
Sean Whelan, ex-Necracedia, Bad Genes, Mud City Manglers: "For most of my life playing in bands, the Clash served as a guiding influence -- both in terms of music and attitude. The Clash started in 1976 with straight-up punk, but broke from the mold and really moved beyond to become a great band, not just a great punk band. Most people would argue that 'London Calling' is the best album by the Clash, and it is certainly anything but a Punk rock album. For me, Joe Strummer has long been my greatest inspiration. He's one of the great ones who can really channel energy through a song and reach an audience in a way that most frontmen dream about. Joe wanted to reach people and give them something to think about. When I saw Joe play with the Mescaleros in 2001, he went at it full-tilt for around two hours. He was one of the truly good ones, and the world is a worse place without him in it."
Mike Siciliano, Brain Handle: "As a pop group, their songs are undeniably catchy and they certainly sold their brand of revolution very well, but with 30 years of inherited hype surrounding this band and their "political message," I find them to be completely boring in the face of their more interesting contemporaries (early peace punk, Crass, the Astronauts, etc). Those were bands with more to say and more formally interesting ways of saying it. In the '90s, Fugazi was often compared to The Clash as "the only band that mattered," Anti-Flag is a better comparison. They sell an image of rebellion while at the same time invalidating actual forms of rebellion by removing the signifiers of rebellion from any real context and offering them up as fashion."
Joe Grushecky: "The Clash were one of the coolest bands of all time. They had a great sound and great look. Mick Jones came to one of our recording sessions once to hang out with Ian Hunter and Mick Ronson. He was a big Mott the Hoople fan. I loved 'London Calling' and thought they transcended the whole punk thing with that record. Punk at that time was so constricting and conservative. They had a much more inclusive view of music. We covered 'Brand New Cadillac' on our live disc and have the lead-off track, 'Magnificent 7,' on a new Sandinista tribute CD."
First Published October 26, 2006 12:00 am