While it may have been the Sexpistols who garnered the headlines, it was the Clash that had the sophistication and sense of musical adventurism to take punk rock to the next level. During their initial five year run the London outfit expanded the raw, gritty, adrenalin fueled sounds of punk to include elements of funk, soul, reggae, and even rap.
After rising through the ranks of the ‘70s London punk scene, the Clash decamped to New York City in the early ‘80s and set up shop with a now legendary run at Bond’s Casino on Times Square. Following a triumphant appearance at Shea Stadium a couple years later, they seemed poised to become one of the biggest bands in the world.
But alas, it was not to be. By the mid ‘80s the relationship between bandleaders Joe Strummer and Mick Jones had become completely untenable. As drummer Topper Headon succumbed to drug-induced inertia and bassist Paul Simonon basically went along for the ride, Strummer did the unthinkable and sacked Jones from the band.
Jones, who had founded the band and only later recruited Strummer, was replaced with Nick Sheppard. Led by Strummer with Simonon, Sheppard, and drummer Pete Howard in tow, the band released one final album, the largely forgettable Cut the Crap, before basically disintegrating in 1985.
The Rise and Fall of the Clash is a new film that chronicles the spectacular rise and inglorious downfall of one of the most timely, intelligent, and influential rock bands of all time. The film recently debuted at the CBGB’s Festival in NYC but as of yet no plans have been unveiled to give the it a wider release. Check out the Rise and Fall of the Clash Facebook page for updates.