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Thursday, November 23, 2006

the Clash - Combat rock 1984

CLASH004After Combat Rock, the Clash began to slowly disintegrate. Topper Headon was asked to leave the band just prior to the release of the album. The band was unable to cope with his ongoing heroin addiction, which had a disastrous effect on both his health and drumming. The true reason for Headon's departure was covered up by manager Bernie Rhodes as a "political difference". The band's original drummer, Terry Chimes, was brought back for the next few months. (For a period, Headon sank into severe depression, only to resurface with a solo album, then entering prison briefly for fraud, before finally cleaning up and kicking the addiction by the end of the decade.)

The loss of Headon brought much friction, as he was an essential part of the band and well-liked by the others. Jones and Strummer began to feud, although it is often said that some of the friction between the two arose because manager Bernie Rhodes disliked Jones and thought him arrogant, and was promoting Strummer against him. CLASH003The band, although still touring arenas and opening up for The Who in stadiums on their tour in 1982, barely spoke to or even glanced at each other, both during the concerts and backstage. Indeed, the original dates for the UK leg of the Combat Rock tour were cancelled when Strummer disappeared on the eve of the gigs. The band continued to tour but by 1983, after years of constant touring and recording, the strain took its toll. They were growing as musicians and individuals, but as said in interviews were still quite young - Paul and Mick were still only 26 and 27 respectively and Strummer was 30 - and inexperienced to cope with such difficult and tension-plagued situations. Simonon, a long-term friend of Jones, felt inclined to side with Strummer because he became frustrated with Jones' musical experimentation.

CLASH001Chimes left the band after the 1982-1983 Combat Rock tour, convinced that the band could not continue with in-fighting and turmoil. In 1983, after an extensive search for a new drummer, Pete Howard was recruited and performed with the trio at several low-key US dates and finally at the US Festival in San Bernardino, California. The Clash were one of the headliners of this festival, along with David Bowie and Van Halen. The crowd of roughly half a million was by far the biggest of the Clash's career. This was Jones' last appearance with The Clash.

In September 1983, prompted by Rhodes, Strummer and Simonon sacked Jones from the band, citing his problematic behaviour and divergent musical aspirations. (Jones went on to found Big Audio Dynamite (BAD) with Don Letts, and both Strummer and Simonon collaborated with BAD at various times.)

CLASH002After a series of auditions, the band announced Nick Sheppard, formerly of the Bristol-based Cortinas, and Vince White would be the band's new guitarists. Howard continued to be the drummer, although there were rumours that Headon or Chimes might return to replace him. The band played its first shows in January 1984 with a batch of new material and launched into a self-financed tour, dubbed the Out of Control tour.

The band toured heavily over the winter and into early summer. At a striking miners' benefit show ("Scargill's Christmas Party") in December 1984, it was announced that a new record would be released early in the new year.

Live in Stockohlm 1984


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Anonymous jonnyface said...

thanks for these clash posts mate.ive not heard this one you have anything by the specials?cheers again!

1:34 AM  

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