“Clash City Rockers!”
The Clash was one of the greatest bands ever – and, as Neil Young sang,
“it’s better to burn out than fade away…”
And boy, did they burn bright!
The meteoric rise and ultimate fall of The Clash is a great story – and the energy and activism of the band was captured in a classic – and neglected – cult movie!
The Clash formed in 1976 as part of the original wave of British punk and consisted of Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon and Nicky “Topper” Headon. They launched at the same time as The Sex Pistols, heralding a new wave of music that captured the rage of young people worldwide: punk rock.
The Clash hit big with the release of their debut album, The Clash, in 1977. It’s includes such classics as “Clash City Rockers” and “I’m So Bored With The USA!” Here is The Clash performing “Bored” in the film “Rude Boy” – more on that in a minute:
The band’s third album, “London Calling” was declared the best album of the 1980’s by Rolling Stone magazine. It is filled with such classic Clash tracks as “Train In Vain”, “Guns Of Brixton” and the iconic title track:
“Rockin’ The Casbah!
In 1982, The Clash became one of the most popular bands in the world with the release of “Combat Rock”, which included the smash hit “Should I Stay Or Should I Go?” – along with this classic: “Rock the Casbah!”
“Grab The Future…By Its FACE!”
Yes, they were one of the greatest bands ever – and of course they broke up at the height of their success….but did you know that The Clash also starred in a movie?
The Clash starred in “Rude Boy” – a unique movie that is semi-documentary, part character study, part ‘rockumentary’, and ALL Clash. The “Rude Boy” is a friend of the band who becomes their roadie – and the film’s acted scenes are juxtaposed with actual public events of the day, including political demonstrations and Clash concerts.
Check out the trailer:
“It’s just a new load of people driving around in the black cars…”
Those words are spoken by Clash singer Joe Strummer to Ray Gange, the “rude boy” who is friends with the band. They are discussing the political system in the world, where “the few” have everything.
“I just want to be one of the few”, Ray states candidly…
Our “Rude Boy” is childhood friends with Strummer – but while Joe talks about an uprising against the rich, Roy just wants to BE rich! His character, while disaffected, is also lazy and entitled – and it leads to great scenes between the Actor and the band…all captured in a very cinema verite style…
Our “Rude Boy” travels with the band as they perform throughout England – and the concert material is mesmerizing. The Clash tear through many of the songs from their debut album, as well as the followup, “Give ’em Enough Rope.” It’s a great non-fiction documentary on the band as well as a great film…
According to wikipedia, the band became so disenchanted with the film, that by its release, they had badges made that said ‘I don’t want Rude Boy Clash Film’.
I don’t remember that when it was released in the US – I just remember how great the music was…
The Clash should be proud: “Rude Boy” is an intense look at a polarized England in the early 80’s – and a terrific document of one of the greatest bands of all time – let’s not forget, on their triple album “Sandanista!” they had a song inspired by “Apocalypse Now” called “Charley Don’t Surf!”