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Passion is a Fashion: The Real Story of the "Clash" [Englisch] [Gebundene Ausgabe]

Pat Gilbert


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Kurzbeschreibung

21. Oktober 2004
The only internationally successful, million-selling group to emerge from the late seventies London punk scene, the Clash set out to change the world with a potent mix of politics, blazing rock?n?roll and iconic imagery. The band?s interest in social issues - unemployment, racism, police oppression - and fascination with international events - terrorism, CIA-backed coups, the shadow of nuclear war - reflected the turmoil of an era when the great cultural revolution of the sixties appeared to have failed. It was an agenda mirrored in the Clash?s music, which swiftly evolved from ferocious punk rock to incorporate reggae, ska, funk, jazz, soul and hip hop. Passion is a Fashion draws on over 70 interviews with the key participants in the story ? roadies, producers, friends and fans - and above all conversations with the band members themselves, to give the first real insight into what went on behind the scenes during the Clash?s ten-year career. With a superb sense of place, from the streets of south London and the grimy bedsits of Notting Hill to the dislocated luxury of Los Angeles, it charts the Clash?s picaresque progress through the penurious days of the early punk scene and their groundbreaking Rock Against Racism gigs, to the arduous touring to break America and the making of the classic London Calling album, all the way to the band? s eventual dissolution and the untimely death of Joe Strummer. The book sheds new and unexpected light on the early lives of the Clash?s classic line-up - Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon and Topper Headon - and examines the complex tensions that led to the dramatic ousting of first drummer Headon and then founder-member Jones. It also examines the often-overlooked contribution of the band?s extraordinary, larger-than-life manager, Bernard Rhodes ? one of the great rock band impresarios of all time. Gritty, independent-minded, compelling and above all authoritative, Passion Is A Fashion is the biography the Clash have long deserved.

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'It is hard to imagine a better biography of the band' Observer 'The definitive document is long overdue, and Pat Gilbert has just told it' Word 'The 25th anniversary of London Calling deserved to be commemorated with a great book, and this vast Clash biography is it' Uncut -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Taschenbuch .

Synopsis

The only internationally successful, million-selling group to emerge from the late seventies London punk scene, the Clash set out to change the world with a potent mix of politics, blazing rock?n?roll and iconic imagery. The band?s interest in social issues - unemployment, racism, police oppression - and fascination with international events - terrorism, CIA-backed coups, the shadow of nuclear war - reflected the turmoil of an era when the great cultural revolution of the sixties appeared to have failed. It was an agenda mirrored in the Clash?s music, which swiftly evolved from ferocious punk rock to incorporate reggae, ska, funk, jazz, soul and hip hop. Passion is a Fashion draws on over 70 interviews with the key participants in the story ? roadies, producers, friends and fans - and above all conversations with the band members themselves, to give the first real insight into what went on behind the scenes during the Clash?s ten-year career. With a superb sense of place, from the streets of south London and the grimy bedsits of Notting Hill to the dislocated luxury of Los Angeles, it charts the Clash?s picaresque progress through the penurious days of the early punk scene and their groundbreaking Rock Against Racism gigs, to the arduous touring to break America and the making of the classic London Calling album, all the way to the band?

s eventual dissolution and the untimely death of Joe Strummer. The book sheds new and unexpected light on the early lives of the Clash?s classic line-up - Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon and Topper Headon - and examines the complex tensions that led to the dramatic ousting of first drummer Headon and then founder-member Jones. It also examines the often-overlooked contribution of the band?s extraordinary, larger-than-life manager, Bernard Rhodes ? one of the great rock band impresarios of all time. Gritty, independent-minded, compelling and above all authoritative, Passion Is A Fashion is the biography the Clash have long deserved.


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Amazon.com: 4.8 von 5 Sternen  12 Rezensionen
16 von 16 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen (Almost) The Only Clash Book That Matters 17. Juni 2005
Von Will Errickson - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
If only one Clash book is going to grace your shelves, it should be Pat Gilbert's "Passion is a Fashion." Gilbert, diligent music journalist he is, has gotten interviews with our beloved Joe, Mick, Paul and Topper (a feat Marcus Gray, author of the decade-old, the oft-maligned "Last Gang in Town" never managed). Particularly insightful are comments and insights the band members give after Joe's untimely death, and the knowledge of such imparts a poignancy to Gilbert's liquor-fueled interviews with Strummer. But Gilbert has also tracked down the erstwhile Bernard Rhodes, the "complete control" genius/maniac who managed the Clash in their early days and then again as they broke up. His quotes are marvelously irreverent and mythic, and are a part of the Clash history often overlooked.

As for the tale itself, Gilbert tells it with economy and precision (I think it's two-thirds the book that Gray's was), with lots of info even this diehard Clash aficionado was unaware of. Gilbert covers all the highs of the band--the knockout debut album that defined a generation and a whole new vocabulary of music and pop-culture style; the artistic triumph of "London Calling"; the outrageous intensity of their live shows; the conquering of America with "Rock the Casbah" and a Top 10 album... and then the fallout.

Gilbert covers the last days of the Clash, including interviews with the usually forgotten members of Clash mark II, who seem unwilling to discuss it. It's an ignoble end to an often noble and great band, written out of Clash mythology--I don't blame them. But enough time has passed that we can see the problems involved, which Mick and Paul talk about more openly than in previous interviews.

The book comes with a complete Clash discography as well as a bibliography, but one thing it lacks is a wealth of photos. There are a couple never-before-seen photos, but as Gilbert discusses, say, the changing look of the band (from Pop Art lettrism to black-and-white gangsters to military fatigues) some accompanying pics would've been nice. So, be sure to pick up Bob Gruen's peerless book of Clash photography, "The Clash," which spans just about the entirety of their career.

Clash PR man and confidant Kosmo Vinyl best sums up the inherent contradictions of the Clash this way: "We had so much fun robbing the bank, we forgot to take the money!"
10 von 10 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen if you like the Clash, you will like this book 1. Juli 2005
Von Timothy Horrigan - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
This is quite a detailed blow-by-blow account of the history of the Clash, and even of its pre-history. Mr. Gilbert devotes the first 100 pages or so to the lads' pre-Clash lives, and he even reveals that the Clash were in fact originally a manufactured boy band. Their manager Bernie Rhodes put Joe Strummer, Mick Jones and Paul Simonon together primarily because they looked good: the fact that Joe & Mick turned out to be arguably the greatest songwriting team since Mick & Keith (or even John & Paul) was just a happy accident.

There's not much about the band's post-history, which is unfortunate since the Clash were one of those bands who were more popular and more influential after they broke up than while they were still together. (And also, Mick Jones' post-Clash band, Big Audio Dynamite were important in their own right, and Joe Strummer had a noteable solo career.)

In any case, there's lots of lots of information in this book about the Clash and their entourage. All six core members of the band (including the two "other" drummers, Terry Chimes and Pete Howard) were interviewed, although Mick and Topper had very little to say and Joe (who was the central figure in the Clash legend) died in the middle of the project.

If you like the Clash, you will like the book, though you may not love it. The book has a few flaws: a meagre picture selction (even though the author talks a lot about how the band looks), a pedestrian writing style, and not enough info about the music itself. I am also not sure if all the details are 100% accurate. For example, on pp. 250-251, we were told that the shot of Paul Simonon smashing his bass on the London Calling album was taken at precisely 9:50pm at the Palladium in New York. I was at that show. It ended much later than that. At 9:50pm, Mitch Ryder (not mentioned in this book) would still have been performing. For another example, the Black Market Clash album was listed as having been released in 1991 when it actually came out in 1980.

This book does not quite rate the full 5 stars, but it does tell a fascinating story.
8 von 8 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Very impressive book - welcome to 1970s South London 2. Juni 2006
Von megade01 - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
This review applies to the 2004 hardcover edition. I knew a reasonable amount about The Clash before reading this book but the author here opened my eyes to a number of things and helped to confirm some of my ideas and reject others.

This is an academic book in the sense that any university sociology or history department type would or should respect the high standard of scholarship here - painstaking research involving interviews with a large number of band friends, business associates and childhood and youth buddies - and objective and intelligent analysis throughout. Although the research is detailed and Gilbert takes the subject matter seriously, the writing is still lively and captivating.

The book first traces the childhoods, youth days and former bands of all members individually which is fascinating and well researched. A lot of this information would be new to even the diehard fans. It's fascinating to read about and see a picture of Mick Jones' gran's 18th floor council flat in South London overlooking the Westway - where Mick "practised daily in my room" according to the song Stay Free. We also get to learn about Mick's close friend, also written about in Stay Free, who in real life did serve time for a bank robbery offence.

The art-school beginnings and the "squatting days" in early 1970s London (living in vacated houses under the Westway without paying rent) and the members' pre-Clash bands are well documented. Overall, Gilbert does an excellent job in helping the reader recreate in his/her mind the world of 1970s South London where the Clash story was played out. That is one of the book's great strengths in my opinion.

The book demolishes some punk myths, but keeps others alive. Firstly, the book demolishes the cherished idea that The Pistols and The Clash were working-class lads who met up, decided to form a band, and sing about social and political topics. There is some element of truth in that idealised view. However, the bands' respective managers, Malcolm McLaren of The Pistols and Bernie Rhodes of The Clash, clearly manufactured the bands to a certain extent based on their personal visions of what they wanted to achieve. Joe clearly understood this and was willing to co-operate with Rhodes to achieve common goals - but Mick was less supportive, being more of a traditional old-time rocker.

Gilbert clearly describes the social changes affecting Britain in the late 70s - the rise to power of the Thatcher right-wing government and the first wave of West Indian immigrants into London (and especially Brixton). We see how all band members had a genuine and sincere desire for racial harmony - they were fascinated by Jamaican reggae music and later New York hip hop. The bands' involvement in anti-racism gigs and sharing the stage with acts such as Bo Diddley and Micky Dread were extremely influential in contributing to the unity of the streets.

Another Clash myth that the book does not debunk but strengthens is their closeness to the fans and genuine warmth they felt towards the fans and vice-versa. However, the bitter infighting and bad vibes involving Joe, Mick and Paul often seemed to take the joy out of their lives and the book exposes this fully. It ultimately led to Mick's sacking at the hands of Joe, Paul and Bernie.

Other highlights are detailed descriptions of the recording sessions that led to each album and brief song-by-song descriptions (however, the focus on the actual music is fairly brief - the book is more a study of people and society).

Producer Guy Stevens' drunken chair-smashing antics during the London Calling sessions are hilariously recounted. His crazy energy probably contributed to the eclectic joy that London Calling produced. The details of the football games during the London Calling sessions are also interesting. The orange mohawked Japanese guys they met playing football in the London park - who knew every note of every Clash song (and Joe's cynical reaction to them, in contrast to the other band members) - also is humorous in my opinion.

Lastly, we are also are given a rare insight into The Clash Mark II. The three young band members who replaced Mick and Topper are all interviewed. Naturally they were dissapointed with certain aspects of the Mark II experience - but they don't seem bitter and it doesn't seem that they were treated totally badly (at least not by the band - by Bernie Rhodes maybe). In my opinion "This is England" (from 1985) ranks in The Top 3 Clash songs of all time. Good to get an insight into this less-publicised and once-denied stage of the band's existence. It almost makes me want to go out and buy Cut the [...]!!

I enjoyed my trip to the world of South London that Gilbert offered and South London became a better place I'm sure due to the huge influence of Joe, Mick, Topper and Paul. Stay free...
2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A WARM AND AFFECTIONATE BACKSTAGE ACCOUNT 17. August 2005
Von Christopher Loring Knowles - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
Fans of the Clash are blessed these days with so much media on the band, it's as if they never broke up. Between the internet, DVDs and several worthy books on the band, there's more Clash material out there now than ever before. Pat Gilbert's book is a welcome addition to the canon. As has been noted, Pat was allowed access to the band and their inner circle and many intriguing details missing from the other books are filled in. This book is an excellent companion to Marcus Gray's Return of the Last Gang in Town, for the two books look at the Clash from different angles and their differing outlooks compliment each other quite nicely. With insider quotes coming so fast in furious in its pages, Passion acts almost as an oral history. Many of the gaps in Gray's book are patched by the band themselves, such as the lost year of 1983 (when the band was idle and wasn't dealing with the press).

A great read for fans of the Clash and for anyone interested in the last Classic Rock and Roll band.
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen one of the better rock bios 23. Januar 2013
Von Donald E. Gilliland - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
This book serves as a fascinating window into the colorful personalities who comprised The Clash, one of the best rock/punk bands on the planet in the late 70s and early 80s. If you are a Clash fan, this is a MUST read. The book is well researched, full of great quotes and ancecdotes, and above all, very well written. Really, this is one of the better rock bios of any era that I have read. If you aren't a Clash fan already, you may become one simply by reading this book. At the very least, you will be intrigued enough to want to listen to their albums all over again.

Of particular interest to me, because I live in Thailand, was one of the later chapters that touched on the Clash's tour of Thailand in 1982. According to one member of the band's entourage, when bassist Paul Simonon fell ill and had to be hospitalized briefly in Bangkok, Joe Strummer invited some monks he had met earlier that week to come to the hospital room and "bless" Paul. While they were in Bangkok, the Clash wandered down to the railroad tracks near their hotel (somewhere in the Makkasan area on Petchburi Road) and a photograph from that session ended up being the cover of their popular "Combat Rock." It's cool details like this that make this book rise above the rest.
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