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Customer Review

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars if you like the Clash, you will like this book, July 1, 2005
This review is from: Passion Is a Fashion: The Real Story of the Clash (Paperback)
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.
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Location: Durham, NH United States

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