Friday, June 24, 2005

The Clash vs. the Sex Pistols (and soccer?)

We covered the obligatory Diamond Dave Lee Roth vs. Cabo Wabo Sammy Haggard (I mean Haggar) earlier on this blog, so now it's on to actual influential music:

I'm probably going to vote for the Clash in a follow-on post, but first an April 12 NY Times article that combines my true loves (besides my family), punk rock and English Premier League football. (By the way - not to take this blog into sports, but I'm pleased to report that Liverpool beat Chelski in the semis on its way to being crowned Champions of Europe on May 25 - Yay Reds!! YNWA!: (archive access needed)


Chelsea Receives Air Time in U.S.

If Steve Jones had not been a punk rocker, he might have been a soccer hooligan.

Jones, the guitar player for the Sex Pistols and one of the band's founders, received considerably less attention than his more outrageous band mates Johnny Lydon, who was known as Johnny Rotten, and John Simon Ritchie, known as Sid Vicious. Who knew during all those years of playing "Anarchy in the U.K." and "God Save the Queen" that Jones was a died-in-the-blue Chelsea fan?

These days Jones is doing an eclectic rock 'n' roll show on radio, "Jonesy's Juke Box," weekdays on Indie 103.1 FM in Los Angeles (on the Internet at from 3 to 5 p.m. Eastern). And he never misses an opportunity to praise Chelsea on the air.

He opened his show Friday strumming his guitar with a loose interpretation of Muddy Waters's "Mannish Boy": "A little blue, Chelsea blue. Going to win the league.
Maybe the Champions League, too. This one goes out to Frank Lampard. To John Terry. To Claude Makelele and all the others. They're the men."

His Chelsea club is on its way to its first English First Division/Premier League title in 50 years and is close to advancing to the semifinals of the Champions League, the top European club competition.


At 4:06 PM, Blogger The Optimist said...

The Clash without a doubt in my mind. They were just awesome musically and socially. The Sex Pistols, cool as they were, were really just a garage band. You love the Sex Pistols for just being whacky and fun and different. The Clash on the other hand can stand up against any other band musically. And they were on the same cool, angry level as the Pistols.

At 10:50 AM, Blogger DougH said...

Clash-- they decided it wasn't shameful to let on they could play their instruments. And London Calling is one of the best Rock albums of all time-- period.

Let's se how they stack up:

Musicality (see above): Edge: Clash

The Who: "Who Are You" is based in a roundabout way on an encounter with Steve Jones and Johnny Rotten. The Clash opened for The Who in 1982. Advantage: Clash (score that for the Pistols if you think the Clash's move represented selling out to the Dinosaur Rock Establishment)

Sneer: Pistols

Post-Pistols/Clash Career-- B.A.D. vs. PiL? A tossup, I lean toward B.A.D., but don't really know enough-- thoughts?

Cool Deaths: Sid Vicious-- Drugs. Tragic, hip, cool. Joe Strummer-- Cancer. boring. Edge: Pistols

Commercial Breakthroughs: Clash: Combat Rock, Rockin' the Casbah on MTV. Pistols: Pretty much nothing. Edge: Pistols

People named Jones: Mick jones, co-leader of the Clash. Steve Jones, often forgotten in favor of Sid and Johnny, now quoted on the band as often as anyone. Edge: Pistols. Steve is a football (soccer, Yanks) fan that bleeds his team's colors, which is a requirment for any punk. Mick Jones' affilaitions are unknown to me. (give this to Clash if you hate Soccer.

Final Score: I don't care (that's the nihilist punk answer). I refuse to tally this up. I stick with my opening paragraph endorsing the Clash

At 8:01 PM, Blogger Adam Zand said...

Just to be different I'm going to defend the Pistols camp (although my recent desert island iPod post actually shows the Clash are the key download).

So how do you defend a band that lasted barely over two years, recorded one official album, performed comical concerts and fleeced money from people whenever possible (even live in 2003)? As usual there is an age element to our posts. Living in England in 1976 & 77 meant that my friends and I were fascinated by the Pistols (before we knew that the Clash could play instruments or that politics could have a punk/dub groove). Besides, in the year of the Queen's Jubilee, it was amazing that the Pistols were exploding the myth of a "great" Britain, while pissing off TV producers, town councils, their own record companies and each other.

Then there is the thrill of the first time you heard "Never Mind the Bollocks." There is an amazing energy and menace to this disc still after almost 30 years. The Clash's first album came to the States in two versions (own the UK version) and doesn't have the focused seething anger of the Pistols. No Future/God Save the Queen, Pretty Vacant, Anarchy in the U.K., Submission, Holidays in the Sun, Bodies - get the theme or mood here or better yet hear the urgency in the band to get this recorded?

A few of my other reasons have to do with movies:
Better documentary: The Filth and the Fury by Julian Temple is amazing. Besides for great interview segments, the film maker compares Johnny Rotten with both Richard the III and English vaudeville/TV comedians (and it actually works). Their other mockumentary is "The Great Rock and Roll Swindle" (also my Julian Temple) and it is twisted - Who Killed Bambi indeed? The Pistols also play a big role in a punk documentry "DOA" with great footage of Sid hitting a Texas redneck over the head with his bass.
The Clash have "Westway to the World" but I just get sad thinking about Joe Strummer now when I see it.
In traditional movies I'll take "Sid and Nancy" (Gary Oldman's first big role?) over the "Rudeboy" movie that features early Clash. Sid & Nancy has as beautiful a post-probable-murder-drug-overdose-suicide that you'll ever see. I just love the kids dancing and the cab pulling up for the final ride into the sun. Then Joe Strummer sings the first song of the credits, Love Kills, which is perfect.

In simple terms of which band led more people to want pick up an instrument and rock, I'm guesing the Pistols.


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