i dunno. maybe it’s because the clash are one of my ALL TIME FAVORITE BANDS, joe strummer being one of my ALL TIME FAVORITE ARTISTS, but i found this little documentary to be FABULOUS. dick rude (who co-wrote “straight to hell”) compiles concert and behind the scenes footage with interviews and random thoughts from strummer. if you’ve ever watched a tour video before, you’ll pretty much understand what you’re going to see here, but what i felt sets this one apart from the rest is watching the old rocker WORK. it’s not the usual story of excess and wackiness. he mentions, in one of the interviews, that the last album (rock art and the x-ray style) didn’t break even, and he’s afraid that if they don’t do it with this record, that they’ll have to call it quits. you watch as they travel the world trying to make ends meet…
going to radio stations and begging to get the album played and the show promoted:
joe trying to get into a radio station.
calling a station: “i used to be in the clash so… it’s kinda rock music…”
standing outside, handing out fliers to people who aren’t interested…
“when you hustle, you gotta have a hard shell”
etc. etc. etc.
in conclusion, the film will inspire anyone who’s trying to share their music or art with the world. i mean… this guy was in THE CLASH and even HE has to struggle and work hard to convince people to care. well… i guess it could also crush your spirits, depending on your disposition…
this is off their first full length (self titled). you can buy it on their website
the good, the bad, and the queen was formed in 2006 and is a bit of a SUPERGROUP with frontman damon albarn (blur, gorillaz) playing keys and singing, paul simonon (the clash, havana 3am) playing bass, simon tong (the verve, the shining) playing guitar, tony allen (co-founder of the AFROBEAT genre) playing drums, and danger mouse (gnarls barkley, dangerdoom) producing and playing random percussion/synths. albarn describes this album as “a song cycle that’s also a mystery play about London”.
the libertines were a band from 97-2004. they were very popular in england, earning a #1 album on the UK charts. then pete doherty loved drugs too much, so things got fucked up, and they split. here are some bands they are in now: Babyshambles, Dirty Pretty Things, and Yeti. one more thing: Mick Jones of The Clash produced their albums.
phil ochs. i first learned about this man maybe two years ago through a reference in a billy bragg song. i first heard his tunes maybe ONE year ago, and he’s now easily one of my TOP 5 favorite folk singers.
(i haven’t actually made a top 5 list, but off the top of my head, and in no particular order… woody guthrie, phil ochs, jim croce, john hartford, and some other boring asshole probably)
phil was a “left social democrat” and “early revolutionary” who wrote and performed “topical songs” from 1962 through 1975. he was also bi-polar, manic depressive, and had an alternate personality as well as alcoholism and an addiction to valium and sometimes lithium. i think i like him a LOT because he was an actual political activist and his songs are about real, important things. so many of these stupid folk singers sing ‘political’ songs, but don’t actually get involved in any real activism. phil ochs was serious about it.
when he was 18, he was arrested in miami for sleeping on a park bench, and was held in jail for 15 days. while in jail, he realized he wanted to write, and more importantly, to become a journalist. so… during college, he wrote a lot of articles for the school paper, many of which were refused publication because they were too radical. getting fed up, he started his own underground paper and continued pursuing radical jounalism. during this time, he was also introduced to folk music and learned to play the guitar (he was already a somewhat acclaimed clarinet player).
the natural next step for ochs was to combine his love of music with his love of journalism, and he began writing political songs. he described himself as a troubadour jounalist whose songs were built from the stories read in newsweek. in the early sixties, phil was getting rather popular in the new york folk scene and would hang out with such well knowns as joan baez and bob dylan. he was also heavily involved in political activism, performing at and organizing anti-war rallies, civil rights rallies, labor events, etc.
however… he seemed to become more disillusioned and depressed with every passing year (his mental problems were becoming more and more serious as well), and when 1968 rolled around, it really took its toll on phil with the assassination of martin luther king jr. and robert f. kennedy, the riots at the dnc, and the election of nixon. he was also getting negative reviews on his new “baroque-folk” style album, which didn’t help the depression.
in 1970, in order to have more influence on the general public, he commissioned a gold suit from elvis’s costumer and went on tour, playing buddy holly, merle haggard, and elvis covers as well as his own songs. he also travelled to chile, hung out with victor jara (who’s death was immortalized in the song “washington bullets” by the clash), a staunch supporter of allende, and performed in the first greenpeace concert.
1973 was another bad year for ochs… not only did both jara and allende die in the u.s. backed coupe in chile, but he was attacked in africa by robbers who strangled him and injured his vocal chords. the attack worsened his mental problems, and he became increasingly paranoid, believing that the attack was arranged by government agents. (it later turned out that the FBI did, indeed, have a 500 page file on ochs, but they didn’t actually have anything to do with the strangulation)
in 1976, phil ochs hanged himself.
here are a couple of mp3s off the one album i own… “there but for fortune”, a compilation put out by elektra in 89.
There But For Fortune
Is There Anybody Here
Draft Dodger Rag
here’s a live clip of phil performing “the highwayman”:
"Being Strangled" b/w "Us Mere Mortals" (02/08/11)
"Billy and the Black Spot Under an Ugly Moon" (01/11/11)
"Radio Prohibidas" b/w "Never Know" (01/11/11)
"Merry Christmas (Don't Forget To Write)" (12/25/10)
"I'll Take The Bullet For You" b/w "Zenith/Nadir" (12/14/10)
"Warholism (Is Polaroiding)" b/w "Among The Saints" (11/09/10)
"Frantic Prayer" b/w "Kicking The Tires" (10/12/10)
"Gravitational Collapse" b/w "Carcinogenic Kiss" (9/14/10)