From: Annette <misschief-at-earthlink.net>
Hello, you've got best Clash site going of course . . .
My name is Annette Weatherman, I am American and was living in London and hanging around with the Clash some in 1977-78. I went on some tour dates with them --
Anyway, I and my friend Vermillion Sands did a lengthy interview with Joe, Mick & Paul in 1977. It was published in Search & Destroy mag out of San Francisco. It was the first word of the Clash in print in the U.S., I think. I think it would be a good thing to recognize this early interview on your site which is the most complete ...
Chrissy Hynde was present at the interview . . . I believe she & I were the only Americans in the British punk scene 77-78
I hope you will respond to this and tell me what you think
Search and Destroy - 1977
Clash Interviewed by Annette Weatherman and Vermilion Sands
The Clash were interviewed in a Camden Town pub on a Saturday evening following rehearsal, a brief pastiche of new songs. Drummer NICKY HEADON was not present. ANN and VERMILION interviewed JOE, MICK, and PAUL. Friends and crew sat about, joking and laughing until the questions started.
MICK JONES, guitarist and second vocalist, was wearing an all-black outfit, relatively "plain" (meaning only a few zippers sewn in at wild angles). His hot pink socks were as conspicuous as neon against black.
PAUL SIMENON(sic), bassist, wears a skinny ripped t-shirt with Clash-style slogans painted on. One is "I Am A Prostitute." Over it is a cheezy-looking suit coat, black pants and shoes, and his socks are neon lime green.
Vocalist JOE STRUMMER, who also plays rhythm guitar, is wearing a black leather jacket, black zippered Clash-style pants. All three wear the same curious style of heavy black shoe.
It's important to know that this interview was taken in the height of (relatively unpublicized) summer "punk bashing" violence perpetrated towards people in punk gear by reactionary, 50's style Teddy Boys and other 'citizens' in an effort to squelch the burgeoning punk nation.
Questioning starts with:
VER: (!) Hey aren't those the shoes that the Teds wear?
MICK: Yeah. They're called brothel creepers
ANN: Joe, do you think Mick is a "brilliant guitar player"? (this is the remark made so often in the press)
JOE: No, not right at the moment! I think he has been and can be again. I do think he was brilliant on "Police and Thieves" on the album.
VER: What has been your favorite gig?
MICK: Birmingham. That was the greatest laugh.
ANN: It was not, it was terrible! (the gig was a last ditch, late night disaster of letdown feelings and half-operant conditions including two mikes and various amps shorting in and out, virtually canceling the possibility of good music)
JOE: What did you expect? The whole town was against us. Police and Town Council everywhere. More cops than kids! Would it have been better if we hadn't even showed up?
ANN: No, but the whole thing could have been more unified somehow. More organization, communication....
MICK: People don't get together like that anymore. They did that in the 60's. (sneer)
ANN: Well, they should. "People get ready!"
JOE: Well anyway, my favorite gig was Sweden where we played the fastest set ever. We did a 50-minute set in 34 minutes, it was great.
VER: Has your music disturbed anyone?
MICK: Besides my grandmum? No, I don't know about disturbed. Spurred! maybe. (Mick lives with his grandmother on the 18th floor of a tower housing block near the Westway, London's gargantuan freeway}
VER: Describe yourself and your band politically.
JOE: We aren't political.
ANN: Oh no?
JOE: Ok, listen: what are YOUR politics?
ANN: My politics haven't come into being yet!
JOE: So, you don't have any politics. We don't have any politics either. Right now we're a- political (In the Melody Maker and Zig Zag, the PISTOLS slagged them off for "dole" lyrics and claim the CLASH's attitudes are confusing. Most fans do not agree)
VER: Is this really the "Summer of Hate?"
JOE: It's no different than any summer. You have to be prepared to punch, that's all. If you want to exist as yourself, you have to be prepared to punch. Or don't go out on the streets, which is about what it's coming to these days. It will be better when summer's over. One way it's different: Cops are now the old enemies. This year the new enemy is the people.
ANN: Do you still get into fights?
ANN: When was the last time?
JOE: 2 nights ago.
ANN: Do you care to talk about it?
JOE: Nah, I don't like to talk about it. It's just something you have to do.
ANN: So what do you do when they try to pick fights with you?
JOE: I Run! I fuckin move it on down the high street!
VER: How do you relate to your fans on a one-to-one basis?
MICK: We listen to what they have to say, if they have something to say. But lately they've started to punch me. They come up and say, "Why aren't you doing this and this now?" "Why have you copped out?"-- this sort of thing. We call them "Social Conscience Botherers."
ANN: You've said your songs were "paintings in yellow light" (referring to the yellow lights over the Westway). Will your new songs change color?
MICK: We said that?
JOE: RED. Red for STOP!
ANN: How conscious are you of the military stance of your performance?
JOE: I wouldn't call it military. Militant.
VER: Would you have the courage to quit this band and make it another way?
JOE: Yes - - I'd be a gun runner. Organize the sale of guns.
PAUL: Sure, if it got boring.
MICK: I'd stay in rock & roll til I was 28 and then I'd pop off. But I'd stay in art. I can paint, draw real good.
ANN: Your self-created clothes style, spray-painted slogans and "clashing" colors started a youth fashion movement last fall. Do you still create your own clothes?
MICK: Sure, some of them.
JOE: Now we have someone to sew in all the zippers and stuff.
ANN: Haven't you found, thought that sometimes your clothes stand between you and your fans?
JOE: No. How do you mean?
ANN: Well, I know I'm not the only one to feel this way. Especially when you first started wearing that really incredible leather jacket, black with red shark's tooth insets, or whatever you call them. I thought, "Oh Joe, don't wear such fantastic clothes when your fans can't possibly afford them." We want to keep you as one of the people, you know. One of us.
JOE: No, it's up to me to set an example, if I have to put it this way. If I'm gonna feel great, I have to look great. Goes for anybody!
ANN: Mick, what is that one shirt you wear performing, the black and white one with the interesting face?
MICK: Oh, you mean Brigit Riley, Britain's lady painter of optical things. You could call it Op Art, but actually, she's gone beyond that.
JOE: It's toothpaste art!
ANN: What does poverty mean for you now?
JOE: Right now, 54 pence in your pocket means poverty. And that's just what I've got.
ANN: Do you expect this to get better?
JOE: It better! Or else we're gonna fade away.
ANN: Are you afraid of poverty?
JOE: No. I've lived with it too long.
ANN: Do you think the PISTOLS really can't play anywhere? We seem to have found out otherwise.
MICK: Oh no, they can play. It's better business not to play.
ANN: What do you think of Malcolm McLauren?
MICK: He is the one visionary of the time.
ANN: Will your new songs progress the dialogue with your old fans, or will they present the same ideas aimed at attracting more new people?
BOYS: (seem baffled by question) Our songs are for everyone.
VER: Why aren't you friends with the other bands?
JOE: We like the PISTOLS. We just aren't very close.
MICK: Because most bands, we just don't like as people. We can't go along with what they do or say. They dribble about like....wet fishes!
ANN: What about the DAMNED?
MICK: One of the wet fishes. The DAMNED in America - all that got back here from that trip was how many girls they laid. Waagh!
JOE: Wankers! ("Wanker" - a masturbator)
ANN: But what about the DAMNED's music? We think their songs have depth - dark, mystical, even poetic. The more we listen the more we hear.
MICK: It's just Comedy Horror Rock.
ANN: But the songs have some great imagery - "Can't afford no candle, can afford no gun at all." This is a great line for me. "Be a man, be a mystery man...."
MICK (politely): You're mad as a piece of grey matter! The DAMNED are just not....essential.
JOE: They are like Hammer Films Productions.
ANN: Well, we think that's terrible. We think you should realize you're more together than all that.
MICK: Why? We're individuals. If you're an individual today, you don't get along with other people.
VER: Speaking of films, have you thought of doing them?
MICK: We like doing Video's.
VER: Favorite films?
MICK: The Harder They Come, Mean Streets, Lafayette, with Jack Hawkins, about the American War of Independence. Les Enfants Terribles, by Jean Cocteau.
VER: Favorite books?
JOE: Narc, a pulp by Joseph Greenbaugh, cause it's got lots of action.
ANN: Did it embarrass you when you were arrested last month? (Twice, once for stealing hotel keys and pillowcases, once for spray-painting "CLASH" on a wall).
JOE: No. It was boring. Irritating! Spending the night in jail! Oh yeah - add another book to that list: The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. Just finished it.
PAUL: Looks like you've cleaned your teeth today.
JOE: I've been smiling into the mirror.
VER: What do you think about Wilhelm Reich?
JOE: Who's he?
VER: He wrote books linking sexual repression with fascism....
MICK: He died in prison. Don't know much about him though.
ANN: This question is hard to phrase. You know how members of bands are always talking about "pulling chicks"....
MICK: We don't call them chicks, to start with. Girls. Women. Birds.
JOE: When we get drunk we call them Tarts.
MICK: The fact is we don't go to bed with all that many women. We're not into it like that. Too much of the blatantly sexual gets boring.
ANN: (to a quiet Paul) Do you read much?
PAUL: Oh yes. The last book I read was by Germaine Greer.
ANN: (!) Did you like it?
PAUL: It was great. Some of it I didn't agree with. Some of it was great.
VER: Do you ever think about Source?
MICK: Yeah, we think about Source. But we don't know where it is. We steal most of it!
ANN: Don't you consider yourselves original?
JOE: Mick steals his stuff; me and Paul are totally original. No, really we all steal a lot of our stuff, that's just the way it is.
ANN: Do you ever get frustrated by the limitations of your art form - guitars, rock & roll songs? Don't you ever feel like doing something else up there?
MICK (look incredulous): What?
JOE: Yeah, I want to do something else but I want to do it in dark corners. Not where people can see.
ANN: Won't people eventually get saturated by your singing style?
JOE: Yeah, well I'm changing my singing style. But I ain't telling you where I'm getting it!
ANN: "Getting it"? There you go again. Isn't it your expression, taken from your life experience?
JOE: Well, you get it from everywhere and everybody. But it is often like a direct steal!
ANN: So where are you "getting it" from?
JOE: Black men.
ANN: Do you ever get tired of reggae?
JOE: Yeah. When they go (mimics sing-song complacent sounds). Or when they go, (sings) "Do you remember the days of slavery?" We want to shout ....
3 BOYS IN UNISON: "No!"
VER: Favorite records?
JOE: Story of Ska, Trojan Free LT Package Reggae.
MICK: MOTT THE HOOPLE: All the Young Dudes. (?)
ANN: Your song lyrics - do you ever see the original words mutate and change into something better?
MICK: Well, it's funny what people hear sometimes. Like this one bloke thought for months that we were singing "QUITE RIGHT" instead of "WHITE RIOT"! (Boys laugh hysterically at reminiscence and sing choruses of "QUITE RIGHT")
ANN: Yeah, well for ages I never knew you were singing "HATE AND WAR - The only thing we got today" My positivism, I guess, colored it and all I could ever hear was "PAINT A WALL! - The only thing we got today!" (Boys laugh uproariously and sing "Paint A Wall!")
ANN: Would you mind if I bootlegged one of your concerts?
MICK: We won't speak to you again if you do.
JOE: No, no. We don't care.
JOE: People don't understand our song about being on the dole. We're not saying the dole ain't OK. What we're saying is on another level.
ANN: Am I glad to hear you say that! I'm always telling people there's another interpretation. "I've been too long on the dole" means to me: I've been too long dependent on the pacifying food of this society, food which is absolutely without nourishment. Now "I can't work (think or do anything for myself) at all."
VER: Are you worried?
MICK: We are despondent, uh 8 out of 10 days. Print that.
VER: What do you do about it?
PAUL: Do something creative.
MICK: Play records.
JOE: Watch TV.
ANN: (!) But who wrote that great line in "London's Burning" - "Everybody's drowning in a sea of television"?
JOE (sings): "Everybody's sitting 'round watching television" is how I actually sing it....I wrote it. Mick wrote the first line, "Black and white, turn it on, face the new religion..."
PAUL: I don't write 'em.
VER: Do you plan to tour America?
JOE: We haven't really thought about it.
VER: Would you rather call it Punk Rock or New Wave?
JOE: Punk Rock! Dung Rock!
MICK: Red Light Rock.
ANN: A lot of people are into "Sex Rock" now.
MICK: Sex Rock, what's that?
VER: It's what they yell at us when we walk down the streets like King's Road. They, yell "Sex Rockers!" I think it's great.
ANN: Lately, in the night clubs there's been a real move on this idea among the new kids joining in. All these virgins, pinheads and shy types, deciding that repressing sex is for the Real idiots. The problem is there aren't enough girls coming out that share the idea. You know, you got 300 guys pogoing together now.
MICK: Well anyway, I think there should be a one word answer to punk rock.
ANN: Well, give me a one-word answer to this: Are you a punk?
(PAUL gone by this time)
Article contribution by Tami Peterson
The birth of The Clash
The Clash: Down And Out And Proud
The Clash: Eighteen Flight Rock...
Kris Needs - Trakmarx
Greatness from Garageland
Does anyone have a scan of this article?
Does anyone have a scan of this article?