The Clash’s first album, forty years ago


This video shows the Clash playing live in Munich, Germany in 1977.

By Mark Perryman in Britain:

Celebrating the politics of punk

Tuesday 4th April 2017

Next Saturday marks the 40th anniversary of The Clash’s debut album. MARK PERRYMAN reports on a notable event to mark it

FOR most people, the birth of punk happened on or around 1976 with the November release that year of the Sex Pistols’ Anarchy in the UK. Music and movement were catapulted into the “filth and fury” headlines via the band’s expletive-strewn Bill Grundy TV interview.

The Pistols and the rest were key to the detonation of a youthful mood of revolt alongside the not entirely dissimilar The Damned, Manchester’s Buzzcocks and the more trad-rock Stranglers. Giving the boy bands a run for their money, The Slits pushed perhaps hardest at punk’s musical boundaries, their Typical Girls track quite unlike what the others were recording.

But it was The Clash who more than anyone symbolised the punk and politics mix, showcased on their debut album The Clash, released 40 years ago on April 8, 1977.

Its 14 tracks, played at furious speed, were two-minute classics. Boredom with the US, hate, war, non-existent career opportunities and an angry demand for a riot of their own all featured. And there was an inspired cover version, backed by a pitch perfect reggae beat played slow, of Junior Murvin and Lee “Scratch” Perry’s Police and Thieves, with the lyrics almost spoken rather than sung.

The album cover shows the youthful threesome of Strummer, Jones and Simonon in their artfully stencilled shirts and jackets that were to become their signature stage wear uniform completed by the obligatory skinny jeans, white socks and black DMs.

The print quality is purposely poor to add a degree of authenticity that this band hardly needed. But it was the back cover, a scene from the 1976 Notting Hill carnival riots with the Met’s boys in blue, that’s the more telling. It shows them in hot pursuit of black youth who are retreating and regrouping under the Westway flyover in west London.

It was that reality in ’76 that inspired The Clash’s anthemic White Riot and the lines: “White riot! I wanna riot. White riot! A riot of my own!”’ At the time the National Front’s streetfighting racist army was laying waste wherever they marched. Their leaders John Tyndall and Martin Webster were pretty much household names and the NF was getting an indecently high enough number of votes to suggest an electoral breakthrough might be a possibility.

The potential for White Riot to be misinterpreted then — and now too — is obvious. But the band’s intent couldn’t be clearer.

Living and recording in and around the Westway, they embraced the changes the local community had undergone since the 1950s. Caribbean music, food and fashions were as much a part of who The Clash were as rock’n’roll, Sunday roast and safety pins.

It was a spirit of Black defiance that they sought to share, not oppose: “All the power is in the hands/Of people rich enough to buy it,/While we walk the streets/Too chicken to even try it./And everybody does what they’re told to/And everybody eats supermarket soul food!”

A year after the album’s release, The Clash headlined the first Rock against Racism carnival in London’s Victoria Park.

The dayglo politics of this musical culture of resistance fitted perfectly with the agitprop look and lyrics of the band, as it did with Poly Styrene of X-Ray Spex’s punk feminism, Tom Robinson with his liberatory number Sing If You’re Glad to be Gay and Birmingham’s Steel Pulse’s Handsworth Revolution.

This wasn’t just a line-up that commercial promoters in ’78 would die for, it was a platform to challenge prejudice both without and within that we could dance to, or jump about to.

Of course, like all successful musicians, The Clash became celebrities and the venues became bigger and bigger. But, through force of circumstance, the band bailed out before they reached U2’s overblown proportions or outstayed their musical welcome like the Rolling Stones.

1977 is a moment to look back to and remember but not to fossilise, that would be the antithesis of everything The Clash represented or, as the final track from the album put it: “I don’t want to hear about what the rich are doing, I don’t want to go where the rich are going.”

Garageland. That’s where they came from and never entirely left either. Its why more than anything else the ’77 Clash still matter four decades on and to mark the 40th anniversary there’ll be a night of live music like no other at London’s Rich Mix on April 8, hosted by RMT and supported by the FBU.

The album will be played in both the original 1977-era Clash style and a 2017 remix on a bill that mixes bands, solo performers, discussion and spoken word. Syd Shelton’s incredible photography of ’77 punk and the rise of Rock against Racism is on show and among the artists appearing are 48 Thrills with Steve North, Dream Nails, Emily Harrison, Sean McGowan, Nia Wyn, Joe Solo, Captain Ska, Attila the Stockbroker and Comrade X.

’77 Clash Night is at Rich Mix, Bethnal Green Road, London E1, with a 6pm start. Tickets, price £9.99, are available from philosophyfootball.com or call (01255) 552-412 to reserve.

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Greek punk bands raise money for refugee squats


The Free

exaarchia

Around a dozen squats provide housing for refugees and migrants in the Exarchia neighbourhood of Athens.

by   Patrick Strickland via Al Jazeera

@P_Strickland_

Athens, Greece – On a cold night in late December at a smoky venue in the Greek capital, Anfo takes to the stage and immediately launches into a song.

A tall, thin man in a Soviet beret, guitarist Nikos stands on the edge of the stage. The vocalist, Sotiris, lowers his head and looks downward between guttural screams.

Behind them, Giorgos Chloros pounds away at the drums. Anfo, a leftist punk band, is joined by a handful of other punk outfits.

“Everybody [in Anfo] is involved in the anti-capitalist struggle in some form,” Chloros, a 45-year-old socialist, told Al Jazeera, explaining that they perform at anti-racism festivals and other pro-refugee events. 

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Green Day anti-Trump music video


This Green Day music video from the USA says about itself:

16 January 2017

Official Lyric Video for “Troubled Times” from the new album ‘Revolution Radio.’

By Lee Moran in the USA today:

Green Day Rips Donald Trump In New ‘Troubled Times’ Video

Green Day takes aim at President-elect Donald Trump in its latest video.

A clip from the “Troubled Times” video, which the punk rock band posted online on Monday, shows a  Trump-like figure in a red “Make America Great Again” cap apparently spewing antagonistic rhetoric to crowds.

… The clip ends ominously, with someone pressing a big red button to cause a gigantic mushroom cloud. …

While the group doesn’t mention Trump by name in the video or song from its album “Revolution Radio,” it has not been shy about criticizing the former reality television personality in the past.

At the 2016 MTV Europe Music Awards, the day before the presidential election, they changed the words to their 2004 hit “American Idiot” from “subliminal mind-fuck America” to “subliminal mind-Trump America.”

And two weeks later at the American Music Awards, the rockers added the extra line of “No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA” while performing “Bang Bang”.

Donald Trump opposed by Green Day punk rockers


This video from the USA says about itself:

GREEN DAY SLAM DONALD TRUMP @ AMA PERFORMANCE

20 November 2016

Punk rockers Green Day hit the stage at the 2016 AMA’s to perform their hit song “Bang Bang”, but throw in a surprise stab at racism in the United States, along with denouncing our president-elect Donald Trump. Kudos to Green Day, and apologies for getting pretty political in this video.

The video clip I’m referring to is at 1:28.

Check out more about this story here.

By Ed Mazza in the USA:

Green Day Rocks The American Music Awards With Anti-Trump Chant On Live TV

“No Trump! No KKK! No fascist USA!”

11/21/2016 03:41 am ET

Donald Trump is coming under fire again, this time at the American Music Awards.

Green Day’s blistering version of its new song “Bang Bang” included an extra line aimed at the president-elect: “No Trump! No KKK! No fascist USA!”

The moment took place on Sunday night, a little more than two minutes into the performance (see the video above). The chant was a play on “Born To Die” by MDC, which featured the repeated line, “No War! No KKK! No fascist USA!”

“Bang Bang” is on Green Day’s latest album, “Revolution Radio.”

The performance came just days after the cast of Broadway’s “Hamilton” delivered a message to vice-president-elect Mike Pence, who was in the audience on Friday night. The next day, Trump fired off several tweets attacking the cast and demanding an apology. He also sent out an angry tweet after a “Saturday Night Live” skit starring Alec Baldwin mocked him.

At the time of this writing, Trump has not yet responded to Green Day, but Us Weekly found a tweet from 2010 saying he enjoyed the Broadway show based on the band’s concept album, “American Idiot.”

THE ‘DANGERS’ OF TRUMP’S GLOBAL BUSINESS EMPIRE “Turkey is a nation in crisis, scarred by government crackdowns following a failed coup attempt and on a potential collision course with the West. It is also home to a valuable revenue stream for the president-elect’s business empire: Trump Towers Istanbul.” [WaPo]

Deadly radiation in Fukushima


This music video from Japan says about itself:

“The Scrap” punk band blasts Fukushima aftermath. Thousands still homeless after earthquake and tsunami. Nobutaka Takahashi, lead vocal, “The Scrap”. Wednesday, May 23, 2012.

From the Japan Times:

Deadly 9.4 sieverts detected outside Fukushima reactor 2 containment vessel; checks stop

Oct 30, 2015

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Thursday that radiation levels of up to 9.4 sieverts per hour have been detected near a reactor containment vessel at the meltdown-hit Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

Sept. 4-25 checks found the extremely high radiation levels in a small building containing a pipe that is connected to the reactor 2 containment vessel at the plant, which was devastated in the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, Tepco said.

Exposure to such a dosage for some 45 minutes would result in death. Tepco said it expects decontamination work at the site to take at least one month.

Although details surrounding the high radiation levels remain scarce, the highest contamination was detected near the floor of the building, according to the company.

Tepco had planned to begin checking the inside of the containment vessel in August by using a remote-controlled robot, but high radiation levels have stalled the examination.

Extremely high radiation levels and the inability to grasp the details about melted nuclear fuel make it impossible for the utility to chart the course of its planned decommissioning of the reactors at the plant.

Time has come for an ‘honorable retreat’ from Tokyo 2020 [Olympics] over Fukushima — Dr. Brian Victoria, The Japan Times: here.

Cancer and Fukushima: Who to trust? — The Japan Times: here.

JAPAN Nuclear Fuel Ltd announced yesterday that it was postponing the opening of a nuclear fuel reprocessing plant until September 2018. The company cited regulators’ lengthy inspection procedures and the time needed for safety upgrades: here.

Radioactive waste mounts up as residents resist post-Fukushima disposal plans — The Asahi Shimbun: here.

Fukushima confirms 11 new thyroid cancer cases among young people — The Asahi Shimbun: here.

Radiation from Japan nuclear disaster spreads off U.S. shores — Reuters: here.

Dec. 10, 2015 – Updated 02:54 UTC+1. The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says levels of radioactivity in underground tunnels have sharply risen: here.

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