The Clash

Joe StrummerGuitar, vocals1976-1985
Mick JonesGuitar, vocals1976-1983
Paul SimononBass, vocals1976-1985
Nicky "Topper" HeadonDrums1977-1982
Tory Crimes (Terry Chimes)Drums1976-1977; 1982-1983
Keith LeveneGuitar1976
Vince WhiteGuitar1983-1985
Nick SheppardGuitar1983-1985
Pete HowardDrums1983-1985

The Clash Artistfacts

  • Strummer was born in Ankara, Turkey because his father was a British diplomat. His original name was John Mellor.
  • The name "Strummer" was bestowed upon Strummer because he was known to strum "Johnny B. Goode" on a ukulele in London subway stations.
  • In 1974, Strummer formed the 101ers, who were named for the address of the West London house Joe Strummer and then-bandmates squatted in pre-Clash (101 Walterton Road).
  • Jones' band, the London SS, at various times included Simonon, Crimes, Headon and future Generation X bassist Tony James. In 1976, Jones and Simonon were looking to start a new band, and they came across Strummer at the welfare office. Strummer thought they were going to rob him, but they actually wanted him to join their band.
  • Simonon suggested the band's name after repeatedly reading the word "Clash" in newspapers. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    andy - Brooklyn, NY
  • At the first Clash gig, they performed as a quintet (with Levene). They opened for the legendary punk band, the Sex Pistols. Levene eventually joined Public Image Ltd. with Sex Pistols vocalist Johnny Rotten (aka John Lydon).
  • The Clash's debut album was not originally released in America. However, it sold 100,000 import copies, making it the largest selling import album of its time.
  • Headon drummed with Pat Travers in Europe before joining the Clash.
  • The band insisted that 1979's London Calling, and all their subsequent albums, sell at lower-than-standard prices. The record company's profit loss was taken out of the band members' royalties.
  • Ian Dury's keyboardist Mickey Gallagher appears on London Calling.
  • Their 1980 album Sandinista! was their first to sell more in the United States then in Britain.
  • Jones went on to form Big Audio Dynamite. Simonon formed Havana 3 A.M. and Strummer enjoyed a solo career. Strummer appears on Big Audio Dynamite's second album.
  • Their early shows could get a little rough. It was the era of Punk, and fans would often throw things at the stage. Instead of clapping, they showed their appreciation by "gobbing," which was spitting at the band.
  • Strummer recorded music for various movies including Sid & Nancy, Straight to Hell, and Permanent Record.
  • The Clash appear in the movie The King Of Comedy as a group of hoodlums. There was also a movie made about a fictional Clash roadie called Rude Boy, which is based on Ray Gange, an ex-porn shop employee who briefly roadied for the Clash. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    andy - Brooklyn, NY
  • Strummer ran three marathons in the early '80s, including the London Marathon twice.
  • In 1977, Strummer and Headon were once charged with robbery - stealing a pillow from a Holiday Inn.
  • Strummer died from a heart attack on December 22, 2002. He was 50.
  • They were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2003. There were rumors that Bruce Springsteen would join them to perform at the ceremony, but the remaining members decided not to play. The ceremonies took place at the fancy Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York and tickets were $1500 each. They felt playing such an event would go against what The Clash stood for, but they did accept their awards.
  • U2 guitarist The Edge told Rolling Stone magazine April 15, 2004: "The Clash, more than any other group, kick-started a thousand garage bands across Ireland and the UK. For U2 and other people of our generation, seeing them perform was a life-changing experience." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France
  • In 1977, The Clash signed to CBS Records for the then-outrageous sum of 100,000 pounds. An anecdote often repeated is Mark Perry's lament "Punk died the day The Clash signed to CBS." Actually, according to Jon Savage's England's Dreaming, The Clash, like many punk bands of the time, were shockingly naïve about business matters. Joe Strummer recollects there: "We were completely in the dark. We let [manager] Bernie handle everything. We were really the people we were supposed to be. What did we know about record companies and contracts?"
  • In 1982, Joe Strummer was pressured by Clash manager Bernie Rhodes to go into hiding in Texas as a publicity stunt. This was because tickets were selling slowly for the Scottish leg of an upcoming tour. Strummer instead decided to genuinely disappear to France for several months. During his time in Paris, Strummer claimed he ran the Paris Marathon. According to the Clash frontman, his training regime consisted of 10 pints of beer the night before the race.
  • According to Pete Townshend, rock music can be a channel for dealing with your personal problems in a healthy way, but it has to have an element of confrontation. He felt The Clash embodied this ethos, telling Creem in 1982: "When you listen to The Clash you're facing up to life, and at the same time being given strength to deal with it - which is what rock 'n' roll is about."

Comments: 14

  • Peter From Nz from Wellington New Zealand Re Martin's comment about Joe's congenital heart defect. With proper testing such defects can be easily diagnosed, and surgically corrected. Tragically that didn't happen with Joe. We all miss him terribly. Rock in peace man.
  • Nik from UkMark Perry, as 'Mark P.', founded the first D.I.Y. UK punk fanzine 'Sniffin' Glue' as well as the band ATV.
  • Martin from LondonJoe didn't die of a heart attack. It was a congenital heart defect. One of those things where he could have gone at any time, so we were lucky to have him around for as long as we did.
  • Steve from Cambridge, United Kingdommy best friend from 25 years ago was a clash fan-he saw them several times and once he was invited to stay the night in their hotel room along with many other young male clash fans-cos they were humble guys in the clash and were happy to share and care for their fans and wouldnt turn away if they knew their fans were stranded without somewhere to stay -or if they saw fans loitering outside their hotel room-they would say come in share the hotel rooms comforts-sleep here for the night -my friend was very impressed by their kindness and humility-they certainly never got rich-playing many charity gigs and benefit gigs for unemployed,reds,blacks and any other cause that took their fancy-joe strummer was an especially good guy and politically aware.
  • Theresa from Pittsburgh, PaJoe and Paul were also arrested in Scotland for helping fans in a battle against bouncers. You can see footage of some of this in the movie Rude Boy, which also has great live footage of the Clash.
    Mick almost died a second time in the 90's after falling off the roof of a car.
  • Aja from SloveniaBest band ever! RIP Joe!!!

    Just a quick fact: Paul and Topper were arrested for shooting at pigoens.They were sitting on the roof and were shooting at what they though were normal pigeons, but they were infact domestic.
  • Patrick from Wr. Neustadt, AustriaYeah, like Max said, Paul wanted the audience to get up from their sets, but they wouldn't. He went so mad that he just took his guitar and smashed it on the floor, again and again.
    20 years later Paul said he had been sad after the smashing of his guitar. He had two guitars for stage and on of them sounded a lot better than the other. And he had smashed his good guitar...
  • Max from Cologne, GermanyPaul was mad about the concert in Paladium in New York. Because the people were sitten down, on chairs. Normaly the people were in front of the stage and he feels that the room was empty.
  • Jake from Laguna Niguel, Cathe front of London Calling is a picture of Siminon smashing his guitar. This was because he was mad about something, i forgot what.
  • Max from Cologne, GermanyLast year in October I discover Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros and I must say he had change all my life. His Sound is almost great. I love him and his music he had made. If it was with the Clash or with the Mescaleros. It was great and I want to thank Joe and all others who made great music with him! Thank you!
  • Ethan from Elizabeth, CoJoe and one of the other guys i cant remember which one were fined and maybe arrested for spray painting clash on a wall.
  • Mike from Baltimore, MdSimply, a great band. Taking the punk attitude and turning it into some force for positive awareness and change. All of that and damn great songs to boot.
  • Erik from Davis, CaMick Jones almost died of Chicken Pox in the late eighties because he caught it from his daughter.
  • Andy from Halifax, EnglandJoe strummer was also arrested for smashing a guitar over an unruly fan's head.Joe Strummer was punk, and will be sadly missed.
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