Cheapskates

Album: Give 'Em Enough Rope (1978)
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Songfacts®:

  • The lyrics to this song are a thinly veiled attack on the music press and critics of the time who took aim at The Clash in late 1977 and early 1978, accusing them of selling out and becoming decadent Rock Stars in the wake of their signing to major label CBS and producing their first album. The band are clearly angry over the assumption that they would change as they became more famous ("But people come poncing up to me and say what are you doing here? You're supposed to be a star, not a cheapskate bleeding queer), and at what they see as critics attacking the band to save their own image ("Like a load of rats from a sinking ship, you slag us down to save your hip").
  • A latter verse is dedicated to claiming that The Clash don't have the Rock Star trappings of money, sex and drugs - ironically though, many close to the group claim that the band did indeed mix with drugs rather often during the time - indeed, drummer Topper Headon would later be fired from the group in 1983 because of problems with severe drug addictions. At the time of the album's release in 1978, guitarist Mick Jones admitted to Garry Bushell that "the song was written during a heavy period of drug-taking. The lyrics are meant to be a satire on that."
  • Cheapskates was introduced into The Clash's live set in June 1978, and was played for the rest of the year before being dropped just before their first US tour.

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