Needless to say it’s been a while since I’ve had the opportunity to update the blog. I often wonder how other bloggers manage to update every single day as I’d love to do the same here and there is genuinely enough news to justify that, perhaps because this isn’t my cash paying job and life has been more than a little chaotic around here just recently I suppose. With that said I see a light at the end of the tunnel now and I don’t think that it’s a train (in vain).
I’ve also realised that the best will in the world won’t generate the additional hour or two needed to write, edit, publish and distribute a blog post and that only having the time will do so, so I’m pushing to keep the blog going. As a result I’m looking at playing catch-up over the coming days and will apologise in advance if some, most or all of the stories I share you’ve already stumbled across. Then again I’d hate for you to miss stuff, so let’s get cracking.
Whilst Mick and Paul were recently in New York to promote the Sound System box set they also hooked up with Clash fan/comedian/musician Fred Armisen. You may well know Armisen from his extended residency on Saturday Night Live (I don’t watch it) or Portlandia (I do watch it) but I’m more interested in his musical taste as evidenced here when playing a song by The Clash at an instore performance. Anyway in the guise of his character Ian Rubbish he created this mildly amusing spoof interview for Funny or Die with the lads that looks at the career of The Clash along with the impact on his own band (which are the funniest moments) ‘I wanna riot…as well’. Naturally it’s essentially a punk six minute version of Spinal Tap but Mick seems to be enjoying himself and Paul seemingly less sure as to whether he ought to. The back story to it coming about on Billboard is well worth a read and tells how Fred was a teenage fan of the band and his tales of seeing them play and meeting them 30 odd years ago.
If you like winning stuff for free than look no further than this link to Legacy (Sony) for the chance to win a collection of all of the remastered vinyl along with an autographed copy of Hits Back and a t-shirt. Yes it all sounds a bit swap shop but it’s a prize giveaway and you just might win, if you lose you’ll get emails about Boz Scaggs and Billy Joel reissues.
Finally for now a new post by The Baker who has in the past graced this very site. He now writes his own blog and his latest piece concerns a recent visit back to England and his impressions of The Clash street shop (can’t write
pop up) in Soho. His thoughts are intriguing and perhaps a bit controversial but then again he was part of what is being displayed so it does give him a unique perspective. Simply ask yourself if Sony could have made the whole experience more interactive, colourful and fun first and I’ll think you see he has a point.
Speaking of ‘the shop’ the rumours that it would go ‘on tour’ after the run in London are now confirmed with a New York appearance slated for a month from now, more details as I have them.
Right then work beckons, but thanks for dropping in and more very soon.
Ian Rubbish meets Paul and Mick
It’s raining again which might not be exciting to you but seeing as we’ve been waiting since Spring this is quite a thing here. It’s also a bit chilly but I have coffee so therefore will be able to continue with today’s post. I’ve lost almost 2 hours of my life watching new CBGB film and while it would be premature to write a full review it really needs to kindness to rise above being anything other than awful.
It seems remarkable to me that the one of the most storied and exciting eras in music could be boiled down into something quite so uninspiring on film, although it’s more the tale of Hilly Kristal (CBGB owner) than the story of the bands and the scene. A difficult tightrope to walk as your film naturally needs a central figure to build a story around. Credit to Alan Rickman for doing what he could to rescue the film.
The film never really captures any sense of energy or the stark mixture of tough times and abandon that shaped New York in the 1970′s. It all runs more like a lampoon than a document of a scene and an era, and as such provides nothing more than a chuckle or two. It’s such a pity as the potential for something great was there if the focus was on the bands.
All of which makes me wonder about the status of the film about The Clash and the making of London Calling which was apparently going to focus as much on the story of Guy Stevens as it would be a film about the band. On the surface of course there is a brilliant and fascinating story there and one which could make for a fantastic film but if CBGB teaches us anything it should be that it is a very hard thing to do well and you are also facing an audience that will be perhaps hyper critical such is the existing knowledge of the events. With all that said the people they hope to appeal to and sell tickets to might be the more casual fan I suppose. It’s a big ask to get it right but not impossible, at least this gives clues about how not to do it.
When talk of the film was more steady back in 2011 the word was that Mick and Paul were going to be very involved in the project which would ideally be the most important factor of all. Casting presents another challenge but that goes without saying. Hopefully the music will be there as and when needed which you have to bet it will. CBGB doesn’t even feature any Ramones tracks due to licensing issues which is beyond ridiculous.
The London Calling film project was never officially ‘shelved’ from what I’ve read so we’re left to assume it may still in development. The time spent on Sound System especially by Mick and Paul over the last year may be a large part of the delay. If anyone knows Bill Price I’m sure he could confirm if it is really going to get made.
As things stand you can count the number of great Rock and Roll centred biopics on one hand so the success ratio isn’t high. With at least one and perhaps two films focusing on The Clash in the pipeline we can still hope one hits the mark. Mick, Paul and Topper’s input might be ingredient that makes it work but there are many others with a wealth of knowledge about events as they happened who should also be consulted with to make the film(s) as strong as possible. We might not hear or see anything for another six months or a year but CBGB really looks like it has lowered the bar for now.
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It more than saddens me to write today’s post as we bid farewell and thanks to another crucial musician from my youth and once again at far too early of an age. Phil Chevron has passed away at the age of just 56 after a recurring battle with cancer, another taken by the cruel disease that has impacted those we know and love in our own families and those we grew up listening to. 56 is no age.
Chevron was one of the first generation punks even though he was a long way from London (or indeed New York) living in his hometown Dubin in 1976. It was that year that he formed The Radiators From Space who (I think) were Ireland’s first punk band, certainly among the very first. The band were signed to independent label Chiswick Records and released a pair of LPs in 1977 and 1979. A few years later Phil’s friendship with Shane MacGowan saw him sitting in second album by the Pogues 1985′s brilliant ‘Rum Sodomy & The Lash’ and then become a permanent member of the band. I saw The Pogues a handful of times that year and the next and there was nothing to compare them with at the time in terms of punk ethos and chaotic good times on the London circuit. Memory does not allow me to recall if Chevron was in the first lineup (The Pogues had some very static membership) that I saw but he was certainly in later concerts I saw them perform. I should have been keeping concert notes during those blurry good times. Chevron always seemed to be the critical glue along with Spider Stacy during those wonderful live events.
RIP Phil Chevron 1957-2013
Chevron remained with The Pogues for nearly a decade leaving in the mid 90′s a time that of course included Joe Strummer being in the band and this cemented their friendship. He reformed The Radiators within the last ten years of his life and released the brilliant album Trouble Pilgrim in 2006 which included a tribute to Strummer, get this record if you don’t have it.
I recall the news a few years ago that he was then battling cancer and also that it was in complete remission a year or so later. I feel remiss at not reading that it had sadly returned earlier this year, taking his life earlier today. In just the last few hours today I’ve seen so many tributes to what a fine man he was in addition to being an inspired musician and songwriter throughout his career. A very sad loss and condolences to his family and close friends and thank you for the songs.
Message from The Pogues official site | Remembrances and Tributes | Philip Chevron Testimonial Concert August 2013
The Pogues – Thousands Are Sailing