When the band changed their boots for ankle boots to give an extra “touch” to the album London Calling.
We publish a note from the journalist Chris Salewicz (who was one of the main figures of the prestigious magazine New Musical Express between 1975 and 1981), which was made for the magazine 8 by 8 from New York and published there in June 2015.
The translation is by Leandro Nice Van Brixton for the highly recommended Clashland site, the most complete in Spanish on The Clash and his wide universe, which he graciously yielded to publish in The Left Diary.
In 1979, the Clash they composed and recorded London Calling, the double album that was his top artistic statement. As it was not published in the US until January 1980, ten years later the magazine Rolling Stone he named it “the album of the decade.”
When they started working on their masterpiece, the Clash they were in a slump. They had fired their first manager, Bernie Rhodes, and his temporary successor. The group had no one to lean on but themselves. And it was football, as well as their supreme songwriting skills, that propelled them into the state of mind necessary to compose and record the album.
The Clash played long games every afternoon in the square in front of Vanilla, Pimlico’s rehearsal room, in central London.
Every day, around four in the afternoon, some local kids who went from school to the house, knocked on the door of Vanilla:
“Topper particularly liked to kick; he was probably the best player, ”Leslie said of the group’s diminutive drummer, Topper Headon, who was in perpetual fitness, emulating the karate skills of his idol Bruce Lee.
Jones was throwing away luxuries (as the band’s tour manager Johnny Green recalls), but his ability didn’t quite match his ambition. Strummer was determined, tireless, but he lacked real talent. And bassist Paul Simonon was endlessly enthusiastic too.
Before discovering rock, Jones had immersed himself in the culture of soccer. At a similar age of the kids who knocked on the door of Vanilla, he hung out with other pre-teen fans every Saturday morning outside the hotel lines of the city. Plaza Russell From london. Visiting teams would stop there before games.
With the autographs of the players already secured, Jones then crossed the city to watch a game of the Chelsea or the Queens Park Rangers.
In fact, the magnanimous treatment of Clash towards his fans, he became part of his legend. And Jones’s enduring love for both football and music (shared by the other members of the Clash, especially Strummer), personifies how football and rock were the traditional escape for young people, from the bland boredom of UK life at the time.
During the era London Calling, Strummer lived with his girlfriend Gaby Salter and her mother, in a neighborhood near the Chelsea, Stamford Bridge. The property was right across the Thames. The lyrics to the song “London calling” declare: “I live by the river.” When the Blue they played local, he went to games, on Saturday afternoons. He was accompanied by 12-year-old Josie Ohendjan (who later became the babysitter for Strummer’s two daughters); Gaby’s brother Nicky (16); Nicky’s school friend, Black John; and a family friend, Crispin Chetwynd.
They were at Gaby’s mother’s house, they smoked a lot and faced off for the field. It was a 10 minute walk and they bought a bag of potatoes along the way. Once there, having paid a couple of pounds, they stood at the Shed grandstand.
Strummer was a fan of Chelsea. He read everything he could about the team. But the West London team was in a dark time; stuck in the Second Division. According to Ohendjan, Strummer “loved the tribal; the movement; join under one color. Joe lived nearby and was a fan and he liked that aspect of the fans. “
What did not fit Strummer was “aggression and racism.” This was a couple of seasons before Paul Canoville was the first black player in the Chelsea. His own fans received him many times by throwing bananas onto the field and singing “We don’t want black.” The barrabrava of the Chelsea was famous for containing groups from the far-right faction National Front (National Front). Black players on visiting teams received similar treatment at the Bridge. But the visual identity of the man who wrote the song “(White man) in Hammersmith Palais” did not cause him any problems in games.
But after a match against him West HamIn November 1979, fans of the Hammer, brandishing cutters and knives, ran off Strummer and his gang.
Yet another team from London proved to be an inspiration to London Calling. The material for the album, composed in Vanilla, was recorded at Wessex Studios, Highbury, North London, between August and September 1979. In Highbury the ArsenalThe record’s producer, Guy Stevens, a bohemian eccentric and legendary in the British music business, was an obsessive fan of the club.
Stevens, upon discovering that some of the field staff at the Arsenal I admired the Clash, he colluded with them and established a daily ritual that he felt could add more magic to what he was trying to inject into the new disk. The radio taxi hired to take him to Wessex every morning, made a slight detour and stopped at the Arsenal field. There Stevens briefly exited the vehicle and entered the center circle of the Highbury, kneeling down and paying homage to his mental image of offensive midfielder Liam Brady. Then he continued on his way to Wessex.
After what London Calling finally reached the pots, Strummer returned to the court of the Chelsea, to see a game. That afternoon he left Stamford Bridge and took a look at a branch of the record store chain. Our Price. There he discovered something even more disturbing than the armed fans of the West Ham. Horrified, he saw that a fresh copy of London Calling cost 7.99 pounds [40 dólares actuales]. The Clash they had decreed that it could not be sold for more than five pounds [25 dólares actuales]; the cost of a single disk.
Furious, Strummer berated the store manager until he lowered the price to the ordered amount, and then returned to the massive line of fans leaving the court of the Chelsea.