The Street Parade - The Clash
Posts tagged the clash.
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Our non-stop cavalcade of exclusive interviews with musical legends continues! Today’s installment: the frontman of The Clash and Big Audio Dynamite talks to GQ’s Alex Pappademas. Click here for the full read. Below, Jones on why The Clash fell apart and his kinda-sorta reconciliation with guitarist Joe Strummer.
Did you feel like there was something inherently hypocritical about the Clash becoming a successful rock band?
Mick Jones: I know it was particularly hard for Joe, above all. I was slightly more OK with it, I’d say, than Joe, because it was what I’d dreamed of. I was fine with it, mostly. I did understand what Joe’s concerns were, especially in terms of what our material was saying. But I thought it was an interesting thing in terms of seeing how far we could go with it, you know?
GQ: So the idea of a band like the Clash becoming big—that was interesting to you.
Mick Jones: Well, listen, it’s a contradiction; obviously, you want to be the biggest band in the world—all bands do. But you want to retain your integrity and credibility and do it on your terms. And that’s very hard to do. I’d be lying if I said that we didn’t want to be the best group, or that we weren’t trying to be the best group, because we were. But obviously, with that comes money and success, and we weren’t very adept; we were pretty naïve in terms of all that stuff. We were open; we were vulnerable. And then we were under massive pressure, and in the end we couldn’t deal with it anymore, couldn’t even talk to each other, I guess, because it was so massive. It’s taken years to get over it.
GQ: So, that’s what happened, basically? I’ve heard different explanations over the years, for why you were kicked out.
Mick Jones: Well, everyone’s got their own explanation, I’m sure. But mine is we’d grown apart, and it wasn’t any fun anymore, for anybody.
GQ: Your relationships had deteriorated.
Mick Jones: They had, yes. To the point where, you know, we really wouldn’t see each other much anyway. We became friends again, soon afterwards—but for that short while, we weren’t.
GQ: Strummer came around and apologized to you not long after you were fired, right?
Mick Jones: Yeah. Sort of, yeah. Not really, but yeah.
GQ: He didn’t really apologize?
Mick Jones: Well, he did, kind of. Not apologize—I wouldn’t go that far.
GQ: Well, he did say that firing you was the biggest mistake he’d ever made.
Mick Jones: He didn’t like the first B.A.D. record very much—I don’t know if that was an apology or what.
[Photograph by Mark Seliger]
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