The Clash Think Joe Strummer Would Be Proud Of New Box Set
Posted by Joseph Lee on 09.11.2013
It's out now...
In an interview with Billboard, The Clash's bassist Paul Simonon says he and his Clash bandmates are proud of their new Sound System box set and Joe Strummer would be too.
He said: "The band have actively been involved in this creation. It hasn't been put together by a record company or somebody that was paid to design it. It was put together by the band itself. That doesn't happen often."
He also said that he and guitarist Mick Jones divied up the responsibilities for the set, an 11-CD, one DVD collection that came out this week along with the two-CD compilation of The Clash Hits Back and The Clash -- 5 Album Studio Set. Jones handled the music and went into the band's vaults to remaster the group's five studio albums, with rarities, B-sides, non-album singles and demos. Simonon designed the package, which also features an "owner's manual" booklet, reprints of the Armagideon Times fanzine and a new issue edited by Simonon, along with stickers, buttons, dog tags and other memorabilia.
Simonon added: "The whole time the Clash was in existence we used to carry these (boom box) cassette machines around all the time, playing our music wherever we were -- backstage, in airports, anywhere -- and not necessarily Clash music but music we loved. It could be reggae, rockabilly, Woody Guthrie, any real music, good music. As each member of the band had one of these, I thought that was the common link for all of us and why I thought the boom box would be a good idea for a template to put everything inside. They were amazing things; it was the first time, really, people were able to carry music about and play it to other people. These days everybody's got headphones and they're not sharing music in the same way -- mind you, some people might be pleased by that."
He added that he and Jones were "very cautious about just packaging everything and sending it out there again." He said that "there's always new generations coming forward that are interested," and the band had an interst "giving them more of an overall picture of really what happened then. You hope to go on a journey where you're trying to get past the limitations so you have to keep exploring and going forward. Musically it was always like that for the Clash; we didn't like to stay in one style or pithole. We were always trying to explore and go further. I'm still quite like that and I know Mick's like that, so we wanted the content of ('Sound System') to reflect that, which is a big job."
The two kept each other informed of what they were doing. Drummer Topper Headon came in later. He said: "We figured he would have a more objective viewpoint on all of it because he wasn't involved in the construction of everything. He seemed pretty happy with it. And there's no replacement for Joe (Strummer, the Clash's late frontman). There's nobody really who can speak on his behalf, but I think he'd be very proud of it."
Meanwhile, Simonon and Jones have no plans for any Clash live performance to celebrate the releases. The last time he played with Jones was with Gorillaz at the Escape to Plastic Beach Tour in 2010.
He said: "No, not at all. It wouldn't be the same without Joe. Each member of the band played an important part and made a unique contribution to what the Clash means to us and possibly means to other people. If you take one of those components out, any one, it's not going to be the same, so what's the point. I know other bands have different ways of approaching it that suit them, but this is our band and this is how we approach it."