After having refused all interviews and comments regarding the band for the last 30 years, I now realize that the passing of time has not diminished the essential message of The Clash and that even though huge mistakes were made, the issues addressed are in many ways even more relevant today (with new ones added.)
The energy and vision of the band continue through new younger generations seeking an alternative to the manufactured nonsense that assaults us from all sides today. One would think that with the intelligence and technology at hand, issues of the day would be far more widely dispersed by today’s leading musicians, but sadly this is not the case. Huge endorsements and corporate sponsorship ensure that all the major music stars are kept firmly in line and few dare to cross into controversial territory.
The Clash had their faults as human beings (probably more than most), and contradictions in their music and their message abound. As is so often the case, heroes are held aloft and subjected to the extremes of criteria. But remember, The Clash were just common folk – not a PHD or college grad amongst them. So young and innocent of the trickery of the world, they struggled daily with bruised egos, excesses of hubris, and lapses of confidence. Without the luxury of a team of seasoned handlers, counsel could only be obtained from their own inner circle and perspicacity was often out of reach. It’s no wonder that contradictions were made and potential left unfulfilled. So judge them lightly now, in the cold light of day. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Above all, the world is still a far better place for their existence.