O. & something pointless

Combat Rock, for the upteenth time.

A late-night rant concerning the greatest album of all time, The Clash’s Combat Rock.

Much more so than London Calling, or even Sandinista!, Combat Rock truly emerges into its influences, be it endless fascination, fear, loathing or admiration. It has the spirit of Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola. It has the beauty of modern literature and poetry by the likes of Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs. It lives and breaths like an exotic metropolis, be it New York, Peking, Mexico City or just some distant, foreign place radiating with both the possibilities and cul-de-sacs of human existence. It understands both the beauty and the ugliness of modern live —it has seen the heart of darkness, though still knowing it may be necessary if satisfaction and peace of mind are desired to be found. It may be a depressed album made in desperation, but it never abandons the hope for greater beauty of life. It marvels at the world. Its sounds have been gathered from experiences around the globe, some beautiful, some terrifying. Underneath all the albums dark themes lies a desire for something better than this —something the Clash always strifed for, even during their most hopeless moments of despair.

EDIT: Oh, I should probably point out that my least favourite track on the album is Should I Stay Or Should I Go. Really, there is so much more to this album than a hastily scraped together Rolling Stones guitar manifesto. Straight To Hell, Sean Flynn, Ghetto Defendant, Inoculated City etc. on the other hand are some of the most inspired, beautiful and interesting pieces of music ever done against the backdrop of punk rock.


Today marks the tenth anniversary of the passing of one John Graham Mellor, better known as Joe Strummer, the lead singer and rhythm guitarist of the Clash. Not only was he a hero for a whole musical movement, but he was also one of the most humble and honest rock stars of all time. He was the man behind the songs that inspired thousands of people worldwide and revolutionized the way music can have an effect on people and the future generations —and not just in form of lyrics ripped out of context on novelty quote posts circulating around the Internet. No, Joe Strummer was so much more.
But what was it that made Joe and the Clash so special? The musical era that started with punk rock and whether it’s over or not is debatable is full of the most influential and mesmerisingly brilliant musicians and minds, what could possibly make this one man stand out like no other of his peers? Now, as a young adult soon celebrating his first ten years spent with the Clash, I believe very strongly that the factor that made Joe Strummer and the Clash so remarkable was their unwavering believe in what they were doing and standing for as a band.
The late 70s and early 80s were filled with doubt, dread and hopelessness. The future seemed bleak and the day’s youth was going through very pessimistic —at times even nihilistic— times. Its music was either looking for a quick way out of the misery in form of cheap thrills and escapism, or cornering up in fear and anger, snarling and hissing at the frightning outside like an animal, ready to attack viciously if threatened. But there was this one band, which not only wanted to grasp to the idea of optimism as best as it could, but dared to believe in a brighter, better future. This band was the Clash. And much of this optimism was due to Joe Strummer. The reason —I believe— why countless of youngsters embrace the sound of such albums as The Clash and London Calling is because of their sheer will to live. Other classic albums of the era, such as Metal Box, Nevermind the Bollocks…, Entertainment!, Unknown Pleasures and even Bowie’s electro-soul masterpiece Low are all riddled with despair. The Clash seemed to be idealism’s last stand —the band refusing to give in to apathy. When everyone else was retreating to musical murky waters, the Clash banged out a major power chord, effectively destroying all cul-de-sacs and grabbing the reality by its face. They recognized the troubles, but refused to accept them. And Joe Strummer had the ability to express this with such passion and power.
Sure, whether this revolution of the Only Band That Mattered was succesful —even whether their own optimism was genuine, with Combat Rock being one hell of a depressing album— is questionable. But it certainly was enough to give us all the feeling that we truly have the ability to affect our own future. That no matter how hopeless the future and the odds might be, it’s never final. There is always a solution. Joe Strummer said this better than anyone else. And that was the most important lesson I must’ve ever learned. This is why he is the dearest of all heroes to me. View Larger

Today marks the tenth anniversary of the passing of one John Graham Mellor, better known as Joe Strummer, the lead singer and rhythm guitarist of the Clash. Not only was he a hero for a whole musical movement, but he was also one of the most humble and honest rock stars of all time. He was the man behind the songs that inspired thousands of people worldwide and revolutionized the way music can have an effect on people and the future generations —and not just in form of lyrics ripped out of context on novelty quote posts circulating around the Internet. No, Joe Strummer was so much more.

But what was it that made Joe and the Clash so special? The musical era that started with punk rock and whether it’s over or not is debatable is full of the most influential and mesmerisingly brilliant musicians and minds, what could possibly make this one man stand out like no other of his peers? Now, as a young adult soon celebrating his first ten years spent with the Clash, I believe very strongly that the factor that made Joe Strummer and the Clash so remarkable was their unwavering believe in what they were doing and standing for as a band.

The late 70s and early 80s were filled with doubt, dread and hopelessness. The future seemed bleak and the day’s youth was going through very pessimistic —at times even nihilistic— times. Its music was either looking for a quick way out of the misery in form of cheap thrills and escapism, or cornering up in fear and anger, snarling and hissing at the frightning outside like an animal, ready to attack viciously if threatened. But there was this one band, which not only wanted to grasp to the idea of optimism as best as it could, but dared to believe in a brighter, better future. This band was the Clash. And much of this optimism was due to Joe Strummer. The reason —I believe— why countless of youngsters embrace the sound of such albums as The Clash and London Calling is because of their sheer will to live. Other classic albums of the era, such as Metal Box, Nevermind the Bollocks…, Entertainment!, Unknown Pleasures and even Bowie’s electro-soul masterpiece Low are all riddled with despair. The Clash seemed to be idealism’s last stand —the band refusing to give in to apathy. When everyone else was retreating to musical murky waters, the Clash banged out a major power chord, effectively destroying all cul-de-sacs and grabbing the reality by its face. They recognized the troubles, but refused to accept them. And Joe Strummer had the ability to express this with such passion and power.

Sure, whether this revolution of the Only Band That Mattered was succesful —even whether their own optimism was genuine, with Combat Rock being one hell of a depressing album— is questionable. But it certainly was enough to give us all the feeling that we truly have the ability to affect our own future. That no matter how hopeless the future and the odds might be, it’s never final. There is always a solution. Joe Strummer said this better than anyone else. And that was the most important lesson I must’ve ever learned. This is why he is the dearest of all heroes to me.