The Essential Clash
First Appeared at The Music Box, December 2003, Volume 10, #12
Written by John Metzger
For all the anti-establishment posturing of punk bands like The Sex Pistols and The Clash, they all seemed to know a little something about surviving within the music business. Simply put, itís just not possible for one to stand outside the system and hope to get ahead, and so they played the game as well as anyone. Need proof? Then, spend some time with The Essential Clash, a DVD that serves as a less vital, but no less intriguing companion to the double-disc retrospective of the same title. The groupís savvy sales strategy is on display right from the start when Mick Jones delivers with a knowing smirk his response to a journalist who asked the band when it would sell-out.
Granted, there is a kernel of truth to be found within The Clashís defiant actions, lyrics, and music, but one canít overlook the fact that it cleverly exploited its outsider status as a means to market itself to rebellious teens who completely bought into its non-commercial image. Nevertheless, it takes nothing away from the fact that The Clash was a powerhouse band, one of the most influential and important ensembles in the history of rock ínĎ roll, and The Essential Clash captures the group in all its glory. The collection begins with a composite trailer that revolves around the groupís high-profile and controversial gigs at Bonds in New York City before delving into 11 videos, all of which are standard fare for the time. Of course, the most familiar of these is the clip for Rock the Casbah, though the frenetic White Riot and the concert cuts Should I Stay or Should I Go, Career Opportunities, and Train in Vain paint a better picture of the bandís persona.
Also included on The Essential Clash is some rare promotional footage shot in 1976 (from which the White Riot video was extracted), a live performance of I Fought the Law, a short interview segment from a 1976 episode of London Weekend Show, and Joe Strummerís strange, silent home movie Hell W10, which weaves a tale drugs, porn, and corruption in Londonís underworld. Make no mistake, none of this quite earns the "essential" label granted to the DVD by its title, but the set is a fascinating document, nonetheless, that might have been made somewhat better had it all been placed into context with the inclusion of a commentary or two.
The Essential Clash [DVD] is available
from Barnes & Noble. To order, Click Here!
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2003 The Music Box