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Write Dope on Pnuk part 9
Johnny Green started as a fan of The Clash, blagging his way into gigs. Shortly he was in the van as roadie. By the time they got to America, he was tour manager, organising, hustling and getting fans into the gigs. So this book is a back-stage pass into one of the greatest of the punk bands.
I use that term advisedly, sure The Pistols had the notoriety, The Damned the first single, but it was The Clash who first played Belfast. And importantly, one thing you get from this book, is that The Clash saw themselves as a rung on the rock and roll ladder, acknowledging their debt to previous acts by putting forgotten greats like Bo Diddley on their tours as support.
For me, the important parts are where the band are recording 'London Calling'. Here they have achieved a musicianship that allows them to play what they can hear in their heads. They've enough clout at CBS to get the producer they want and the maturity to write some great songs.
One disappointment with the book is the quality of the reproduction of Lowry's illustrations. He accompanied the band as 'war artist' on the second Amercan tour, but we only get to enjoy his talent on the cover. The internal illustrations are poorly printed and sometimes the text is illegible.
Let Johnny Green take you to the rehearsals, to the gigs, to the after-show parties, and take you home afterwards. Sit in the dressing room, stand at the mixing desk, never mind the kitchen, climb in the oven. This book is probably the best tribute to Joe Strummer you'll read.
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