Passion Is a Fashion: The Real Story of the Clash

( 2 )


The only internationally successful, million-selling group to emerge from the late seventies London punk scene, the Clash set out to change the world with a potent mix of politics, iconic imagery, and blazing rock ‘n’ roll. It was an agenda mirrored in the Clash’s music, which swiftly evolved from ferocious punk rock to incorporate reggae, ska, funk, jazz, soul, and hip-hop. Passion Is a Fashion draws on over 70 interviews with the key participants in the story—roadies, producers, friends, and fans—and ...

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Passion is a Fashion: The Real Story of the Clash

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The only internationally successful, million-selling group to emerge from the late seventies London punk scene, the Clash set out to change the world with a potent mix of politics, iconic imagery, and blazing rock ‘n’ roll. It was an agenda mirrored in the Clash’s music, which swiftly evolved from ferocious punk rock to incorporate reggae, ska, funk, jazz, soul, and hip-hop. Passion Is a Fashion draws on over 70 interviews with the key participants in the story—roadies, producers, friends, and fans—and conversations with the Clash: Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, and Topper Headon. The first book to give real insight into what went on behind the scenes during the Clash’s ten-year career, it charts the Clash’s picaresque progress through the days of the early punk scene and their groundbreaking Rock Against Racism gigs, to the arduous touring, to their break out in America, and the making of the classic London Calling album, all the way to the band’s eventual dissolution and the sudden, sad death of frontman Joe Strummer. Gritty, compelling, and above all authoritative, Passion Is a Fashion is the biography the Clash has long deserved.

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Editorial Reviews

NewBeats August 2005
"An intelligent and historical look at a band and a time period .. all in a delicately woven prose."
Gambit Weekly 7/19/05
"You would be hard pressed to find a more comprehensive and revealing exploration of the Clash."
East Bay Express 7/27/05
"Portrays beautifully the fine art of falling apart ...Likely to last while weightier tomes languish in dustbins."
Curled Up with a Good Book 7/25/05
"The definitive biography of the band ...Entertaining and insightful...A must for die-hard Clash fans...and all those fascinated by pop culture."
Publishers Weekly
Former Mojo editor Gilbert presents an entertaining, definitive look at what is arguably punk rock's seminal band. For a group known for its integrity and political ethos, the Clash-Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon and Topper Headon-had surprising origins, constructed and ruled with an iron fist by impresario Bernie Rhodes, a friend and contemporary of Sex Pistols creator Malcolm McLaren. Gilbert charts the Clash's rise-from long days spent in dank, freezing rehearsal spaces-to their descent: Headon's drug addiction and dismissal, personality conflicts, management problems and a bad record deal. Still, theirs is a triumphant story. The Clash bonded with fans like no other band in the late 1970s, choosing to play small venues over arenas, even designing their own fashions. Critically, the band was often vilified, especially for its experimental triple album, Sandanista! But, Gilbert shows, despite being called sellouts for signing with CBS, the Clash defined what it really means to be punk by eschewing the trappings of rock stardom, resisting the pressure to write hits and seizing the creative freedom to do innovative things, such as infusing their music with reggae and ska. Sadly, Strummer unexpectedly died in 2003 from an undiagnosed congenital heart defect. Photos. Agent, Alison Bond. (June) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
After the Clash imploded in 1985, the legendary British punk band and its loyal entourage maintained a front of silence on the hairier points of its history. This policy spawned a literature of gushing fan tributes and hateful portraits (most notably, Marcus Gray's Last Gang in Town) throughout the 1990s. After the sudden death of frontman Joe Strummer in 2002, however, came a new era of disclosure-the benefits of which Gilbert, former editor of MOJO magazine, reaps in this definitive biography. More than 70 people-from the band members themselves to roadies, replacement musicians, fans, and collaborators-opened up on every stage of the Clash's evolution, including the heretofore taboos of guitarist Mick Jones's sacking and the band's latter-day lineup. Gilbert wisely refrains from inserting his opinion, instead quietly pointing out harmony and dissonance in this chorus of voices. Readers can dilute the "truth" for themselves, and there are many compelling versions. What rings above all else is that the Clash's long-held quiet was to protect their message, which they so desperately wanted to spread around the world, generation into generation, and which they fear they negated by coming apart at the seams. This is a heartbreaking and heartening story of punks growing up and growing old, the real story indeed. Essential for all popular music collections.-Heather McCormack, Library Journal Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780306814341
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press
  • Publication date: 5/9/2005
  • Pages: 404
  • Sales rank: 800,983
  • Product dimensions: 5.94 (w) x 8.96 (h) x 1.13 (d)

Meet the Author

Pat Gilbert is a former editor of Mojo, the best-selling and internationally acclaimed music magazine. He has also contributed to Q magazine, the Guardian, the Times, and the Sunday Times.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2006

    Complex story easily made more interesting

    The story of The Clash is a very interesting one, full of confusion and turmoil. Putting that aside, Pat Gilbert does an excellent job putting onto paper the problems The Clash faced and how they were able to overcome them in his book Passion is a Fashion: The Real Story of The Clash. The book summarizes the groups¿ entire history, beginning with what they did before The Clash, how they came together and how they became one of the biggest rock groups of all time. Each character is portrayed in an accurate description, due to the author¿s deep research and exclusive interviews with the band and people close to it. The book focuses heavily on the group as it¿s protagonist, with the hardships they faced being the antagonist. The Clash were able to overcome pretty much any issue that came at them, including the hardships of the record industry that really didn¿t understand what the band was all about. The only thing the group was really susceptible to was itself, and the conflicts between each of the band members. Though Joe Strummer was the de facto front man, input from each of the other band members drove the group. In the end, Topper Headon¿s drug problems and Mick Jones¿ sacking brought The Clash down. Overall, the book showed how strong the group dynamic is, which is very important for any popular group. I personally enjoyed how each Clash album was individually assessed and how the author put a lot of effort into writing of how each came to be a unique recording. The only thing I didn¿t like about this book was it¿s tremendous length at 372 pages. It is still a fun read and definitely one worth checking out for any fan of popular music. I would also recommend reading up a book on the Sex Pistols, for the connections between the two groups are extraordinary. I would rate this book five out of five because the only drawback is the length, but this is mandatory to accurately describe the complexity of The Clash. Definitely worth reading.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2005

    Finally, a worthy and informative biography on the greatest and most influential punk (or any) band of all time!

    If you want a great read on 'the only band that matters,' then look no further than this book! Wonderfully stylized with informative interviews and quotes from the actual band members and key players, this book is an extremely enjoyable read. I recommend this author's book way before Marcus Gray's long-winded and dry-as-a desert book The Clash: Return of the Last Gang in Town, which gives no life or justice to the wonderfully exciting and complex story of one of the most important and influential bands to have come out of England. Passion is a Fashion is a MUST for all Clash fans.

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