The Last Days of the Clash
By Vince White
The author of this book Vince White was one of the guitarists in the much
maligned final line up of the then well past their prime self styled rebel
rockers the Clash.
Without any dispute from me they were once one of the most important
bands ever, but a spent force running on fumes by this stage. The 'Cut
The Crap' Clash were an exercise in style over substance, with older
members desperate to hang on to the fag end of their fame and the new
blood desperate for their first taste of stardom.
Rockabilly/mohawk haircuts, leather trousers with a back to basics attitude and a badly titled
album, couldn't bring back the glory days. And so this story of their further decline unfolds
within these 290 pages.
Vince has a very honest writing style, pulling no punches and making no effort to portray
himself as a nice guy. Instead the reader is left with the impression that Vince is a paranoid,
arrogant, opinionated, miserable, abrasive insecure kind of guy (Is that all? - P.D.C.) with a
heavy reliance on alcohol and to a lesser extent sex. But with a strong desire to be a rock
star living out his very own rock 'n' roll fantasy, but being prevented too at every turn.
The whole myth of the Clash as the peoples band is debunked here as never before. They
happily indulge in all the trappings of fame at their disposal, like money, travel, expensive
meals, drink and prossies! The all for one and one for all attitude in front of the public was
very different to the alleged goings on behind the scenes.
St. Joe's halo had well and truly slipped to a jaunty angle. His more holy than thou image
takes a bashing throughout the book, although Paul Simenon comes out largely unscathed.
The long standing members of the Clash inner circle are portrayed so full of their own self
importance, that they can't see or were ignoring the fact that the band was on its last legs.
They behave like its the late 70's and not the mid 80's while the new boys are treated pretty
bad and forced to take sides against each other in bizarre band tests.
I was slightly perplexed by the 1st generation
Clashers slagging off SLF who are a band in their
own image, cut from a very similar cloth. So much for
Delusions of grandeur, mood swings, mind games
and secrets revealed about the bass playing are all
recounted here, as well as Vince's memory of playing
his first Clash live gig which is one of the highlights
of the story for me, its so well documented.
Again its great to be reading another punk
perspective from a previously untapped source, and
Vince (Gregory) White makes a really good job of
telling his tale of misery within the Clash army. A few
photos would have been nice, but i guess budget
constraints are the reason for the lack of pics.
There have been numerous books throwing flowers
at the Clash's early years reputation, but this one
takes a Molotov cocktail to the later years with many
revelations which will both surprise and disappoint the
Clash fan base.
I know everyone has their own version of events and
Vince clearly has a huge chip on his shoulder over his
treatment during his time in the band. He takes no
prisoners when dishing out the dirt. Check it out, its
well worth buying.
Joe Donnelly (Belfast) 25th March 2008
You can check out more reviews and information on the book and what Vince is up to here....
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