They may have broken up back in 1986, but The Clash continue to influence new generations of musicians every decade. KEXP had a chance to speak with a few of these artists, both old and new; hear their thoughts on "The Only Band That Matters" below.
KEXP celebrates the fifth annual International Clash Day on Tuesday, February 7th. Listen from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM as DJs John Richards, Cheryl Waters, and Kevin Cole celebrate the iconic punk band and highlight how they influenced change and awareness in society. And check out this page to see what other Clash Day-related activities are happening around the world.
As a kid, Tad Doyle was listening to prog rock before The Clash entered his world, and he found the band's post-punk sound "groundbreaking." Doyle was the frontman for grunge greats TAD in 1988. Their first three albums -- 1989's God's Balls, 1990's Salt Lick, and 1991's 8-Way Santa -- were reissued by Sub Pop Records late last year. Doyle's current project Brothers of the Sonic Cloth also recently reissued their 2015 self-titled debut on Neurot Recordings, and are currently working on their "next level of low end power and undeniable rhythmic dimensionalism."
Jon Langford of The Mekons shares how the band's first single "Never Been in a Riot" was actually a response to The Clash's first single "White Riot." (In the clip below, Langford explains how, in The Mekons' hometown, the song was misinterpreted as something more racist.) The Mekons are one of the longest-running first-wave British punk rock bands, formed in 1977 in Leeds, UK, and currently residing in Chicago. The original line-up are briefly reuniting this year, playing some one-off shows, including one at Blackpool's Rebellion Music Festival.
Roger Miller of Mission of Burma cites how "non-slick" The Clash were at the time, and how relatable that was. It's an aesthetic he carried over to his own highly influential band, founded in Bostom, MA in 1978. (In fact, in 2009, the city declared October 4th "Mission of Burma Day.") The band's most recent LP is Unsound, released on Fire Records in 2012.
"The Clash truly spoke to those feelings that transcend and resonate beyond their time and landscape." Jennifer Precious Finch tells us why The Clash still matters in this audio message. Finch is the bassist for influential L.A.-based group L7, who reunited in 2014. A documentary about the group's 16-year history, titled L7: Pretend We’re Dead, premiered late last year.
Revered music journalist and critic Jack Rabid isn't surprised at all that The Clash still matter to people not even born. Hear him explain why in the clip below. Rabid is the co-founder and editor-in-chief behind quarterly music magazine The Big Takeover. Big Takeover #79 was just released last month featuring the reunited Lush on the cover, plus interviews with Cheetah Chrome of Rocket From the Tombs and original punks The Dead Boys, Belly, Luna, Descendents, and many more.
Scottish musician Gary McClure cites the band's genre-defying sound as part of the reason why The Clash were so great. "They always seemed like a punk rock band who were trying not to be a punk rock band, but they couldn't help but be a punk rock band, because it was the only way they could make music." American Wrestlers began as a solo project for McClure, following the break-up of Working for a Nuclear Free City. The band have just released their second LP, Goodbye Terrible Youth, out now on Fat Possum Records.
Another UK band who combined punk and politics in the late '70s was The Damned. Founding member and frontman Captain Sensible talks about the "rivalry" between the two groups, and seeing each other today. The band's debut LP Damned Damned Damned celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, and Sonic Reducer on KEXP presents the band's Sunday, April 16th performance at The Showbox.
Since forming in 2002, Franz Ferdinand have been bringing post-punk to the dance floor -- something The Clash became known for with their genre-breaking sound. KEXP chatted with frontman Alex Kapranos for International Clash Day.
Like The Clash, not only are Rage Against the Machine known for mixing punk and politics, they're also known for combining genres of music. Guitarist and founding member Tom Morello talked to KEXP for International Clash Day.
Last year, the documentary The Smart Studios Story premiered, a tribute to the now-legendary recording studio, founded by also now-legendary producer/musician Butch Vig and Steve Marker. Opened in 1983 when the two were college students at the University of Wisconsin, and closed in 2010 after a dec…