by Kris Needs
Pirate satellite of love
That legendary roadie Barry ‘The Baker’ Auguste has given this latest book on his old bosses the seal of approval in an eloquent, 10-page foreword should be enough to tell anyone who thought the band’s story had been milked dry that this is a tome worth peeking into. It’s a rewarding bonus that the book is richly written from the fresh vantage point of being the first US history of the band, living up to The Baker’s declaration that it’s “unlike anything else you’ve read about The Clash”.
Though the seeds had been planted in both Strummer and Jones way before the band even existed, the US inexorably and beautifully shaped what The Clash became, showing them a world beyond the straitjackets foisted upon them at home. After Doane relates the story of New York punk, he excels on his detailed examinations of US radio and rock writing, exploring Pennie Smith’s immortal Paul Simonon bass-execution photo and getting the inside music biz angle on what was, in retrospect, a remarkable offensive.
Above all, the book helps explain factors crucial to any fan’s understanding and appreciation of this often most misrepresented of groups.