Ongoing History of New Music

Ongoing History Daily: The Clash’s slow breakup accelerated with this music video

The Clash never really formally broke up. They just evaporated sometime after 1985. But those close to the band could see that the writing was on the wall. The trouble started while the band was shooting the video for “Rock the Casbah” in 1983. Up until then, Joe Strummer and Mick Jones had worked in a tight partnership. What happened?

First, Joe rehired Bernie Rhodes, the band’s old manager. Joe’s hope was that Rhodes would be able to sort out some of the things that threatened to tear the group apart. It had just the opposite effect. Mick got angrier and wanted to make a point.

He showed up at the video shoot in the Texas desert costumed in red long johns, which greatly annoyed Joe. He was convinced to change but insisted on wearing a facemask which irked Joe. Towards the end of the video, Joe pulls the mask off Mick. Totally unchoreographed. That angered Mick.

From then on, there was no way to repair the relationship. Mick was soon fired and The Clash died a few years later.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38321 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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