We Are the Clash (Paperback)
Reagan, Thatcher, and the Last Stand of a Band That Mattered
Akashic Books, 9781617752933, 400pp.
Publication Date: July 3, 2018
"The Clash's final chapter, after guitarist Mick Jones' 1983 departure, has largely been forgotten--until this book, in which authors Mark Andersen and Ralph Heibutzki argue that the punk pioneers were still creating vital music to the very end."
--Rolling Stone, an RS Picks / New Books
A BookRiot Loved pick for July
"This is an inspiring take on the rock-band bio format, as much a political history of the 1980s as it is a look at an influential band in its final years."
"When did the Clash quit being 'the only band that matters'? This fascinating book faces a challenge: documenting the final years of the British band that its record label had promoted with that slogan...The band may no longer have mattered, but its legacy mattered to the authors, who make it matter to the readers. More than a footnote to the rise and fall of one of the last great rock bands."
"Coverage is specialized, extending considerably beyond mere behind-the-scenes reportage and deeply explores the sociopolitical context in which the band operated; as such, the tone can be intense (read: punk) and professorial. In all, Andersen and Heibutzki's examination of the band's proletarian stance in light its commerical striving is immensely satisfying."
"In We Are The Clash, Mark Andersen and Ralph Heibutzki...are more interested in Strummer's strain to re-harness the power of punk to ignite opposition in the cynical Thatcher-Reagan era."
--The Current, Rock and Roll Book Club (Minnesota Public Radio)
"When you think of The Clash, what comes to mind? Their early days in the London punk scene, perhaps, or the triumphant release of London Calling. We Are The Clash focuses on a very different moment in the band's history: the point at which the group splintered in the early 1980s, and its members grappled with an onset of reactionary governments around the world."
--Vol. 1 Brooklyn, included in the July 2018 Book Preview
"We Are The Clash is an important book in so many ways--and not just because it makes up for a lack of documentation of this period of the band...We Are The Clash was a book screaming to be written. Andersen and Hebutzki have done a stellar job."
"We Are The Clash, details expunged history, unreported until now, with a grounding in the socio-political events of the time. It fills in the blanks with a cohesive and well researched understanding of what Joe Strummer attemped, and in many instances, did accomplish."
--Skeleton Pete (blog)
"A gripping tale of the band's struggle to reinvent itself as George Orwell's 1984 loomed. This bold campaign crashed headlong into a wall of internal contraditions and rising right-wing power."
--Brooklyn Digest (blog)
The Clash was a paradox of revolutionary conviction, musical ambition, and commercial drive. We Are The Clash is a gripping tale of the band's struggle to reinvent itself as George Orwell's 1984 loomed. This bold campaign crashed headlong into a wall of internal contradictions, and rising right-wing power.
While the world teetered on the edge of the nuclear abyss, British miners waged a life-or-death strike, and tens of thousands died from US guns in Central America, Clash cofounders Joe Strummer, Paul Simonon, and Bernard Rhodes waged a desperate last stand after ejecting guitarist Mick Jones and drummer Topper Headon. The band shattered just as its controversial final album, Cut the Crap, was emerging.
Andersen and Heibutzki weave together extensive archival research and in-depth original interviews with virtually all of the key players involved to tell a moving story of idealism undone by human frailty amid a climatic turning point for our world.