Rock Rebels "Clash" Were Corporate Puppets
October 9, 2010"I believe there is an agenda at work in the system in which we live which will always say: 'YOU DO THIS OR WE WON'T SUPPORT YOU'."
----Vince White, guitarist, The Clash
By David Richards
(for henry makow.com)
Picture New Yorks' Shea Stadium full to the rafters, a sea of 60,000 people swirling and shouting. Four Englishman take to the stage clothed in guerrilla punk attire consisting of jackboots, berets and cut jeans. They start playing aggressive punk songs. The crowd erupts.
They are The Clash, one of the biggest bands of 1980's, with large commercial and critical success in Europe and the States.
The Clash were sold as, 'the only band that matters,' a claim based on their raw and experimental sound, anti-establishment attitude and socialist sloganeering.
In 1983, the band's guitarist Mick Jones quit and auditions were held to find a replacement. His replacement was Vince White, an angry young punk living in a bedsit in London, with no previous experience in the music industry.
White served as the band's guitarist during their tumultuous final few years, which culminated in what is viewed as their worst album, "Cut the Crap" (1985.)
He was taken behind the scenes and saw how things really work. He relays his experiences in his book 'Out of Control' which apart from being a compelling story, reveals how a group viewed as authentic and intellectual can be controlled by corporate puppeteers.
The band did not write their own songs. Their socialist ideals were just marketing. Manager Bernie Rhodes ran the group like a dictator.
Painful for Clash fans, singer and punk icon Joe Strummer is portrayed like a Geisha in the morning: a flawed mortal practicing a morally dubious trade.
What follows is my interview with Vince.
You say you were treated as a wage slave and the band was, 'an oppressive totalitarian dictatorship that would have shocked Stalin.' What led you to make these comments?
My experience was one in which attempts were made to mind control me. To subvert my sense of my own self and my own reality. To subject me to the will of others and their own agenda. That's what control freaks do.
In the book you and the band are terrorized night and day by manager Bernie Rhodes. He seems to be in complete control of every aspect of the band. Was he more than a manager?
Yes, quite clearly he was. A manager is supposed to manage bands, ie. operate 'in-between' the artists and the assholes that flog the recordings. Bernie overstepped and believed he could be an artist too. So you end up with a bureaucratic mind thinking they can be 'artistic' and the results are clearly embarrassing.
NONE of ['Cut the Crap"] was created by the band. The 'band' played on the recordings but everyone was TOLD what to do. Even Joe [Strummer] himself was under the thumb. What an asshole! He really let himself stoop to that level! I have NO RESPECT for that. Sorry. It's not nice to speak ill of the dead but there you go.
The Clash are viewed as fiercely socialist. How sincere were these beliefs?Socialism is the means by which the financial oligarchy can subvert the minds of the populace and control them. It's that fucking simple. A child of 7 could get this. Only most people are so wedded into the system and will ignore the facts in favor of their own personal gain. Socialism is the death of the human race.
And I'm not fucking joking and let me just say I don't like the Chinese. I don't like their fat ugly faces. I wish they'd fucking fuck off. There are hundreds of these cunts in Portobello Road these days, where I live. That's another thing the Clash promoted: multiculturalism. I don't buy it. I'm English and I don't like foreigners. Why are aliens allowed to flood in here?
Britain and the United States are the greatest countries to have ever existed in human history and now it's downhill for all of us from here on out. The New World Order is an open door policy. Globalism. Our culture is being destroyed by immigration. We're finished. By that, I mean the human race is finished because the only hope for mankind is the Judeo-Christian ethic. Everything else, including Islam, Buddhism, Marxism., etc is total fucking shit.
By making socialism Punk, do you think The Clash were successful in selling socialist ideology to Western youth?
I think they just reinforced what was already there. Leftist ideology was so prevalent at that time. If, like me, you didn't approve of leftist ideas you were immediately branded a fascist. The Clash simply jumped on that bandwagon to become successful. But whether there's more to it is hard to say. But for sure, Joe Strummer's daddy wasn't a bank robber. He was a British diplomat. He worked for the British government. I heard Mick's father was in the SAS. Paul's family were members of the Communist party....
What would you say to people who believe 'the cream always rises to the top' in the entertainment industry?
There are certain aspects of performing like singing ability and songwriting and a general human spirit which are necessary to be successful. Unfortunately, apart from that, I believe there is an agenda at work in the system in which we live which will always say: 'YOU DO THIS OR WE WON'T SUPPORT YOU'.
The end result is that the public wants what
the public gets.
Scroll down on this site for long letter on The Clash from James
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Henry Makow received his Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Toronto in 1982. He welcomes your comments at