For a whole lot of years I have tried, rather unsuccessfully, to get into and fully embrace The Clash. They’re my kind of band. But The Clash belong to this sub-genre of bands (Pavement being another) that have not yet managed to break through into my world despite references that run parallel to those of my favourite groups. Once in a while, some bands squeak through after years spent in this holding pattern - such as Low and Neutral Milk Hotel (Andrew Bird and Elliot Smith are on the verge!). They are very fortunate!
At least The Clash and the like are on my radar - a handful of songs from their respective collections circling my iTunes playlists. The category of “influential artists” that I have very little to no knowledge on is endless: Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Wilco, 80’s boy bands… I’ve only recently listened to Sgt. Pepper.
But in the same way that I would take John Lydon’s Public Image Limited over nom de plume Johnny Rotten’s Sex Pistols, I’ll take Mick Jones’ Big Audio Dynamite over Mick and Joe’s The Clash. BAD has the distinction of being one of the most sample-laden bands out there and are often credited with being the originator of the sampling technique. Hardly a song goes by without some snippet from a 60’s British television program or an obscure 70’s tune being planted into the mix. They have been hugely influential in this manner but it is arguably not their most enduring quality.
Big Audio Dynamite (and really, they were Mick Jones and whoever happened to be playing with him at the time) made unique, lyrically engaging, danceable, genre-crossing records. They deserved a greater fate than simply fizzling out as a lot of bands did round about the end of the 90’s when record companies began massively chopping their ranks. Theirs is a sound that must be heard - to this day.
And hear it you must... VIDEO V Thirteen by Big Audio Dynamite... Sodom and Gomorrah let the DJ play:
VIDEO V Thirteen by B.A.D.
MP3 Rush by Big Audio Dynamite
Mick’s now pumping out free online singles in his new two-piece outfit, “Carbon/Silicon”. A holding pattern, hopefully, as the whole entire world eagerly awaits the revival of the bombastic Big Audio Dynamite...
they’re outta sight!
Oh, and I still wish I could pull this style off (truly) - all duded up in my whites, topped off with an oversized/ straight brimmed ball cap: