As we note in our last entry, everybody's doing the crowdfunding fandango these days -- because, let's face it, if the established outlets did such a great job of making everybody's dreams come true, we wouldn't have so many creative people making their case against their respective industry in print, would they?
UPDATE (7/15/13): On Saturday, June 15, my friend and co-author, Mark Andersen, and myself, reached our initial $15,00 funding goal for our book, WE ARE THE CLASH: THE LAST STAND OF A BAND THAT MATTERED (Akashic Books)...for which we launched our own Kickstarter campaign on Friday, May 3. Thanks to all of you who joined in: our final accounting shows $16,131 raised from 211 backers.
As you might imagine, it all made for an exhausting, yet exhilarating, weekend. We picked the May 3 date to coincide with the 28th anniversary of the Clash's busking tour of northern Britain and Scotland, something that no other big-time rock band has ever done. (The indie level, as ever, is a different story; Black Francis and Julian Cope are two artists from that realm who've emulated the concept.)
Even so, there's more to the story than the romantic image of Joe Struummer and his merry men rolling up to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Newcastle, Nottingham and York (to name some of the locations that they barnstormed). As Joe himself said, at the time -- if you couldn't reach people with acoustic guitars, and drumsticks, how could you call yourself a band? Not for nothing did Joe say, "Songs get scared, and they disappear."
Above all else, however, the busking tour was about connecting to people, as guitarist Nick Sheppard told me: "It wasn't really about music. Certainly, for us, it was more about being in the real world." That ideal is an equally important part of WE ARE THE CLASH, as well, and one that we hope to reinforce -- once we complete the work.
In keeping with that spirit, check out the link below for our campaign for the book...which aims to be the final reckoning on this little-understood period of Clash history. Needless to say, there's a lot of work left ahead.
KICKSTARTER CAMPIAGN LINK:
"The Clash's bold, tragic last stand, rescued from history's dustbin: at war with Thatcher, Reagan, the Top Ten, & (sometimes) itself..." With this opening salvo, co-authors Mark Andersen and Ralph Heibutzki launch the Kickstater campaign for their book, WE ARE THE CLASH: THE LAST STAND BAND OF A BAND THAT MATTERED...find out how you can support the project.
After an extended period in the wilderness of trying, I'm pleased to announce my participation as a co-author -- along with Mark Andersen -- on a book that will lay out the definitive story of the post-Mick Jones Clash period.
(Please note: this project is a separate entity from the "Clash Book Dispatches" section, which I intended to showcase material that may still be used for other projects concerning the band.) There will be more to say, in due course, but for now...this press release should suffice.
JOINT COMMUNIQUE FROM CO-AUTHORS MARK ANDERSEN/RALPH HEIBUTZKI
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In the fall of 1983, the Clash's lead singer, Joe Strummer, set about a daunting task: refashioning Britain's “Only Band That Matters” without two key members: guitarist Mick Jones and drummer Topper Headon.
With help from three twentysomething replacements – drummer Pete Howard, and guitarists Nick Sheppard and Vince White – Strummer aimed to revisit the first album's stripped-down martial urgency, and blow away the era's prevailing trends. “Pop will die,” he vowed “and rebel rock will rule.”
Just two years later, the “Clash Mark II” lineup would dissolve amid a critically panned album (CUT THE CRAP), internal bickering, and managerial mind games. With rare exceptions, however, the whole story has only been told in bits and pieces.
Now, Mark Andersen and Ralph Heibutzki will join forces to tell the definitive account of this era in WE ARE THE CLASH: THE LAST STAND OF THE ONLY BAND THAT MATTERED, due out in summer 2013, on Akashic Books.
Andersen is best-known as co-author of DANCE OF DAYS: TWO DECADES OF PUNK IN THE NATION'S CAPITAL (2001), and co-founder of punk activist collective, Positive Force DC, while Heibutzki first appeared in print with UNIFINISHED BUSINESS: THE LIFE & TIMES OF DANNY GATTON (2003).
Both were originally working on separate but parallel tracks, until they decided to join forces – and produce a book that will speak for itself.
"I was a Clash fan from 1977 on, and the band was a tremendous inspiration for me as a teenager," Andersen recalls. "But this period of The Clash -- for all its failures -- actually may have had an even bigger impact on the work I've done with Positive Force and other community projects since 1984."
“This is not only a great musical story, it's a compelling human interest saga,” Heibutzki said. “The issues that 'Strummer and company' faced during those two turbulent years – notably, the struggle to regain '77-era idealism in a hyper-commercialized environment – are relevant for any reader, musician or not.”
"Too many folks simply dismiss this era of the band," Andersen agrees. "This book will not only challenge some conventional musical critiques, but also place The Clash's drama in its proper political context: Reagan, Thatcher, the defeat of the miners' strike and the subsequent ascendancy of right-wing economics and politics."
The authors welcome all contributions, including anecdotes, flyers and graphics, plus whatever recollections that people wish to share, whether they saw the band live, or had any dealings with them. To contribute along those lines, contact Andersen at email@example.com or Heibutzki at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For additional information, keep visiting this website.
Clash Book Dispatches
To find older entries, simply click the "Archive" button, and follow the links from there. Also, please note: in light of the Clash II book announcement (see "Communiques"), the author reserves the option to hold back entries for different projects.