Cool Under Heat
The Clash were an incredibly important band to many post-punk/New Wave bands of the mid-1980's to early 1990's. My Athens, Georgia-based band, The Violets, was no exception. We covered many Clash tunes during our tenure from 1988 to 1992 and drew heavily upon their records for inspiration. I'm proud to announce our record company, Crooked Beat Records, has released a "do-over" compilation recording of The Clash's last record, "Cut the Crap." For this project, we chose "Cool Under Heat," a tune with a strong political message as powerful today as it was in 1985.
I played bass on this track and took the synth bass-line of the recording (Paul Simonon was AWOL throughout most of "Cut the Crap") and composed a more "London Calling" era counter melody. I played a Fender Mustang bass with roundwound flats finger-plucked. We recorded the song in three takes (not bad after 25+ years!) and minimal vocal overdubs. What you hear is largely what we heard during recording. I'm really proud of what we captured on vinyl, including our soccer-brawl chanting!
It was a blast reconnecting with my bandmates Jimmy, Lee, and Jay. Stay tuned; more musical projects coming... it's too early to count us out!
Notes from our record:
We are pleased to be putting out a compilation of artists from around the US doing Clash songs from their 1985 the Cut the Crap.sessions as well as 2 songs from the Clash's Legendary Out Of Control Recording Sessions. RECUTTING THE CRAP VOl 1 will be a numbered pressing (1-1000) pressing of 1000 records. 700 on Black Vinyl and 300 on Green Vinyl. Bands from the Washington, DC area are well represented (Don Zientara, El Quatro, Daly Combat, Basenji, Insurgence DC, Sussed Out, Scotch Bonnets. But there are also bands from all over the US including The Violets (reuniting after 26 years); Too Much Joy, Winterdrinks. Dom Casual and Geisha Hit Squad.
Here is a well written piece DC writer/activist and Clash fan Mark Andersen wrote about the Clash and their music from this time period. His words will be on the back cover of the album jacket:
"The Clash’s final years are the most contested period in the band’s history. Some use the controversial final album Cut The Crap to dismiss the entirety of the post-Mick Jones Clash as misbegotten. Sadly, Joe Strummer--before his untimely death--Jones, Nicky Headon, and Paul Simonon have sometimes abetted this approach by excising both the record and “The Clash Mark II” from official releases.
While perhaps understandable, this stance verges on travesty in both historical and artistic terms. Facing musical, personal and political drift amidst breakthrough Top Ten success, Clash co-founders Strummer, Simonon and Bernard Rhodes embarked on a last ditch effort to correct their course, and “get on with the job” the band started out to do. If this desperate mission ultimately failed in key ways, it can still be seen as a noble quest that flew utterly in the face of commercial common sense.
Truth demands that the post-Jones Clash be given its due. The quintet was an awesome force in live performance, as dozens of bootleg live tapes convincingly demonstrate. Many neo-Clash songs were as good as any of the classics, and carried a political power that was chillingly relevant to their moment. While Cut The Crap is a deeply flawed album, it also is an important one. Indeed, its extraordinary ambition—even if hardly fully realized--carries the true Clash spirit. In this sense, it is worthy to sit next to London Calling, Sandinista! and all the rest.
This record is based in that belief in the value and valor of this last stand of a band that mattered. As the musicians here engage with these songs, they help to focus much needed attention on this final chapter of the Clash story. However, at their best, they do much more: they realize the potential of these songs, make them live again, speaking powerfully to this scary moment for America and the world.
RIGHT NOW the message and meaning of The Clash is more even more relevant and necessary than ever. Listen to these songs, take them into your heart—and then take their message to the streets, into the halls of power. As “North & South” puts it: “we ain’t digging no grave/we’re digging a foundation/for a future to be made.” That better world The Clash sang about remains ours to claim--and claim it we must."
By Mark Andersen, co-author of “We Are The Clash: The Last Stand of a Band That Mattered” (coming soon on Akashic Books) and “Dance Of Days: Two Decades of Punk in the Nation’s Capitol,” author of “All The Power: Revolution Without Illusion” and co-founder of Positive Force DC and We Are Family DC.