This Day In Rock: THE CLASH
In 1983 The Clash had gone from punk upstarts to a passionately eclectic band capable of rocking stadiums.
Things had begun to disintegrate right before the release of ‘Combat Rock’ LP, when drummer Topper Headon was fired because his heroin addiction was a drag on his precision. But the other three members (Joe Strummer, Mick Jones and Paul Simonon) soldiered on with drummer Terry Chimes, who had played on the band’s 1977 debut. The friction within the band only got worse and Chimes left the group at his first opportunity.
Jones and Strummer, the creative forces in the Clash, were heading in different directions. After six years or rampant touring and recording, Jones was ready for a break and desperately wanted an extended vacation. With the band’s commercial fortunes on the rise, Strummer wanted to capitalize on their fame with more touring.
“Mick was intolerable to work with by this time”, the late Strummer remembered in the Clash documentary ‘Westway to the World’.
Unable to plan a summer ’83 Clash tour because of Jones, and continually annoyed by his lack of care and punctuality, Strummer and Simonon weighed their options. They decided that the best move was to assume complete control and fire Mick from the band on September 1, 1983.
“We had to change the team because the atmosphere was too terrible”, Strummer said. “We got so much work to do that we can’t waste time begging people to play the damn guitar!”.