Making one hell of a racket with their visceral energy, pure commitment and raw anger; The Clash are one of the best punk bands to come out of Britain in the 70’s. Musically versatile, politically charged and a mythologised force in punk-rock music, the band become a benchmark by which all politically-minded groups measured against – and a massive one at that.
Renowned as a cool, ideologically unit of sound, The Clash had a way of collecting influences from all around the world. Absorbing absolutely everything around them and more, they positioned themselves as part of much wider musical traditions compared to other bands at the time. Initially fronting a pub-rock outfit called the 101ers, Joe Strummer was a longtime veteran of the rockabilly-flavoured rock music before The Clash were born in 1976. And whilst they only lasted seven years, their carefully arranged vocals, indelible melodies, souring guitar riffs, politically charged lyrics and combined talent made them one of the greatest, timeless punk-rock bands around.
Join the Record Club
The Newport Hotel’s exclusive Record Club recognises some of Western Australia’s most iconic and beloved musicians. Boosting the local music scene in a very promising light, the second night for Season 6 pays tribute to The Clash’s London Calling album. The Zombies of Death – featuring some of Perth’s most recognised talent – will be performing the classic record in all its entirety Thursday 28th July, 2016. Event details here.
Getting to Know the Zombies of Death
The Zombies of Death are made up of:
Matt Geary: (Vocals and Guitar) – Matt Geary plays in a swag of local bands including The Nordeens who have just released an album, The Ghost Hotel who are currently recording, 6s &7s who are also in the recording process, Wooden Robots who are (guess what?) recording and The Wine Dark Sea, who have an album due to be released shortly.
Steve Hensby: (Vocals and Guitar) – Plays in the Steve Hensby Band with Elysia. They have also formed Bonnie Scott’s jazz duo who play all over the state. Steve also fronts local rock band, Tracksuit. Steve and Elysia are both veterans of many Record Club events including The Dark Side of the Moon and Abbey road.
Sid Hennessy: (Bass and Vocals) – With a name like Sid, it was inevitable that he would turn out a punk. He was a long-time member of the successful WA punk band The Lazy Sods, which allowed him to quit his day job and live the dream. Sid has also played with ex-Clash member Nick Sheppard and now plays in Voudou Zazou (gypsy jazz), The Isolites (rocksteady/Jamaican ska), Kingston Shakers (Calypso) and Special Brew (2-Tone/ska).
Stewie Martin: (Drums) – Stewie (the arms) Martin is a formidable drummer. He plays in the Meth Queens and Special Brew with Sid. It is commonly known that Stewie’s drumming is so powerful, that if he joins your band, it will be necessary for the band members to buy more powerful amplification to keep up with his thunderous playing!
Elysia Murphy: (Keyboards) – In addition to the Steve Hensby Band and Bonnie Scott’s Jazz Duo, Elysia has also played in Special Brew with Stewie and Sid.
The Clash’s London Calling Punk-Rock Brilliance
The Clash have always had a respective repertoire of influences, so it made sense that their 1979 album London Calling was a musical chameleon. Bouncing between bleak punk, RnB, rampaging ska, jazz, pop territories and disco resignation; the record explored many sub-genres and proved The Clash were one of the most advanced punk-rock bands to come out of London.
Putting themselves in a brand new place musically, the album included a handful of classic tracks including the powerful London Calling, Train in Vain, Jimmy Jazz, Rudie Can’t Fail, Spanish Bombs, The Right Profile and The Guns of Brixton. Lyrically, it was an album that expanded the band’s boundaries and helped to create a record that is as politically agitated as it is culturally stirring too.
In 2007, London Calling was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, as it is considered to be, “…a collection of recordings of lasting historical significance.”
“We all LOVE this record! With an album of such breathtaking scope, we would defy anyone to not like it. It has a massive scope reading topics, themes and musical styles. Rolling Stone voted it as the best album of the 1980’2 and #8 best album of all time. It covers such themes like fear (London Calling), joy (Rudie Can’t Fail), tragedy (Spanish Bombs), anger (Clampdown), optimism (Revolution Rock), encouragement (I’m Not Down) and selling out (Death or Glory)”.
“Joe Strummer was a news-addict and constantly put thoughts about current events into his songs. There are no wasted lines and no hackneyed phrases in these songs. The single London Calling alone refers to nuclear meltdown, war, food shortages, climate change and the oil crisis – and that’s just the first song on the album! Also, the collection of songs covers several musical genres including punk, jazz, blues, rock, reggae and rocksteady which makes the album a challenging and exciting one to perform….”
…”Some of the songs (eg: The Card Cheat) were never performed live. The reason for this is that the ‘wall of sound’ they achieved was made by recording all the instruments twice. The two recordings were layered over each other, creating a massive sound. We are going to attempt to achieve this in a live situation!”.
“The lyrics are so well written and the musical accompaniment is such a fitting vehicle for each individual song, that we are amazed that this album hasn’t been snapped up by one of the “Record Club” bands already. We know how much Clash fans consider this a sacred album, and we have put a great deal of care into making this the best possible show we can.”
“Most Clash fans and critics believe the platinum-selling London Calling to be the Clash’s finest hour. It is a very important album, by a very important band. It still sounds as fresh today as it did thirty-six years ago.”
“The Clash were always generous to their fans, too. Any regular fans who followed them from city to city were given a spot in one of their hotel rooms, if they didn’t have the money for accommodation. Also, London Calling was a double album, but it wasn’t supposed to be. The band were angry that CBS had priced their previous EP, The Cost of Living at £1.49, and so in the interests of their fans they insisted that London Calling be a double LP. CBS refused, so the band tried a different tactic: how about a free single on a one-disc LP? CBS agreed, but didn’t notice that this free single disc would play at 33rpm and contain eight songs – therefore making it up to a double album! It then became nine when “Train in Vain” was tacked on to the end of the album after an NME single release fell through. “Train” arrived so late on that it isn’t on the tracklisting on the album sleeve, and the only evidence of its existence is a stamp on the run-out groove and its presence on the end of side four. So in the end, London Calling was a 19-song double-LP retailing for the price of a single!”
Revolution Rock with The Clash at The Newport Record Club
“All members of the “Zombies of Death,” have performed in Record Club shows, since it began. We love the Record Club, and feel that it’s wonderful to watch (and perform) an album played in it’s entirety. This is something rarely seen. The audiences are always fantastic and it’s great to see Mal’s visuals, which add a new dimension to the shows. Thursdays at the Newport Record Club have become an institution, and it’s thanks to Steve and Mal, that people are venturing out en masse on Thursday nights in Fremantle.”
“This is a dream gig as it gives us a chance to perform this amazing album, with great sound from Kenny, great visuals from Mal and, most importantly, a great audience who really appreciate Record Club events.”
Season 6 at The Newport Record Club has only just started! With The Smiths, The Eagles, Prince, Kate Bush, Elton John and more still to come. Make sure you stay tuned on the Toward Music blog to find out all the juicy details in the lead-up to each show and follow The Newport Record Club on Facebook and the Record Club Roadshow for all official updates.