The Clash End on a Low Note in 1985 - Rolling Stone
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The Clash End on a Low Note in 1985

Watch ‘Brand New Cadillac’ from one of their final concerts

When the story of the Clash is told, it often ends in 1983, when the group melted down following the US Festival and Mick Jones left the band. That’s probably where most members would like to remember it ending too, but Joe Strummer and bassist Paul Simonon limped along the following year, reforming as the Clash for a tour and eventually recording 1985’s Cut the Crap.

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As the title suggests, Cut the Crap was an attempt to return the band to their punk roots, as opposed to the unique reggae/rockabilly/hip-hop combination of 1982’s Combat Rock. Trying to recapture an old sound is often a losing proposition, and the Clash without Mick Jones was already a dubious idea. Making matters worse, the group’s manager Bernie Rhodes attempted to take over as Strummer’s co-writer and the album’s producer. The result was an album that the band has essentially disowned over the years and one they didn’t include on last year’s massive career retrospective box set.

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The Cut the Crap tour finished before the album even came out, and they often only performed “This Is England” from the collection. Guitarists Nick Sheppard and Vince White were brought in to replace Mick Jones on the road, and the songs were largely drawn from the group’s early punk records. Here’s rare footage of them performing “Brand New Cadillac” at the 1985 Roskilde Festival, one of their final performances.

In This Article: Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, The Clash


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