Stealing all transmissions
A short history of the clash
Randal Doane
Pm press

This book came out the year of the last World Cup and it’s been in my like to read since then. My delay was in thinking I know about the clash, love their music and have read tomes about them to date. Randal is taking a slightly different direction. He takes it from a U.S. punk background.

The clash and punk cut through the bullshit we are told here and there was some of that around music at the time. However there was an interesting scene in New York, prior to the clash ever getting to the states. It wasn’t just the big apple as Detroit motor city was producing some interesting stuff. Punk rock was the word that glued those scenes together.

Doanes book gives some insight into not just the music but the writing of the day too. Fanzines and magazines like Punk, New York rocker, the village voice and trouser press were writing about the American scene and giving the Clash the publicity they deserved. Radio play in the states was different to the UK where john peel was flying the flag for the burgeoning scene. Fm radio was coming in stream in the states at this exciting musical time. As Randal describes these situations the book moves from becoming a story of the clash and more the story of how he clash became better know in the states. The secret history here is the foundations that were laid before the clash took the states by storm. In radio and in print.

If the ramones were New York and the Sex Pistols London then the clash were the multinationals, a metropolitan mix of culture. Throughout the pages I was left with a feeelibg if uncertainty, not quite sure if this was a piece in the clash, alternative media or the stepping stone between radio frequencies.

A great band with much better books written about them.


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