We Are The Clash: Reagan, Thatcher, and the Last Stand of a Band That Mattered (Paperback)

We Are The Clash: Reagan, Thatcher, and the Last Stand of a Band That Mattered By Mark Anderson, Ralph Heibutzki Cover Image

We Are The Clash: Reagan, Thatcher, and the Last Stand of a Band That Mattered (Paperback)

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An impassioned history of the final, turbulent years of The Clash under the dark shadow of Reagan and Thatcher.


“This is an inspiring take on the rock-band bio format, as much a political history of the 1980s as it is a look at an influential band in its final years.” —Publishers Weekly


The Clash was a paradox of revolutionary conviction, musical ambition, and commercial drive. We Are The Clash is a gripping tale of the band’s struggle to reinvent itself as George Orwell’s 1984 loomed. This bold campaign crashed headlong into a wall of internal contradictions and rising right-wing power.


While the world teetered on edge of the nuclear abyss, British miners waged a life-or-death strike, and tens of thousands died from US guns in Central America, Clash cofounders Joe Strummer, Paul Simonon, and Bernard Rhodes waged a desperate last stand after ejecting guitarist Mick Jones and drummer Topper Headon. The band shattered just as its controversial final album, Cut the Crap, was emerging.


Andersen and Heibutzki weave together extensive archival research and in-depth original interviews with virtually all of the key players involved to tell a moving story of idealism undone by human frailty amid a climatic turning point for our world.



Mark Andersen is the coauthor of Dance of Days: Two Decades of Punk in the Nation's Capital and author of All the Power. He lives in Washington, DC.Ralph Heibutzki (Chairman Ralph) is the author of Unfinished Business: The Life & Times of Danny Gatton. He lives in southwest Michigan.
Product Details ISBN: 9781617752933
ISBN-10: 1617752932
Publisher: Akashic Books, Ltd.
Publication Date: July 3rd, 2018
Pages: 400
Language: English
The Clash’s final chapter, after guitarist Mick Jones’ 1983 departure, has largely been forgotten—until this book, in which authors Mark Andersen and Ralph Heibutzki argue that the punk pioneers were still creating vital music to the very end.
— Rolling Stone, One of RS Picks/New Books for Summer 2018

When did the Clash quit being ‘the only band that matters’? This fascinating book faces a challenge: documenting the final years of the British band that its record label had promoted with that slogan . . . The band may no longer have mattered, but its legacy mattered to the authors, who make it matter to the readers. More than a footnote to the rise and fall of one of the last great rock bands.
— Kirkus Reviews

Coverage is specialized, extending considerably beyond mere behind-the-scenes reportage and deeply explores the sociopolitical context in which the band operated; as such, the tone can be intense (read: punk) and professorial. In all, Andersen and Heibutzki’s examination of the band’s proletarian stance in light of its commercial striving is immensely satisfying.
— Library Journal

One of the most rewarding music books you’ll come across this year . . . By focusing as much on the politics that motivated the Clash, We Are the Clash becomes a vital political history as much as an account of an underdocumented portion of a band’s career. Great music books catalyze critical reconsiderations; We Are the Clash does one better, inviting readers to consider what matters to them: the creative commodities that artists produce? Or the ideals, however complexly and clumsily human they may be, that often compel artists to create in the first place.

— Johns Hopkins Magazine

We Are The Clash tells an important part of the story of both The Clash and punk rock. The repercussions of what went down politically both in the USA and UK back then are still very much felt today.

— Kosmo Vinyl, former manager of The Clash