1980-1981: Years Of Growth And Ferment Six: The Clash's "Sandinista".

Well, if 1980's "London Calling" was The Clash's "Sgt. Pepper", then certainly this triple-fucking-LP from the end of '81 is their "White Album".

Does anyone realize just how important drummer Topper Headon was to this band, especially in terms of writing? Crazy. He was a consummate instrumentalist and always messing around and tracking stuff on off-hours in the studio. That's pretty much what this record is. They just rolled tape on the guy. And "Combat Rock" even more so. "Rock The Casbah"- Topper played all the piano and drums and shit and those leeches just wrote words to it. You would shit yourself if you knew how much of the music credited to Strummer or Jones was written by this guy. If Topper had been able to figure out how to do this without about a half liter of heroin in his veins at all times for years he woulda been a force to be reckoned with.

The Clash are truly one of the best examples of how bands used to push themselves. Every album reveals a quantum leap except the last one which pretty much treads water and is, of course, their hugest. I'm not even going to dignify the various comebacks which uniformly sucked and reeked of lucre. They put out this record called "Cut The Crap" in the '80s. That is lame right there.

These guys revealed themselves as incredibly lowercase catholic when the punk dust settled. Music Hall, rap, R&B, musical, murder ballads, country and western, stone-cold funk, reggae; it's all in there. It's always all in there. And on "Sandinista" it all starts to wind together into something unique (although they never quite made it).

"Sandinista"- The Clash's 1980 "White Album". But about 45 minutes longer.

One sour note- I ran sound for Mikey Dread once, the Jamaican guy who toasts all over this album and he was a major league asshole. We're talking Asshole Hall Of Fame. This guy won an Assie six years running. Guy sets up his own front-of-house mix, tells me not to touch it, then heaps abuse on me all night over the mic. 500 people. If I still gave a fuck it would have been mortifying or something. I seem to remember sleeping just fine on that and subsequent nights.

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