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PUNK: 1977-79 “Search & Destroy” THE COMPLETE SET #1-11 Excerpt: The Clash

 

Search and Destroy: How did you go from being interested in painting to being in a band?

The Clash in action, circa 1977Paul Simeon: Well, what happened–somebody I knew at art college met Mick Jones in the street. He was a drummer and he rehearsed with Mick’s old group, the London SS. I was going out with some girl at the time and this drummer he was sort of like, after her, and he was sayin, “Why don’t you come down and see me play?” So she wanted to go and I didn’t want to go, so in the end I went. When I went down there Mick said “You’re a singer aren’t you?” and I said “No, I can’t sing.” So he got me down there singing. It was really terrible. (This was only about a year and a half ago). Then I used to hang around with Mick–he used to say to everyone, “This is my bass player, but he can’t play.” I couldn’t do nothing: I couldn’t sing, I couldn’t play instruments, I couldn’t do anything, I was useless. Mick, in fact, taught me how to play. Every note I hit–that’s all from what Mick taught me.

So we borrowed a bass–it used to belong to Tony James of Generation X. I painted notes on it so I could remember where to put me fingers!

S&D: What’s your main interest in the Clash?

PS: There’s so many things I’m interested in and that center around the group: the music, the words, everything. I sort of basically design the clothes; I’m very much a visual person.

S&D: Are you into the political aspect of the band?

PS: Yeah, definitely. Otherwise I wouldn’t be in the group.

S&D: Did you write any of the songs for the new album?

PS: No, I do write, but it’s very difficult; I get put off in a way that-I’m always being told I gotta learn my bass!

S&D: Has the band started making any money?

PS: …Before we’d always be worrying about we’d always about where we’d get our next meal. Whereas now we don’t have to worry about that so much.

S&D: Can that change the nature of the group?

PS: Don’t think so. I mean, we know what we’re doing, we know what we want to do.

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