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Bernie Rhodes

Starting with their Brilliant Name: The Clash

Maybe if Svengali manager Bernie Rhodes hadn't liked Paul Simonon's idea about a name for the outfit he and his friend Mick Jones had assembled, we'd never have The Clash, perhaps the most appropriately named band of the punk era, maybe of all time. Just a few years Later CBS publicity would describe them as "The Only Band that Mattered," seemingly unaware that one of the band's modus operandi was bolstering the likes of lesser-knowns, such as Lee "Scratch" Perry, the legendary Jamaican producer, who co-produced an early version of "Complete Control," which ironically, took a swipe at CBS.     

And as shows and venues increased exponentially in depth and breadth between 1976 and 1982, the Clash promoted unknowns, such as Mickey Dread, Tymon Dogg, and not once, but twice during their stint at NYC's Bonds Casino in June, 1981, the Bratles, a group of city kids with boho pedigrees, and the yet-to-be-known New York rappers, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, also at Bonds. 

Sandinista! proved that there was an internationalism, dare I say it, to the Clash that contravened the idea of the super group. The attempt to be inclusive at Bonds, featuring each night a tripartite lineup of a Brit band, an American and a Jamaican act, from The Slits to Joe Ely to Lee Perry, was as quintessential Clash as their eclectic and therefore, subversive, musical passions: including but not limited to rockabilly, reggae, ska, funk and jangly garage rock.