The Clash and the Clashes
Many Punk fans around the world first learned about “real” London through the music of The Clash. The spirit of “The Only Band That Matters” has been hovering over the city lately, starting last month when the campaign to bring people to next year’s Summer Olympics included a version of The Clash’s “London Calling,” an Apocalyptic vision of the U.K. capital city’s future and class inequities. Then, as fiery riots set upon London following a police shooting that killed a man from a low-income neighborhood, it was hard not to think about earlier Clash classic “London Burning,” a rally cry urging action over apathy. If that didn’t add to the Joe Strummer-as-prophet mythology, another odd occurrence might. Weekly music publication NME’s issue out the day after the unrest started featured a cover story on British Punk’s origins 35 years ago, illustrated with the chaotic, iconic photo of Paul Simonon smashing his bass on stage that featured on London Calling’s album cover. If nothing else, it’s a reminder of how much the world could use a band like The Clash today.
Juggalos’ D-List Feast
The greatest Rap duo to ever sport clown face-paint, Insane Clown Posse, has been the source of endless parodies, from SNL to the internet’s Insane Clown Posse News Network, but there’s nothing more hilariously entertaining than the real deal.
It’s a wonder some TV network hasn’t signed the band to a production deal — the mere prospect of an ICP reality show or sitcom is funnier than a whole season of The Big Bang Theory. But ICP’s annual Gathering of the Juggalos festival in Illinois suggests a primetime ICP variety show might be the best route. The unique booking approach for the Gathering has been increasingly ingenious. The diehard Juggalos are a tough audience for any performer lacking direct ICP ties, but some appearances seem designed to kick the hornet’s nest. The merciless berating is good for publicity — “celebrity” Tila Tequila’s early exit made headlines last year, while this year’s event drew mounds of attention thanks to Charlie Sheen’s appearance. But the rest of the brilliant lineup shouldn’t be overlooked. Along with Sheen (who handled the animosity better than most), ICP’s latest moving targets included Vanilla Ice, MC Hammer, Flavor Flav and Screech from Saved by the Bell.
Satan: Still Effective PR Agent
As Hard Rock/Metal icons from Ozzy Osbourne to Slayer can attest, Satanism is an effective marketing tool. The publicity that comes from rumors of devil worship works so well because a) Lucifer is still America’s biggest boogeyman, guaranteeing endless sensationalized headlines, and b) Satanism is a form of rebellion that freaks parents out, making it even more appealing to impressionable youth. Norwegian Black Metal pioneers Mayhem recently received just such a golden PR gift when an American preacher offered to perform one of his trademark exorcisms on bassist Necrobutcher for broadcast on Norwegian TV. Mr. ’Butcher told Metal Hammer he accepted the offer (because it will be fun and “wild as fuck”) and will soon travel to Phoenix to have his black soul saved by Rev. Bob Larson, who has practiced such voodoo on Metal musicians in the past, according to the Phoenix New Times. Given Mayhem’s by-design morbid reputation (in the early ’90s, rumors spread that a Mayhem member ate the brains of the band’s original singer after he committed suicide), if demons really do start flying out of Necrobutcher’s soul, it’ll make the film The Exorcist look like an episode of Full House.