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Music Video: The Clash Perform “Charlie Don’t Surf”

by on Friday, April 27, 2012 at 10:51 pm EDT in Arts & Entertainment, Music

Here’s a video of an amazing Clash song, “Charlie Don’t Surf,” from the Sandinista album.

The footage of the video was apparently pulled from a 1982 live performance in Tokyo, Japan, laced w/ scenes from Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now, which had been the inspiration for the song. 

In the movie, Robert Duvall’s character, Lieutenant Colonel Kilgore, justifies his orders to reclaim a dangerous beach from the Vietcong so his men could do some surfing, with the phrase “Charlie Don’t Surf.” (Charlie, of course, was the American troops’ slang for the Vietcong).

The chorus:

Charlie don’t surf, and we think he should
Charlie don’t surf, and you know that it ain’t no good
Charlie don’t surf for his hamburger momma
Charlie’s gonna be a napalm star

My interpretation of this, though others may disagree, goes to how the U.S. forces western consumerism down the world’s throats. And for those who dare to resist its Capitalist imperatives, it is napalm for you.


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Music VIDEO: General Public Performs ‘Rainy Days’

by on Sunday, April 8, 2012 at 3:58 pm EDT in Arts & Entertainment, Music

When The English Beat disbanded in 1983, the group’s singer/songwriter Dave Wakeling and toaster Ranking Roger continued to work together, but as a new entity: General Public.

Their first album, …All The Rage (which featured The Clash’s Mick Jones, The Specials’ Horace Panter, and Dexy’s Midnight Runners members Mickey Billingham and Stoker) enjoyed critical acclaim, climbing the charts in both the U.S. and the U.K.

The second single from that album — and one of the most well-recognized songs of the 80s — “Tenderness,” rose to #27 in the U.S. charts and was featured in films: Sixteen Candles (1984), Weird Science (1985), and Clueless (1995). Other well-received singles from the album, included “Never You Done That” and “Hot You’re Cool.” 

Off the success of …All The Rage, the band won the prestigious Juno award in Canada for 1984’s Best New Artist.

The band split-up shortly after their second album, Hand to Mouth, which spawned two memorable singles, but proved to be far less successful than their debut LP.

In 1995, while Dave was working for Greenpeace, long-time fan and friend Elvis Costello gave Dave Wakeling an earful in front of 18 other Greenpeacers, telling him: “All this Greenpeace stuff, and this anti-Apartheid stuff, that’s all well and good, but you know your place is on the stage, and you know that!” Costello’s words apparently had some affect, because two weeks later Dave rejoined with Roger as General Public to begin work on their third, and arguably strongest, album-to-date, Rub It Better

For the new album, Wakeling and Roger brought in their old English Beat comrade Saxa (on Saxophone), as well as Birmingham reggae singer and toaster Pato Banton (who’d worked previously w/ the English Beat on Special Beat Service). Other guests included Mick Jones, Chris Spedding, and  ex-General Public members Horace Panter and Stoker. Produced by Talking Heads keyboardist Jerry Harrison, the album is a perfect blend of soul, ska, dancehall, pop, and contemporary rock.

Despite receiving a 5-star rating from Rolling Stone Magazine and becoming an instant Beat/GP-fan favorite, Epic Records somehow dropped the ball on promoting this amazing album, resulting in lackluster sales. Roger eventually grew tired of traveling back and forth between England and America (where Wakeling had earlier relocated) and the band, once again, called it quits. 

Dave Wakeling is now touring the world as The English Beat, with plans to go into the studio to record two new albums. Ranking Roger can also be seen touring the U.K. as The Beat

I have had the pleasure of seeing Dave Wakeling’s The English Beat on several occasions, which go down as some of my all-time favorite live performances (and I have seen A LOT over the years). His set includes many of the fabulous songs from both The English Beat and General Public. He is truly one of the most gifted (and underrated) songwriters/singers/guitarists/performers of our time.

From General Public’s Rub It Better, here is the effervescent “Rainy Days,” with Roger at the mic:


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FREE 12-Song Download: Carbon/Silicon (Ex-Clash Mick Jones) New LP, ‘Carbon Bubble’

by on Monday, November 23, 2009 at 9:11 pm EDT in Arts & Entertainment, Music

Carbon/Silicon "Bubble"Great news for all impoverished music lovers out there!

Featuring Mick Jones and Tony JamesCarbon/Silicon, featuring — one of my all-time favorite songwriters — Mick Jones (formerly of The Clash and Big Audio Dynamite) and Tony James (formerly of Generation X), have just released their new 12-Song LP entitled The Carbon Bubble. It is available at the Carbon/Silicon site as a free download.  THAT’S RIGHT, FREE DOWNLOAD!  Get over there, and get it!

Also, for those of you who don’t have it yet, be sure to download their fabulous two-song EP,  Maybe That’s The Meaning of Life, as well — co-written and recorded with Gary Kemp (formerly of Spandau Ballet).

I’m playing The Carbon Bubble LP right now as I type, and it is awesome!  The tracks “What’s Up Doc” and “The Best Man” — a favorite of mine so far — both have an authentic late 70s punk sound — and could easily pass as early Clash tunes. “Reach For the Sky” is great as well — sort of has that now-familiar Carbon/Silicon sound.  “Make it Alright” has an early 60s, garage sound — just fantastic!

Carbon/Silicon have written an awesome album! — definitely, one of the best releases of 2009!  Mick Jones has still got it.  And now he’s giving it away.

Once you’ve downloaded and had a chance to give it a spin, let us know what you think.  Enjoy!