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The Clash - Essential Clash DVD (Cover Artwork)

The Clash

The Clash: Essential Clash DVDEssential Clash DVD (2003)
The Clash

Reviewer Rating: 2
User Rating:


Contributed by: cobra
(others by this writer | submit your own)

In a hurry? Here are my two main points in this review: 1. I'm a big fan of the Clash 2. This DVD is dissapointing Have a bit more time? I was really excited to pick this up from the library (support your local library!) and lacking a DVD player myself, I rushed over to my parents' to watch it.

Amazon


In a hurry? Here are my two main points in this review:
1. I'm a big fan of the Clash
2. This DVD is dissapointing

Have a bit more time?
I was really excited to pick this up from the library (support your local library!) and lacking a DVD player myself, I rushed over to my parents' to watch it. I love the Clash, I admit to their shortcomings yet appreciate the fact that even at their lowest points, they're better than almost any other band. Which I think is truely the mark of a great band.

Anyway, I'd read some reviews in different places that said, "Yes, this DVD IS 'essential'," but that's the point I'd have to argue the most. This is mostly a vehicle for the Clash's music videos (part of a hypocritical stance by the Clash themselves), yet doesn't include my favorite video by them. "This is Radio Clash" is completely abset, I can only assume it's because the "video" is really just a hodge-podge of material from their documentary Westway to the World (which I do recommend). Also included is the 45-ish minute black and white silent film by Joe Strummer called "Hell W10" which is extremely boring. period. I attempted to sit through it, but failed miserably. The extras section also includes an old interview with Joe, Mick, and Paul from 76 or 77, which doesn't do much for me. I'd been reading a lot about the band recently (Riot of our Own and Return of the Last Gang in Town), and the interview did nothing but give another illustration of how overly concerned with image the band was, and how hypocritical they were (in the interview clip Joe and Mick shut up about their relatively plush upbringings and let Paul talk about his lower class existance to illustrate how "street" and "punk" they are). It's also a little dissapointing that the DVD has only a clip of this interview, which lasts maybe 5 minutes or so. There's also a discography section exactly the same as the one on Westway to the World.

The videos themselves are pretty hit-or-miss.

From their early career there's three videos filmed rather obviously and awkwardly in an empty club of the band playing "1977" "London's Burning" and "White Riot" live. They show a lot of energy, but it seems rather contrived and unconvincing. The quality is pretty good though.

The same can't be said for other live videos on the DVD. Taken from the Clash on Broadway documentary, "Clampdown" and "Train in Vain" feel sloppy and flat. The band does show good energy, but while well-filmed it just doesn't have a blistering sound quality that I'm sure the actual live show had. Also humorously, Joe Strummer's guitar is almost completely absent from the mix, and Paul's out of tune bass sounds like it's using 10 year old strings. The large exception to this set of live videos is "I Fought the Law" which is AMAZING. It might be worth the price (what is the price of this?) alone. The sound is fresh and tight. If you've got a fast modem, go download it somewhere.

Filmed during one of their last shows (after Topper was kicked out) during their stint co-headlining with the Who, there are two videos- "Should I Stay or Should I Go" and "Career Opportunities", which both are pretty good if you can get past Joe Strummer's goofy mohawk, sunglasses (at night), and coonskin hat. I think it IS importiant to mention looks for this since it's a DVD, and at this point the band looks completely like another cheesy rock and roll band that they claimed to so dispise in their early days.

Everyone's probably seen the video for "Rock the Casbah" at some point, and it's on here. It's good, I wish there as some audio commentary or something during it. There's also a music video for "The Call Up" (a song selection which surprizes me) which is kind of neat. Black and white featuring the band in various military gear. "London Calling" is another video most have probably seen at least a clip of, and although it's a good video, if you've seen a 20 second clip of it you have the whole idea. The video for "Bankrobber" combines some nice live footage as well as an amusing plot. It's probably my favorite "music video" on the DVD.

Overall, the videos were good, but I wish there was some sort of commentary or something extra to them.

The DVD made me shrug, kind of like a greatest hits package that has absolutely nothing extra to offer. This is definitely not "essential" to any sort of fan of the band's. The only people I might recommend this to are the bored (and check it out from your library, don't bother buying it), or a boy/girlfriend who you're trying to show how great the Clash are (if they're a visual person. Although, I don't even think this DVD would help in that fashion with the band looking pretty dated sometimes). I recommend the Westway to the World DVD over this, because it has a lot of interview footage as well as great live clips.

For a band who has written such timeless and classic music, many of their different "personas" have a pretty short shelf-life. Buy any of their records before this.

Oh yeah, early Clash (as seen in the boring "Tommy Gun" video) does nothing but reinforce the stereotype of awful British teeth.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
The Clash - The ClashThe Clash - London CallingThe Clash - Combat RockSmoke or Fire - The SpeakeasyThe Clash - Super Black Market ClashJoe Strummer and The Mescaleros - StreetcoreThe Clash - From Here to Eternity: LiveThe Clash - Clash on BroadwayNone More Black - IconsCobra Skulls - Bringing the War Home

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Juddum05 (October 11, 2009)

Police and Thieves fucking good song

ABedForLiars (September 2, 2006)

I love the videos. They could've gotten a better interview clip and Hell W10 was just straight up funny. The Clash kick ass.

Anonymous (September 8, 2005)

Radio Clash is on this dvd!!

Anonymous (September 8, 2005)

Radio Clash is on this dvd!!

Anonymous (May 3, 2004)

The Clash conquered music..punk, funk, early rap, dub/reggae, pop-rock, they did it all..the only band that tops them are the beatles..yes the ramones were awesome but they never progressed as much as the Clash did...progressing your sound but still having your own style is what makes a good band great!..

magnificent7 (February 18, 2004)

why argue over something so stupid. The Clash are probably the best band ever. This DVD is slightly lacking but it does have some choice tracks such as Clampdown and the Call up

Anonymous (December 5, 2003)

Hmm, I think i hear london calling all you dumb media cattle to buy the clash's new dvd. Nobody on this planet cared about the stupid clash before Joe's death. this is all a sham. there trying to bring all these old vintage rock bands back to the mainstream. The ramones, the sex pistols killed punk rock. and the clash didn't help start punk rock they started new wave shit. so for all you wannabe punkers that shop at hot topic and claim that mtv is the way to find good music, well then i personally think you blow extremely hard.
chao

you're not too bright. no one cared about the clash? are you kidding me? ever hear of "the only band that matters"? yeah, that was what people called the clash back in the 80s. and the clash may not have "started" punk, but they most certaintly helped make it what it is today. that is music with a brain. and yes, they may have influenced new wave, but that's what a good band does--influence. it's not like all new wave is even bad. the talking heads were basically the first new wave band and they were genius, much like the clash.

boba_fett (December 4, 2003)

"Hmm, I think i hear london calling all you dumb media cattle to buy the clash's new dvd. Nobody on this planet cared about the stupid clash before Joe's death. this is all a sham. there trying to bring all these old vintage rock bands back to the mainstream. The ramones, the sex pistols killed punk rock. and the clash didn't help start punk rock they started new wave shit. so for all you wannabe punkers that shop at hot topic and claim that mtv is the way to find good music, well then i personally think you blow extremely hard.
chao"

who started punk then? answer that question. please answer it so we can all laugh at you as wqe rip your eyes from their sockets and feed them to you.

fucking ass. fuck. i cant believe someone could be so fucking stupid. really. fuck.

Greenvandal (December 3, 2003)

This discussion just spirals further and further down the fucking toilet everytime one of these "free-thinkers" trys to put us in our place.

Yeah dude. The clash killed punk, and no one cared about them. Get back under your fucking rock, and while your at it swallow your own tongue. Im sure it will have a pleasant effect.

Anonymous (December 3, 2003)

some people are dumb. i like the ramones a lot. and the clash also. so what if people got really into these bands after the passing of their members? what matters is they are fucking listening. punk rock...rock n'roll...whatever...i don't think any of it was meant to be stripped down and categorized and to be the topic of what's punk and what's not. listen to yer damn music, whatever it may be and have fun with it. don't bother other poeple. music is supposed to be fun! beat yer steeling wheel while listening to an album whil yer driving! go see a band play and dance and go fucking apeshit. don't criticize and bitch all the time...you are the people that make things not so fun for everyone else.

Anonymous (December 2, 2003)

I especially like the line - nobody cared about the clash before joe died. What the fuck????
-Janelle

Anonymous (December 2, 2003)

"The ramones, the sex pistols killed punk rock. and the clash didn't help start punk rock they started new wave shit. so for all you wannabe punkers that shop at hot topic and claim that mtv is the way to find good music, well then i personally think you blow extremely hard."

What the fuck? I personally wonder how someone as stupid as you ever learned to type. I don't feel like preaching to some dumbass over the internet to like good music... The bottom line is, you're now on my ban list, fukkker.

-BSD

Anonymous (December 1, 2003)

Hmm, I think i hear london calling all you dumb media cattle to buy the clash's new dvd. Nobody on this planet cared about the stupid clash before Joe's death. this is all a sham. there trying to bring all these old vintage rock bands back to the mainstream. The ramones, the sex pistols killed punk rock. and the clash didn't help start punk rock they started new wave shit. so for all you wannabe punkers that shop at hot topic and claim that mtv is the way to find good music, well then i personally think you blow extremely hard.
chao

funkisdead (December 1, 2003)

hmph. maybe i WILL wear it with bride. (cries shamefully.)

Greenvandal (December 1, 2003)

HEY! I said I was sorry you douche. Jokes on you, im already fucking dead! You can keep your cardigan now, and wear your badge proudly.

Anonymous (December 1, 2003)

hi,

a quick response:
sorry if you feel i should look at the banner above (refering to the Joe Strummer RIP), but i didn't mean to offend so badly. I love the Clash, I've taken the time to track down anything and everything Clash, but in some of my readings I've had to face up to the fact that although their music is immortal, they are just regular dudes who started out embracing the ethos of "punk" at the time, but ended up doing stadium shows, doing groupies, doing a lot of drugs, and being complete rock stars. Joe, Mick, Paul, Topper/Terry = mortal men. The Clash = immortal band. sorry i mixed the two in the review.

cobra

funkisdead (December 1, 2003)

No, you just misunderstood.

The single coils may be quieter, but that has nothing to do with the quality of the mix. Regardless of whether they sound different at different amp volumes, the engineer is responsible for correcting that.

He implied, whether intentionally or not, that The Clash were somehow at a sonic disadvantage from using two guitars that have different output levels, despite the fact that just about every band that has two guitarists us two different types of guitars... Everyone from the Yardbirds to Cap'n Jazz to NOFX.

I originally intended to say that the guitars the Clash were using had NO effect on the mix whatsoever... It was just a shitty engineer.

I'll admit I was being an asshole for no real good reason... and I'm sorry for that much. But had the kid said "yeah, the mix sucks, fuck that engineer" rather than "oh, one of them was using a telecaster and one of them was using a les paul, and the mix sucks," it would have made more sense.

At the time, in my eyes, referring to the guitars was just an unnecessary step, done just to make himself look like he knew what he was talking about.

Again, I apologize to the kid for sounding mean, and have just shot Greenvandal in the chest with my 12 gauge. Sorry greenvandal. I'll bury you with my fucking pink cardigan.

Anonymous (November 30, 2003)

"that guy doesn't know shit about guitars.

oh, humbuckers, single coils... complete bullshit. that kid is just saying stupid shit to make kids like you think he is intelligent.

if you believe that guitar amplification and sound engineering are SOOO primitive that an engineer can't make one guitar as loud as the other in a mix, especially when you are talking about two instruments with price tags in the four figure range, then well... hm. you should just think again, because you are WRONG. take THAT."

Not to mention that at the end of the post he said it was a bad mix. And yes, humbucking pickups are louder than single coils. And Tele's in the 60s and 70's weren't as expensive as Les Pauls. So who's really wrong? You. Because a)single coil guitars are quieter than humbucking guitars with the same amplification settings, and b)THE GUY ALREADY SAID IT WAS A BAD MIX.

Get over yourself already....you're trying to prove that there was a bad mix, when the guy already admitted it was bad mix. Stop putting down others for making intelligent comments.

Greenvandal (November 30, 2003)

In hind sight...the last coment sounded meaner then I wanted it to. Apologies. But seriously, a know it all idiot lose on the internet is nothing to get all worked up about.

Greenvandal (November 30, 2003)

I think your the one trying to sound too smart actually. Who gives a fuck? Are you gonna make a little badge out of construction paper that says "Total Internet Guitar Master" and then parade around your room in a spectacle of post internet forum argument glory with it taped to your pink cardigan? You know your wearing it.

funkisdead (November 29, 2003)

that guy doesn't know shit about guitars.

oh, humbuckers, single coils... complete bullshit. that kid is just saying stupid shit to make kids like you think he is intelligent.

if you believe that guitar amplification and sound engineering are SOOO primitive that an engineer can't make one guitar as loud as the other in a mix, especially when you are talking about two instruments with price tags in the four figure range, then well... hm. you should just think again, because you are WRONG. take THAT.

CallingLondon (November 29, 2003)

oh shit, you dissed the clash. i'll tie the neuse...

Anonymous (November 29, 2003)

"Joes guitar, on Train in Vain at least, isn't completely absent, but you have to work damn hard to hear it. By the nature of the fact that Mick was playing a Les Paul with humbuckers, and Joe was playing a tele with single coils, Joe was doomed to be quieter in the first place. In anycase, it's a pretty bad mix."

You are so fucking stupid."

Uhh, dude, the guy was explaining something about guitars. Take the stick out of your ass.

funkisdead (November 28, 2003)

"Joes guitar, on Train in Vain at least, isn't completely absent, but you have to work damn hard to hear it. By the nature of the fact that Mick was playing a Les Paul with humbuckers, and Joe was playing a tele with single coils, Joe was doomed to be quieter in the first place. In anycase, it's a pretty bad mix."

You are so fucking stupid.

Anonymous (November 27, 2003)

To the reviewer:

You see that banner at the top of the site? Show some respect.

"For a band who has written such timeless and classic music, many of their different "personas" have a pretty short shelf-life. Buy any of their records before this."

Wtf kind of ignorant pukes do you take us for? First off no one is gonna buy a DVD before hearing their music. Second you just praised and smashed the band in the same sentence. Don't worry about their "personas". Let the music do the talking and tell your brain to stop thinking too hard, it must hurt.

Anonymous (November 27, 2003)

Well, to me, the first 3 are the mighty triumvarite. Granted Music For Pleasure is a little shaky in some spots, it certainly doesn't deserve all the criticism it receives.
And Machine Gun Etiquette, why that is a brilliant record!!!!
But Damned Damned Damned started it all, all of UK punk rests on this fine slab of vinyl! And for that - it's legendary.
-Janelle

Anonymous (November 27, 2003)

The Damned were so good... Their first album is so fantastic that all of their other stuff is really dissapointing to me... Brian James was such a fantastic guitarist.

-BSD

Anonymous (November 27, 2003)

Well check out SMITHEREENS. That is the movie with RICHARD HELL I taped over my poor DAMNED "New Rose" - there was other stuff on that too - I think BUZZCOCKS. Oh well. In the words of the RAMONES: What can you do?
-Janelle

let the RAMONES bashing begin! - disrespectful, unthankful people!

Anonymous (November 27, 2003)

dude you need to take another look at the dvd cause the radio clash video is on there.
on the back of the box it says:
traclisting: 1. clash on broadway trailer including "london calling" and "this is radio clash".

so its there, you just have to watch the trailer first.

aubin (November 26, 2003)

Someone needs to explain something to me. Why are videos bad? I mean, artistic films are good. Artistic music is good. Why is that adding film and music together is some sort of unholy thing?

Yes, some videos are pure marketing, but there are a ton of videos which are just an extension of the expression of the music into another medium.

--

As for this DVD, it certainly delivers what it promises, no more, no less. I can't fault the reviewer for not liking it, but the potshots against the bands credibility is a little bit of poor taste. We're talking about the freakin' Clash here. Those guys had credibility before most of us were born.

Anonymous (November 26, 2003)

Richard Hell is still in so many bad movies... I saw one today from 97 with Edie Falco walking around. Weird shizz.

-BSD

Anonymous (November 26, 2003)

damn it - that brings back bad memories! I unknowingly taped a movie with RICHARD HELL in it over New Rose...ah that is one huge regret!
-Janelle

Anonymous (November 26, 2003)

The video for New Rose rocked my cock. I've heard live stuff by them, they obviously influenced the LA hardcore bands more than a little bit.

-BSD

Anonymous (November 26, 2003)

Hmmm...people HAVE brought up good points about what seems to be feelings of betrayal that The Clash made videos on your behalf. The only one that could possibly make you wince is the Should I Stay Or Should I Go one, only cos it's taped from a performance at a packed Shea Stadium - which, of course was at the heighth of their career and the complete antithesis of what they started out as and what they truly were. Other than that though, your brief argument falls flat - many great UK 76/77 bands had videos - Sex Pistols, Buzzcocks, Undertones, hell, even THE MIGHTY DAMNED!
-Janelle

Anonymous (November 26, 2003)

This score is for the reviewer.

Sounds like you read "Last Gang in Town" and believed everything you read. You probably believe Saddam had something to do with 9/11, as well, you unable-to-think-for-yourself lemming.

Anonymous (November 25, 2003)

I'm with Ohio. Ban these negative creeps.

-BSD

MrOhio (November 25, 2003)

Whoever gets to this first...ban this man. You cannot say words against the Clash. You rushed home to watch it, but apparently were already pretty biased against the group. So...why so excited? Just so you could get on here and rip them? Stupid.

Anonymous (November 25, 2003)

Joes guitar, on Train in Vain at least, isn't completely absent, but you have to work damn hard to hear it. By the nature of the fact that Mick was playing a Les Paul with humbuckers, and Joe was playing a tele with single coils, Joe was doomed to be quieter in the first place. In anycase, it's a pretty bad mix.

Is it really essential? Well, I enjoy it, it's nice to look back at all the stuff that happened before I was born, haha.

I concur with the verdict on Hell W10....it's a good thing Joe didn't pursue his career as a director....

Anonymous (November 25, 2003)

ay

Spike17_5960 (November 25, 2003)

The Clash they where punk and british THEY ROCK!!!

Anonymous (November 25, 2003)

and some nice piano stylings from the master...
ah yes, that one below's mine too.
-Janelle

Anonymous (November 25, 2003)

BSD - RUDE BOY is a good movie. Has good Clash performances and I like Joe singing in the studio...

Anonymous (November 25, 2003)

"I think it IS importiant to mention looks for this since it's a DVD, and at this point the band looks completely like another cheesy rock and roll band that they claimed to so dispise in their early days."

Yes, I remember all of those mainstream dino rock bands who tried to look like Travis Bickle...

-BSD

adam (November 25, 2003)

"This is mostly a vehicle for the Clash's music videos (part of a hypocritical stance by the Clash themselves)"

What the hell does this mean? By recording some videos they've broken some moral code?

-adam

Anonymous (November 25, 2003)

"Paul talk about his lower class existance to illustrate how "street" and "punk" they are"

Jesus are you a judgemental fuck... If you have something against the Clash, just get it out... Your entire review seems like it was written by someone who hates the Clash trying to like them.

Why the quotes around "punk" and "street"? For all this reading about them, you've seemed to have missed the point.

Anonymous (November 25, 2003)

"This is mostly a vehicle for the Clash's music videos (part of a hypocritical stance by the Clash themselves),"

Oh I just read the rest of the review, and it sucks... You make it sound like they were in constant rotation on MTV or something. F off.

-BSD

Anonymous (November 25, 2003)

Just order Rude Boy from inflammablematerial. I agree, this DVD is just kinda... ehhhh. Westway to the World is at least fifty times better.

-BSD

Anonymous (November 25, 2003)

In related news, they are streaming the new Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros video for 'Redemption Song' on the Epitaph and Hell-Cat websites.

MikeRiot (November 25, 2003)

I found Hell W10 to be pretty amusing.

Anonymous (November 25, 2003)

nope - you missed this time, superdude. hey, they can't all be winners.

superdude (November 25, 2003)

This review was good, but here's how I would make it better:

1. There should be audio commentary from people like Michael Douglas

2. It doesn't say anything about the Clash's old emo influences

3. Most importantly, the reviewer failed to mention if he ever had a snack during the movie. Maybe that's why his favorite vide was "missing"

4, Maybe the people that took the Volta from Mars also stole the video

5. Also, is there a trailer for the new Matrix movie on this?

maverick (November 25, 2003)

Janelle-

YES! Email me about it - scott@punknews.org.

-Scott

Anonymous (November 25, 2003)

WESTWAY TO THE WORLD is a great documentary. Like you, I also love the video for "This Is Radio Clash" - that's actually the first video I saw by them (...i think it was on 120 minutes actually!).

Oh yeah, anyone interested in a huge-ass promo poster (like 2ft tall) for WESTWAY?
-Janelle

Anonymous (November 25, 2003)

no padna, it was YO momma!!!

Anonymous (November 25, 2003)

Then yo mama brought the house down.

Anonymous (November 25, 2003)

Then who was? The Sex Pistols? Get educated. The Ramones laid down the blueprints for punk and The Clash actually built the house.

Anonymous (November 25, 2003)

The Clash sucked. They were never punk.

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