RiseAndFallOfTheClashDVDThis is a sad film.  In it, there is a murderous plot, protagonists, a Svengali-like antagonist, and plenty of bad things occurring within a story that should have had a happy ending.  I’m talking about the death of The Clash.  And yes, all of the seemingly fictionalized elements I’ve mentioned do indeed happen.

The Clash is typified as one of Rock’s most important bands, mentioned often in the same breath as The Beatles, and other extremely important groups.  The small catalog of albums that carries their name are home to songs that will be remembered for decades, if not forever.  But because that band allowed one man to essentially mold and shape them, their fall was a crushing blow to their enrapt and loyal fans.

Essentially, from the formation of the band, Bernie Rhodes, a one-time co-conspirator with Malcolm McLaren, called the shots, manipulating, directing, and otherwise pitting one against the other in an attempt to make The Clash a vision of his own design. Needless to say, the fact that other personalities were involved in this tug of war only served to insure that there would be fallout.

The Rise and Fall of The Clash chronicles that fall out as you walk past the differences between Strummer, Jones, Headon, and Simonon, with minor players that include Terry Chimes, and the other short roll-call of replacement members.  Its in-depth review of the entire affair is deeply, often sadly recounted by not only Mick Jones, but by many of the replacement band that made up the death throes of The Clash including their final album, Cut The Crap.

The Rise and Fall of The Clash should be a required view for dedicated fans of the band. But beware, there will be anger, and hatred, and deception, and, well, the collapse of the only band that mattered. At the end, you watch as Strummer, who tried to keep The Clash an important band through every foolish decision suggested, and acted upon, attempt to resurrect The Clash in a pursuit of the important Mick Jones, who was already successful with his Big Audio Dynamite (B.A.D.).

The story is a cautionary essential for bands beginning.  But more importantly, The Rise and Fall of The Clash will let you in on the secret that killed the band in intimate detail told by the inside people.

–Matt Rowe

Release Date: April 29, 2014
Label: Shout! Factory
Website

Availability: DVD