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Fear n Loathing review Combat Ready

Fear n Loathing magazine have reviewed Tim Satchwell's new book about The Clash and their Combat Rock album, called 'Combat Ready', and you can see what editor Andy had to say about it here:

"New books about The Clash seem to get published on a pretty regular basis, so it’s easy to become cynical and end-up thinking, well, how many times do we need to read the same story? However, it’s also true that so many myths and versions continue to circulate about the band that it’s become difficult to find a definitive account of what they actually achieved. This book tackles a particular point in their career – the ‘Combat Rock’ album – and attempts to give the details of how and why it was released in the way it was. Although it ended-up being the bands’ most commercially-successful album, it was also the record that drew most criticism from existing fans and which lit the fuse towards the bands’ ultimate demise. Its’ predecessor ‘Sandinista’, despite containing some great tracks, had been an overblown triple LP and originally ‘Combat Rock’ had been planned as a double LP, produced by Mick Jones and entitled ‘Rat Patrol from Fort Bragg’. But tensions within the band (probably exasperated by the return of their original manager, Bernie Rhodes) and demands from their record label resulted in the recordings being pared down to a single album and remixed in a cleaner, less adventurous style by producer Glyn Johns. Around the same time, Topper Headon was struggling with a heroin habit and was eventually fired, creating further friction within the band. Their original drummer Terry Chimes came back temporarily to allow them to fulfil their tour-schedule, but despite the success of the album, the tensions continued and eventually led to the sacking of Mick Jones, a decision from which the band never recovered. Of course, there are many stories intertwined with these events and a lot of different interpretations of what really happened, but where this book plays smart is that, instead of trying to say exactly what happened, it tries to take into account all of the different versions, from the band members themselves, their management and others involved. And there are lots of different versions… sometimes you’ll find that every member of the band had a different view of what happened, so you have to make up your own mind about what seems most likely. Certainly, it puts the album in a completely different context and helps to explain why the album came out the way it did, as well as how it initiated events that tore the band apart. Whether you’re a fan of ‘Combat Rock’ or not, this book helps to clarify the situation that The Clash were in during that time and why, when they were on the verge of achieving the success that they had worked so hard to attain, they instead fell apart. As I said before, there are already enough books about the Clash that simply retell the same story, but this one takes things further to give you a chance to see what was really going on and why ‘Combat Rock’ turned out to be the beginning of the end".

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