Posted by: Devin | August 14, 2015

Becoming a Clash Fan

I was a member of one of those music clubs where you buy twelve CDs for a penny, then have to buy so many at regular price over the course of a year. I had AWFUL taste at this time (I was sixteen). I couldn’t figure out what to get, so one I chose was The Sex Pistols’ Never Mind the Bollocks. I just liked the cover and had vaguely heard of them.

That album sat on my shelf for a year or two before I finally listened to it. When I finally did, I LOVED it. I got obsessed. I bought a few magazines that were punk specials. The Clash kept popping up in them, so when I needed to buy a full priced album, I got The Clash On Broadway. I was thinking I’d dig it maybe, but nothing would ever touch my favorite band, The Sex Pistols.

Fast forward to when the set arrived. I decided to give it a go, especially since a guy in the liner notes, sitting at his typewriter, looked intriguing. Typewriters kick ass. Anyway, I put disc one into my boombox, and track one, the demo version of Janie Jones, started up.

I remember exactly my reaction. How I felt. This sounds cheesy, but I could FEEL my world changing. It was like my heart, mind, and soul were being infused with electricity and light. I had never heard anything like this in my life. The frenetic energy, the raw vocals, the way this song made me move and dance…I knew immediately that this was an important moment.

I sat there, listening to each of the three discs, the life-changing feelings roiling together in me, making me feel ALIVE.

I could go on, but that was the moment. The first song I ever heard of theirs was all it took. I was only a fan for a year before Joe passed, but in that short amount of time he became such a powerful influence to me. I had severe depression (still do) in high school, and I was bullied and afraid to be myself. By the end of high school, thanks in large part to Joe and The Clash, I was at last able to embrace who I was and am. I became more brave and confident. Still anxious and antisocial, but I had a reason to keep living. They helped give me that reason. Their songs made me feel like things WOULD get better, that there WERE people out there who understood things I felt. There were experiences to have that would be worth sticking around for.

When Joe passed, I was so devastated that I could hardly listen to him for TEN YEARS. But I finally grieved properly after running from the emotions I felt, and in the time since, I’ve rediscovered his importance in my life. I never met him physically, but he was and is there when I need some hope, light, and reasons to keep going and dance.

I don’t know what kind of person I’d be without Joe and The Clash, but I know who I am with them in my life. I’m stronger, more open-minded, more carefree, and more inspired than I would be without them. Joe Strummer matters and I will always be grateful for the gifts he gave us. ❤


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