Passion Is a Fashion: The Real Story of the Clash

ISBN: 030681434X
ISBN 13: 9780306814341
By: Pat Gilbert

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Reader's Thoughts


my rating of this book says i really liked it, but as it is a band bio, it was, at times, tedious..almost, at times, really effing boring. but who cares, right? i have been going through, like, the second great awakening of loving the clash (maybe it's an every 20 years thing? maybe i ought to save the other decent bio for when i'm 55?), so it just isn't enough to listen to, talk about, think about the imperative to _learn shit_, too. joe strummer is, clearly, the best of the icons who seem too-good-to-be-true, but here is an entirely true story: When i learned that john mellor (or whatever his given name was) was convinced that rock musicians were like mythological figures until he got giddy for woody guthrie and decided that he, too, could fight fascists on guitar, i was so fired up that i wanted to tell everybody! how is it that i never put that together?! of COURSE joe strummer was into woody guthrie (talk about a roots rock rebel, right?)! anyhow, i even told my dad all about strummer and guthrie (and also how the name "strummer" was another way to cut-up on himself for his supposedly 'clumsy' playing)...and, as a result of this conversation, my dad dusted off, tuned, and started playing his old guitar again. really!

Brian Hirrel

One of the greatest bands ever.

Richard Herbert

not as good as last gang in town

Naomi Krokowski

A book that honors The Only Band That Matters. Thorough but moves briskly, full of admiration for the complex characters that made up The Clash. I've spent years and untold hours enjoying and obsessing over their music and enjoyed getting to know how the alchemy and genius happened.

Paula Hartman-Carlo

This is the definitive biography of The Clash. Pat Gilbert not only interviews just about every person who was involved with the band but he also paints a detailed picture of what England was like in decades following WWII. The book is well organized and the reader can easily imagine what it was like to be on the road or in the studio with The Clash. Gilbert provides a discography and a bibliography. The only thing I was disappointed with was the lack of photos. There were a few pages but it wasn't enough. This book is a must-read for any fan of The Clash.


Great bio on the Only Band that Mattered.

Felicie Lucas

Loved it. Great history of The Clash.


A great book about one of the best bands ever. It's a very entertaining story, and really makes you feel what it must've been like to be in London in the late 70s. I also love the epilogue, which is a great tribute to Joe Strummer, who passed away before the book was published.


Probably the most intelligently written music biography I've read. The Clash deserve it, as they are one of the few great bands to truly derive their complex political and philosophical viewpoints from lived experience. Gilbert seems to allude that the views they represented were the very reason that the band was predestined to a relatively short lifespan. Those viewpoints - the foundation of the band - did not mix with success. Punk music was not about success. Once the band achieved that success at a certain level, they began to fall apart. They were one of the few artists who managed to achieve censorship from the British military. Their politics were anathema to British (and American) military doctrine, yet the US Armed Forces Radio Network infamously co-opted "Rock the Casbah" during the first Iraq war. It became a sort of anthem during Operation Desert Storm, which famously caused Joe Strummer such distress that he broke down in tears. The Clash and the period they represented are one of the defining moments in music history. Album sales aside, they have crossed cultural, political, economic, racial and musical boundaries like no one before them.


Enjoyed the book overall......maybe 'lessened' its impact by reading another Clash biography very soon afterwards


A really interesting insight into the history and creation of the legends that are The Clash. It goes right back to when the band members were children and right to the death of Joe Strummer and the band's activities after this event. A really enjoyable read for fans of The Clash and punk music alike.

Mark Farley

"This is a very funny book," guitarist Mick Jones tells me recently over the new books table. "But don't believe everything you read.""Why's that, Mick?""Well, people remember events differently sometimes."Mick Jones there summing up what is essentially great but also the downfall of this sort of book but despite the guitarists reservations and possible mental blocks, this is the most definitive account of the West London band. It's wonderfully anecdotal to the point where you feel like you a member of the band, experiencing every trial and tribulation with them. You can hear the sounds and you can sense the smells and you can damn well feel the energy, the same energy every lucky bastard crowd in the 70s and early 80s got when they saw four anarchic punks from underneath the Westway stride onto the stage and blast out their blend of politically charged reggae and spunk. You may not remember, but we briefly enjoyed the ride.

Richard Ewart

Finally finished! Very good read and a great insight into a great band. Highly recommended to fans and the musically curious.


For anyone who isn't jaded enough about punk rock, this is the book for you! What do you get when you mix a Woody Guthrie worshipping pubrocker, a couple wahed-up glamrockers, a reggae fanboy who can't play bass, and a several drummers of varying importance? Throw in a tyrannical manager, and you might just have something. A definite good read that any fan of the Clash won't be able to put down.

Timo Vuorensola

Kattava ja läpikotainen, kelvollisesti käännetty The Clashin elämäkerta, joka opasti minut syvemmälle punkin hämmentäville alkulähteille. Kirja antoi myös paljon inspiraatiota ja innostusta, ja mikä tärkeintä, ajoi levykauppaan ja The Clashin tuotantoa hankkimaan. Mielenkiintoinen musiikkielämäkerta muillekin kuin The Clashin faneille.

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