Add Big Audio Dynamite to ‘reformed bands’ list

When Big Audio Dynamite played recently in Manchester, England, it was more than a nostalgic trip down memory lane…it was a history in musical innovation.

It’s a long way from Australia to Pommieland, but I just had to make this trip to see B.A.D.

I hoped it would be worth it…and it was.

Although the samples may have dated a little, their expertly conceived fusion music sounds as fresh as ever…which is more than I can say for Mick Jones’ teeth.

Yes…Mick Jones is the star attraction…machine gunning his guitar and revelling in the joyous atmosphere. However, it’s Don Letts raps that regularly steal the show on tracks such as ‘A Party’.

You get a lot of artists and bands who have create, what they think is a new sound in music, and they call themselves ‘urban’. But they are fucking kidding themselves…they wouldn’t know the first thing about being ‘urban’.

These middle class artists such as Justin Timberlake who is…quite good…really. He’s got a good voice, good dancer and looks good…but doesn’t really say or write anything of reall substance. Mick Jones and Don Letts really had something to say, and seeing them play live in Manchester makes me realise what they’re talking about is more than relevant…even today.

“It’s all the original guys,” Jones confirmed. “Thank God we’re still alive!”

The group, formed after the dissolution of The Clash, scored hits in 1986 with E=MC2 and Medicine Show.

They were renowned for their early use of samples…orchestrated by former film director Don Letts… and a futuristic fusion of rock, reggae and hip-hop.

“We’re trying to find the old tapes and get the old samples. I’m hoping to use a lot of the old gear, as well, as it sounded very different.”

“I left The Clash in 1983,” Jones said. “Club music was coming up and hip-hop was sort of just starting.

“I found myself in a club with Don and Leo Williams (bass guitar) and I thought ‘I would really love to make the sort of music I would hear in a place like this’.

“And I just felt like I was in a group again. I’d been through this terrible whirlwind with The Clash. We never stopped for a moment and in the end we all became infected with a madness.”

Big Audio Dynamite went on to record four albums between 1985 and 1990. Their second, No. 10 Upping Street, featured contributions from Jones’s former Clash bandmate, Joe Strummer.

The original line-up disbanded in 1990, although Jones continued to use the name for a series of projects throughout the rest of the decade.

They really are a classic band..

Maybe it’s because The Clash are such an iconic band…and the recent documentary of Joe Strummer.

But it’s not. They have become great in their own right. The music is for a selective audience but it’s the way that the band perform, the way the songs are written…pretty much everything…

And they tell it as it is…political sense fore the working class.

This is easily the reformation of the year.

by Wallace McTavish


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