Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Queen or the Clash? Choose wisely, son

Sophie had it easy.

When I was 15, my father gave me a nightmarish choice: he would take me to the Twin Cities to see either Queen or the Clash, but not both.

I still love both bands, but my favorite album at the time was Queen's Greatest Hits, so I chose Queen. We went, it was awesome, I bought a T-shirt, and I bragged about it to my friends for years.

When Queen's Freddie Mercury died in 1991, I was sad that one of my favorite singers was no longer with us - but I was happy I'd chosen to see him in concert on what turned out to be his last North American tour. Whew.

By then, the Clash was no longer together, but I wasn't worried. I figured it would only be a matter of time until they reunited. But they didn't. Then lead singer Joe Strummer died.

Suddenly, I wasn't so sure I'd made the right decision.

Last weekend, in an attempt to make things right, I went to see Big Audio Dynamite in Chicago and Minneapolis - also known as the band that features the Clash's Mick Jones on lead vocals.

The band was great; it was mind-blowing to be in the presence in one of history's greatest songwriters, guitarists, vocalists - and one quarter of one of my favorite punk bands.

But deep down inside, I knew: had Joe Strummer lived, I'd probably be seeing the Clash reunion instead.



  1. A greatest hits cannot be your favourite album. That's against the rules.

  2. You chose wisely.

  3. Queen or the Clash? Are you kiding me? The only band that matters vs. what?

    See, here's the can still drive your AMC Pacer down the street and bob 'yer head to Bohemian whatever and get the feel of Queen in the cockles.
    But you sir had a chance to see something that comes along IN A GENERATION...something ragged and raw and SPECIAL. You had a chance. You were that close. And you chose.

    I will live forever with the regret that I never saw the Clash live. But I don't have to live with the shame that I had a choice...and chose to ignore the voices of a era.

    Sorry chum, Mick should'a looked out over the audience, spied your mug and said..."it's too late, mate...Joe's not here."


  4. You've said nothing that my internal monologue hasn't already said. Ha, ha!

  5. Thirty years ago last month, I chose a date with a Minneapolis girl I`d just met (hi, TJ) over a Hall & Oates concert in St Paul that I already had tix to. The date was OK, but looking back, I wished I`d heard Kiss On My List live, instead.

    (For the record, I still love Dirty Punk, from the Clash`s Cut the Crap...)


  6. I stole plenty a drum fill from Queen's Roger Taylor when I was learning my beats. You made the right decision.


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