Mr. Narrator, This Is Joe Strummer to Me:

Hello, my name is Ed, and I am a Clash-a-holic… (In my mind you are calling back “Hello Ed!”)

Today is International Clash Day. We should give a shout out to fellow DJ John Richard at KEXP in Seattle who initiated Clash Day in 2013. Yay John! Really, it should be called International Clash FAN Day. We celebrate not only the Clash themselves but the brother/sisterhood of Clash fans worldwide, and here in Nashville. In the teenage recesses of my mind, I still think the Clash are somehow on the edge—weird, marginal—and I’m still kind of shocked when I run into other passionate Clash fans. So cheers to us! Passion is the fashion!

Personally I came to the Clash, I’m sure like many of my generation, overnight. One day it was Yes and Rush and 20-minute rock concertos; the next it was Year ZERO, laser focus on what matters, and London’s burning AND I’m SO Bored with the USA. The Clash gave us bullshit detectors!

To borrow from Duke Ellington, there are three types of Clash music: early, middle, and late. And I love them all. The fury and pure punk of early Clash with “White Riot,” “1977,” “Jail Guitar Doors,” and “Garageland”; to the expansiveness and cinematic quality of middle Clash with “London Calling,” “Spanish Bombs,” “The Card Cheat,” and “Death and Glory”; and finally to the experimentation of late Clash with “Magnificent Seven,” “Washington Bullets,” “Lose This Skin,” “Ghetto Defendant,” and “Straight to Hell.” It’s all fantastic!

The Clash broke up in 1983; Mick Jones was fired in September of that year. So that’s where I mark their end. To hell with post-Jones Clash! Wait, back up. Even I can learn a thing or two about the Clash. This year on WXNA I interviewed Kosmo Vinyl, sometimes known as the fifth member of the Clash, about his time with the band. He mentioned that a new book about Clash 2.0 had just come out and that I should check it out. Mark Andersen’s We Are The Clash covers the band from Mick’s ouster to the finale. This book radically changed my view of this period of the band, and I highly recommend it. It may challenge your likely derisive view of the band during this era. (You can listen to Kosmo’s interview here: http://www.wxnafm.org/broadcasts/7776.)

Regardless, the Clash came to an end over 35 years ago! And here we are, celebrating International Clash Day in 2019. What’s going on here? Perhaps the Clash, their music, their example, their inspiration persist because we need them to. These times require deep reserves of musical, artistic, and spiritual sustenance. The Clash really only existed from 1976 to 1983. In those six years they put out six full length albums (two of which were multi-disc) and many EPs and singles. Digging into that output, you will find much that speaks to us today. What I’m struck by is the deep humanism of the band and Joe’s lyrics in particular. They weren’t perfect, they weren’t the best musicians, they didn’t invent punk, but they were true believers for a time. It was and is true rebel music.

The Clash were not Joe Strummer’s band. They were a collective unit: Joe’s lyrics, Mick’s arrangements, Paul’s pure style and chutzpah, and Topper’s solid drumming chops came together to create a unique sound and sensibility. In ways not true for other punk-era bands, they continue to spark our imagination and our collective will to resist. And to rebel in the Albert Camus sense of the term—or as Joe had slapped on his battered Telecaster, “ignore alien orders.” They were sincere without being goofy, they were ironic without being distancing, and they believed what they were saying even if they were at times naive. “I think people ought to know that we’re antifascist, we’re anti-violence, we’re anti-racist, and we’re pro-creative. And we’re against ignorance.” Tell it, Joe!

The Clash and the spirit of Joe Strummer are still with us. In 2016, after what seemed like a calamity, Henry Rollins put it as succinctly as I’ve ever heard: “This is not the time to be dismayed, this is punk rock time. This is what Joe Strummer trained you for.” Goddamn, I can hardly say that without tearing up. WXNA, the DJs and the volunteers, are proud to be on the side of our community and when necessary to be part of the fight to make this community open to all. That is the spirit of the Clash, and that is what Joe Strummer taught us. “Without people, you’re nothing…”

I’m a collector of Strummer quotes. There’s one for just about any situation. Here’s one for right now: “If I had five million pounds I’d start a radio station because something needs to be done. It would be nice to turn on the radio and hear something that didn’t make you feel like smashing up the kitchen and strangling the cat.”

The creation of WXNA in 2016 gave us a chance to re-enchant our love affair with music, and through music to connect with each other: My long love for this band has been reawakened. And I am heartily grateful, because, damn, I needed it. So let’s raise a glass to St. Joe Strummer and to The Only Band That Matters. Cheers and Solidarity.

DJ ED
Eighties/Schmeighties
Friday, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.

Starman Ascending

WXNA DJ Anne McCue Remembers the Star Star

 

That night I woke up at about 3 a.m. and couldn’t get back to sleep. Usually I try to meditate when that happens but for some reason unknown, I picked up my phone and checked in and saw the news. Unbelievable. There was someone I never realized would actually die. He hovered over our childhoods and our teen years in Australia, a superlative human, part alien (all too convincing), fantastic planeteer.

I saw The Man Who Fell To Earth when it came out with some of my teenage siblings at Huskisson Theatre which doubled as a church on Sunday mornings. Sitting in a little old rickety cinema with wooden seats in a tiny coastal town in Australia we were transported into the seemingly “Bowie Universe.” We were intrigued, mesmerized, captivated; and it was hard to doubt that Bowie was actually from another planet. Nearly impossible to separate the man who sang Starman from the character in the film, especially when you are a kid whose imagination is attempting to brim over and get loose.

Throughout the ’70s, Bowie shifted and transformed and could do no wrong. He was made to be a star and handled it better than just about anyone. He was fearlessly and brazenly unconventional. His inspiration was limitless, his imagination was unencumbered.

I’ve been revisiting Low and Hunky DoryLow – that depressed, stoner album – can make me feel as weird as I used to feel when I listened to it all those years ago, like an ethereal flashback to a past nightmare dream of darker, more wintery times. Happier is Hunky Dory, the elvin Bowie hasn’t completely thrown off his hippie whimsy on this wonderful album. We have loved so much of him and will keep on at it. Wow, Mr. Jones. Happy Birthday! xo

 

Anne McCue
Songs on the Wire
Tuesday, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.

http://www.wxnafm.org/broadcasts/10123
annemccue.com
songsonthewire.com

Our Favorite Records of 2018

Every year here at WXNA we like to ask our DJs a simple question: what was your favorite record of the past year? Then, for your convenience, we take their responses and form them into a handy list. Below you will see an amazing collection of some of the best music from 2018 across numerous genres and styles. Like WXNA, there’s a little something for everyone.

DJ PICKS:

Heather Lose/Aging Hipster :: Fantastic Negrito “Please Don’t Be Dead”

Laurel Creech/All About Nashville :: Western Medication “Taste”

Brer Sunshine/The Black Gold Historical Society :: Blood Orange “Negro Swan”

Adam McDole/Body to Body :: Daughters “You Won’t Get What You Want”

DJ Killjoy/Cities Under Cities :: Big Ups “Two Parts Together”

DJ Rhatfink/The Continental :: Weird Al Yankovic “The Hamilton Polka”

BadN8/Coolin’ :: Marlowe (L’Orange & Solemn Brigham) “Marlowe”

DJ Rodge/Delicious Elixir :: Colter Wall “Songs of the Plains”

DJ Lauren/Different Every Time :: Anna & Elizabeth “The Invisible Comes to Us”

DJ Karl/Dizzy Spell :: Beak> “>>>”

Joe/Double Shot with Joe & Sue :: Ben de la Cour “The Hight Cost of Living Strange”

Sue Havlish/Double Shot with Joe & Sue :: The Record Company “All of This Life”

Bill Verdier/Down the Back Lane :: Ry Cooder “The Prodigal Son”

Will Orman (Popcorn Brain)/Dreambeat :: Pinkshinyultrablast “Miserable Miracles”

Chad Pelton/Dustbin Days :: Doug Paisley “Starter Home”

DJ ED/Eighties Schmeighties :: The Good, The Bad & The Queen “Merrie Land”

popGeezer/The English Breakfast :: Kasey Musgraves “Golden Hour”

Brady Brock/Fidelity High :: Fucked Up “Dose Your Dreams”

DJ Mike/Flying Lesson :: Maribou State “Kingdoms in Colour”

Natasha/The French Connections :: Clara Luciani “Sainte Victoire”

Chris Nochowicz/The Future of Jazz :: Jeff Lorber Fusion “Impact”

Hound Dog Hoover/Goin’ Down South :: Ry Cooder “The Prodigal Son

Randy Fox/Hipbilly Jamboree :: Various Artists “The Beginning of the End: The Existential Psychodrama in Country Music (1956-1974)”

Ramona Reid/Holistic Revolution :: Brandi Carlisle: “By the Way, I Forgive You”

DJ Hot Car/Hot Fudge Tuesdays :: Dear Nora “Skulls Example”

DJ Sweetbaby/Hot Fudge Tuesdays :: The Convenience “The Convenience”

DJ TravisT/I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead :: Kraus “Path”

DJ Susan/The Inconsiderate Mixtape :: Daniel Blumberg “Minus”

DJ Juan/International Echo :: J Balvin “Vibras”

Jeff Hackett/The Jazz Connection :: John Coltrane “Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album”

Drew Wilson/Loud Love Show :: Telethon “The Grand Spontaneon”

DJ Charlotte Rollerskates/The Maiden Voyager :: Jasmin Kaset & Quichenight “Tuxedo”

Jason Piffier/Melted Clock Radio :: Robyn “Honey”

Nexus/Musical Mysticism :: Kikagaku Moyo “Masana Temples”

Laura Powers/Needles+Pins :: Cable Ties “Tell Them Where to Go/Choking to Choose”

DJAK/No Remorse :: Sleep “The Sciences”

Angie/Nothin’ But the Blues :: Fantastic Negrito “Please Don’t Be Dead”

Trevor Nikrant/Our Golden Tones :: Laurel Halo “Raw Silk Uncut Wood”

Jay Millar/The Plural of Vinyl :: Lithics “Mating Surfaces”

Mike Mannix/Psych Out! :: Sunwatchers “II”

Randy Fox/Randy’s Record Shop :: The Pandoras “Hey! It’s the Pandoras”

Jammin’ James Riley/Rockabilly N Blues Radio Hour :: Robbie Fulks & Linda Gail Lewis “Wild! Wild! Wild!”

blackcircle (Nekos Barnes)/theRoot :: Khruangbin “Con Todo El Mundo”

Laura Pochodylo/Runout Numbers :: Kasey Musgraves “Golden Hour”

Josh Mock/Sad Songs for Happy People :: Shame “Songs of Praise”

Michal Scatter/The Scattershot :: Des Lions Pour Des Lions “Derviche Safari”

LT/Shout, Sister, Shout! :: Yo La Tengo “There’s a Riot Going On”

Michael Roark/Slings & Arrows :: Insecure Men “Insecure Men”

DJ Anne McCue/Songs on the Wire :: Angela Perley & the Howling Moons “Homemade Vision”

Erica Schultz/Soul of the City :: The Carters “Everything Is Love”

DJ Cajun Mitch/Sounds of the Bayou :: Beach House “7”

Leslie Hermsdorfer/Studio & Stage :: The Breeders “All Nerve”

Jonathan Marx/Transmission :: Eve Maret “No More Running”

DJ Jonni Downer/The Unlistenable Hour :: Iceage “Beyondless”

Anna/Untune the Sky :: Lithics “Mating Surfaces”

Erin Mock/Wishful Thinking :: Lawrence Rothman “I Know I’ve Been Wrong, But Can We Talk?”

DJ Burch/Works Progress Radio Hour :: Amy Rigby “The Old Guys”

Dawn Kote/Yum Yum Eat’em Up :: Maggie Rose “Change the Whole Thing”