Monday, July 28, 2008

TVD's Daily Wax | Big Audio Dynamite

One thing we're going to attempt to do here in year two of this blog is to open the forum to much more reader participation. I've poked and prodded a few of you to pony up the Weekend Shots, but beyond that, if there's something you'd like to see here and you're inclined to put pen to pixel--just let us know. Just like way back when I was working in the record stores--everyone and I mean EVERYone--had an opinion. So don't just sit there in silence, emkay?

Just like WellerWeek Noah who said to me late last week, "Hey, did you ever feature...?" And like the cat to the cream:

"It is no secret that TVD is pretty high on the Clash and Joe Strummer. And rightly so. But, I think it is time to heap a little praise on Mick Jones, the man behind most of the music of the Clash and the band member who has had the most successful post-Clash career. Indeed, after being thrown out of the band he had founded, Mick Jones subsequently emerged with Big Audio Dynamite and created two of finest records of the 1980s. "This Is Big Audio Dynamite" (1985) and "No. 10, Upping Street" (1986) combined funk, guitar-rock, hip hop, reggae, and a hell of a lot of samplings. The results were very groovy tunes with incredibly memorable imagery. The first four tracks on "This Is Big Audio Dynamite," including the incomparable ‘E=MC2,’ are some of the most unique pop songs ever. The follow up record, "No. 10, Upping Street," was co-produced by Jones and Strummer and featured a number of Strummer/Jones tunes, suggesting they had overcome their Clash-era differences. I always loved this album cover photo too.

Big Audio Dynamite comprised a major portion of the soundtrack to my high school years. My circle of friends were all into B.A.D. and I remember my buddy Rob even passed off the lyrics to ‘A Party’ as his own poem about South Africa in his creative writing class – only a few of us knew better and certainly not the teacher (you can’t get away with that sort of thing today with the internet). The big highlight came in our senior year when we loaded into the car and drove down to New York City for the B.A.D. show at Irving Plaza in April 1987. After parking the car and getting some beers we came across some punks who told us to “go back to New Jersey.” No offense to Jon or anyone else out there who might be reading this, but as a seventeen year old this was an intolerable insult. “F off, we’re from Connecticut,” I replied. A big mistake as the punks promptly pummeled us. Bloodied and bruised we nevertheless made it to the show and it was great, though nowadays what I remember most from that gig was how smoky it was inside.

Twenty-one years to the month later I was back at Irving Plaza to see Mick Jones’s latest project, Carbon/Silicon, which incidentally features original Big Audio Dynamite member Leo Williams on bass. I was floored by how good they sounded. Tony James, drummer Domonic Greensmith, and Leo were so tight and complemented Mick’s loose style perfectly. Though I hadn't listened to any of the songs in advance they had an anthemic quality that really suited the live experience. To date, the Carbon/Silicon gig has been my favorite show of 2008. So, here’s to Mick Jones for still putting out interesting music and continuing to rock out live. Cheers!"

Big Audio Dynamite - E = Mc2 (Mp3)
Big Audio Dynamite - Beyond The Pale (Mp3)
Big Audio Dynamite - Medicine Show (Mp3)
Big Audio Dynamite - C'mon Every Beatbox (Mp3)
Big Audio Dynamite - V. Thirteen (Mp3)