13 April 2004
'All About Heart', Edge on The Clash
'For U2 and other people of our generation, seeing them perform was a life-changing experience.'
In the latest edition of Rolling Stone magazine, celebrating the 'Fifty Immortals' of rock music, Edge pays tribute to The Clash.
'The Clash, more than any other group, kick-started a thousand garage bands across Ireland and the UK. For U2 and other people of our generation, seeing them perform was a life-changing experience. There's really no other way to describe it.
I can vividly remember when I first saw the Clash. It was in Dublin in October 1977. They were touring behind their first album, and they played a 1,200 capacity venue at Trinity College. Dublin had never seen anything like it. It really had a massive impact around here, and I still meet people who are in the music business today - maybe they are DJ's, maybe they are in bands - because they say that show.
U2 were a young band at the time, and it was a complete throw-down to us. It was like: Why are you in music ? What the hell is music all about, anyway? The members of the Clash were not world-class musicians by any means, but the racket they made was undeniable - the pure, visceral energy and the anger and commitment. They were raw in every sense, and they were not ashamed that they were about much more than playing with precision and making sure the guitarswere in tune. This wasn't just entertainment. It was a life-and-death thing. They made it possible for us to take our band seriously. I don't think that we would have gone on to become the band we are if it wasn't for that concert and that band. There it was. They showed us what you needed. And it was all about heart.
The social and political content of the songs was a huge inspiration, certainloy for U2. It was the call to wake up, get wise, get angry, get political and get noisy about it....
Read the rest of Edge's tribute to The Clash here
More on the late and great Joe Strummer here