The Clash - The Vanilla TapesI’m back, baby! And while I still have a couple of things to fine tune, I think everything is good.
I want to celebrate the “Grand Re-Opening” of the Licorice Pizza blog with some stuff from the Clash’s Vanilla Tapes sessions. This disk came packaged with the 25th Anniversary London Calling reissue, in 2004.
Long thought of as either lost or the product of fans’ wishful thinking, Mick Jones found the box of tapes while packing for a move in early 2004. “I recognized them instantly for what they were,” he said. “They hadn’t been heard since the record was made. It was pretty amazing.”
According to the disk’s liner notes, the story starts in 1979, after the Clash came off the first American tour. They had split with manager Bernie Rhodes and in so doing, had lost their rehearsal space. Eventually, they found a converted rubber factory / car repair shop that was now called Vanilla Studios.
“It was like a drive-in garage-type pace,” Paul Simonon said. “There were mechanics and parked cars and fumes.”
The band worked on new material through May and June of that year, putting together tracks for the album that would be London Calling. The plan in Joe Strummer’s mind being, “Suppose a group came along and decided to make a 16-track LP on two Teacs, which drastically diminishes the cost factor called ‘studio cost.’ Suppose you presented that tape to the record company and told ‘em that it took just a few quid to make – you can still get a fucking LP for two or three quid.”
These rehearsal tapes, or “sketches,” as Mick Jones called them, included five previously unreleased Clash songs: “Heart and Mind,” “Where You Gonna Go (Soweto),” “Lonesome Me,” the instrumental “Walking the Slidewalk,” and a Bob Dylan cover, “The Man in Me.” In addition to four of the five of these, I’ve also tossed in the version of “London Calling” that Joe alludes to in The Clash on Broadway box set – here London calls to “the fools and the clowns” and “the Mods on the run.”
The closing paragraphs of the Vanilla Tapes’ story notes what has become of Vanilla Studios. In the early 1990’s, the site was redeveloped and a church building placed there. The London Diocesan House now stands on the site where Joe Strummer sang the words “I believe in this and it’s been tested by research / He who fucks nuns will later join the church.”
It feels good to be back!
Walking the Slidewalk.mp3
Where You Gonna Go (Soweto).mp3
The Man in Me.mp3