Paul Simonin (or however you spell his last name) from The Clash

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by JWC, Dec 28, 2000.

  1. JWC

    JWC Banned

    Oct 4, 2000
    Why is he always refered to as "an unskilled bassist"? I have heard him called that on Behind The Music and in a magazine. Why? He sounds good to me.
  2. like behind the music knows anything about musical skill. he sounded awesome, AND did it playing fretless. of course he has skill. he's one of my favorite bassists.
  3. Paul Simonon played fretless?????
    I always thought he played fretted basses only- first a Rick 4001, then P basses- a maple fboard then a rosewood fboard one.
    favourite Clash bassline -"Lost In The Supermarket".
  4. i don't know about the ric, but paul usually played a fretless P. listen to "death or glory" - hear him sliding into the notes on the verse? that's one of the giveaway spots.

    favorite clash bassline - "white man in hammersmith palais"
  5. gweimer


    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    Well, I wasn't the biggest Clash fan (although "London Calling" is one of my favorite songs), but I will say that he had the perfect sound and approach for the band. One of the grittiest and aggressive tones I've ever heard. Controlled chaos at it's best.
  6. wizo

    wizo Guest

    Jan 23, 2003
    HE RULES...him and jorni from wizo.If youve never heard wizo check them out
  7. Very good bass player, shame to hear he got slammed in some magazines. Never knew he played fretless though.

    And in true punk style, when he joined the Clash as bass player, he'd never even picked up a bass before :cool:
  8. corinpills


    Nov 19, 2000
    Boston, MA
    The Clash had some of the most innovative dub- influenced bass lines of that era (and especially of the punk scene) and anyone who thinks they just did that "Should I Stay Or Should I Go" song is missing a lot. Seriously, any of you younger guys, if you don't have any Clash albums, there's a ton of good stuff to be heard (especially if you like Rancid, they copy the Clash to a T.)

    I'd say that the reason that Paul doesn't get the props he deserves on bass is that it's highly likely that a lot of his recorded bass parts were "touched up" by Mick Jones and Joe Strummer. A bit of the old "That sounds great, Paul, why don't you go have a drink while we attend to to some technical issue?" according to most sources. Paul was instrumental in introducing a lot of the dub influence that became such a huge part of their sound, but his impeccable taste didn't quite match his abilities. Remember, he initially got the gig just 'cuz he looked so damn cool and he had to play a bass with the notes painted on the neck. Not to say he didn't grow into a fine player, but he had to do it while they were already a succesful band.

    currently listening to "Sandanista" and doing that Joe Strummer screech."ow, ow, owwww..."
  9. Voila:


    By the way, some time ago I was doing a websearch on Simonon using a fretless bass but I could find only one piece of information indicating he actually did. So he was probably using it only as an occasional effect. Have a look here , under "Clash Equipment".

    Favourite Clash bassline: "Police And Thieves" :)
  10. I just downloaded this song as I hadn't heard it yet - it's great! :)
    Doesn't really sound to me like he's playing a fretless bass, though ;)
  11. old_skool


    Aug 17, 2000
    Milwaukee, WI
    The Clash are so good...:bawl:
  12. corinpills


    Nov 19, 2000
    Boston, MA
    I think the Clash don't get teh credit they deserve for pushing boundaries while they were active. They never did the reunion tour or kept going for 20 years past their prime like some of their contemporaries. Unlike, say, Sting or Paul Weller, none of the members have gone on to big solo careers that would have kep their name floating around (not that Weller's doing Jaguar commercials, but). Thye were in such a weird position: definitely as influential as the Sex Pistols (and not even in the same game after the first Clash album), but didn't burn out in a blaze of glory, nobody murdered anyone or OD'd, they just kind of fizzled out after Mick Jones left (best Strummer quote of all time: "Towards the end, he would show up at rehearsals like Liz Taylor in a flithy mood.")

    I wonder if yonger players even grasp how important the Clash felt in their prime. To suburban teens getting their musical taste from Trouser Press and Creem magazine, they were Gods on earth. I always remember that Rolling Stone cover of them that just said "The Only Band That Matters". That's a pretty heavy accolade to drag around with you, I guess. They were dragging so many influnces into their sound. Sandanista has dub, jazz, funk, early hip hop, gospel, blues, rockabilly- all on three LPs for the price of one!

    I hear their influence in tons of bands. Every time you hear someone doing a reggae/punk thing, that's the Clash- not the Police. Love the Police, but they were pop stars, the Clash were something else. You kids go get yourself a copy of "London Calling", it'll warp your spine.
  13. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I saw the Clash play live in London several times in the late 1970s and they were pretty inept technically and usually had a crap sound - but the energy carried everybody along. I can remember Jimmy Pursey singing "White Riot" and bringing the house down!! The bass playing was not that good, but nobody expected it to be - punk was about anybody getting up on stage and doing it - no matter how bad you were!!

    That's when I started playing! ;)
  14. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    I've always thought that the Clash were sort of Punk-Reggae, whereas the Police (in the early days) were more Reggae-Punk, if you see what I mean.

    The Police were coming at it from the rhythmic, Reggae side of things (Copeland's drumming was too subtle for Punk ;)), whereas the Clash were coming from the angry, direct punk side of things.

    I could be wrong.

    But at any rate, yeah, The Clash were doing the Reggae/Punk thing first, as I understand it.

    I'm not a big fan of The Clash myself, I much prefer the Police, but there you go ;)
  15. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    It all came out of the Rock against Racism movement in eth late 1970s - so there were lots of events I attended, where there would be punk groups like the Clash on the same bill as Reggae Groups and Reggae SoundSystems - as benefits for RAR - so there was a natural cross-fertilisation.
  16. corinpills


    Nov 19, 2000
    Boston, MA
    "Copeland's drumming was too subtle for Punk"

    Good ol' Stewart could bash like an ape as well, though. Fall Out, Next To You, Truth Hits Everybody, Sting's ribs on the Zenyatta Mondatta tour.

    Make no mistake about it, though, The Police were a very calculated response to the initial wave of Punk: Clash, Sex Pistols, Buzzcocks, Subway Sect, The Damned. That was a big enough explosion to completely turn a jazzer, a prog drummer and a really old blues guitarist into sneering punks playing at the speed of light. As good as they were, the jumped on that bandwagon. peops to them, though, because they jumped on before a lot of other people and were pretty lucky in the songwriting department.

    I might add that, if you've only been exposed to the Clash's radio hits, it would be well worth delving into their catalog. You'll be astounded at how quickly they broke through the contstraints of their early sound. It may have been their biggest weakness from a marketing stabdpoint, but no other band or the time incorporated so many diverse influences into their sound.

    and, yeah, Rock Against Racism was a huge part of it. For a political band like the Clash, the rise of the National Front would be a huge deal and the cross- polination of musical styles (and Paul Simonen's youth in Brixton) has a lot to do with the reggae influence on the band.
  17. chris4001asat


    Dec 16, 2002
    Toledo, Ohio
    Warehouse Manager : Reverend Guitars
    Thanks, now I'll have Death Or Glory going through my head till I can get home and play it.....Actually, that's not really a bad thing!
  18. corinpills


    Nov 19, 2000
    Boston, MA
    That's pertty good. I've had a really bad Carly Simon song stuck in my noggin for hours. T Bone or no T Bone, it's complete rubbish.
  19. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Well I'm definitely up for giving their material another listen, but it'll have to wait until my sister is home for the Summer (she's the one with the Clash albums).

    My exposure to them is mainly from her playing the CDs in the past. I recall some of their songs... "London Calling" (which I like), "I Fought The Law" (which I like, though it's not their song), "Death Or Glory" (which I quite liked), "Lost In The Supermarket" (not bad), "The Guns Of Brixton" (ok), and of course "Rock The Casbah" (good), and "Should I Stay Or Should I Go?" (ok).

    There are probably more, but those are the ones that spring to mind.

    They had some good songs, but nothing that I ever fell in love with - and I've never really liked Joe Strummer's "constipated" vocals too much.
  20. alexclaber

    alexclaber Commercial User

    Jun 19, 2001
    Brighton, UK
    Director - Barefaced Ltd
    Then logically, the Clash were Reggae-Punk and the Police Punk-Reggae. It's all semantics but the main genre in which they sit comes last and the twist upon it goes first, like 'hard rock' or 'p-funk'...