Sunday, December 7, 2008

Ranking Roger and Mick Jones: A musical mutual appreciation society

There has always been a mutual appreciation society between Ranking Roger of The Beat/General Public and Mick Jones of The Clash/Big Audio Dynamite. The Beat toured with The Clash (see the ticket stub for a show the bands played together in Paris in 1981) and it was on tour that Ranking Roger, who as a punk briefly played drums in a Birmingham-based punk band called The Dum Dum Boys, met Jones who along with Joe Strummer and Paul Simenon were incorporating reggae into their sound.

First a little bit of history. In case you didn't know, The Clash album "Combat Rock" was originally planned as a double album with the working title "Rat Patrol From Fort Bragg", but the idea was scrapped after internal wrangling within the group. Mick Jones had mixed the first version, but the other members were dissatisfied and mixing/producing duties were handed to Glyn Johns, at which point the album became a single LP. This intra-band arguing soon lead to Jones departure from the band. However, the original mixes have since been obtained and subsequently bootlegged. Jones was such a fan of Ranking Roger's, that he invited him to toast on his mix of "Rock The Casbah". The version did not make the "Combat Rock" album, but it cemented a friendship that has gone on to this day.

Here is the alternate version of "Rock The Casbah" featuring Ranking Roger as mixed by Mick Jones:

Both The Clash and The Beat broke up around the same time in mid-1983, with Joe Strummer and Paul Simenon "firing" Mick Jones from the The Clash and Dave Wakeling and Ranking Roger leaving to start General Public. Wakeling and Ranking Roger joined up with keyboardist Mickey Billingham (Dexys Midnight Runners), bassist Horace Panter (The Specials) and drummer Stoker (Dexys Midnight Runners/The Bureau) to form the new band. Jones was originally announced as a band member, and based on his friendship with Ranking Roger agreed to come on-board. However, by the time the "All The Rage" album was released in 1984, Jones had left to form Big Audio Dynamite, although he did play guitar on the majority of the album’s tracks.

Jones returned the favor to Ranking Roger in the mid-90's, inviting him to sing on the track B.A.D. track "Harrow Road". Ranking Roger joined Big Audio Dynamite full-time from 1996-98 and performed at several live shows with the band. Ranking Roger also joined the band in the studio to record the album "Entering A New Ride." However, the band broke up shortly after he joined when its last album was shelved by the record company and they refused to release it. In 1997, the band launched a new web site, primarily as a means to distribute songs from the Entering a New Ride album to the group's fans. The album is one of the earliest virtual albums ever.

Below is the track list and the download of "Entering A New Ride":

Track listing

"Man That Is Dynamite"
"B.A.D. in the Night Time Ride"
"Sunday Best"
"Must Be the Music"
"Taking You to Another Dimension"
"Sound of the B.A.D."
"Cozy Ten Minutes"
"Get High"
"Bang Ice Geezer"
"On the Ones and Twos"
"Nice and Easy"

Here is the download to "Entering A New Ride". The song files are very large so the album is saved in 5 parts.

Big Audio Dynamite - Entering A New Ride


The Scribe of Rotten Hill said...

And of course the Beat now perform their own version of Casbah live. There's an unreleased recording of it too.

BTW the US BAD tour with Roger was in 1995. The amusing thing was that it coincided with General Public's final US tour (actually come to think of it it was BAD's final US tour too).

Roger had called Mick to talk about doing some writing together and Mick asked him onto the tour. Roger said it might be hard because GP had their final gig on the same date as a BAD one, but it worked out because by amazing coincidence it turned out to be the same gig that BAD were playing - a Halloween gig in San Diego. So Roger played twice that night.

In the end GP slotted in another gig in LA at the House of Blues, the same night as BAD were playing up the road at the Viper Lounge. Of course GP kept getting encores so BAD had to play all the songs they could with Roger till they ran out, whereupon the ranking one appeared on cue via the side door and came straight on stage.

Apologies for the long post!

Radam said...

Any chance of a Rock The Casbah download? I would love to get my grubby little hands on an mp3...

The Scribe of Rotten Hill said...

Well the original one that roger did (essentially Roger toasting over Mustapha Dance) is floating around and not that hard to find.

I came across it a couple of weeks back, although I can't remember where now.