Certain Songs #209: The Clash – “Garageland”

The_Clash_UK Album: The Clash (U.K.).
Year: 1977.

Like Born to Run, The Clash is packed with so many great songs, I’m selling it short. I mean, where’s “I’m So Bored With The U.S.A.” or “London’s Burning” or “Career Opportunities”?

Well, let’s just say that they’re all here in spirit, because if The Clash began with a statement of intent, then it ends with a summing up and a call to arms.

Back in the garage with my bullshit detector
Carbon monoxide making sure it’s effective
People ringing up making offers for my life
But I just wanna stay in the garage all night

“Garageland” is a summing up of who The Clash are, what they think and where they are going. But not just The Clash, punk rock in general. It’s like they instinctively knew that the Pistols would explode an a hail of drugs and recriminations; The Jam would follow their mod roots and the Buzzcocks were trying to write the perfect pop song.

But The Clash wanted everybody to know that — for now at least — they just wanted to retreat to the garage and crank out as many songs as possible. Work. It’s all about work.

And anybody could join them!

There’s twenty-two singers! But one microphone
(Back in the garage)
There’s five guitar players! But one guitar
(Back in the garage)
Complaints! Complaints! Wot an old bag
(Back in the garage)
All night

That said, in the garage, the resources are scarce, and you kinda knew who was going to end up in front of that microphone and who was going to be playing guitar. The ones willing to do the most work.

Complain all you want, but better yet, go find another garage and start your own band. We’ll be waiting right here for ya!

“Garageland” performed live in Munich, 1977

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