B.A.D. days here again for Clash rocker Mick Jones

Fri Apr 15, 2011 7:16pm EDT
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By Dean Goodman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Mick Jones is turning the clock back to the '80s, the decade that saw his punk rock band the Clash become mainstream stars.

But the singer/songwriter/guitarist behind such hits as "Should I Stay Or Should I Go" and "Train in Vain" is looking past those glory days to focus on the cult band he formed after he was kicked out of the Clash in 1983.

Jones, 55, has reactivated Big Audio Dynamite, a groundbreaking fusion of his rock 'n' roll guitar and decidedly English vocal stylings with reggae bass lines and New York-influenced hip-hop beats.

B.A.D. also sampled movie dialogue in its songs, a process so innovative that no one thought to charge the band licensing fees or sue for copyright infringement. Songs such as "E=MC2" and "Medicine Show" contained snippets from old Clint Eastwood and Nicolas Roeg films.

Unfortunately, its albums did not exactly burn up the charts. While B.A.D. gained a loyal following among the cognoscenti and college kids, mainstream success was elusive. Record stores did not know what section to put the albums in, and radio stations were similarly vexed. The band, also dogged by many lineup changes, has been largely forgotten.

But Jones, true to his punk-rock outsider roots, sees the underappreciation as a positive thing.

"We remained underground and that's stood us in good stead ... We can do what like, almost, which we are," he told Reuters hours before the band's original lineup played its first American show in more than 20 years on Thursday.

As he sees it, reunited bands that peaked in the '80s are "chasing that illusion of the past," while Big Audio Dynamite's only crime was to be ahead of its time.   Continued...