Idle In Kangaroo Court (Kill Time)

“The story of that is another little film. This is the tramp on the bench watching the world go by in Red Lion Square in the West End. He’s watching all the people and he sees this beautiful girl walk past; perhaps I’ll flee my bench to chase her, and he’s a tramp sitting on a bench singing the song.”Mick Jones (435)

Something About England

“This is another little story/film. The same tramp as in Kill Time but a conversation with a young, hip guy.”Mick Jones (435)

White Riot

“The only thing we’re saying about the Blacks is that they’ve got their problems and they’re prepared to deal with them. But white men, they just ain’t prepared to deal with them – everything’s too cozy. They’ve got stereos, drugs, hi-fis, cars…”Joe Strummer (624)
“[On being present at the Notting Hill Riot – Ed]. Darkness fell and it got really ugly. We trudged off back to the squat, and Sid [Vicious – Ed]was there and we said, Sid, where’ve you been, there’s been a most amazing riot, and Sid said, come on then, lets go and look again, and we went back to have a look. By that time there was a crowd of like five hundred young black guys around the Metro club, and we were walking up Tavistock Road, and this black woman leaned out of her window and shouted at us, don’t go up there boys, they’re going to kill you. We said bollocks, but another black woman came out of a basement somewhere and grabbed us, and we could see there was these five hundred youth, the hard core of the hard core, they weren’t fighting, they were just standing, cos the police were regrouping. That was when I realised I had to write a song called ‘White Riot’. Cos I realised it wasn’t our fight. It was the one day of the year when the blacks were going to get their own back against the really atrocious way the police behaved.”Joe Strummer (625)


“Where we’re moving on next. The chorus is “We’re a garage band and we come from garage land”…That’s just what we are. It’s also commenting on the current situation with all the groups being signed up. It’s a snowball. You form a group and the next week you’ve got a recording contract. That’s great if they make great records, but so far they haven’t made great records. No really good groups have come up just recently…just average groups. They don’t move me to the point where it’s rock’n’roll. The general quality of the music is a bit rough. They’re like TV films…but I’d rather hear them than a shopping list. It’s certainly growing.”Mick Jones (626)

Rudie Can’t Fail

“I wrote ‘Rudie Can’t Fail’ about some mates who were drinking brew for breakfast. They think nothing of it. Me, I’m past the stage where I can. I can drink brew for breakfast, but not every day, and that’s what made me notice them. I thought it was a hell of a way to start a day.”Joe Strummer (627)

Lover’s Rock

“[The Tao Of Love And Sex which is about- Ed] The Chinese way of fucking. A lot of people in the Western Hemisphere have problems. No-one really wants to talk about this kind of thing, but it’s very common, especially with boys turning into men – you get some great bird and fuck it up, right? This song mainly tries to tell you how to do it properly. It goes: ‘You Western man, you’re free with your seed / When you make lovers rock / But whoops there goes the strength you need – to make real cool lovers rock.’ Another thing, it’s about how you can have a good time without her either having to take the pill or have a baby. The pill leads to dreadful depressions with some girls. Taking the pill every day, sometimes getting fat and they don’t know why, and that makes them feel worse. I mean, I was a dwarf when I was younger, grew to my normal size later on, but before then I had to fight my way through school. Anyway, that’s why I wrote the song, even though it’s a bit of a touchy subject. I don’t agree with the pill at all. Then you got the Pope saying Catholics can’t take it…”Joe Strummer (627)

Last Gang In Town

“We like to gee ourselves up a bit, but it’s not strictly serious, like ‘Last Gang’ wasn’t anything to do with us at all. I never for one minute imagined that we were the last gang in town, but the fact it was one of our song-titles became a handy headline for newspaper editors. In fact, I was taking the piss out of violence by inventing a mythical gang. Every day I was hearing about a new gang, first the teds, then the punks – then they were fighting – then the rockabilly teds and the zydeco kids, who were rumoured to wear straw cowboy hats and Doc Martens covered in cement. All this was at the height of the violence, an’ I came across it lots of times. I just wanted to take the piss, you know? So we invented this mythical gang, like ‘Boy, you better come running, because here’s the last gang in town.'”Joe Strummer (627)

I’m So Bored With The USA

“That ‘Bored with the USA’ song has always been misconstrued. We say, ‘We’re so bored with the USA’ having to sit at home and have it pumped into us. The second you turn on the TV you know it’s in America somewhere, and there’s this bird who’s probably a detective, and then a car’s gonna roll over a cliff – you know all the plots by heart. ‘I’m So Bored with the USA’ was about the importing of culture. A quick spree ’round the States taking in all the sights and buying all the crap you can lay your hands on – that’s what we call fun. So long as we don’t have to live there.”Joe Strummer (628)

The Call Up

“That’s an anti-draft song.”Paul Simonon (629)