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RARE CLASH, PiL, POST PUNK COLLECTION FOR AUCTION

RARE CLASH, PiL, POST PUNK COLLECTION FOR AUCTION

auctionWe have been asked to support this great cause of an upcoming auction of rare Clash, PiL and Post Punk collection of various items.

Best we leave it to campaign organiser Kathy to explain…

 

“My name is Kathy and I was Keith Levene’s collaborator/partner for approximately 5 years starting in 2011.  I co-created or created a number of Clash and PiL related items including books, music, merchandise which I am donating for an upcoming fundraiser along with other memorabilia.  Proceeds from the benefit will go to cutting edge mental health research conducted by the brilliant psychologist Dr. Joel Vos aka “the Punk Professor.”

One of the first projects I pitched to Mr. Levene during the course of our collaboration was a project known as Diary of a Non-Punk Rocker which evolved into I Was a Teenage Guitarist for the Clash and Meeting Joe: Joe Strummer, the Clash and Me.

For many years Mr. Levene seemed to turn his back on his rich legacy on the original punk scene.  He frequently said things like “punk was the greatest excuse for being useless on the planet.” I helped persuade him to think differently and embrace the artistic, musical, and cultural revolution known as that first wave of British punk that started on the streets of West London in 1975-1976 and eventually went global.

Mr. Levene was at the center of this incredible scene embodying youthful exuberance as a skate-boarding pinball-playing guitar virtuoso. As I started asking questions, this amazing fun and uplifting story popped off the pages as I typed them.  That was Teen Clash.  Meeting Joe is a continuation of that story and focuses heavily on Mr. Levene’s relationship with Joe Strummer.  There’s a really funny story behind how Mr. Levene convinced Joe to leave the 101ers for the Clash – I’ll let you read about that for yourself!

auctionTo my knowledge, this was the first time Mr. Levene had spoken about his experiences to the extent he did so there’s lots of unknown things shared about those incredible times.

Writing those books was a great experience for me. They are chock-full of humorous vignettes. There are a few sad parts but for the most part it’s uplifting. It also eventually answers the question as to why Mr. Levene would form the future ‘only band that matters’ at age 18 and then leave it just as the Clash was well on the road to success.

Another of my collaborations with Mr. Levene is the Commercial Zone 2014 project.  After Mr. Levene left the Clash, he was involved with the Flowers of Romance for a while with his close mate Sid Vicious amongst others.  His next major commitment however was to Public Image Limited – or PiL – another hugely influential project which he always called a company not a band.

Mr. Levene left PiL during the recording of what was to have been PiL’s fourth studio album Commercial Zone in the summer of 1983 just as the band was to embark on a tour of Japan. I interviewed Mr. Levene at length for a book entitled The Post Punk Years.

Mr. Levene always wanted to finish the Commercial Zone project. I helped convince him that 2014 was the time to do it. A successful crowd-funding campaign followed on the Indiegogo platform. Thanks to the generosity of the campaign’s backers, it hit almost 200% of the initial target.  There was great demand for the perks that were offered during the crowdfunding such as the Teen Clash books and custom covers.

It was in Prague that I persuaded Keith to offer the Commercial Zone 1983 albums as a perk.  I found a vendor who purchased the original albums from him in New York a man by the name of “Crackers” who owned a record shop there.  He still had a stock of those albums and I ordered them.  2014 was the first time I believe since 1984 that Mr. Levene made those covers again.

auctionThe custom covers to both CZ1983 and CZ2014 were created there in addition to the music which is absolutely spectacular. Mr. Levene proved that he is better today as a composer than he was back in the day which is saying something.

Another of the many gifts that came out of that project is that Mr. Levene recorded ‘What’s My Name’, a tune he originally wrote on stage at the Black Swan pub, Sheffield, in July 1976.  Although the Clash performed it many times during that summer of 1976 up to his last show with the Clash at the Roundhouse in September, he never recorded it – that is, not until he did so as part of the Commercial Zone 2014 sessions in the White Room which was built on the fourth floor at Prague.

Both Teen Clash and Meeting Joe are available on Amazon as downloads. I recommend starting with Teen Clash [link].

In terms of what punk means to me – I absolutely love the DIY spirit that is/was central to punk’s rich legacy.  A great idea, a can-do attitude and a commitment to do it yourself is fulfilling and empowering.

All the projects were done completely independently:  From conception of the ideas through financing through development through delivery.  If we could do what we did anyone who has a good idea for a book or music or art or merchandising or a café or clothing or technology or a consulting business can realize their dreams too.  That I believe is the ultimate lesson of DIY.”
The auction was supposed to happen in America but fans from the UK have asked that it happen there instead to give them a chance to see the items before they go.  Working on an exhibit/music/art DIY fest as we speak to occur in December -. the Big ticket item is 51% interest in the publishing of Commercial Zone 2014 which I own.  All proceeds to go to mental health research….

 

The campaign itself:  https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/keith-levene-s-commercial-zone-london-1976-project#/

 

More details will be announced as and when so watch this space and please help spread the word…

 

2 Comments
  1. Surely to God we all agree with Kathy here?

    Let’s get behind this great cause & please help spread the word. You have Punk Online’s permission to share this page as far and wide as you can.

    Gaz

  2. Gaz thank you for helping to spread the advance word regarding this important cause. Unfortunately there is too much of a stigma regarding mental health issues. Mental illness is a medical condition just like diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, and other conditions. Yet there is a horrible stigma to mental illness and too many people suffer from that on top of the condition. My colleagues and I seek to raise awareness and help fund worthwhile causes to help improve lives.

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