Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Just Play Music!...The Story of Big Audio Dynamite...Show # 243

In 1984, one year after being fired from The Clash Mick Jones formed a new group. Big Audio Dynamite would blend elements of Punk, Pop, Hip-Hop, Funk, Reggae and Dance into their music. The band can be seen as an extension from the work that Mick Jones recorded on The Clash's Combat Rock. Recruiting friend Don Letts to do vocals and sound effects, Mick Jones assembled the first incarnation of what was to be known as Big Audio Dynamite. Leo "E-Zee Kill" Williams would play bass, Greg Roberts the drums and Mick Jones would cover guitar, vocals and song writing duties. "The Bottom Line" would be the bands first single. Their first album This Is Big Audio Dynamite would follow shortly after in 1985. The album would debut at # 27 on the UK album charts and # 103 on the US album charts.

"E=MC2" would be the bands next single. The song employed sampling techniques and is often seen as one of the first songs to take advantage of sampling technologies. Lyrically the song made reference to the film Insignificance by Noel Roeg. Chart wise the song did not do well in the UK, but in the US it went to #11 and # 37 on the dance charts. Other great songs contained on the BAD's first album include "Medicine Show" and "Sudden Impact". The music video that was made for "Medicine Show", features former Clash members Joe Strummer and Paul Simonon, and Johnny Rotten of Sex Pistols/Public Image Limited. The bands next album would contain producing and song collaboration with former Clash member Joe Strummer. No. 10 Upping Street, would be released in 1986. The albums title was a pun on the residency of the UK Prime Minister, whose address is 10 Downing St. Singles from the album would be "C'Mon Every Beatbox", "V.Thirteen", and "Sightsee MC". The album did well on the UK album charts (# 11), but was in the low 100's on the US album charts. It should also be noted that despite the low charting on the US album charts, it did well on the US singles charts.

Tighten Up,Vol.88 came next in 1988. The album used more free form song writing techniques as opposed to the earlier BAD albums. The albums first single "Just Play Music!" went to # 1 on the US album charts. The album artwork for Tighten Up,Vol.88 was also designed by former Clash bassist Paul Simonon. Megatop Phoenix followed in 1989. This would be the last album containing the original band members. The album would also produced by Bill Price (of Sex Pistols/Clash producing) and would have two high charting US singles, "James Brown" and "Contact". The album's title would be a reference to a near death experience that Mick Jones had during the recording of this album, which he successfully recovered from. In November of 1990, Big Audio Dynamite II (which was Big Audio Dynamite with new band members, with the exception of Mick Jones) recorded a song titled "Free", which was featured on the soundtrack to the movie Flashback. The song would be re-worked and re-titled "Kickin' It". The re-worked version of "Free" would be featured on the bands album Kool-Aid. The album was released in the UK only in 1990.

In 1991, The Globe was released. With the new line up (which featured two guitarists - Nick Hawkins and Mick Jones), the music took on more of a rock influence, while still keeping true to BAD's sampling techniques. The first singe from the album was the song "Rush". The song went to # 1 on the US Modern Rock charts. It should also be noted that around this time The Clash's "Should I Stay or Should I Go" went to # 1 as well, due to it being featured in a Levi's jeans commercial. "Rush" was placed as the B-Side to the Clash single. The album contained songs in edited or altered state from the UK only release Kool-Aid, it also contained the song "The Globe". "The Globe" was essentially a remix of the Clash song "Should I Stay or Should I Go". It went to # 1 on the US Modern Rock charts, and # 8 on the Australian singles charts. Next Mick Jones shortened the bands name to Big Audio and released the album Higher Power in 1994. The band acquired two additional members for this album, Andre Sharp on Keyboards and Michael "Zonka" Custance as DJ/background vocalist. Higher Power was not well received and did not do as well as the previous album released by Big Audio Dynamite. It did however contain the reggae track "Harrow Road". Following this release the band left their label (Columbia Records).

In 1995, Mick Jones changed his bands name once again to Big Audio Dynamite and released F-Punk on Radioactive Records. This album was not well recieved at all. Despite the negative comments that have been printed about F-Punk, it contains some hidden gems. Songs such as "I Turned Out A Punk", "Gonna Try", "Got It All From My TV", and "Singapore". As a bonus, there is even a hidden track, a cover of David Bowie's "Suffragette City". This would be the last official full length album release for Big Audio Dynamite.

The bands next album was titled Entering A New Ride, but the bands record label at the time refused to release it. The band line up at this point, also included Rankin' Roger of The Beat. In order to get the songs and the album out to the public, Mick Jones set up a website and made the songs available for download for free. It was one of the first albums to be made available for download for free (it was in 1997/1998). After this the band basically dissolved. There would be a few compilation releases for the band, but only two after the band stopped playing. They were greatest hits compilations, Plantet Bad (1995), and Super Hits (1999). In 2007, a live DVD featuring the BAD II line up was released. Following his BAD days, Mick Jones would produce albums/bands, most notably his work with The Libertines. In 2002, Mick Jones formed a new group with Tony James (Generation X, Sigue Sigue Sputnik) called Carbon/Silicon. They have made several recordings available for free via their official website, and released one full length album titled The Last Post in 2007.

Also CJAM is still accepting votes for the 2009 Jammy awards (they will be until April 15th, 2009). If you are a listener of Revolution Rock or just a visitor of this blog, a vote would be greatly appreciated. You can vote by clicking this link.

This Weeks Play List:

1. The Saints - Lipstick Collar
2. Luger Boa - A Lonely Story
3. I Was King - Not Like This
4. Wavves - So Bored
5. The Nils - Fountains
6. Diodes - Cat Walker
7. 222's - Hold Up
8. Crash 80's - Waiting For The Heat
9. The Pretenders - The Phone Call
10. X - Adult Books
11. X-Ray Spex - Identity
12. Hot Hot Heat - Get In or Get Out
13. XX Teens - Only You
14. Lost Patrol - Commanche
15. Rudeboy - Midnight To Moscow
16. The Specials - Nite Klub
17. Dead 60s - Too Much TV
18. Wreckless Eric - Veronica
19. Magazine - Touch and Go
20. Siouxsie & The Banshees - Hong Kong Garden
21. Gang of Four - Why Theory?
22. Big Audio Dynamite - Gonna Try
23. Big Audio Dynamite - Get It All From My TV
24. Bob Dylan - Beyond Here Lies Nothin'
25. Radio Birdman - Crying Sun
26. Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros - Johnny Appleseed

To download this week's show visit the CJAM archives and select the files 10:00 AM and 11:00 AM on April, 7th 2009.

BAD Videos:

The Bottom Line
Medicine Show
C'Mon Every Beatbox
V. Thirteen
Innocent Child
Looking For A Song
I Turned Out A Punk

Related posts:

A Carbon/Silicon History
Hey Amigo: The Havana 3AM Story
All The Young Punks: Story of The Clash Part One
Revolution Rock: The Story of The Clash Part Two
Ghetto Defendants: The Story of The Clash Part Three

No comments: