All musicians start out with ideals but hanging on to them in the face of media scrutiny takes real integrity. Tougher still is to live up to the ideals of your dedicated fans.
In that sense, I became politicized because the people in the coal mining villages who were involved in the struggle knew why they were there. But they couldn't understand why some pop star from London would want to be there.
My theory is this; I'm not a political songwriter. I'm an honest songwriter.
I'm trying to make a case for those people who don't have a sense of belonging that they should have, that there is something really worthwhile in having a sense of belonging, and recasting and looking at our modern history.
I'm still batting away on my politics for the Labour Party. I'm much further to the left of them than I used to be, but that's because they've moved, not me.
Were it not for the Clash, punk would have been just a sneer, a safety pin and a pair of bondage trousers.
The most important thing for anyone, I think, is to be engaged, whether you're an artist or a journalist is to be engaged in the process at some level.
There are quite a few honest songwriters out there writing about relationships and their own personality traits. But for some reason, once they step out of the bedroom, their honesty doesn't seem to come with them.
So, in some ways, the political songs tend to be a bit more like reportage, whereas the love songs tend to be like novels, you can pick them up off the shelf and go into them any time.
All the great political music was made at the height of political confrontations.
Being spokesman for a generation is the worst job I ever had.
Even with politics, stuff comes around again. Woody Guthrie would recognize America today.
I came into this whole business by going to see Rock Against Racism gigs with the Clash.
I enjoyed so much working with the guys from Wilco, and riffing off of them, and having someone come up to me with ideas, because normally in the studio it's me who has to come up with all the ideas.
We read our own political content into The Clash, and they accepted it.
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