Clash

"We constructed a box set we could live in," The Clash's Paul Simonon joked to the press and friends gathered at downtown New York's Wallplay gallery Thursday (September 19) to discuss the legendary U.K. band's newly released career-spanning "Sound System" box set.

Simonon, who held court alongside bandmate Mick Jones, divulged that the new 12-disc set's packaging was based on his own personal 80's boom box, which led to an amusing need for an adjustment in scale once he shared his prototype with Sony Legacy. "That's great, Paul," he remembers them saying, "But how are we going to get all of the CD's in there?"

Amid walls festooned with Clash album artwork, video screens showing rare live footage, and iconic photos by Kate Simon, Bob Gruen and others, Simonon and Jones (along with former manager Kozmo Vinyl)  also reminisced about New York's role its own ascent and the other iconic musicians of the era -- from the Ramones and Patti Smith to the Who during the loosely moderated hour-long conversation facilitated by Rolling Stone's David Fricke. 

Jones recalled that when the Clash opened for the Who at New York's Shea Stadium in 1982, Pete Townshend made up for the rest of the Who's indifference to the younger band via an impromptu game of tin-can soccer in the Clash's dressing room.

On being asked if they felt the Who were attempting to pass the baton in some way back then, Jones laughed, "If they'd handed us a baton, we would've dropped it."

The 12-CD "Sound System" box set and its companion compilation, the 2-disc "The Clash Hits Back", which features music from 1977-1982, arrived September 10 on Sony Legacy.

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