Mick Gets Fired

Extract from the documentary script, reproduced in its entirety in the book (Kindle and Paperback)

Mick Jones: Bernie said let’s do New Orleans music and that was like kind of way, I think probably his way to kind of get us back to refocusing but was like – why would we wanna do that, you know what I mean? So that was like, we were not really on good terms by the time we were trying to do New Orleans music in Camden Town, not that I have anything against New Orleans music but it just seemed ridiculous and it was soon after that – then I left.

Chris Salewicz: Well one of the things about Mick that is undeniable is that he’s always late! And as we all know when you deal with people who are always late, it can drive you completely crackers! Because it also puts things out of schedule. I think that was a big problem. But – very significantly – on the date he’s fired, Mick turns up early and no one’s there!

Johnny Green: Hey Mick! You’re late, they’re waiting in there for you.

Mick Jones: Alright Johnny.

Mick Jones: I was early for once! And so I went up and I thought sod this, ‘is anybody else here?’ and they went ‘no’, so I went out the book shop up the road and then I came back and funnily enough Topper was there as well that day and he’d already left the group – just shows you how close we are anyway.

Ray Jordan: Mick just came up to me and he went, ‘You’re not gonna believe this! They just sacked me from my own band!’ and I said, ‘You’re joking,’ and he said, ‘Yes, I’m going now’. Went to his guitar case, packed his guitars and gone and Joe looked around and Joe looked at me and went, ‘Well that’s your boy if you want to, you can go as well, that’s your boy – follow him then!’ So I just kept quiet ‘cause I wanted my job, I just went with the flow because there’s no sense following Mick. So that’s – but he couldn’t believe it, they just told him one day like, ‘We don’t want you in the band anymore’.

Mick Jones: Basically we were fed up with each other by that time so we – we’ve had enough and we all got on our own trips, and our own trips were like – it wasn’t the same. You know when we were all together at the start? We were like – c’mon guys we can do this you know – blindly going forward and then we did do it, and then we started to fall apart.

Joe Strummer: We had to change the team because the atmosphere was too terrible to – we got so much work to do that we can’t waste time begging people to play the damn guitar!

Terry Chimes: Bernie and Kosmo and Paul and Joe all thought, if we do that we solve all these problems, actually yeah, you solve a problem but you throw the baby out with the bathwater because the band is no longer the band it was.

Tymon Dogg: My personal feeling was, just get on with it, have an argument, have a row with Mick over something and sort it out! That’s more my way of going round it. That wasn’t Joe’s. Joe would have Bernie, ta, ta, ta, ta… and then maybe he’d have a row [laughs]. But I just think, you know, any other group probably would have gone, ‘God, we can make a killing now!’ And they would have gone for the Pound notes or the Dollars – and they didn’t, which is made them relatively unique, ‘cause I mean, can you imagine U2 squabbling as soon as Joshua Tree comes out?

Paul Simonon: At this point we were sort of grown men and you know, as it’s been reported, you know Mick did get a bit out of hand in a very – in an Elizabeth Taylor way with his moods and whatever. At the time that’s what we felt. We felt we’ve had enough, let’s kick him out and that’s what we decided on and to hell with the consequences.

Mick Jones: After a while you work together and you’re living in each other’s pockets almost continually and in our time we didn’t ever have holidays where you have a break so we just continued without any questions… so obviously you get fed up with each other and then the group splits up even though there must have been lots of other reasons you would think contributing towards it… you don’t really see it happening at the time because you are going too fast to notice anything and then the next thing you know it’s like… car crash.

Paul Simonon: He always wanted holidays and it was terrible because we always wanted to get on and do the job, so we had a tour set up and just about to start the tour, Mick’s off on holiday, so obviously we didn’t do the tour which is a bit of a pain in the neck.

Mick Jones: They say I didn’t want to tour, but I wanted to play some places we hadn’t played before or something like that. So it wasn’t that I didn’t wanna tour, but I wanted to play some other places. They say I didn’t wanna tour but I did. But I wanted to play in Eskimo land.

Chris Salewicz: Yes it’s the end of August and we were at a party and some girl from CBS, Sony then was, says, ‘Mick Jones been fired from The Clash today,’ and we couldn’t believe it and we tried to ring him in fact from that party but we only got an answer phone. I couldn’t believe it! I thought it was complete insanity! He writes the music! Everyone knows he writes the music, this is real madness, it’s really crackers! No one’s thought this one out I thought.

Viv Albertine: Firing Mick from his own band is absolutely insane. You know, they had no right to fire Mick, you know it’s either: do you want The Clash to disband or do you want whatever but you don’t fire Mick from his own band, he was The Clash, you know? Whatever Bernie thinks and whatever Joe thought, Mick was The Clash.

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