DzM wrote:I have a dirty secret to tell.
I love that this song is used as the intro. It gives me goosebumps. Especially on on the rare occasion that Andrew and/or Darryl comes out and begins playing along with the track. But the goosebumps don't come from "wow, the Pogues are about to play, oh hell yeah." Honestly I've loved this song since before I knew who the Pogues were. Since before I had any context for the lyrics or understanding for what they meant. I've just loved the song since I was ... what? ... eleven years old? Something like that.
When I was a youth the community in which I lived had a private radio station ("You're listening to WUTZ, 88.5 on the FM dial! What's on YOUR radio!"). This meant that the various record labels sent us their discs along with promo materials and lovely letters describing why the vinyl should get worn to a nub (I remember vividly the day "Oh No! It's DEVO!" was delivered). My mom was a DJ at the station and would turn me loose in the studio "listening room" with whatever records struck my fancy. I would take things like DEVO, The Clash, Ralf & Florian, Elvis Costello, Graham Parker - Hell, I'm not positive but I THINK I recall taking a Wendy Carlos record back with me at one point - and listen to them at ungodly volumes. That's when I fell in love with "Straight to Hell." It was a part of the "WHAT?! I CAN'T HEAR YOU OVER THE SEX PISTOLS!" sound track. Later, as an angst-ridden teen in high school, I listened to this song almost like a salve and an opiate for my own only-child-of-a-single-mom anxieties. I wrote essays about the lyrics. This song was a constant purposeful companion throughout my teens, and has been a constant incidental companion for the twenty years since then.
Anyway - in addition to "OMG!!! THE POGUES are about to play" I absolutely love hearing "Straight to Hell" come over the house sound system simply because it sounds So. Damn. Good. The kick-drum. The bass. The ... whatisit? off-tempo? "tropical"? reggae (or ragga)? calypso? percussion? Whatever. I love hearing it over the house sound system, with giant speakers, and massive decibels, and Joe Strummer, and the fiddle, and the lighting, and the pent up anticipation of the crowd. Every time I hear that combination I feel like it's as close as I'll ever come to hearing The Clash actually perform the song. On the rare occasions when Andrew and/or Darryl start to play along with it I find that I can't stop smiling, bouncing, jumping, dancing, singing, shouting.
I've always felt a special connection with this song. I always felt a connection to some of the broad themes of the song - a bastard child seeking a connection with his lost father. I've long since made peace with my own absentee father, but hearing the song (even on crappy ear buds) reminds me of that angst-filled youth of wanting to connect with my dad. Hearing the song on the house speakers of a concert hall, with all the energy of the crowd, the lights going dim ... I always feel like I'm transported back to before I understood the themes of loss and abandonment, back to when I was an eleven-year-old listening to the album at ungodly volumes in the listening room of WUTZ and dancing around the room to the exotic rhythm of the song and shouting/singing "IT AIN'T COCA-COLA! IT'S RICE!"
I recall reading somewhere in the ancient stacks of Medusa Mr. Chevron (or perhaps Mr. Fearnley) explaining that at some point Shane had said "Hey, let's play Straight to Hell as the intro" and everyone else saying "yeah, good idea." (or something along those lines.) Frankly I don't care what the reason is. I'm just glad they do.
Also also - One should not write these kinds of things once one has run out of wine.
Um, holy crap-that is an amazing story.
I remember the clash playing that on SNL and the audience being stunned, not knowing what to make of it.