What Is The Dream? To Live Like They Do In The Movies?

This is Kosmo Vinyl. According to Wikipedia his occupation is ‘talent manager’. He joined The Clash’s team in 1979/80, when Bernie Rhodes stepped back in to manage the band. Kosmo was spokesman, road manager, fixer, mouthpiece and all round aide-de-camp to the Strummer, Jones, Simonon and Headon as they went about breaking into the USA. He introduced them on stage and is heard on the Live At Shea Stadium album, supporting the Who in 1982. Before working with The Clash he was involved with Ian Dury and The Jam.

Kosmo contributed a vocal performance to the song Red Angel Dragnet, on Combat Rock. Paul Simonon takes the lead vocal on Red Angel Dragnet, speaking/shouting about a trip through New York City at night. Kosmo adds some lines from Taxi Driver, that famous psychotic stuff from Travis Bickle about how ‘some day a real rain will come and wash all the scum off the streets’. Paul’s descent into late night madness, over a jerky, funky backing, then goes free association (presumably with input or written wholesale by Strummer), loads of memorable lines about champagne on ice, Alcatraz, woman afraid to walk through the park at night, the Guardian Angels, the dream of living like they do in the movies, hands up for Hollywood, saving the girl, who shot the shot that shot the cop that made him drop? Silly stuff but highly enjoyable. This version is from the Rat Patrol From Fort Bragg bootleg, a rougher mix with organ to the fore, slightly different vocals and ending, and without Glyn Johns’ later FM sheen.

Red Angel Dragnet (Early version)

Kosmo (real name Mark Dunk) married an American and has lived in the States ever since. His current occupation is managing a large New York apartment block. A West Ham United fan in exile, 3474 miles from Upton Park, he spent the 2011/12 football season producing a pop-art influenced collage of the result of every game the Hammers played that season and then posting them on his blog Is Saitch Yer Daddy?┬áHe’s been at it ever since. They were exhibited in London last year- something I only found out about a couple of weeks ago while looking for something else on the net. Here are a couple, the first one with my team beating his 1-0 at Old Trafford. No guarantees that will happen this season.

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Clash Friday

I found this photo of The Clash and various associates I’d never seen before. That’s Joe on the far left with his back to camera, next to him fixer and tour manager Kosmo Vinyl, Paul Simonon centre with shirt undone and Pearl Harbour between him and Mick. Not completely sure who the blonde woman sitting on the ghetto blaster is, possibly Joe’s then girlfriend (I could probably consult a book and find her name)- the one with the fan I’m pretty sure is Mick’s girlfriend Ellen Foley. I also don’t quite recognise the man between Paul and Kosmo but by process of elimination guess he’s either one of the roadcrew or a member of The Explosions (although he doesn’t look like any of The Explosions in the pictures on a Google image search). I’m guessing this is backstage in Japan circa 1982. Pearl Harbour and The Explosions supported them on their Far East tour, and the hair and clobber look very much like their get ups on the cover of Combat Rock. It’s anyone’s guess where Topper has disappeared off too.

In this extremely grainy, taped from Japanese TV clip Pearl fronts The Clash on Wanda Jackson’s Fujiyama Mama before and then sticks around adding vocals while they play their cover of The Equals’ Police On My Back and White Riot.

Here’s that original of Police On My Back by The Equals…

Police On My Back