Who could have been an adequate substitute to Topper?

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InthePouringRain
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Who could have been an adequate substitute to Topper?

Post by InthePouringRain »

Once Topper got fired from the band in mid-1982, they were left with the daunting task of replacing him. I don't think the eventual replacement the band chose for their 1982 US tour, former drummer Terry Chimes, was the adequate choice, though.

He's a pretty pedestrian and, well, average drummer, who works pretty well for some kinds of material, but certainly not for the kind of songs The Clash were playing by 1982. Comparing his drumming with Topper's on songs like Straight to Hell or other Combat Rock material is like night and day. Once Terry too left the band by late-1982, they got a much better replacement in Pete Howard. Granted, he's still a very different drummer than Topper, but his style of playing fit in much better with the band than the guy he replaced.

So the question I have for you is: if you had to pick someone to fill Topper Headon's shoes in 1982, who would you have chosen?

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Re: Who could have been an adequate substitute to Topper?

Post by Silent Majority »

Pete Thomas?
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InthePouringRain
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Re: Who could have been an adequate substitute to Topper?

Post by InthePouringRain »

I've thought about this for a while, and only one name came to my mind: XTC's Terry Chambers.

First of all, he's a very versatile drummer and can play all of those tricky rhythms Topper and the band dabbled with constantly (have a listen to the English Settlement album and you'll see that for yourself), while also bringing something new to the table, that being his harder-hitting style of playing and experimentation with electronic drums. Couple that with the fact that XTC had quit touring that very April after Andy Partridge had a nervous breakdown, and he was as available as one can be. What do you people think?

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Re: Who could have been an adequate substitute to Topper?

Post by InthePouringRain »

Silent Majority wrote:
31 Mar 2021, 3:25pm
Pete Thomas?
HELL YEAH! One of my favorite drummers, he'd 100% be up to the task. I doubt he'd leave the Attractions for the Clash, though, but it would certainly be a great sight to see :D

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Re: Who could have been an adequate substitute to Topper?

Post by Heston »

InthePouringRain wrote:
31 Mar 2021, 3:25pm
I've thought about this for a while, and only one name came to my mind: XTC's Terry Chambers.

First of all, he's a very versatile drummer and can play all of those tricky rhythms Topper and the band dabbled with constantly (have a listen to the English Settlement album and you'll see that for yourself), while also bringing something new to the table, that being his harder-hitting style of playing and experimentation with electronic drums. Couple that with the fact that XTC had quit touring that very April after Andy Partridge had a nervous breakdown, and he was as available as one can be. What do you people think?
That is a great shout.
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Re: Who could have been an adequate substitute to Topper?

Post by RockNRollWhore »

I would have loved to see Stewart Copeland play with the Clash. The right thing to do would have been to pay to send topper to rehab and put the band on hold for like a year or so. But barring that, a lineup that still included mick, joe, Paul, and then that fucking madman behind the skins would have been wild to see. The police were pretty much finished by 83 anyways. The only potential issues would have been between Stewart and joe. Him and sting absolutely fucking loathed each other and Idk who was worse tbh; 83” Joe w/ all his hyper political shit and egomaniac or Sting just generally being the biggest cuntbag going. Regardless, it would have enabled the band to go in some crazy directions and experiment further with ethnic music.
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Re: Who could have been an adequate substitute to Topper?

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RockNRollWhore wrote:
31 Mar 2021, 4:00pm
I would have loved to see Stewart Copeland play with the Clash. The right thing to do would have been to pay to send topper to rehab and put the band on hold for like a year or so. But barring that, a lineup that still included mick, joe, Paul, and then that fucking madman behind the skins would have been wild to see. The police were pretty much finished by 83 anyways. The only potential issues would have been between Stewart and joe. Him and sting absolutely fucking loathed each other and Idk who was worse tbh; 83” Joe w/ all his hyper political shit and egomaniac or Sting just generally being the biggest cuntbag going. Regardless, it would have enabled the band to go in some crazy directions and experiment further with ethnic music.

55924C97-6C95-46E8-98E9-4DB03BBCEB73.jpeg
Copeland is so good. Not familiar with the other guys mentioned. I feel like Copeland had a bit of an ego/star trip that wouldn't have worked well in 82/83. Plus Joe was apparently anti performing ethnic music. At least per 1984 rants, which who knows how serious that is.
Look, you have to establish context for these things. And I maintain that unless you appreciate the Fall of Constantinople, the Great Fire of London, and Mickey Mantle's fatalist alcoholism, live Freddy makes no sense. If you want to half-ass it, fine, go call Simon Schama to do the appendix.

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Re: Who could have been an adequate substitute to Topper?

Post by Kory »

RockNRollWhore wrote:
31 Mar 2021, 4:00pm
I would have loved to see Stewart Copeland play with the Clash. The right thing to do would have been to pay to send topper to rehab and put the band on hold for like a year or so. But barring that, a lineup that still included mick, joe, Paul, and then that fucking madman behind the skins would have been wild to see. The police were pretty much finished by 83 anyways. The only potential issues would have been between Stewart and joe. Him and sting absolutely fucking loathed each other and Idk who was worse tbh; 83” Joe w/ all his hyper political shit and egomaniac or Sting just generally being the biggest cuntbag going. Regardless, it would have enabled the band to go in some crazy directions and experiment further with ethnic music.

55924C97-6C95-46E8-98E9-4DB03BBCEB73.jpeg
This is my vote too.
matedog wrote:
31 Mar 2021, 4:17pm
Copeland is so good. Not familiar with the other guys mentioned. I feel like Copeland had a bit of an ego/star trip that wouldn't have worked well in 82/83. Plus Joe was apparently anti performing ethnic music. At least per 1984 rants, which who knows how serious that is.
It COULD be argued that having a competent drummer in the band could have kept everything together though, and perhaps if Copeland also hated Bernie, Mick would have had enough clout to re-sack him. Then they could take a half-year off and come back together fresh, and ready to make some fresh ragas.
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Re: Who could have been an adequate substitute to Topper?

Post by YoungParisians »

Mark Brzezicki of Big Country
Charley Charles of The Blockheads
Everett Morton of The English Beat
David Barbarossa of Bow Wow Wow
Hello? Go ahead, man. Yeah I'd just like to say, um, lets have some music now, huh? Ok, ok...thank you.

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Re: Who could have been an adequate substitute to Topper?

Post by InthePouringRain »

YoungParisians wrote:
31 Mar 2021, 4:46pm
Mark Brzezicki of Big Country
Charley Charles of The Blockheads
Everett Morton of The English Beat
David Barbarossa of Bow Wow Wow
If they'd gotten Charley, The Clash would've just become the Blockheads! I mean, they already worked with Norman Watt-Roy and Mickey Gallagher extensively by that point. Not that that's a bad thing, though :D
Last edited by InthePouringRain on 31 Mar 2021, 4:51pm, edited 1 time in total.

InthePouringRain
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Re: Who could have been an adequate substitute to Topper?

Post by InthePouringRain »

Another one I just thought of: Terry Williams, from Rockpile

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Re: Who could have been an adequate substitute to Topper?

Post by matedog »

Kory wrote:
31 Mar 2021, 4:19pm
RockNRollWhore wrote:
31 Mar 2021, 4:00pm
I would have loved to see Stewart Copeland play with the Clash. The right thing to do would have been to pay to send topper to rehab and put the band on hold for like a year or so. But barring that, a lineup that still included mick, joe, Paul, and then that fucking madman behind the skins would have been wild to see. The police were pretty much finished by 83 anyways. The only potential issues would have been between Stewart and joe. Him and sting absolutely fucking loathed each other and Idk who was worse tbh; 83” Joe w/ all his hyper political shit and egomaniac or Sting just generally being the biggest cuntbag going. Regardless, it would have enabled the band to go in some crazy directions and experiment further with ethnic music.

55924C97-6C95-46E8-98E9-4DB03BBCEB73.jpeg
This is my vote too.
matedog wrote:
31 Mar 2021, 4:17pm
Copeland is so good. Not familiar with the other guys mentioned. I feel like Copeland had a bit of an ego/star trip that wouldn't have worked well in 82/83. Plus Joe was apparently anti performing ethnic music. At least per 1984 rants, which who knows how serious that is.
It COULD be argued that having a competent drummer in the band could have kept everything together though, and perhaps if Copeland also hated Bernie, Mick would have had enough clout to re-sack him. Then they could take a half-year off and come back together fresh, and ready to make some fresh ragas.
Pete is an excellent drummer, so skill wise, the difference between him and Copeland isn't particularly big. Though like you said, it would have been a more equitable dynamic of 2 vs. 2. Though I can see the same outcome with Mick and Stewart going to form some futuristic new project not far removed from BAD but with more live drums.
Look, you have to establish context for these things. And I maintain that unless you appreciate the Fall of Constantinople, the Great Fire of London, and Mickey Mantle's fatalist alcoholism, live Freddy makes no sense. If you want to half-ass it, fine, go call Simon Schama to do the appendix.

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Re: Who could have been an adequate substitute to Topper?

Post by matedog »

InthePouringRain wrote:
31 Mar 2021, 4:51pm
Another one I just thought of: Terry Williams, from Rockpile
Topper was a big fan of him, I believe.
Look, you have to establish context for these things. And I maintain that unless you appreciate the Fall of Constantinople, the Great Fire of London, and Mickey Mantle's fatalist alcoholism, live Freddy makes no sense. If you want to half-ass it, fine, go call Simon Schama to do the appendix.

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Re: Who could have been an adequate substitute to Topper?

Post by Flex »

shoulda gone back to their roots: rob harper
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Re: Who could have been an adequate substitute to Topper?

Post by Kory »

Flex wrote:
31 Mar 2021, 4:54pm
shoulda gone back to their roots: rob harper
Jon Moss ftw
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