The two-voice escapade of Paul Simonon and Galen Ayers

Galen Ayers and Paul Simonon, in London, in August 2022.

The album should disconcert those who follow Paul Simonon, who was bassist for The Clash for a furious decade (1976-1985). That’s good: produced in duet with the singer and songwriter British Galen Ayers, Can We Do Tomorrow Another Day? is made for that. “I don’t like the idea of ​​repeating myself”, confides the former angel face of the punk group, 67, entered the rock pantheon by the grace of photographer Pennie Smith, who immortalized him, one evening in concert, September 21, 1979, smashing his Fender Precision bass on stage at the New York Palladium. The picture will illustrate, three months later, the cover of the double LP London Callingthe masterpiece of British training.

We had kind of lost track of the old punk in recent years. After having embarked with his friend Damon Albarn on the Gorillaz adventure, then within The Good, the Bad and the Queen, in the 2000s, Simonon had in fact returned to his first passion, painting. he also designed the cover of Can We Do Tomorrow Another Day? Before embarking on music in the mid-1970s, the kid from Brixton, a popular district in south London, had imagined a destiny as a painter, going as far as attending art school.

It was there that he befriended Mick Jones. Accomplished guitarist, the latter offered Simonon to play bass. Fed up with reggae (Brixton is the “capital” of the Jamaican community of London), Simonon showed himself to be a rather gifted student. In search of a singer, the two accomplices poached Joe Strummer, the trio being joined by drummer Topper Headon. The story of The Clash was on.

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At the umpteenth evocation of this glorious era, Simonon assures: “I don’t mind being brought back to The Clash all the time, it’s part of my life ». Within The Clash, Simonon flourished in the shadow of the charismatic Joe Strummer, whose sudden death, at age 50, in December 2002, left him an orphan. The two men shared the same love of Spain. So, at the time of confinement, at the start of 2020, the English bassist went into exile on the island of Majorca for eighteen months.

He ran into an old acquaintance, Galen Ayers, more than twenty years his junior. The singer admits it bluntly: “I was not a fan of The Clash, but since I got closer to Paul, I realize what he went through, and how fascinating this group was. » The two “confined” drafted some texts, then got into the game, imagining guitar chords and bass lines… And we thought, “Why not record an album?” », says Galen Ayers. Direction, in July 2022, Studio 13, in London.

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