Clash members reunite for Billy Bragg’s prison charity

Clash members reunite for Billy’s prison charity 16/09/09
Legendary Clash members Mick Jones and Topper Headon were reunited in the studio for the first time in 27 years when they joined Billy for a recording to promote the Jail Guitar Doors campaign.Started two years ago, the Jail Guitar Doors initiative helps to supply musical instruments to prison inmates, to aid with their rehabilitation, and has so far seen several ‘graduates’ of the scheme pursue careers as performers after their release from jail. Billy, Mick and Topper were backed by a band comprising former inmates Leon Walker, Jonny Neesom, Kevin Hawkins and Jon Smillie on a spirited re-recording of the 1978 Clash song Jail Guitar Doors, from which the campaign takes its name.“The guys were telling us how much this scheme had helped them move on from their previous lives before prison,” said Clash guitarist Mick Jones, who in 2007 donated the money for the first ever JGD acoustic guitars to be delivered to a jail. “It was really touching to think we’ve helped, even if it’s in a small way.”Drummer Nick ‘Topper’ Headon added: “To see it all come to fruition is absolutely beautiful. It was great to meet these guys. When I was in prison myself, many years ago, I was lucky enough to have access to a guitar, which belonged to the prison vicar! I know how much it helped me get through it.”Billy, whose life was changed after seeing The Clash play live at Victoria Park in 1978, inspiring him to write about social and political issues, said: “Prison has to be about much more than just locking people up. We want people to be able to move on from their situation and reconnect with the outside world, and my hunch was that playing an instrument – particularly a guitar – could help that.”The recording session was filmed for Alan Miles’ ‘Breaking Rocks’, a gritty and uplifting documentary about the Jail Guitar Doors initiative, which will be premiered as part of the Raindance film festival at Proud Gallery, Camden Town on 1 October. The film will be followed by performances from Billy, Mick Jones, the MC5’s Wayne Kramer, Chris Shiflett of Foo Fighters, Get Cape Wear Cape Fly, Jail Guitar Doors graduates Leon Walker, Jonny Neesom, Louise Wells and Theone Coleman, plus Night of Treason. Jail Guitar Doors
Breaking Rocks premiere 1 October 04/09/09
The Jail Guitar Doors documentary 'Breaking Rocks' will have its world premiere at The Raindance Film Festival on Thursday, 1 October 2009 at the Proud Galleries in Camden, London.The premiere will be followed by a live concert with Billy Bragg, Get Cape. Wear Cape Fly and many special guests. The night will be accompanied by the punky/reggae sound system Radio Clash, who will be looking after the decks on the night.The full list of special guests will be announced closer to the date.'Breaking Rocks' features performances by 'graduates' from Jail Guitar Doors as well as from many of the artists that have supported the programme including Mick Jones (The Clash) Chris Shiflett (Foo Fighters) Sam Duckworth (Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly) as well as Billy himself.The documentary will be screened at The Prince Charles Cinema, just off Leicester Square, London on Wednesday, 28 October 2009.The screening will be followed by a Q&A with Billy, the director Alan Miles and JGD graduates Jonny Neesom and Leon Walker. For further information and to buy tickets, please visit the Prince Charles Cinema website. Jail Guitar Doors is Billy's initiative to bring musical instruments into prisons as a way of rehabilitating offenders. Prince Charles Cinema Tickets for the premiere from Gigantic Jail Guitar Doors
Billy's pithy commentary 17/08/09
Short comments from Billy accompany three striking images on the Corbis 'Storied' website.Billy was invited to write briefly on the significance of England's disputed goal in the 1966 World Cup final, the emergence of the Four Tops, and protesting against nuclear arms.Check out the links below:Four Tops take on the British invasion World Cup final 1966 Nuclear arms protest
US and Spain tour dates confirmed 02/07/09
Is Billy heading your way with his trusty guitar and ready wit? Check out the newly confirmed dates in Spain and the US late summer and autumn. Before then, the Barking Bard's got some gigs to perform in the UK and Ireland.TOUR DATES 19 July - Tolpuddle, Dorset - Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival 23 July - Kendal, England - Brewery Arts Centre 24 July - Dundrennan, Scotland - The Wickerman Festival 31 July - Northampton, MA, USA - Calvin Theater 1 August - Newport, RI, USA - Folk Festival 50 2 August - Albany, NY, USA - Swyer Theatre 'The Egg' 3 August - Boston, MA, USA - Berklee Performance Centre 15 August - Majorca, Spain - Bellver Castle 29 August - Santa Monica, CA, USA - Beethoven Bragg 5 September - Portlaoise, Ireland - Electric Picnic 3 October - San Francisco, CA, USA - Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 5 October - San Francisco, CA, USA - Great American Music Hall 14 October - Madrid, Spain - Galileo Galilei 15 October - Barcelona, Spain - Bikini 16 October - San Sebastian, Spain - Kursaal Sala de Camara 18 October - Bilbao, Spain - Palacio EuskaldunaBeethoven Bragg details and tickets Bragg Tour Dates


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