Nuns of Brixton bringing raw energy of The Clash to Steamboat
June 2, 2011
Steamboat Springs — They are the un-holiest of nuns: The five middle-aged Denver men dressed in habits and raging Front Range stages with the charged punk rock culture and sounds of The Clash won't be asked to play for a papal audience anytime soon.
But that doesn't mean they aren't dedicated to their calling: a London Calling.
The Nuns of Brixton don't claim to be a Clash tribute band, by any measure.
"We don't dress like them, and we're not trying to be them," drummer Tony Headnone said. "We're just trying to bring the spirit and the excitement of The Clash.
"New generations of music fans need to know about The Clash. They're the most important band of all time. You have to listen to it to know: It's a mystical thing."
The Nuns will travel to Steamboat this weekend for the first time in their two years as a band, playing a free show at the Ghost Ranch Saloon on Saturday. The show starts at 10 p.m.
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The band comprises Headnone, Jim Strummernun on vocals, Tim Simonun on bass, and Jon Solonun and Rob Froschenun on guitar.
Those familiar with a few famous Clash songs can hear their favorites played in the style of earlier Clash — gritty and raw like the dirty dives where they got their start.
Although the five band members certainly like to have fun with their nun shtick — including their nun pun stage names — it's not easy wearing the habit.
"They get really hot," Solonun said. "They're all polyester."
But Solonun knows that the essence of The Clash goes beyond the stage antics.
"Even though we sort of are all pretty wacky dudes — we're grown men that dress up like nuns — we take the music pretty seriously," he said.
Headnone said that to say the bandmates are fans of The Clash would be putting it mildly: They feel it's their calling to bring the legendary rock to the young generation who might not know where Green Day got the idea from.
Headnone never had the chance to see The Clash live, but Solonun caught a large, late-era Clash show at Red Rocks in 1984.
Back then, Solonun considered himself a punk. He cut off the sleeves of army jackets and poured Clorox on his hair to bleach it. But decades later, he realized that's not necessarily what The Clash represented.
"I don't think you need all that other stuff to be punk rock," he said. "Maybe it's a state of mind, you know?"
And it's a state of mind that the Nuns of Brixton hope to perpetuate, because losing the legacy of The Clash would mean the end of an era.
"Who's going to replace it?" Headnone asked. "Who's even come close to replacing that kind of spirit and that unabashed commitment to music? Is it Blink 182? No. Is it any of that pop-punk? It just doesn't come close to the passion."
Headnone and Solonun expressed excitement about taking the punk rock show from Denver to mountain towns like Steamboat.
"We're looking forward to shouting the goodness and the intensity of The Clash from that particular mountaintop," Headnone said.
To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@SteamboatToday.com
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