Thursday, April 10, 2008

A happy ending to this blog

Sandinista Project contributors Amy Rigby and Wreckless Eric are getting married. Hooray!

And, with this wonderful news, I'm going to close down this blog. I enjoyed chronicling the development of The Sandinista Project over the years as it went from a crazy idea to a crazy idea that we actually completed. The record's been out for nearly a year, I don't expect there will be any new news to offer about it, so that's it. Those of you interested in my semicoherent ravings can visit my regular blog from now on. And, even though I won't be updating it anymore, I'll keep this blog live if people want to relive our progress or download MP3s and PDFs.

The Sandinista Project was one of the best projects I will ever be involved with. Thank you for sharing it with me.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

R.I.P. Mikey Dread

Mikey Dread (nee Michael Campbell), producer, songwriter, and performer, is dead. We were honored that the man who so influenced The Clash's Sandinista! was a contributor to our Sandinista Project (he accompanied The Blizzard of '78 on "Silicone on Sapphire").

Monday, February 18, 2008

Greatest. Misheard lyric video. Ever.

And they said we took liberties on The Sandinista Project.

Thanks to R.C. for the pointer. Sorry for taking so long to acknowledge it.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Mick Jones, live on public radio

Mick Jones will appear today on NPR's Fresh Air.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Willie "Police on My Back" Nile at Iron Horse in Northampton tomorrow night

There's a good preview piece here, and it mentions our humble project. If you're anywhere near Northampton on Sunday, you oughta go. Indeed, the Iron Horse is an important part of the Sandinista Project story: Amy Rigby committed to our set when she played there -- and her opening band that night, Storybox, immediately earned itself a spot on the collection.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Wanna be a Broadway star? You should have been on The Sandinista Project

Yesterday I was delighted to see, in the New York Times Arts & Leisure section, a full-page advertisement for Passing Strange, the new musical by Sandinista Project contributor Stew (he did "Broadway"), coming to Broadway with previews starting in February.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Mark Cutler's fantastic alternate version of "Junkie Slip"

Just received a comment to an earlier post in which I wrote that Mark Cutler recorded two versions of "Junkie Slip" for The Sandinista Project: a "Doc Watson/zydeco" treatment that we included on the finished product, and a "Velvet Underground meets the Beach Boys" version, which is great but we couldn't fit it. The comment:

Jimmy (and Mark and all), First, thank you for giving Sandinista the long "second look" it deserves. However, the liner notes to the CD say to check the website on how to hear the other version (which sounds intriguing) of Junkie Slip - but I can't figure out where I can do that. Can you help us out? Maybe post a downloadable MP3? Please?

Yes, of course. Here it is, in M4A format (3.9M).

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Dirty Linen review

It doesn't look like the review is available online, but here's what Jeffrey R. Lindholm wrote about The Sandinista Project in Dirty Linen:

Sandinista! was the Clash's magnum opus -- an amazing three-record set from the proto-punk band that had almost no punk music. Instead, it filtered the band's musical politics through gospel, soul, blues, dub reggae, rockabilly, jazz, rap, and more. This two-disc tribute, organized by music critic Jimmy Guterman, replaces the Clash's very British sensibility with a bunch of mostly American bands who add their own twists, emphasizing the original songs' power. Sometimes the culture, er, "clash" is just too much, as when [negative mention of one track excised -- hey, it's my web site!-JG], but overall the set delivers surprises (including theremins!) and satisfaction. Highlights include Mekons Jon Langford and Sally Timms' dub reggae "Junco Partner/Version Pardner" and Katrina Leskanich's (of the Waves) hyper-exuberant "Hitsville U.K." Profits support two charities -- Amnesty International and the Joe Strummer Memorial Forest.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

"Surprisingly consistent"

That's what Stereophile says about The Sandinista Project in its profile of 00:02:59 mogul Abe Bradshaw. Here it is, as an 800K PDF.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Time for Another Very Special Clash Christmas

I won't have the pleasure of being in Chicago this holiday season, but if you are, join Sandinista Project contributors London Calling of Chicago for Chicago Calling IV: Another Very Clash Christmas on December 22 at Schubas Tavern.


Acadiana Calling

It took a while, but The Sandinista Project has made it to Louisiana. We're reviewed in The Times of Acadiana, along with another capsule review of the I'm Not There soundtrack. It rates us as four "career opportunities" out of five.

Friday, December 07, 2007


Well, we came up empty in the Grammy nominations yesterday, but I would like to note that Sandinista Project contributor Lou Carlozo has written the introduction to a new Bruce Springsteen book, For You. Congrats, Lou!

P.S. Someone just mentioned to me that Dirty Linen, which doesn't post its print reviews on its website, just ran a review of our record. If anyone here is also a Dirty Linen reader, please pass it along.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

No more DRM for The Sandinista Project

I am delighted to announce that The Sandinista Project, the record that took four years of my life, is now available on iTunes without DRM. It's now a good choice if you only want to own one or two songs at $.99 a shot. But the physical product is still less expensive and much better-looking.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Un-DRM'd Sandinista Project MP3s on Amazon

Amazon soft-launched its MP3 store this morning and, yes, you can download un-DRM'd MP3s of all the songs on The Sandinista Project. But BEFORE YOU DO THAT, please note that downloading every track will run you $17.99, while purchasing the physical product, which will of course yield un-DRM'd MP3s as well as a beautiful package, is a mere $14.99. Caveat emptor.

October 22 update: For reasons I can't discern, the price of a physical copy of the set on Amazon has been upped to $18.98, while the digital version is now $17.98. It's a bargain either way, but I can't figure out why the price went up: Maybe because it's ridiculous to charge more for a digital product than a physical one?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

With two Sandinista Project tracks, this is now my favorite playlist ever

WRUW - 91.1 FM - Program Guide | Playlists : College Pop

Congrats to Jim and Lou, and thanks to Scott (whose own band is on this for, alas, a non-Sandinista Project cut -- how dare they?) for the pointer. Two down, 35 to go.


Someone just wrote me to ask if he could buy any Sandinista Project merchandise. Before I go to the expense of manufacturing merchandise to support a record that didn't quite have a Justin Timberlake effect on the Billboard chart ... is anyone interested in Project merch?

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Sandinista Project on Facebook

We've caved in and started a "Sandinista Project" group on Facebook. Join us!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Coming soon to WXRT Chicago

While in Chicago, I had the great pleasure of taping an installment of The Eclectic Company, the WXRT show hosted by Sandinista Project contributor and jack of all trades/master of them all Jon Langford. The shows broadcast on Tuesday nights. I'll post here when I know which Tuesday it will be. The show was an enormous amount of fun. And, since there's a big Chicago angle to the record, I got to play almost all of the Chicago-related cuts from the set (apologies to Phil Rockrohr).

UPDATE: We'll be on the show this coming Tuesday, August 21, at 10pm CT, streaming here.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The Sandinista Project on AllThingsD

My guest column isn't about the record, but I did use it as an example.

Monday, July 30, 2007

R.I.P. Tom Snyder

"The Magnificent Seven," June 1981, on Snyder's Tomorrow show. (Thanks for the link, Mark!)

And, if you're interested, here's the associated interview:

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Music & Nightlife | Tribute CDs

I just happen to be in Sonoma county this week, so it was a nice surprise to pick up a local paper and see what The North Bay Bohemian says about the recent onslaught of tribute records. Here's what the paper had to say about our entry:

"Far more entertaining is The Sandinista! Project: A Tribute to the Clash. This two-CD love song to one of the most ambitious triple-album sets of the 1980s reaches artistically and more often than not hits the mark. Members of the Mekons and many of the insurgent-country artists that populate the feisty Bloodshot label roster make up the core of this project. The Smithereens, Camper Van Beethoven, former Clash collaborator Mikey Dread and Paisley Underground demi-god Steve Wynn also all get in their licks. The results are uneven, just like the original recording, but well worth checking out."

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Joys of RE-Creation (Los Angeles CityBeat)

I'm misquoted only slightly in this Los Angeles CityBeat article about tribute records. Here's the excerpt from the piece that mentions The Sandinista Project, with my quotes fixed:

"Adds Jimmy Guterman, a music writer who became involved in producing reissues and now has made the new The Sandinista! Project: “Because albums may be dead in this iTunes era, there may be nostalgia for the very idea of an album.”

"His Sandinista! is a multi-artist two-CD set re-creating the Clash’s controversial early-1980s follow-up to its classic London Calling. It features, among others, Jon Langford and Sally Timms, Willie Nile, Camper Van Beethoven, and a mesmerizing version of “Broadway” by Stew.

"Guterman believes the Clash’s Sandinista! has been unfairly overshadowed by London Calling. “This is a work of advocacy for the original album,” he says. “It’s thought of as a big, sprawling, three-album mess, but I’ve developed enormous affection for it,” he says. “Their earliest records show you how much you can take out of a recording and still have rock ’n’ roll. This shows you how much you can put back in and still have punk.”

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

"ickmusic" gives us a thumbs-up

Friday, June 22, 2007

Ruby Can't Fail

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

No Depression review

Can't find it on the website, so here it is as a JPEG.

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

We are relics... it's no surprise that we've been reviewed (not too positively, I should warn you) in Relix. It's not available online, so here's a PDF of the review.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

WANTED: Guitar Paradise of East Africa

It came out around 1990 on Earthworks. I love it. I appear to have misplaced my copy (or I loaned it to someone a long time ago). I figured I'd buy a new copy. It's not on iTunes, it's out of print, and an Amazon seller wants $77.50. Before I do something stupid, does anyone out there have a copy?

UPDATE: Found (thanks, G.E.)!

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The Sandinista Project is on iTunes -- but don't buy there unless you have to

The direct URL is here, but I don't recommend buying it there, unless all you want is one track by your favorite performer. The songs are out of sequence in one of the two iTunes views, the PDF booklet isn't there, it's encumbered by DRM, and it's $19.98. Almost everywhere I've seen, the physical CDs, with Eric Mongeon's fantastic packaging, is less than $15. If you do choose to buy via iTunes, may I remind you that there are links to the liner notes and packaging on the right rail of this page.

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Monday, June 04, 2007

Our record label: No longer a toddler

00:02:59 Records is now two years old. We parents know what to expect from the terrible two's, but congratulations anyway, Abe!

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It's all about Storybox

That is, according to "Cries & Whispers" on See the second item. If you're in Northampton on Saturday night, this article makes clear what you ought to do. Request "Let's Go Crazy"! (Thanks for the pointer, Scott!)

Down to New Orleans

It makes sense that we're covered on a site called offBeat.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

We've reached Chattanooga and Harp

The Chattanooga Pulse: After reading about a covers album by the hair metal stalwarts Poison, you can find out that they think our record is "highly recommended." The truly obsessive can read the same brief review here. I have no idea which is the original and which is the reprint.

Harp says we made "a tribute record with much imaginative inspiration," but I can't find the review on its website

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Amazon returns to its senses

A while back in this space, I noted that Amazon had lowered the price of The Sandinista Project from $14.99 to $13.99 and I didn't know why. Apparently, Amazon didn't know why either and this morning it bumped up the price back to $14.99. I hope you saved a buck while you could, but 37 tracks and a magnificent package are still a bargain at $14.99. Buy it. (May 30 update: it's $13.99 again. No, I don't know why.)

And while you're on Amazon, there are two other records I recommend. I'm in California now for a conference, and these two new collections kept me good company during the flight west.

The Future Is Unwritten is the sort-of soundtrack to Julien Temple's new film about self-proclaimed "punk rock warlord" Joe Strummer. It's an appropriately weird collection of songs Joe championed or played on.

And, if you adored Ethan Lipton's "Corner Soul" on The Sandinista Project, you'll want to hear a full record by him. Fortunately for you, he happens to have a new one. I played his Mr. Softy twice during my travels yesterday. I love its humor, the hard truths lurking behind its humor, its diversity (of mood, of genre). I even love the costumes (which you won't see unless you buy the physical product). My favorite favorite song (that is, my favorite of many favorites) is "Pirates of the Heart." I can’t count how many times I’ve heard a great new song live only to find it ruined when the performer got around to cutting it in the studio. But the revelation live is even sturdier, nastier, funnier, and more vulnerable on disc. Congratulations to Ethan and His Orchestra! Now go visit his website.

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Monday, May 28, 2007

The New York Times on The Sandinista Project

So there I was, on a Sunday morning, trying to get the kids ready to go to the beach, when I gave up briefly and picked up the Sunday New York Times. I saw that Jon Pareles had written a piece about a Joni Mitchell tribute record that I'm somewhat interested in. The headline made it seem like the article would have some big ideas about tribute records, which it did, and I was very pleasantly surprised to find these paragraphs within:

"Tribute albums have always been exercises in memory and continuity, mapping connections of sound and style. They trade on familiar songs or famous names, but what they promise is not an oldies experience (or for that matter, the experience provided by tribute bands that mimic name-brand acts). They aim for relevance, not nostalgia. And now, in the era of the isolated MP3 download and the randomly shuffled playlist, tribute albums aren’t just homages to musicians. They are also tributes to the vanishing idea of the album itself: that a collection of songs can still mean something as a whole. That is the strategy behind another worthwhile tribute album, “The Sandinista! Project” (00:02:59), a song-by-song remake of the Clash’s 1980 album “Sandinista!” by indie-rock and alt-country stalwarts and unknowns.

"Beyond each track’s individual thrills, a tribute album can illuminate a style and sensibility or reconsider a historical moment, as “The Sandinista! Project” does with contributions from Amy Rigby, Stew, Jon Langford and Sally Timms and dozens of others.

"The original “Sandinista!” filled three LPs with outsize ambitions: songs about violence, victims, revolution and drugs, delivered in a haze of punk, reggae, funk and glimmers of hip-hop. The remake, like most tribute albums, is hit or miss, but luckily it’s anything but reverent. A few Clash imitations show up, but so do multidirectional time warps. Songs skew toward Appalachia with banjos, plunge into psychedelic loops and echoes, unleash theremin on “The Call Up” and the Persian wail of Haale on “One More Time.” Members of the Clash wanted their songs to reverberate worldwide; “The Sandinista! Project” proclaims that they succeeded. And it not only insists that the original album hung together but goes on to take the sprawl of “Sandinista!” even further."

The full article is available here.

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More bloggers weigh in

A Shot Of Rhythm writes "If you had told me, two weeks ago, that my favorite track right now would be a cover of an obscure Clash song by the former lead singer of Katrina and the Waves (of "Walking On Sunshine" fame), I'd have probably referred you to various social services. Still, that's exactly what happened. THE SANDINISTA PROJECT, an ambitious-yet-intimate paean to the Clash's complex opus, features a whole bunch of interesting names (Jason Ringenberg, Wreckless Eric, Amy Rigby, etc.) offering their takes on a song from the album that - while not the masterpiece that many revisionists and hipsters would like to claim - definitely deserves a reconsideration from its initial malign. The best track, by a long mile, is Katrina Leskanich's "Hitsville U.K.," which sounds as bright and big-hearted as The Clash, the Motown records to which they paid loving tribute, and - indeed - rock-n-soul music in general." The blog also includes an unasked-for link to Katrina's track, which is everything the blog says it is ... and more.

BlogCritics also comments, at greater length, mostly positively. (I love "Broadway"!)

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Friday, May 25, 2007

The bloggers begin to weigh in

In The Architectural Dance Society: that crooked, crooked beat, blogger Jeff Norman thinks hard about our project. (Thanks for the pointer, Doug.)

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Two more in the "thumbs-up" category

The Tampa Tribune likes us and loves Katrina (who doesn't?).

The Iowa City Press-Citizen says we made "a cool roundup by any measure."

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Four pieces today .. including our first all-out negative review (hey, it was bound to happen)

The Huntsville (AL) Times mentions us.

The Evanston (IL) Review says we're "varied and often inspired."

The Chicago Free Press (scroll down) thinks we did "an admirable job."

Stylus hates us. And we've received a grade to match. It's my first C- since second-semester statistics 22 years ago. I have, however, been called "charmless" somewhat more recently than that.

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Monday, May 21, 2007

Want to know more about the outstanding artist who performed "Broadway" on The Sandinista Project?

Then read this profile of the peerless Stew in today's New York Times.

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Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Sun rises for us

The Sun in California (there are Studio City, Sherman Oaks, and Encino versions) has a review. Rather than link to the big, fat full PDF of the issue, here's the text of the review:

By Bill Bentley

Various Artists, The Sandinista Project (00:02:59)

Tribute albums are tricky business. You know going in that the original work is going to be almost impossible to beat. How in the world can, say, a recreation of the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds album be better than the original? The list goes on and on at those taking a well-intentioned stab at these affairs, until recently it felt like there should be a total ban on the endeavors. It got so overloaded that for a bit, it seemed like there were tribute albums to tribute albums being recorded. That said, every once and awhile a collection will slip through the net and make actual sense, just like The Sandinista Project does. Based on the 1980 Clash magnum opus, this effort features a wild range of musicians, each taking one of the original songs and having a go at it. And like the law of averages would dictate, some succeed with total flair, with only a few dragging through. Producer Jimmy Guterman has wisely chosen artists on these 37 tracks, which in the end is the difference between luster and lethargy, and does what any righteous tribute album should do: send you running for the original to rediscover the majesty contained within.

If you really want the whole PDF, it's here.

Also, in what now feels like a previous life, I knew a great guy at Warner Brothers named Bill Bentley (who also took part in a spirited tribute record: More Oar). If the author of this review is the same person and sees this, please get in touch with me: jimmy @ (spaces added in vain attempt to curb spam).

Update: Found (thanks, Cary)!

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Friday, May 18, 2007

The Orange Country Register weighs in

Revisiting and reworking the Clash

They like the record ("a grandly ambitious lark") -- and misspell my name (update: fixed)!

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Coverville covers us

Yesterday I was interviewed on Coverville. I haven't listened to the recording, and I do remember that I felt I sounded like an idiot while I was talking, but at least you get to hear three songs from the record.

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

"a broad, globalized worldview and buoyant spirit of possibility"

PopMatters review

It's not one for the scrapbook, but it's here.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Positive review in the Village Voice ... and an opportunity to save a buck

"A track-by-track Clash tribute that cuts the crap"

On an unrelated matter, but useful if you're cheap, my friend Mark just wrote me that the price of the record on Amazon has dropped again, from $14.99 to $13.99. I don't know if it's an error, but get it cheap while you can.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Newhouse News Service likes us

The Chicago Sun-Times loves us

Another rave review, this one from The Austin Chronicle

BlogCritics review

Abe Bradshaw remembers a fateful lunch

Release date!

Four years ago, I made a joke to someone about redoing Sandinista! -- and now it's real. Happy release day!

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Saturday, May 12, 2007

$14.99 is the new $18.98

As expected, Amazon has lowered the preorder price for The Sandinista Project. It's coming out on Tuesday!

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Sunday, May 06, 2007

Brief mention in USA TODAY

Found by Doug Mayo-Wells of the Hyphens:

Still more album previews

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Friday, April 27, 2007

Interview with Jeff Sanchez (Soul Food, "Midnight Log")

The money quote from Local Drummer Plays on Clash Tribute: "I've definitely been obsessed with the Sandinista! record most of my life." I sympathize.

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First published review

Monday, April 16, 2007

Preorder The Sandinista Project on Amazon

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Booklet and packaging

You still have to wait several weeks to buy the record, but you're welcome to download the booklet and packaging, both as PDFs. They will also come in handy if you intend to buy or steal the record in digital form.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

What's next?

Now that the record is about to come out, it's time to rethink what the point of this blog is. I've got some ideas, but I'm more interested in yours. I've turned on comments; please weigh in on what you think would make a good Sandinista Project blog or website.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Sex Clark Five, "Career Opportunities"

The performance of this song for The Sandinista Project is refreshingly lo-fi; so is this video.

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Advance CDs

In December 1980, when I bought an import of the original Sandinista! LP, it was snowing. Today I received a box of advance CDs (i.e., full discs in a double jewel case but no packaging) for The Sandinista Project and it's snowing, too. I promised myself I wouldn't listen to the CDs until I finished my work today, but who was I kidding? They sound fantastic: not quite as great as they did in the mastering studio, but I can't include a million-dollar mastering studio with every copy of the record.

I'll begin shipping the advances to the performers over the weekend. If you're a member of the media and would like a copy, please contact our publicist Cary Baker.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to shovel some snow...

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Sneak peek

I want you all to buy The Sandinista Project when it comes out in May, but I just learned that the great collaboration of The Blizzard of 78 and Mikey Dread on "Silicone on Sapphire" is available via the iTunes store. It may be available elsewhere online as well; please let me know if it is.

UPDATE: It's also available, sans DRM, on eMusic. Thanks for the pointer, Doug.

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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Harp: Clash’s Sandinista! Gets Covers Treatment

Clash’s Sandinista! Gets Covers Treatment (Harp Magazine)
The press release went out yesterday. This is the first piece it generated that isn't merely a reprinting of the press release. More as they come in...

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Friday, February 23, 2007

An album cover for a covers album


cover painting by Jon Langford

cover design by Eric Mongeon

original Sandinista! cover photograph by Pennie Smith

original Sandinista! package design by Clash/Stiles

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Monday, February 19, 2007

From The Sandinista Project to real success...

From Wobbly Music, the online home of Sandinista Project contributors The Lothars (they perform "The Call Up"), a tale of what happens when your theremin talents attract Hollywood

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Sunday, February 11, 2007

I hope this "Rudie" can fail

This is why someone is spinning in his grave right now. For more on why this bothers me, please see here.

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

May 1 is the new March 27

In the interest of transparency, what follows is a slightly redacted version of a note I just sent to the performers on The Sandinista Project:

We have signed with a distributor for The Sandinista Project. It’s RED Distribution. RED has been the NARM Distributor of the Year two years running now and we believe the record will get the attention it deserves.

Because we now have to coordinate our schedule with RED’s schedule, we have to bump back the release date a month, to Tuesday, May 1. I’m sorry for the delay and whatever inconvenience it may cause you, but it’s unavoidable. The new date may make more conceptual sense: May 1 was one of the two biggest national holidays in Nicaragua during its Sandinista years.

We were able to get a reduced rate from Universal on the mechanicals for the Clash compositions. I would have preferred they gave us free use, since this is a charity project, but in the current music-industry climate I suppose I should be pleased they gave us even a minor break.

We have a publicist signed on, too. Starting February 15, Cary Baker, who some of my fellow old-timers might remember from when he ran publicity for I.R.S. Records, will be on the team.

We’re looking to have three concert/record-release events in late April/early May in three cities: New York, Boston, and Chicago. More info as it develops.

It’s getting real…

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Sunday, January 28, 2007

For those of you who can't wait until the record's out to listen to "Silicone on Sapphire"...

There's a preview over at Strummercamp.

UPDATE: More from the band's blog.

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Saturday, January 13, 2007

Amy Rigby is blogging. Who else is?

I just noted on my other blog that Amy Rigby, a contributor to this project, has begun blogging. I thought it might be useful if I put together a list here of all the contributors to The Sandinista Project who blog, so, gentle performers, please send me the URLs of your blogs (and associated feeds) and I'll put them up here. (As the release date of The Sandinista Project nears, this page will need a face lift.)

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Interpreting without copying

That's our goal with the upcoming Sandinista Project -- and it's the goal of our bands in other projects too. Check out today's New York Times for a smart analysis of the Smithereens' wonderful new Beatles tribute Meet the Smithereens. Read the article, buy the album, save some money for when ours comes out in the spring...

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

More important than any record (no matter how cool the record is)

I'll post a Sandinista Project update soon, but one of the beneficiaries of our project will be Amnesty International and I'd like to alert you all to the organization's urgent call for the closure of the prison at Guantanamo Bay. Add your voice!

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Friday, December 29, 2006

Strummer 2002, get it while you can

We have plenty of Sandinista Project news to unveil shortly after the first of the year, but for right now let me wish you a Happy New Year (and a happy belated 26th anniversary of the release of the original Sandinista!) and point you to a blog page filled with Strummer treasures. (Thanks, Kris!)

PS A blog not filled with treasures, at least not yet, is my revived one.

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Saturday, December 09, 2006

And you thought some of the songs on American Idiot were weird

In a report on the ongoing recording of the upcoming Green Day album, Billie Joe Armstrong characterizes the music as "some of the strangest sounds we've ever's kind of like Sandinista! on acid."

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Big-screen news

Everyone is thinking about the Clash these days, it seems. Billboard reports that a documentary about Joe Strummer, directed by Julien Temple, will debut at Sundance in January. (Thanks to Mark Caro for the tip.)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Random Sandinista-related thoughts

By now most of you are aware that Daniel Ortega is in the midst of his own Sandinista tribute right now, having regained the prime seat of power in Nicaragua. I have grave reservations about the man's character and politics, but anyone whose opponent is supported by Oliver North can't be all bad.

Do you remember Sandinista Now? It was a 12-track LP sampler Epic released in the U.S. because the label was afraid (rightly so) that radio programmers might be afraid to sort through a 36-track monster. We're going to do something similar. We'll keep you posted.

Storybox honcho Scott Brodeur directed me and now I'll direct you to The Good, The Bad, and the Queen, Paul Simonon's latest project. Especially to us diehard Fela Kuti fans, this might be interesting.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Sandinista Project in the news, thanks to Joe Grushecky

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette recently asked several local rockers about The Clash. Joe Grushecky ends the piece by referencing us. Thanks, Joe!

Off Topic: Gang of Four Songs of the Free CD

This is off topic, but anyone visiting this page might be able to help. I seem to have misplaced my CD of Gang of Four's Songs of the Free. I figured I'd just buy a new one, but I've discovered that the CD is long out of print and copies go for upwards of $60. No thanks. If anyone out there has a copy and you're feeling kind, please contact me at (spaces added in vain attempt to discourage spam) jimmy @ Thank you. We now return you to our regular Sandinista Project programming.

UPDATE (7 November): The disc arrived today. Thank you, Anonymous Donor.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

A milestone

I am thrilled -- and still a bit surprised -- to report that we have completed mastering The Sandinista Project. Indeed, we've mastered even more than that; we'll have information about a bonus track as we get closer to release.

And that release date is still, as far as we know, March 27.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Listening to Dennis Diken

Dennis Diken has been a great friend of The Sandinista Projcet: He drums on two tracks -- the Smithereens' "Up in Heaven (Not Only Here)" and Jim Duffy's "Look Here" -- and he rocks and swings with diverse abandon. Those familiar with Diken's work knows he does a lot more than just drum. This Saturday night you can hear him on WFMU from 10am to 1pm. He just sent out this note:

I'll be back on the air this Saturday October 14 on WFMU from 10am-1pm, filling in for "MICHAEL SHELLEY"

don't forget, YOU CAN LISTEN ON LINE if you're out of the range of the signal. info below.

tune in, give a shout if you please on the studio line at (201) 200-9368.

it's been a while, I'm looking forward to spinning platters aplenty once again.

WFMU broadcasts at 91.1FM in the NYC/NJ metro area, 90.1FM in the Hudson Valley/Catskills region, and online from anywhere at

Listen in!

Friday, September 29, 2006

More mastering madness

We have completed mastering 14 more cuts (that means there are nine left, for those of you not counting at home). Today's batch included a Beastie Boys imitation in a song about Reagan-era foreign policy, a joke about the title of another Clash album, the best neo-Keith Moon drumming I've heard since Blondie's "Dreaming," and the best theremin-based Clash cover ever. It's amazing how these songs, some recorded in 24-track studios, and some recorded in hallways and bathrooms, are coming together.

Less than six months until our March 27 release!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Either I wrote the Billy Bragg post too late last night or my critical reading skills are deteriorating (or both)

Longtime friend of The Sandinista Project Robert Chandler writes in response to last night's Billy Bragg post:

"The band had split up, punk had come to nothing, (like) everything I believed in. We were going to change the world. The Clash had made Sandinista! It was a waste of time. I needed to press the 'eject' button on my previous life."

Surely Billy Bragg, when making the above remark, is referring to the negative impact Sandinista! had on him. Like many punks, he probably rejected the album utterly on first playing it. He would have felt that all the Clash’s fire had gone out, that they had softened, had sold punk’s ideals down the river. Most of us did feel that way when we heard it. It was the final nail in the coffin on what had once been a magnificently fierce and fiery movement. And here they were singing "Corner Soul" with backing singers, parodying their own work with children, or tackling a nondescript track from Mose Allison’s back catalogue, just because Topper had once been into jazz. I think, for many, it was only as it infected us and we started to discover its greatness track-by-track, lyric-by-lyric, that we were truly moved by it (start with "Somebody Got Murdered" and work your way out from there). I’ll never ever forget the moment I sat down to read Joe’s lyrics to "Broadway" and realised it was a story, from two points of view, that it was Joe’s take on the Great-American-Novel, surely influenced by Buchowski and Carver and Springsteen and Kerouac. Holy shit. I’d been listening to this record with a punk’s ears. That’s why I couldn’t hear it properly. Reading the lyrics to "Broadway" changed everything. Punk was never about the music and how it sounded. It was about the brain. How you thought about something. By rebelling against punk’s musical orthodoxy, Sandinista! managed to be The Clash’s most punk album yet. After that, the whole album unwrapped itself for me. I surrounded myself in it. Got lost in it. Loved it for its mistakes. I knew what it meant. What the Clash meant. Who I was. It was a magical moment. Sorry, I’m prone to enthusiasm when writing about this record.

As Robert's analysis, much more precise than mine, makes clear, Sandinista! is a bottomless record ... whatever Bragg thinks of it.

We realize it's no surprise that Sandinista! had a huge impact on Billy Bragg, but the guy did offer a great quote

In an interview in the Montreal Gazette, Billy Bragg talks about how Sandinista! changed his life. He says, "I needed to press the 'eject' button on my previous life."

Saturday, September 16, 2006

We're not the only ones

Turns out there's another Clash-related compilation in progress. It seems that some fellow named Paul Simonon, who I think might be a familiar name to Clash fans, has put together Revolution Rock: A Clash Jukebox. It collects the original recordings of songs the band covered, live and in the studio. I read about it here.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

I AM THE MASTER! ... and other news

I hope you're all having a great Labor Day weekend, regardless of whether you're in a country that recognizes the holiday. Here's an update of where we are on The Sandinista Project:

1. Last week we mastered a bit more than the first third of the record, 14 tracks in all. (We're going to master the second third in late September and the final third in late October. No rush as we inch toward our March release -- we want to get it right.) It's a great thrill hearing these diverse tracks come together. Even though these tracks were all cut by different people under wildly different circumstances, our mastering genius Fred Kevorkian is making all these songs sound like they might actually belong on the same record. I’d like to include a mastering studio with every copy of the CD, but that might make the package a little too expensive.

2. Our designer Eric Mongeon has delivered a mock-up of the package. I don't want to give anything away, but his work does capture the aesthetic of the original packaging without aping any of it. It's amazing how someone so adept at design can create something that looks so DIY.

3. Hero of this project and all-around great guy Jon Langford is playing at the Museum of Fine Arts in my adopted hometown on October 14, accompanied by Ship & Pilot (featuring bassist Tony Maimone, who is involved with four songs on The Sandinista Project, either as a performer or an engineer) and Sally Timms. I'll be there, of course. If you're up Massachusetts way and you'll be there, please let me know in advance. Don't forget to shout out requests for "Junco Partner."

4. If you're a former member of the Clash and you're reading this, please contact me at the usual coordinates (jimmy @, spaces added in a vain attempt to discourage spammers and stalkers). I have a question for you.

Monday, August 21, 2006


We have located Jim -- this Internet can be a useful thing every now and then. Thanks for the help.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Desperately Seeking Jim Allen

Turns out the contact information I have for Jim Allen, who performs "Lose This Skin" on The Sandinista Project, is out of date. If anyone out there knows Jim Allen -- or if you are Jim Allen -- please contact me immediately, if not sooner.

Friday, August 04, 2006

What about the children?

If you're fans of Sandinista Project contributors Jon Langford and Sally Timms (wait, if you're not, what is wrong with you?), you may have wondered why they haven't made a children's record. Wonder no more, as evidence by this press release that just graced my inbox:




These Wee Hairy Beasties -- Cyril the Karaoke Squirrel (JON LANGFORD) Marjorie the Singing Bee (KELLY HOGAN), Monkey Double Dippey (SALLY TIMMS) and the amazing musicians of DEVIL IN A WOODPILE -- firmly believe that "Kids Music" NEED! NOT! BE! UNLISTENABLE! In fact, their dance-with-ants-in-your-pants blend of back porch country blues, hippity-hop country, and wiggly old-timey swing is bound to please any child or adult -- OR any insect, amphibian, reptile, mammal or other creature within earshot.

The Wee Hairy Beasties first performed at Brookfield Zoo in Chicago -- and being under the mistaken impression they would be playing FOR the animals, they wrote all their songs about animals. But there were children and parents there too, and -- from what the Beasties could tell with their highly-tuned instincts -- the humans seemed to enjoy the show great deal and so it was agreed that a CD of this music must be concocted. The resulting buggy-bumping Beastie music on “Animal Crackers” is mostly for kids but groove-inducing for parents as well.

Thrill your thorax with the sing-a-long tunes about ducks, squirrels, flies, newts, turtles and more! Let your inner music geek marvel at the dexterous harmonica and clarinet action -- and the waterbug-graceful National steel guitar playing! Move any number of legs and warble along with The Beasties' scientifically excellent vocals! All creatures great and small will benefit from the important lessons about road safety, keeping flies off your supper, and the perils of karaoke.

The Wee Hairy Beastie’s debut album, “Animal Crackers” will be in fine stores everywhere on October 24th. The band performs at Chicago’s Millennium Park on August 14th; the October record release party will be announced soon.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Dread at the controls, redux

Pete Scholtes points us to his recent interview with Mikey Dread. More than a quarter of a century later, Sandinista! is still at the top of his mind.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Death of an URL

According to my server logs, more than 90 percent of the people who visit this page do so via Fewer than 10 percent come here by entering So, in the interest of simplicity and saving a few bucks, will die at the end of this month and all traffic will come via Please adjust your bookmarks accordingly. The RSS feed address will remain the same.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Announcing the release date

March 27, 2007. It's a Tuesday, if you were wondering. More information on related events in this space as we get closer (i.e., as we figure 'em out).

The Sandinista Project in the news

I could describe it, but you wouldn't believe me. Just read it. The song in question is "The Call Up." Woof!

Also, if you were wondering what it looked like in the studio when the Hyphens came in and knocked Track 36 out of the park, wonder no longer.

UPDATE: Sandinista Project contributors Blizzard of 78 are in the news.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Sandinista! in the news and up in the air

Here's the lead from Patrick Smith's "Ask the Pilot" column in Salon on May 26:

In a column last July I proposed that the Clash's "Career Opportunities" and the Jam's "Smithers-Jones" are the two greatest songs ever written about unemployment. The former, from the Clash's eponymous debut in 1977, is a raucous tear-down of the economic malaise in late-'70s Britain. It was later reworked to sweet hilarity on the "Sandinista" album, where it's sung by a chorus of young boys over a tinkling keyboard.

Full text here

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Charlie does surf, apparently

Lots of behind-the-blog work on The Sandinista Project this week. We've landed a great mastering engineer and we're working toward a release schedule. More on all that soon. But for now, I'd like to alert you to another Clash tribute record. Charlie Does Surf is 18 covers of the Clash as they were meant to be heard: as surf music. For those not steeped in surf music, the set shows how diverse that form can be. For those steeped in the Clash, it's a reminder of how many different places their amazing songs can go. And since we don't have any surf music on The Sandinista Project, we want to make sure that all your Clash-surf needs are fulfilled. Check it out!

Monday, May 29, 2006

Disc 1 Is Complete -- Which Means the Whole Project Is Complete!

There's plenty happening in Sandinistaland this weekend: press clippings, another Clash tribute that in its way is almost as weird as ours, and more. I'll get to all of them shortly. But right now let's shine the spotlight on our own project. It's been roughly three years since I came up with this crazy idea and tonight -- May 29, 2006 -- I am thrilled and borderline amazed to report that every track -- all 37! -- for The Sandinista Project has been recorded and submitted. Earlier this month I posted the track listing for Disc 2. And now here's Disc 1:

1. The Magnificent Seven, Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers
2. Hitsville U.K., Katrina Leskanich
3. Junco Partner, Jon Langford and Sally Timms with Ship & Pilot
4. Ivan Meets G.I. Joe, Jason Ringenberg and Kristi Rose
5. The Leader, Amy Rigby
6. Something About England, The Coal Porters
7. Rebel Waltz, Ruby on the Vine
8. Look Here, Jim Duffy
9. The Crooked Beat, Wreckless Eric
10. Somebody Got Murdered, Matthew Ryan
11. One More Time, Haale
12. One More Dub, Haale
13. Lightning Strikes (Not Once But Twice), London Calling of Chicago
14. Up in Heaven (Not Only Here), The Smithereens
15. Corner Soul, Ethan Lipton
16. Let's Go Crazy, Storybox
17. If Music Could Talk, Steve Wynn
18. The Sound of the Sinners, Bill Lloyd

In the weeks to come I'll be posting production and other logistical updates, but let's not move to that mode yet. Right now I just want to scream at the top of my voice: WE DID IT! I am excited, exhausted, humbled, ready for the next chapter of this project to begin...

Jimmy Guterman

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Disc 2 Is Complete!

We still have one track we're waiting for to complete Disc 1, but with the arrival of the Blizzard/Dread track cited in the posting just below this one, Disc 2 is now all in. I promised I'd list the full track listing this week. Here's Disc 2:

19. Police on My Back, Willie Nile
20. Midnight Log, Soul Food
21. The Equaliser, Sunset Heroes
22. The Call Up, The Lothars
23. Washington Bullets, Phil Rockrohr
24. Broadway, Stew
25. Lose This Skin, Jim Allen
26. Charlie Don't Surf, The Crunchies
27. Mensforth Hill, Bee Maidens
28. Junkie Slip, Mark Cutler
29. Kingston Advice, Camper Van Beethoven
30. The Street Parade, Dollar Store
31. Version City, Tim Krekel
32. Living in Fame, Lou Carlozo
33. Silicone on Sapphire, The Blizzard of 78 and Mikey Dread
34. Version Pardner, Sally Timms and Jon Langford with Ship & Pilot
35. Career Opportunities, Sex Clark Five
36. Shepherds Delight, The Hyphens
37. One More Time (One More Time), Ted Harris

Final news on Disc 1 coming soon!

The Blizzard of 78 -- and Mikey Dread!

As my adopted state suffers through the Flood of 06, I'd like to salute the Blizzard of 78, which just delivered a smashing version of "Silicone on Sapphire." Their version will be welcomed by Sandinista! fanatics -- doubly so when you find out who collaborated with the band on the performance: dub giant Mikey Dread. Dread, of course, was an essential contributor to the original Sandinista!, producing some tracks, helping write some more, toasting over even more. We are honored to have him on the record and we're grateful to the adept Blizzard boys for making it happen.

Monday, May 15, 2006

More, more, more

Granted, here in waterlogged Massachusetts I'm not a regular reader of the Beauregard Daily News (it's in DeRidder, La., apparently), but Google, which steadfastedly sends me all news stories that mention the Clash's Sandinista!, directs me to this piece, which is a review of the new Red Hot Chili Peppers double, called "Way Over the Line: Artists Need to Learn to Edit Themselves." Key paragraph for our purposes:

The phenomenon has been around for decades and has crossed into every genre - even the Clash followed up their classic "London Calling" with "Sandinista," a triple record-set which would have been great as a single disc.

That is the conventional wisdom about the original Sandinista!: It should have been pruned. I hope our tribute album is another piece of ammunition supporting the argument that releasing the whole three-pieces-of-vinyl record in its huge, messy glory was a very, very good idea.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Smackdown! Doc Watson vs. the Velvet Underground

Most of the contributors to The Sandinista Project who have sent me multiple versions of each track have sent slightly different mixes. But now it looks like I get to play Solomon. Mark Cutler, who you may know from his wonderful band the late Raindogs, reports on his blog that he is sending me two different versions of his contribution, "Junkie Slip":

I just finished recording a couple of versions of the Clash's 'Junkie Slip' in my studio apartment and sent them in for inclusion on the Sandinista Project. It's a collection of musicians doing songs from the album. Thanks to Jimmy Guterman for remembering me and letting me be involved.

Some of the musicians involved are Steve Wynn - who used to play in one of my fave bands Dream Syndicate, The Smithereens, my friends The Blizzard of 78, Wreckless Eric and tons more.

Version 1 of Junkie Slip is a sort of a Doc Watson/Zydeco treatment. It features Dickie Reed on accordian, Kate Conroy on fiddle and Kristen Lund on backing vocals. I sing, play the guitar and mandolin.

Version 2 is sort of Velvet Underground meets the Beachboys (Femme Fatale with handclaps)

I submitted both of them and I'm letting Jimmy decide on which one to use. It was fun. The song Junkie Slip is... hmm let's say challenging.

See you later...

Oh yeah -

Impeach Bush...

I'm going to the mailbox to wait.

More from the Charlatans

No, they're not on our record, but while I'm waiting for the final (can you believe it?) three tracks to arrive I'd like to point you to this piece about the Charlatans. Here's the money graf:

Over eight prior releases, the Charlatans have dabbled with Dylan, dripped sleaze like the Stones and merged the soul of Curtis Mayfield with the disco of the Bee Gees. On the just released reggae-inflected Simpatico, the Clash’s sprawling three-record Sandinista is the jumping off point, though the Charlatans have managed to condense that vibe into a single cohesive album. “Well, it’s my favorite Clash record,” (singer Tim) Burgess admits freely. “I love the variety of it. It’s kind of like a carnival.”

A carnival: what a great description!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Wreckless Eric's "Crooked Beat"

You either love Wreckless Eric or you haven't heard of him. Stiff stalwart, brave autobiographer, champion of Joe Meek, duet partner with Amy Rigby (go down one entry, folks), he's both as punk a performer and as nice a person as you could imagine. Last week he gave us a tough, taut "Crooked Beat," although I've waited until today to promote it here, because I wanted to credit whoever the great bass player was and, especially, the super harmony singer. Today Eric let me know the complete personnel:

"Nobody else played on it, just me."

What could be more punk than a one-man band at this late date? Thank you, Eric!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Amy Rigby Is the Leader

First, the obvious: Amy Rigby is one of the great rock'n'roll songwriters of our generation. That's not empty assertion, that's verifiable fact. From Diary of a Mod Housewife to the recent Little Fugitive, she's been on a brave, wild, unprecedented journey. She's written a handful of the funniest songs I've ever heard -- and a handful of the most heartbreaking. But what's often forgotten when listeners marvel over Rigby's songs is what a mind-blowing performer she is. She's a brilliant interpreter, and she knocks the Sandinista! topical rockabilly "The Leader" out of the park. For those obsessive discographers out there, she is accompanied on the track by her daughter Hazel Rigby on bass and backing vocals, and Chris Butler (the genius behind the Waitresses) on drums. The one and only Wreckless Eric mixed it.