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Mickey Foote – the legendary Clash soundman and architect of their classic sound on the debut album and by extension defining just what punk rock sounded like (as well as producing Subway Sects Ambition and arguably defining the plate for underground indie rock as well) has sadly died.

All great bands are the sum of many parts with various roles being played by people passing through the entourage. Micky Foote, who sadly died today, was the original producer of the Clash. The band’s soundman who had initially met Joe Strummer in the Clash singer’s former incarnation the 101ers moved with Joe to the Clash to do live sound.

He was there when Strummer had his moment of epiphany seeing the Sex Pistols in 1976 and was at the heart of the Clash camp for a couple of years. When the band were signed and there was no actual blueprint for what punk rock was meant to sound like Mickey was drafted in as a producer on early demos in an  attempt to capture the band’s compulsive, propulsive, thin rattling sound and caught them perfectly as a rock n roll band without the power chords – the stripped down, amphetamine impatient rush template that became their initial sound.  That urgent rush of ideas and ‘no overdubs’ as Strummer demanded.

He was later fired for speeding up the Clash City Rockers single in one of those blurred, mixed up, everyone has a different tale stories that were part and parcel of the great Clash mythology. Mickey’s footnote in rock n roll history may seem small but is absolutely crucial – his skills on the deck created the template for what punk rock actually sounded like and if his name was sometimes lost in the juggernaut and it’s key to remember this.

Foote brilliantly turned up decades later fighting Donald Trump’s plans to turn a beautiful part of the Aberdeen coastline, where he now lived, into a vanity golf course documented in the fine film “You’ve Been Trumped” by Anthony Baxter which Mickey is in.  Leading the campaign by local residents against the arrogance of money and wealth Foote stated…

‘We already have some of the best courses in the world in Scotland, and the idea that another golf course and hotel is going to save us is absolutely grotesquely laughable,” said Mickey Foote, who was now spokesman for Sustainable Aberdeenshire, a group fighting Trump’s project, adding ‘He’s sold the people on the idea that it’s wild, rough country and he’s going to tame it, he’s going to make it beautiful,” Foote said. “I’m saying, it’s perfectly beautiful as it is.”

Baker the Clash’s legendary road manager has put up this statement on his facebook page

‘The sad news that Mickey Foote has died after a short illness leaves me speechless. He was another of the band’s unsung heroes. Journey on Micky…..’

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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


  1. Sad to hear of the death of Mickey Foote yesterday. Producer of one of the most iconic punk albums of all time. I remember desperately saving up my dinner money for weeks in order to buy this record (I was 12). Once I had enough I cycled the 10 miles to Subway Records in Southampton.
    I was sooooo excited and hung the record, in it’s bag, from my handlebars and started to ride home. It was a ridiculously windy day. As I rode up the Avenue the wind caught the bag and blew it into my spokes. At the time, going over the handlebars seemed secondary – I was absolutely gutted about my Clash record – totally mangled. It took another two months to save up to for a replacement (the green copy on the right) but the second time I took the train. Anyway… RIP Mickey

  2. Thank you from a distant relative, I had always known he had a link with the clash. It is only now, in my later years I release what a truly tremendous link he had. That first album is extremely special, and to see his name next to produced by is amazing. Thanks John.

  3. Ironically I bought this album at Tower Records in West Covina California and today I learned its founder died as well. The Clash, Joe Strummer in particular, and that album changed my life. I was 18 and I’ve never looked back. I’ve been Punk since the first time I played it on my turntable. A few days ago I completed my first novel and it has many of my memories of the early LA punk scene, most notably the many times I saw The Clash play. Grateful that this man stood up against Trump. Joe would be proud!

    • Looking forward to your punk -sounds interesting.

      In many ways the Trump/golf course story is the best bit of an interesting life

  4. Micky was a good guy who gave the early Clash their sound and we should be grateful for that. The Trump story goes a little beyond Micky’s influence. Trump was never going to win that one because the site was an SSSI site with rare birds breeding on it, so the environmental lobby would not be beaten by a guy whose political influence might be huge now but back then was non-existent. Trump got a bloody nose and went off to Ireland muttering under his breath stuff about “green cranks” and “hippie lunatics”. I believe he got refused permission there too. Serves the fucker right….

    • Er… sadly Trump was granted permission by the Scottish Government and has built one environmentally destructive course. The Menie residents continue to be bullied and harassed by Trump.

      Mikey played a pivotal role in the campaign, handling the early media frenzy with calm humour and style, setting the tone for the continu8ng good relations between the residents and the national press.

      As for the Piss and Churnal – well, what can you say about Trumps lackeys.

  5. Inventor of the Punk sound template? I thought it was acknowledged that the first Clash album at times ripped off the sound of the Ramones?

    (I’ve always been more a Clash fan than Ramones…)

  6. Just reading Passion is a Fashion, by Pat Gilbert. Excellent book about the Clash. I too, remember hearing London calling when I was only 13, it change my life. I googled Mickey Foote, and found out he had passed away. Too early, very sad, But a great contribution nonetheless.

  7. Never met Mickey or The Clash but remember being 12 in ’82 and stealing a tape of the 1st album from Woolworths (?) and couldn’t believe how much I loved it. Still love it now, so it’s probably my 1st love, which you never forget. Have fun wherever you are Mickey, I don’t know if you had any idea how many lives you effected.

  8. Latterly Mickey worked locally ( Aberdeen ) sorting out flooded basements etc. My son came across him whilst he was attending an issue. We’re both gutted that we didn’t actually realise who he truly was til after he early passed away. The Clash / Joe were and will always be an inspiration and glad that my , now grown up , son feels the same. Funny how you think back and your 13 yo asks it you’ve any Clash “stuff”……Doh. Influential beyond belief….Stay Free Mickey!

  9. what a character . i was a friend before 101’ers era. mick was a student in newport .its almost july and i have just found out of his passing…so sad.

  10. That day in April 77, going down to a small record shop in Brighton to get the album on its release day. I could not wait, after hearing Londons burning on the John Peel show a week or so before. I own 2 other copies of that album, as well as the original still mint along with the red circular sticker on the inner sleeve still intact. That album changed me.

  11. I don’t know what to say. Mickey was a great friend of mine. I didn’t know that he had passed away. We were at Southend foundation art school together. He lived in Basildon and I lived in Westcliff. Then he went to Newport (Wales) . where he introduced me to Joe Strummer, then known as Woody. Joe said that everyone was going to know him. Mickey went on to be the sound man for the 101ers, and after engineered the Clash first album. I had a stint playing keyboards for the Subway Sect, with Vic Goddard. Good Times.

    I have a lot of memories of that time and space. Bless you.


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