The music world has always been familiar with the phrase less is more. Even though there are bands that like to play a million notes per second, there’s no shame in hanging back with a good song and doing what the track calls for. When it comes to six strings in rock and roll, you can never have too many now, can you?
As much as one guitarist would have been nice, each of these bands kicked things up a notch by having two guitarists in their ranks, creating a wall of sound every time you heard them play. There’s a lot more to two guitar players than a little more noise on stage. When you have two brilliant musicians working against each other, there’s a lot more opportunity to play with your sound, whether that means playing in harmony with each other or swapping during solos to give a new sound to the song halfway through.
Beyond your average rock and roll setup, each of these guitarists know how to play with each other perfectly, knowing just when to get the best out of each other without ever being noticed as often. Having a guitar player might be all you really need, but each of these guys made their living as partners in crime.
When it comes to the best punk music ever made, you never really needed to be the most technical player in the world to pull it off. If you just had a few guitar lessons and knew what a power chord was, you could probably play the entire Ramones discography in just a few days. No matter how easy they were, it all depended on the power behind the song, and Mick Jones and Joe Strummer might as well have been the punk rock version of Lennon and McCartney.
When the Clash started, Joe was really the pilot of the band, writing songs like White Riot and Complete Control about the injustices that artists and punks had to face and how things had to change. It took Mick turning them into something much more radio friendly, taking the hooks and stuffing them into songs like Remote Control and even shifting the focus to something a man down the street might understand, like the Rolling Stones-style sound of Lost in the Supermarket.
Throughout their careers, you can also see them learning from each other, like Joe branching out into pop material on Rock the Casbah and Mick Jones increasingly branching out into the avant-garde style of writing, qu later integrated into Big Audio Dynamite. . Perhaps the whole aesthetic of punk was about changing the corrupted parts of the world, but listening to the Clash was the first time the revolution seemed to actually succeed.