London SS


London SS

Infobox musical artist
Name = London SS


Img_capt =
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Background = group_or_band
Origin =
Genre = Punk rock, rock and roll
Years_active = 1975–76
Label =
Associated_acts = The Clash, The Subterraneans, The Damned, Chelsea, Generation X, Big Audio Dynamite, Sigue Sigue Sputnik, Carbon/Silicon
URL =
Past_members = Mick Jones
Tony James
Brian James
Roland Hot

London SS were an early British punk rock group founded in March 1975 by guitarist Mick Jones and bassist Tony James.

The band spent most of their short history auditioning potential members. Besides Jones and James, however, guitarist Brian James (not related to Tony) was the only other semi-permanent member. Other musicians who played with them included Matt Dangerfield and Casino Steel, then of The Hollywood Brats, who would later go on to play in The Boys.

Many other notable musicians tried out for the band but didn't make the cut including future members of The Clash Paul Simonon and Terry Chimes. Another future Clash member, Nicky "Topper" Headon, was asked to join but declined. Rat Scabies, future drummer for The Damned played with the band even though he was in his own proto-punk band, Rot, at the time. Roland Hot also served as drummer. Punk poet Patrik Fitzgerald also claims to have auditioned for the band.

The London SS's only recording was a demo featuring James, Jones, James and Hot. Musically they played straightforward rock 'n' roll and covered 1960s R&B although some former members felt the band's music was pretty poor.

After Hot was kicked out in January 1976, Brian James left with Scabies to form The Subterraneans and later The Damned. The other James joined the band Chelsea with Billy Idol and the two later started Generation X. Jones, Simonon, and Chimes teamed up with Joe Strummer and founded The Clash. Chimes was later replaced by Headon and then Headon was replaced by Chimes again. Ultimately, the London SS were more famous for what their members did later on in life than they were for anything that happened during their existence.

The group's name caused disquiet in some quarters, because "SS" is generally understood to refer to the elite military force disproportionately involved in Nazi war crimes. This later came to haunt Mick Jones, when The Clash became Britain's premier left-wing political band. However, the members of London SS later claimed that it referred to their poverty at the time, and stood for "social security". Other accounts say that it was used for its ambiguity and shock value, rather than as a statement of fascist political sympathies.


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