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Clash Study Tapes For Possible Live LP

Former bandmates pore through old recordings from memorable performances.

Former Clash leaders Joe Strummer and Mick Jones, along with bassist Paul

Simonon, have begun wading through concert tapes by the legendary U.K. punk band with an eye toward a possible live album release, though not

necessarily this year, according to band spokeswoman Tricia Ronane.

"We're just listening to stuff now," Ronane said. "It was such a long time ago, and it's difficult to find things."

Among the concerts being evaluated are British shows from 1976 and '78, as well as the tapes from the group's 1982 stint opening for the Who at New York's Shea Stadium. Strummer, Jones and Simonon, who made up three-quarters of the pioneering punk-rock outfit that formed in London in 1976, are also looking for American and Japanese radio broadcasts.

Ronane cautioned that the band's efforts at this point are preliminary and

that there is as yet no album scheduled.

Sony Music U.K. denied that any Clash release is planned. "We're working

toward getting a project off the ground," said Sony spokesman Hugh

Attwooll. "We're looking at a variety of options, but nothing is fixed.

There may be a result, there may not."

As the premiere punk act to come out of the late '70s British Invasion, the Clash blended a raw anger with a political and aesthetic agenda, singing about everything from then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to racial unity and the Sandinistas. The band pushed the limits of punk -- infusing it with funk, reggae and rap -- while maintaining a pop sensibility.

Among the Clash's most accomplished works was their self-titled debut and 1979's eclectic double-disc, London Calling. However, they achieved their greatest commercial success with their 1982 platinum record Combat Rock, which spawned such singles as "Rock The Casbah" and "Should I Stay or Should I Go."

If the band likes what it hears on the tapes it's currently rummaging through, Ronane said the members won't necessarily limit themselves to a single CD release. "It totally depends on what material is there that proves to be worthy. If [the recordings] are good, they'll go out, if they're not, they won't."

She added that the band, which included Nicky "Topper" Headon on drums during the early days, has not put itself on a timetable for compiling a live collection. "There's no reason why it should happen this year or next year," Ronane said. "It doesn't matter to us. We never put anything out unless we think it's finished and it's good enough. There's lots of criteria that go on with anything that has to do with the Clash. We wouldn't pin ourselves down to any deadline."