The Clash Wiki

Bernard "Bernie" Rhodes was the manager of The Clash for most of the band's time together. He preferred to be addressed as "Bernard," but the band referred to him with the diminutive "Bernie" as a form of dressing-down.

Rhodes owned the band's original rehearsal space at Camden Locks (dubbed "Rehearsals Rehearsals" by the band members) and a Peugeot garage next door. He had a background in the Situationist movement of the 1960's and claimed to have been present for the Situationist Riots in Paris in 1968. His background with Situationist International influenced the band's early lyrics and public interaction.

Rhodes was an associate (and perhaps rival) of Sex Pistols creator/manager Malcolm McLaren, and similarly looked to form and manage a punk band. The first effort was the London SS, which included later Clash members Jones, Keith Levene and Simonon and possibly Chimes and Headon. The London SS included a constantly revolving group of young musicians whose membership is disputed (Jones and Rhodes have at various times denied that the group ever existed) and never played a gig. Rhodes abruptly dissolved the group and suggested that Jones and Simonon find a new lead singer with which to form a new group.

Rhodes, Jones, Levene and Simonon attended a Sex Pistols show shortly after the demise of the London SS where they saw Joe Strummer and his band The 101'ers perform as the opening act. The group approached Strummer after the show, informed him of their intentions to start a new band, asked him to leave the 101'ers and join them and famously gave him 48 hours to make up his mind. Rhodes phoned Strummer after just 24 hours and demanded an answer. Strummer accepted.

After "Give 'Em Enough Rope" was released, the band fired Rhodes (and were managed next by Caroline Coon and then Blackhill Mamagement) and were therefore forced to find new rehearsal space.

In 1981, they re-hired Rhodes.

Because Jones had been fired and Strummer was suffering from burnout (or depression), Rhodes was responsible for most of the production of "Cut the Crap," which is generally regarded as falling very short of the other studio releases by The Clash and was their last studio album. Rhodes was responsible for the presence of drum machines and other techniques that while overtly commercial in 1985 did not fit in with fan expectations of a Clash release.

Rhodes also briefly managed The Specials (referenced in the opening line to their single "Gangsters": "Bernie Rhodes knows 'don't argue'") and Dexy's Midnight Runners.