The Clash Wiki

Artist: The Clash

First Release: unreleased


Vocals: Joe Strummer


Additional Information:

  • correct title of the song confirmed by Joe Strummer: "We'd like to perform a summer narrative entitled How Can I Understand The Flies." [1]
  • in a 1978 interview Strummer called the song Flies [2]
  • mistitled as 'I Can't Understand the Flies' 'I Don't Understand the Flies' or 'For the Flies' on bootlegs

  • written during the initial rehearsals June-August 1976
  • performed at the band's very first public London gig in August 1976 [3]
  • dropped from the set after drummer Terry Chimes left the band in November 1976 [4]
  • Joe Strummer: "[The song] was about all those flies in the basement of Orsett Terrace." (Strummer's flat in 1976)[5]


  1. The Roundhouse, London (5/9/1976)
  2. [1] "Sounds" magazine (17/6/1978)
  3. [2] Screen On The Green, London (29/8/1976)
  4. [3] last reported performance: Royal College of Art, London (5/11/1976)
  5. [4] "Sounds" magazine (17/6/1978)

How Can I Understand The Flies
Lyrics | Guitar Tab | Bass Tab{|border="0"|}