What's important is this - when punk rock broke and bands cashed in on fashion trends, Down By Law stayed true to its ideals. While everyone else played The Forbidden Beat and wrote songs about farts, Dave Smalley was penning songs about feeling lonely and out of place, afraid and uncertain. He wrote about finding strength in being apart from the larger culture, and turning the loneliness and alienation of individuals into unity and mutual respect. It's clear that Down By Law is the only real claimant to The Clash's legacy, and that legacy is the admission that we may be isolated and lonely, we may be alienated and fucked up, but revolution can only begin in the mirror. We have to change ourselves before we can change the social structures that oppress us. Like Mick Jones and Joe Strummer before him, Dave Smalley acknowledges that politics stem from personal experience; we have our beliefs because of what we know and how we grew up. All politics are personal, and everything personal is political. And this is why Down By Law is one of the few bands that matter - the personal and political are inseparable in the music. The music is honest, and if you open your heart to it, these songs will reveal truths that no one else has enough guts to say.
Down By Law