Contact Us

Former Clash Drummer Topper Headon Makes Peace with His Troubled Past

Topper Headon
YouTube

His life took some terribly dark turns after he was fired from the Clash, but drummer Topper Headon has found his way back to the light — and forgiveness for the man who kicked him out of the band.

Headon opened up about his journey in a recent interview with the Independent, recalling how his formidable struggle with substance abuse sent him spiraling from sold-out arenas to working as a cab driver, busking in the subway, and finally subsisting on soup kitchen handouts and living in a homeless shelter. Once a jazz drummer who’d been fired from a gig for not hitting the kit hard enough, he became one of the best-known casualties of the stereotypical hard-living rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle.

But as he told the Independent, Headon had plenty of chances to clean up his act. After Clash co-founder Joe Strummer booted him from the band, he had a shot at drumming for the Who, and briefly worked on putting together a new group with members of the Pretenders and Bob Dylan‘s band, with Pete Townshend on board to produce. He then served a short-lived stint in former Clash member Mick JonesBig Audio Dynamite before a huge royalty windfall sent him spiraling back off the deep end.

After contracting hepatitis C, Headon was forced into his 13th round of rehab, which finally did the trick. “Something happened,” he mused when asked why he’s managed to stay sober. “I started feeling part of life again. I’ve been clean ever since.”

Headon’s life now includes working on behalf of Strummerville, the charity founded in memory of Strummer following his passing in 2002. While some might expect Headon to feel ill will toward his former bandmate, nothing could be further from the truth. “By rights, it should have been me that died,” he told the Independent. “Joe wouldn’t have sacked me if I hadn’t been a raving heroin addict, trashing hotel rooms, throwing up, late for rehearsals. He had no choice…I was in a state. We were kids … It was the best thing that could have happened. We made all that fantastic music and then imploded at the top.”

Next: Top 10 Clash Songs

More from I-95 FM

Best of the Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your points and personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account with your Facebook account, just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing profile and VIP program points. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to http://i95rocks.com using your Facebook account.

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

Register on I-95 FM quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!

Not a Member? Sign Up Here

Register on I-95 FM quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!