Mick Jones – The Rock And Roll Public Library


The extraordinary guitarist for The Clash, Mick Jones, brings his personal collection of rock and roll memorabilia that he has amassed since his childhood and throughout his amazing music career, and displays it to the public for the first time as The Rock And Roll Public Library at the 56th Venice Biennale.  To accompany his massive four room display he will also release a new six song album that he recorded earlier this year in his West London studio, called Ex Libris, which will be released on vinyl May 18th and is available right now to stream on Soundcloud.

The installation explores the notion of archive as art, and is nothing short of impressive as it displays over 40 years of comics, cartoons, American icons gracing the covers of Time Magazine, newspaper clippings, music magazines, punk fanzines, trashy pulp fictions, record covers, and posters, all collected by the iconic musician and producer, Mick Jones.  The Rock And Roll Public Library is open Tuesday through Sunday 10:00-18:00 and will be on display until November 22nd.  It is situated at Instituto Santa Maria Della Pieta, Venice, which is a short walk from the Arsenale venue for the Biennale and next to the Hotel Metropole.

DSC_1109Three of the rooms included in the exhibition feature wall mounted installations of books, comics and other printed matter, as well as a 1970s listening booth allowing visitors to listen to music from the period.  In addition, display cases decorated with vibrant collages of visual material torn from the archives house and more valuable items, such as, vinyl records, stage outfits and other punk-era garments hang from the ceiling.
DSC_1107The last of the rooms presents a recreation of Jones’ living room allowing visitors to interact with items associated with the iconic rockers past, leaving each visitor with a more personal recollection and attachment to the era and the pop culture that he lived through. In this room visitors are able to sit in his chair, touch and pick up items, read and relax as if in the home of a good friend.

As visitors walk through the amazing collection they are left with a greater enlightenment of British music history told through the eyes and experiences of Mick Jones. “It’s a personal, cultural and social history of our times” says Jones, “and through that it extends beyond the local to the global.”  Curated collectively by Jones himself, James Putnam, and Lauren Jones, the exhibit represents only a fraction of Mick Jones’ full archive, which is pretty unbelievable considering the amount of items that are displayed.

DSC_0008To commemorate the opening of The Rock And Roll Public Library Mick Jones will be releasing a six song instrumental album in collaboration with The Vinyl Factory, called Ex Libris.  Packed with thirty minutes of great atmospheric instrumentals the album has a style ranging from Mick Jones’ type of rock & roll to a chilled out electronic dub vibe giving insight into the evolution of music culture as it is expressed from the point of view of Mick himself.

The album evokes a simplistic approach to the songwriting with easy going twist and turns that give the album a great upbeat flow making it a perfect album to listen to on vinyl. Each song has a unique flavour which gives the listener a sense of the eclectic styles of music Mick has worked on and produced over the years.

Mick1The first three songs are very basic in instrumentation but have memorable melody hooks and a good steady rhythm loop to keep it upbeat and reminds me a bit of Bernard Estardy’s music.  The next song ‘Easy Going Man’ is a more sample based song sporting old record vibe type samples that are really cool.   ‘Spaghetti Junction’ starts off with an organ melody and then breaks into a dance heavy beat that is filled with different dub style fills.  To finish the album ‘Bad Mood’ keeps that great dance feel going adding some rocking feedback style guitar and a chest pumping dub style bass that keeps the drive of the song and album going.

The album Ex Libris by Mick Jones will accompany the amazing archive display at The Rock And Roll Public Library at Venice Biennale until November 22nd so come check it out or purchase the album through The Vinyl Factory website.


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