Lost In The Supermarket – The Afghan Whigs

Now we’re talking Boys and Girls. Fave cult bands covering the really big guys. This is what it’s all about. This is the stuff that gets record nerds dizzy with excitement and dancing on the spot like they might pee their pants. You know you can trust indie darlings The Afghan Whigs to tackle a major work like Lost In The Supermarket. Not only a biggie from London Calling, this is the Clash song that gets remembered as a hit even though it was never a single. Originally sung by Mick Jones it’s a deep cut from a monolithic release.

For crate diggers and record nerds a combination like this is catnip. You can trust these guys will do something smart with such a provenance.

Greg Dulli and his band take the song the whole alternative rock world knows into their collective arms. They keep some aspects of it intact. Then they take some of the details that you and I love dearly about the song and they turn them 90 degrees.

With a same, but different, but big, but slow, but recognisable drum beat, the guitars weep that familiar refrain like a heavy bout of summer rain. The vocals are dreamy and meandering. There are layers of cooing backing vocals adding a rugged sky line and bubbling under growth as the guts of the lyric stays relatively faithful to London Calling.

That marching drum beat is the frame on which the song is reassembled. You could listen to the drum track from either version and finger them as blood relatives. It carries all the way through. There’s a free form jam and scat section before bars of Ben E King’s Stand By Me are sung over the familiar refrain

‘I’m all lost in the supermarket, I can no longer shop happily, I came in for a special offer, a guaranteed personality’

What this yields is a second cover version within a cover version but also an echo of the original classic albums hidden track Train In Vain (Stand By Me). If we’re covering covers within covers to reference other tracks on a classic album which was referencing other tracks to begin with… Well, it better not be rubbish.

It isn’t, The Afghan Whigs doing Lost In The Supermarket is clever stuff.

Welcome To Classic Punk Covers Week by the way… Ever get the feeling you’ve been Treated?


8 thoughts on “Lost In The Supermarket – The Afghan Whigs

  1. Amazing. The Whigs are one of my favourite bands… there are few better than them. Dulli also has a knack of picking great tracks to cover (regardless of the project).

    Interesting mention of the drums, as Headon is credited and it’s been suggested it’s a sample of Train In Vain…

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Double checked on the Summerskiss site (all things Dulli over there):

        “According to the credits former Clash drummer Topper Headon appears as drummer in this Afghan Whigs performance. It is more likely that Curley used a sample from Topper Headon’s drum work in the Clash song Train In Vain and looped this as the rhythm track.”

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh for sure, I don’t knock anyone else liking it. I just always figured it’d be the perfect Clash album if they’d left that one track off. I’ll see myself out. 😉


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