Levene was an early fan of progressive rock - at fifteen he worked as a roadie for Yes on their Close to the Edge tour. In 1976, he became a founding member of The Clash and The Flowers of Romance. Levene was responsible for helping to persuade Joe Strummer to leave the 101ers and join the Clash. Although he left The Clash before they began recording, he co-wrote "What's My Name", featured on their first album. Levene wrote the music at the Black Swan club when the Clash and Sex Pistols performed there in July 1976; on the same night, Levene suggested to Lydon that they consider a possible future collaboration.