Ickmusic Live: The Clash – Buy or Die!

If you’ve been checking in with Ickmusic for a while, you know by now that I can’t go very long without a Clash or Joe Strummer post. So without much setup, here’s a great audience recording of a late 1978 gig at London’s Lyceum Ballroom. Find out a lot more background on the show at Black Market Clash (a fantastic live Clash / Strummer resource – click here for the home page with the frames).

RIP Joe. We miss you.

The Clash – Buy or Die !!!
The Lyceum
From the Sort It Out” Tour
December 29th, 1978

1. Safe European Home
2. I Fought the Law
3. Jail Guitar Doors
4. Drug Stabbing Time
5. Cheapskates
6. The City of the Dead
7. Clash City Rockers
8. Tommy Gun
9. White Man in Hammersmith Palais
10. English Civil War
11. Stay Free
12. Guns on the Roof
13. Police and Thieves
14. Julie’s Been Working for the Drug Squad
15. Capital Radio
16. Janie Jones
17. Garageland
18. Complete Control
19. London’s Burning*
20. White Riot*

* The last two tracks come from the 12/28/78 show at the Lyceum

The Sandinista! Project

If London Calling was the Clash’s masterpiece, Sandinista! – a three-LP, multi-genre assault on the senses (and the follow-up to London Calling) – was its stoned out red-headed stepchild. Thirty-six songs strong, Sandinista! was their chance to completely let loose and record whatever it is they felt like recording. I like the way The All Music Guide review puts it…

The Clash sounded like they could do anything on London Calling. For its triple-album follow-up, Sandinista!, they tried to do everything, adding dub, rap, gospel, and even children’s choruses to the punk, reggae, R&B, and roots rock they already were playing…

As loose and scattered as it is, there are some killer tracks on the album: “The Magnificent Seven”, “The Call Up”, “The Leader”, and Eddy “Electric Avenue” Grant’s “Police On My Back”.

So music journalist Jimmy Guterman had a vision as a Clash fan: a tribute album. What he pulled together with The Sandinista! Project is pretty damn impressive. There are some well known names involved: The Smithereens, Camper Van Beethoven, Jason Ringenberg (Jason & the Scorchers), Katrina Leskanich (Katrina & the Waves), Matthew Ryan, Wille Nile, and the Mekons’ Jon Langford (who also designed the album cover).

Many of the artists I had not heard of: Sex Clark Five (great name!), The Hyphens, Haale, the Coal Porters, and many more. So I thought I would share a couple from the tribute album, paired with the Clash originals.

Two of my favorites from the album are “The Call Up” and “The Leader”. On the tribute, theremin – yes theremin – ensemble The Lothars take on “The Call Up”. This would fall under the category of totally and completely devoid of resembling the original. But there’s something very strange and alien about it that pulls me in. You want originality? Here you go…

The LotharsThe Call Up (mp3)

The ClashThe Call Up (mp3)

On Sandinista!, The Clash pack a whole lot of rock, urgency, and great lyrics into the minute and forty-one seconds of “The Leader”. Amy Rigby offers up a respectable version true to the original. Though there’s something about her “on a Sundayyy…” lyric that I’d like to tweak, but nice overall…

Amy RigbyThe Leader (mp3)

The ClashThe Leader (mp3)

I can’t really say that someone not familiar with Sandinista! and the Clash would really “get” or appreciate this tribute. But if you’re a Clash-ophile who worships at the altar of Strummer, as I am, you should hear this album. And if you’re new to both, why not pick up both?

I recommend getting the CD itself just for the DIY punk packaging. It’s very well done, and includes a booklet put together by Guterman called “2007 – The Armagideon Times Update.”

Buy The Sandinista! Project on Amazon.

Check out Jimmy Guterman’s blog / site devoted to the project. Included on the sidebar are PDF’s of the CD booklet and the packaging.

Buy The Clash’s Sandinista!

Ford Pier goes Organ Farming

Ford Pier

If you’re north of the border in Toronto or Vancouver, you may be familiar with Ford Pier. Ford plays a variety of instruments, and has played with a load of different bands up in Canada…the Hard Rubber Orchestra, the Buttless Chaps (yes!), the Sadies, the Rheostatics, and many others. He was actually a member of Vancouver punk legends D.O.A. in one of their incarnations in the 90’s.

I got a hold of Ford’s new EP, Organ Farming. While he plays most everything you hear by himself, also playing on the EP are members of Fembots, the Weakerthans, and the Ron Sexsmith Band.

This EP was released electronically on June 5th. Later this year, he’ll release a full length album entitled Adventurism.

Take a listen to Ford’s punk-indie blend.

Ford Pier Maybe It Came At the Wrong Time (mp3) – from Organ Farming (Six Shooter Records)

Ford Pier’s MySpace

UK Punk: Wire

On to another UK punk band formed in 1976, a band I had quite frankly never heard of until yesterday (thanks melchman for bringing in their debut CD). Wire was right there though, putting out a brand of art punk / post-punk that influenced later artists like Henry Rollins, REM, and the Minutemen, to name a few.

Pink Flag was their debut, released in December 1977. It’s 21 songs of thrashing punk rock, several of the songs clocking in at under a minute. This one’s just over a minute long.

WireSurgeon’s Girl (mp3) – from Pink Flag

Wire’s Official Site.

UK Punk: The Damned

Well, while we’re at it, let’s continue the UK punk theme with the Damned. They’re punk legends in their own right, being contemporaries of the Clash and the Sex Pistols in the class of ’76. They’re still together too, though only two original members remain (singer Dave Vanian and guitarist Captain Sensible). Former drummer Rat Scabies hung around for a long time, but is no longer with them. Rat Scabies – hands down one of the best punk names ever.

If anyone wants to help keep the UK punk theme going, I’m happy to oblige. Leave some comments below with your recommendations. How obscure can we get? (I may need some help tracking down the tunes).

The Damned Smash it Up (mp3)

This live version comes from a compilation called ‘This is Punk‘ that I found on eMusic. The original comes from Machine Gun Etiquette.

Check out the Damned on The Damned | their Official Site | the video for “Smash it Up”

Say hi to Captain Sensible on MySpace…

Update: And you all have to check out this live version of “Neat Neat Neat” from what it says is 1979. The video starts off with what appears to be ol’ Cap’n Sensible relieving himself into the crowd. Man, I’d heard about the British gobbing (spitting) craze at the early punk shows, but pissing?

UK Punk: 999


Here’s one recently heard on Sirius Satellite’s Punk channel. As much as I’ve enjoyed the Clash and the Sex Pistols, I haven’t had too much exposure in my life to other UK punk bands of the era (the late 70’s punk “revolution”); bands like the Damned, the Buzzcocks, and this group: 999.

Formed in London in December 1976, the band was originally made up of singer / guitarist Nick Cash, guitarist Guy Days, bassist Jon Watson, and drummer Pablo LaBrittain. All but Watson are still going strong to this day, and should have a new albm of material out later this year.

This song is from their fourth album, 1980’s The Biggest Prize in Sport. It has a punk / pop anthem type feel to it. Good stuff…

999Found Out Too Late (mp3)

999’s Official Site.

Buy Biggest Prize in Sport (Amazon) or on 999 - The Biggest Prize In Sport

The Clash rage at the US Festival

Joe at the US Festival

Joe Strummer was not happy when he hit the stage at the US Festival in 1983. There’s different stories about what was pissing him off so much. But the gist of it was that the Clash were upset when they heard that Van Halen took a million dollars to headline the third and final night of the festival. The Clash, by contrast, refused to go on stage until US Festival organizer Steve Wozniak (of Apple Computer) agreed to donate a large sum of money to charity. There was even a backstage shouting match between Joe Strummer and David Lee Roth, if you can believe that. Oh to be a fly on the wall on that day.

Well, what resulted was a very spirited set, with Joe Strummer taking some time between songs to rant and rave against consumerism and the American way. This is also guitarist Mick Jones’ last performance with the Clash.

RIP Joe Strummer: 1952-2002

The Clash
Saturday, May 28th, 1983
Glen Helen Regional Park
San Bernardino, CA
US Festival ’83

* The only imperfection of this show is that “London Calling” cuts out about half way through and jumps about halfway into “This is Radio Clash”. Don’t worry, you’ll get over it quickly.

A taste: “The Magnificent Seven”

Download the Show (ZIP)

London Calling / This Is Radio Clash*
Somebody Got Murdered
Rock the Casbah
The Guns Of Brixton
Know Your Rights
Koka Kola
Hate and War
Armagideon Time
Sound of the Sinners
Safe European Home
Police on My Back
Brand New Cadillac
I Fought the Law
I’m So Bored with the USA
Train In Vain
The Magnificent Seven
Straight to Hell
Should I Stay or Should I Go?

The Ramones Live in 79


Tonight it’s a full-on late 70’s punk rockin’ assault, as the Ramones rock Northwestern University. Coming to you from way back in October of 1979, this is a supercharged set from Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee and Marky. It’s quite shitty to think that three out of those four are no longer with us. Johnny died of prostate cancer in 2004; Dee Dee died of “heroin toxicity” in 2002; and Joey’s been gone since April of 2001, when he died from lymphoma.

So in memory of the punk pioneers (they formed in 1974, and were a heavy influence on the British Punk ‘revolution’ of 1976, the Clash and the Sex Pistols among them), turn this one up loud and enjoy.

The Ramones
“Rock & Roll College”
Cahn Auditorium, Northwestern University
Evanston, Illinois
October 13, 1979

1. Intro
2. Blitzkrieg Bop
3. Teenage Lobotomy
4. Rockaway Beach
5. I Don’t Want You
6. Go Mental
7. Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment
8. Rock N Roll High School
9. I Wanna Be Sedated
10. I Just Want To Have Something To Do
11. She’s The One
12. I’m Against It
13. Sheena Is A Punk Rocker
14. Havana Affair
15. Commando
16. Needles And Pins
17. I’m Affected
18. I Want You Around
19. Surfin’ Bird
20. Cretin Hop
21. All The Way
22. California Sun
23. I Don’t Want To Walk Around With You
24. Today Your Love, Tomorrow The World
25. Pinhead
26. Do You Wanna Dance
27. Suzy Is A Headbanger
28. Let’s Dance
29. Chinese Rock
30. Judy Is A Punk
31. We’re A Happy Family


Blowfly’s Punk Rock Party and Ickmusic Contest



Let’s have some fun, huh? Who wants to get down in person with the original “dirty mouth of the South?” Look out, because Blowfly is coming to your town, and I’ve got two tickets to give away, along with an advance copy of ‘Punk Rock Party’ (not out until September 12), and a Blowfly t-shirt to boot.

‘Punk Rock Party’ will be released on Jello Biafra’s label, Alternative Tentacles. Blowfly’s M.O. is “dirty” remakes of well known tunes. On this album, he takes on punk classics like the Dead Kennedys’ “Holiday in Cambodia”, reworked as “R. Kelly in Cambodia” (with guest vocals by Jello himself), the Ramones’ “I Wanna be Sedated” (which morphs into “I Wanna Be Fellated” – lol), and my personal fave, an updated Clash classic, “Should I Lay this Big Fat Ho?”.

Blowfly is actually 61 year old Clarence Reid, who was a songwriter for many R&B acts of the 60’s and 70’s (Sam & Dave, KC and the Sunshine Band). His knack for making funny (and obscene) versions of others’ songs led him to adopt his alter ego, Blowfly. His debut album, ‘The Weird World of Blowfly’, was released way back in 1971. Since then, dressed in full on superhero getup, Blowfly has released more than two dozen completely tasteless and vulgar versions of many popular tunes. I’m not about to repeat the song titles here, but if you’re ready for a laugh (and you’re an adult who’s not easily offended fer crying out loud), check out his discography on All Music, and be disgusted and amused by the song titles.

Here’s a mix of a few songs from ‘Punk Rock Party’…

Blowfly: Punk Rock Party Megamix (mp3) – includes “Should I Lay This Big Fat Ho”, “I Wanna Be Fellated”, “Playing with Myself”, “R. Kelly in Cambodia”

I’m going out on a limb and guessing that his live show is one entertaining, smut-funkin’ affair. This I gotta see! I’ll be checking Blowfly out at the Clubhouse in Tempe when he hits town in September.

And now…

+++++++++ The Ickmusic Blowfly @#*& Contest! ++++++++++

Okay, we’ll have three winners here. Here are the prizes:

  • Grand Prize Winner receives two tickets to see Blowfly in their town (tour dates & locations listed below), an advance copy of ‘Punk Rock Party’, and a Blowfly t-shirt.
  • First Runner-up will receive ‘Punk Rock Party’ and a Blowfly t-shirt.
  • Second Runner-up will get a Blowfly t-shirt.

Click here to see the trivia question, and to submit your answer.

Check out Blowfly’s Official Site | MySpace Page

Here are the tour dates: