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?

Joe Strummer Acoustic in 1999 (Music Millennium, Portland, Oregon)


It’s necessary here on Ickmusic to periodically post about the late great Joe Strummer. Today, my friends, a treat. This is an afternoon in-store appearance in Portland, Oregon back in November of 1999. Joe’s first Mescaleros album, Rock Art & the X Ray Style, had just been released weeks earlier. From Black Market Clash, a cool site covering all of the Clash / Joe Strummer bootlegs….

The acoustic session is awesome as Joe plays ad lib with funny and made up lyrics ad lib. The sound is excellent also. A direct to DAT mono recording, Joe played in front of around 100 people with a punk circle singing behind Joe and a drummer named Matthew from the local band “Roe” seated with his hands on his legs and stamping on the stage. 4.30pm.

Not sure which store this short set takes place in (maybe someone out there wants to fill me in?), but the vibe sure is loose and relaxed, and like the blurb above says, the sound is pristine. Take a listen to the late, the great, the incomparable Joe Strummer.

Here’s a taste, “Junco Partner”

Joe Strummer (1952-2002) Rest in Peace
In-store Appearance at Music Millennium
November 2, 1999
Portland, Oregon USA

Download the show

Junco Partner
X-Ray Style
Island Hopping
The Road to Rock and Roll
Trash City


Buy Rock Art & the X-Ray Style :

rock art


London to Lubbock: Joe Ely meets the Clash

joe ely and joe strummer

Here’s a cool tidbit of Clash trivia. You know that part in “Should I Stay or Should I Go” where you hear Mick Jones yell “Split!”? It was actually an impromptu moment when Joe Strummer and Joe Ely snuck up behind Jones during the recording session, and basically scared the piss out of him. The moment made it on to the final recording.

Their relationship began in 1978, when Joe Ely was playing the Venue Club in London. The Clash were admirers of Ely’s most recent release, 1978’s ‘Honky Tonk Masquerade.’ Ely – a native of Lubbock, Texas – and the Clash met backstage and ended up spending the rest of the three night stand hanging around eachother, crawling the pubs, and gaining quite a mutual respect and admiration for eachother.

joe ely

Ely opened for the Clash on the 1979 Texas leg of their Pearl Harbor tour. He also headed over to London in 1980 to open for the Clash on their UK London Calling tour, and opened a couple of nights during the Clash’s residency at Bond’s in NYC in 1981.

Well, fast forward to 1983. It’s a week before the US Festival in San Bernardino, CA, and the Clash are in San Antonio to play a warm-up gig before the 150,000 person event. Joe Ely is in the house that night, and joins the band for a version of “Fingernails” (from ‘Honky Tonk Masquerade”). Here’s the last three from that San Antonio night. The US Festival gig a week later would be Mick Jones’ final performance as a member of the Clash. The festival also included a backstage shouting match between Strummer and Van Halen’s David Lee Roth. Strummer was pissed about Van Halen demanding (and receiving) a cool million for the gig. Oh how I would have loved to be a fly on the wall that day.

The Clash, Live at the Majestic Theater, San Antonio, TX
May 22, 1983

Fingernails (with Joe Ely) [mp3]
Should I Stay or Should I Go [mp3]
I Fought the Law [mp3]

Here’s a cool collaboration that never was to be:

For years, Ely, a hard-charging alt-country Texan who emerged during Jimmy Carter’s reign, and Strummer, founder and lead singer of the politically astute Clash, the greatest punk band that Margaret Thatcher’s Britain ever produced, had promised each other that some day they’d head to Mexico and record an album just for the hell of it…But Ely, who turns 59 today, never got to Mexico with Strummer.

“I went to the funeral and got together with the guys and stayed up all night playing guitar,” he said. “I never believed someone with the vital energy he had would die. That’s a lesson that if you say you’re going to do something, you just do it.”

How cool would that have been? A Strummer/Ely Tex-Mex-World-Punk record? Like an idiot, I just missed Joe Ely at the very intimate Rhythm Room in Phoenix. Next time I’ll go, buy him a beer, and talk about Joe Strummer.

Here’s a couple from Joe Ely’s great live LP, ‘Live at Antone’s‘….

The Road Goes on Forever [mp3]
All Just to Get to You [mp3]

Time is Tight

super black market clash

I finally filled my Clash collection this weekend when I picked up ‘Super Black Market Clash’. What took me so long? I have no clue. But I’m really enjoying hearing some new-to-me Clash songs like “Long Time Jerk”, as well as some cool remixes and dubs of songs like “Mustapha Dance” (a remix of “Rock the Casbah”) and Robber Dub (the dubbed out version of “Bankrobber”).

Also included is a Booker T. & the MG’s tune that the Clash soundchecked on a regular basis. The song was written in the mid 60’s by Booker and the MG’s, and was released first on the 1968 soundtrack to the movie ‘Up Tight!‘. Great album cover, huh? There’s a whole lot going on in that picture.

up tight!

This was also the tune that the Blues Brothers used as they took the stage in many of their live performances. It’ll sound familiar to a lot of you.

The Clash: Time is Tight (mp3) – from Super Black Market Clash.

Booker T. & the MG’s: Time is Tight (mp3) – from the Up Tight! soundtrack.

The Clash hit France

There are a few recurring themes on this site that I unapologetically hammer at the masses. There’s Prince, there’s Springsteen, and there is Joe Strummer & The Clash. I came across a cool bootleg recently of what I guess would be called Sandanista-era Clash.

This May 9, 1981 show came five months after the release of their ambitious, extremely eclectic 3-LP juggernaut that was (and is) ‘Sandanista’. The album review on All Music has it just about right:

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. Instead of presenting a band with a far-reaching vision, like London Calling did, Sandinista! plays as a messy, confused jumble, which means that its numerous virtues are easy to ignore.

While it doesn’t come close to the brilliance and magnitude of London Calling, it does have its moments (“The Call Up”, “The Magnificent Seven”, “Washington Bullets”, etc.), but it is a triple album of 36 songs for cryin’ out loud, so there’s bound to be some less than stellar moments (like a reworked “Career Opportunities” sung by children).

So anyhoo, the bootleg was recorded live in France. It’s great quality, and really captures their F**ing brilliance….

The Clash live at Palais St. Sauveur, Lille in France
May 9, 1981

[all links are mp3]

Want this show? Click here.

London Calling
Safe European Home
The Leader
Somebody Got Murdered
White Man in Hammersmith Palais
The Guns of Brixton
Lightning Strikes (not once but twice)
I Fought The Law
Corner Soul
Ivan Meets G.I. Joe
Radio Clash
Charlie Don’t Surf
Magnificent Seven
Wrong ‘Em Boyo
Train in Vain

Going Global with Joe

Joe Strummer

Dick Rude, a long time friend of Joe Strummer, is releasing an hour long movie on DVD this summer entitled ‘Let’s Rock Again!’.

The one-hour film was shot over the last 18 months of Joe’s life. “It has been my blessing to share with the world an intimate portrait of such a passionate and humble man,” Rude said in a statement “Joe was a true hero. His music changed people’s lives. His love affected me profoundly. I am proud of the story he has allowed me to tell, but I would trade it all in a heartbeat to have him back.” Let’s Rock Again! opens with a montage of Clash-era footage of Strummer before ultimately settling into his stint fronting the Mescaleros. The film includes some stunning live performance footage and both frank and amusing interviews with Joe. (- from

Here’s a preview tune from the movie, a Mescaleros live version of “Global a Go-Go”. Hop on over to Stummersite for more info on the movie, and other Joe / Mescaleros stuff.

Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros: Global a Go-Go (live) (mp3) – Original version found on Global a Go-Go, released in the summer of 2001.

Joe Strummer Mix

It was the holiday season three years ago when Joe Strummer left this world. In memory of one my major musical heroes, here’s a snapshot of Joe’s work through the years. We miss you, Joe.

Joe Strummer: The IckMusic Mix (mp3) – 18.8 MB, 27m:27s

  1. Tommy Gun (The Clash, Give ‘Em Enough Rope, 1978)
  2. Bhindi Bhagee (Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros, Global a Go-Go, 2001)
  3. Janie Jones (The Clash, The Clash, 1977)
  4. Nitcomb (Mescaleros, Rock Art & the X-Ray Style, 1999)
  5. The Leader (The Clash, Sandanista, 1980)
  6. Death or Glory (The Clash, London Calling, 1979)
  7. Boogie With Your Children (Joe Strummer, Earthquake Weather, 1989)
  8. Silver and Gold (Mescaleros, Streetcore, 2003)

In Memory of Joe Strummer: August 21, 1952 – December 22, 2002

Hey Joe, Happy Birthday

Joe Strummer should be a young 53 years old today, but as fate would have it, he was plucked from this world almost three years ago. Thanks to this post at Berkeley Place, reminding me of fact that Joe’s birthday is upon us.

Instead of focusing on his legendary Clash days, I offer one pre-Clash and one post-Clash selection. The first comes from ‘Elgin Avenue Breakdown‘, a collection of tunes from Joe’s pre-Clash pub-rock band The 101’ers. Next up is from Joe’s first solo album: 1989’s ‘Earthquake Weather‘. It’s the last cut on the album, the mellow “Sleepwalk” (not to be confused with Santo & Johnny’s popular instrumental).

The 101’ers: Motor Boys Motor (mp3)

Joe Strummer: Sleepwalk (mp3)

I Miss Joe Strummer II

I had to offer up a Clash classic to complement Joe’s later work with the Mescaleros which I posted yesterday. The song is “Safe European Home”, which is about a trip to Jamaica taken by Joe and Mick Jones. Apparently, their experience that inspired this song was less than pleasant and hospitable. Check out the lyrics link below.

For you younger folks out there who may not be familiar with the Clash’s work, and you enjoy the Green Days of today’s music world, please do yourself a favor and explore the Clash. Find out where it all came from. Mick Jones – Guitar. Joe Strummer – Guitar. Paul Simonon – Bass. Topper Headon – drums.

The Clash: Safe European Home (mp3)