The City Should Recognize ‘International Clash Day,’ the Only Day that Matters
What began as an impromptu quip on a local Seattle radio station in 2013 is now a full-fledged grassroots campaign. All in the name of The Clash, the only band that matters.
Four years ago, a deejay at KEXP, an influential left-of-the-dial radio station, arbitrarily declared February 7 as “International Clash Day.” (The only day that matters.) It was rather organic – proclaimed by “Morning Show” host John Richards – and gradually built momentum in the interim. Each year since, the voices championing the cause have grown louder. Last February, Seattle mayor Ed Murray legitimized the holiday with an official proclamation. Now on the fifth anniversary, cities and states across the country (and Canada) are following suit. Seriously. Proclamations in Washington State, Seattle, Vancouver BC, Tucson, Austin, and San Francisco are all confirmed. Even Washington D.C., our nation’s capital (and birthplace of Bad Brains), saw fit this week to recognize the day.
Noticeably absent thus far, however, is New York City. There are several reasons why the city should declare an International Clash Day. Not the least of which being that the cover of London Calling was shot at the long-vanished Palladium in Union Square.
Yet the gears are reportedly in motion to make it happen. Below is a paraphrasing of the draft rationale that KEXP is pitching to the City Council’s Committee on Cultural Affairs.
- The City of New York has long been recognized as playing a vital role in the musical and artistic culture of the United States and beyond, and represented to the world the progressive values of diversity, tolerance, and multiculturalism.
- The band’s first stateside tour in 1979, resulted in the cover of The Clash’s iconic London Calling album, also released in 1979, features a photograph of Paul Simonon smashing his bass onstage at The Palladium. The picture won photographer Pennie Smith the recognition of “Greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll Photograph of All-Time” by Q magazine.
- As early as 1980, The Clash were early supporters of New York’s burgeoning hip hop scene. Joe Strummer said, “When we came to the U.S., Mick stumbled upon a music shop in Brooklyn that carried the music of Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five, the Sugar Hill Gang … these groups were radically changing music and they changed everything for us.” The Clash went on to have Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five support them in New York in 1981 (during the famed run at Bond’s in Times Square).
- Instead of a full US tour, The Clash hosted a series of 17 New York shows in support of Sandinista! at Bond’s International Casino in Times Square in May and June of 1981. (The original number of booked shows was 8, but later extended due to capacity constraints.)
KEXP was not available for additional comment as it relates to the City Council’s consideration of International Clash Day.