Today is (Unofficially) ‘International Clash Day’
It’s time to embrace an unofficial day for The Clash, the only band that matters. Today is the fifth annual International Clash Day, a designation that began as kind of a joke on Seattle’s left-of-the-dial radio station KEXP.
Four years ago, “Morning Show” host John Richards arbitrarily declared February 7 as “International Clash Day.” It was rather organic 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.
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 last week to recognize the day.
New York City still hasn’t jumped aboard the bandwagon, but the proverbial wheels are in motion. Below is a paraphrasing of the draft rationale that KEXP is pitching to the City Council’s Committee on Cultural Affairs. Here’s an excerpt of the draft rationale floating around…
- 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 Qmagazine.
- 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.)