Pearl Harbour Tour supported by Bo Diddley & The D-Ceats

updated 10 July 2008 - added article Prefect who Rocket Word
updated 5 Jan 2010 - added Bo Diddley Video & 3 superb photos c.Peter Muise

The Clash - Ontario Theatre 15 Feb 1979

cdr - edited source - Sound 1.5 - 31min - unknown generation? - 11 tracks - full upgrade wanted

Video Bo Diddley opening for The Clash - 6:32 backstage & onstage

Back on the bus again to the now defunct Ontario Theatre in Washington DC. Mick received a message saying Washington was the City of the Dead, evidence that the words were getting through to US audiences despite Joe stating otherwise in his sarcastic between song comments on this tour.

Mick thought it was a good gig “smashed the neck off my fuckin’ guitar though, funny I used to hate bands that smashed their instruments”. Mick had received shocks throughout the gig from his trusty Les Paul finally losing patience on London’s Burning. The sceptical Allan Jones writing in Melody Maker witnessed the gig and wrote that Hate & War collapsed into chaos (little evidence of that here), City of the Dead “this one’s for Sid” had rescued it, Safe European Home continued it but Police & Thieves was stumbling and ragged

crudely edited incomplete recording

The only recording in circulation is incomplete with only 11 track’s, the first and last incomplete and the songs crudely edited together between songs.

Its an audience tape that suffers from loss of clarity, some distortion, and the taper is well back from the stage. There are also some tape problems. The sound is dull with little range but its not awful by any means, with lead guitar coming through quite well. I have never seen fuller versions in circulation. Better sound than Santa Monica but its incompleteness makes it less enjoyable.

This has been know to turn up as Canadian FM recording but it isn't.

"I had the tremendous good fortune to see the DC show at the age of 17 and I was just completely blown away.  I changed my college major.  I went into radio then clubs and promotions.  The show altered my life path.  I think that at most 300 were in attendance.  There was a crude merchandise stand up front selling buttons and t-shirts.  It was snowing that night.  I spent my gas money on a plain medium white t-shirt with the cover of GEER on the front and back.  8 dollars.  The D-Ceats played their last gig opening for Bo who did a 17 minute version of Who Do You Love.  The Clash came on to USA.  I distinctly remember Mick snapping his les paul against the stage left amp stack.
Leaving the show I remember looking down at my feet on the show covered sidewalk at Ontario & Columbia RD NW just to check and make sure that I was still on terra firma.  I *felt* as thought I was floating on air.

"It was an explosive show - I was there right at the front of the stage and remember it well!  Bo Diddley opened for them, as well as some friends of mine in a local DC band called the D.Ceats.  Ahhh the good old days! 

I have seen over 2000 concerts from 1977 to date.  Classic bands, seminal bands - WIre Fall U2 REM, great zydeco, jazz and lounge - you name it.  Nirvana the week Nevermind was released - you get the idea.  Never have I experienced what I experienced at that Clash show in 1979.  The energy, possibility, emotion and sheer sense of life itself emminating from the stage was without equal. They were the greatest live band of the past 40 years."

The Prefect Who Rocked the World

By Desson Howe - Staff Writer
Copyright 2002 The Washington Post

Joe Strummer wasn't Joe Strummer when I met him.

That was in the late 1960s, in England. He was John Mellor, a thin-lipped, sarcastic prefect sitting in his study. The younger students had big collective rooms for their homework. But prefects had private rooms, which they'd share with one or two senior colleagues. He was older than I was -- 17, I suppose. I was 11 or so, a new student at the City of London Freemen's School in Ashtead, Surrey, and a so-called "grub." I had been sent upstairs to summon him to "prayers," the boy boarders' nightly session of Our Fathers and so forth.

"It's prayers," I said, with no idea I had just transgressed the code. You never ran into a prefect's study unannounced. At this British private school, the prefects had an almost mullah-like presence. You had to do anything they told you, without hesitation. Some, I found to my distress, used that authority for physical and emotional cruelty. By blundering into his inner sanctum, I was asking for trouble.

Mellor looked up from his desk. Stared at the ridiculous "plebe" in school tie, short trousers and blazer before him. Curled his top lip and said: "Knock on the door, you crud."

I had to close the door and knock again. He waited a long time before telling me to enter. I opened the door and told him again.

"I bloody heard you the first time," he said.

Unlike the other prefects -- I can still see their dour expressions, pale skin, zip-up boots and pink shaving bumps -- Mellor had a fantastic, surrealistic and absurd sense of humor. And at the boarder gatherings, in which we stood in hushed, military lines before our housemaster, Mellor played to the gallery -- the grubs. We were so grateful. Prefects never gave us the time of day, except to beat us or force us to polish their shoes.

John Mellor was the one with the implied twinkle. Always playing pranks, mind games. Not as cruel as the others. Always funny. I suddenly remember that he once wore a T-shirt with a heart on it. It said: "In case of emergency, tear out." I never imagined how much it would hurt to think of that now.

"Howe, you're in for the high jump," he thundered one night, after catching me talking in the dormitory after lights out. I was shaking. Even Mellor could be like the rest of them, at times. This was going to hurt.

Solemnly, he made me stand in front of my bed. Withdrew a leather slipper from his foot and told me . . . to jump over my bed. End of punishment.

He used to make me sing the Rolling Stones' "Off the Hook." Every night. My voice hadn't broken yet. I sang it like a choirboy. ("Sittin' in my bedroom late last night," I squeaked.) It broke him up to hear my rendition.

He made me recite the names of the band members. Who plays bass? Bill Wyman, I told him. What about the drummer? Charlie Watts. Right, he said. Who's your favorite band? The Rolling Stones! Not the poxy Beatles.

In this POW camp of a place, John Mellor was my Hogan.

We had graduated by the late 1970s when we learned he had formed a group called the Clash and, even better, become punk rock's hard-sweating leader. And he'd changed his name to Strummer. Joe Strummer. What a laugh.

But what music he played! Bloody brilliant. Forget the Sex Pistols -- they were just a spitting, guitar-thrashing Kings Road gimmick. The Clash were the real kings. "London Calling" was, and remains, one of the great rock albums of all time. Come on. Sing with me now: "Rudie can't fail, oh-no!"

After he left school, I didn't see John for years. Although there was that surreal afternoon when he visited City Freemen's on "Old Boys' Day," wearing an afghan coat. He was under the influence of something. Just grinned at us, still geeks in our school uniforms. Did you see Mellor? We asked each other later.

My family immigrated to America in the 1970s, so I followed "Joe Strummer" along with the rest of his American fans. Formed a band in 1979 with my friend Ken Cobb, who had become a big fan of the Clash. One of our cover songs was "London Calling." Did the Washington audiences get it at Mr. Henry's of Tenley Circle, or the Reeks club? We didn't care. We played it anyway.

I talked my way backstage at a Clash concert in the late 1970s, when they played at the Ontario Theater on Columbia Road. There he was, with that curled lip again. He didn't seem to remember me that well. But he was gracious. And I met the other members of the band: Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Topper Headon. Bo Diddley was walking around backstage as well. Thick fingers festooned with rings. Bloody hell, I thought. John Mellor's got Bo Diddley opening for him!

And then came the most meaningful reunion of all. It was just last October at the 9:30 club, when Ken and I went to watch Joe Strummer and his last band, the Mescaleros, kick off their American tour.

He played such sublime music from his latest album, "Global a Go-Go," a world-music-loving classic of its own. From the new album, the high point was "Bhindi Bhagee," a lovely song with South African-style lead guitar, about a bloke from New Zealand who comes to the singer's neighborhood searching for a restaurant that serves the quintessentially Brit dish, mushy peas. And he played almost every classic a Clash and Strummer fan could ask for.
I realized what was so great about his songs: He didn't care if they made sense. They were beautifully, achingly personal. You got him or you didn't. We got him, all right. And we were lucky enough to get backstage and meet him afterward.

Someone pulled a curtain back, and there he was again. Older. Wiser. And now he seemed to remember me. No more curled lip -- he was smiling. He'd taken off his shirt because he was so hot. We sat there with him for hours, just talking. Others came around too, including Ian MacKaye of Fugazi. And I realized in a palpable way, he wasn't my John Mellor. He was everyone's Joe Strummer.

With other well-wishers, we migrated to another room, drank and spoke about so many things. I told him everything I could remember about the old days at Freemen's. He laughed. Joked into my ear. Ken spoke to him, too. And he allowed us to be the cheesiest fans of all, repeating his lyrics back to him. Singing in that nasal Strummer voice. He enjoyed them with us.

Finally, it was time to go. Our wives probably thought we were dead. I handed Joe my card. He told me to visit him at his farmhouse one day. Beautiful countryside. Shame about the telephone towers. It wasn't going to happen, the visit. But it was a heady thought. I imagined seeing him at his front door, a straw in his mouth, Wellington boots on. Waving.

That's where he died Sunday. At home with his wife, Lucinda, and his three daughters. Whom I've never met. I can sense a powerful, silent wave of appreciation from fans around the world.

Maybe Ken and I will raise more than one single-malt whisky to Joe, to John, and to whoever or whatever he's become. We'll play the music, of course. Talk to other fans. That's what you do. I don't care if I don't go to another concert again, Ken said Saturday night, the night before John died. It'll be nothing compared with our night with Joe Strummer. Bloody well right, mate. Bloody well right.

Copyright 2002 by the Washington Post Company. All rights reserved. This article was published on Tuesday, December 24, 2002, on page C01.


Guns on the Roof (edited)
Jail Guitar Doors
Tommy Gun
Drug Stabbing Time
Hate and War
City of the Dead
White Man
Safe European Home
English Civil War
Clash City Rockers
Stay Free (edited)

The Prefect Who Rocked the World
By Desson Howe - The Washington Post

Joe Strummer wasn't Joe Strummer when I met him. That was in the late 1960s, in England...

Best Magazine [French]
...page1 ...page2 ...page3 ...page4 ...page5 ...page6
Rough English Translation

Refused Visas

Q Magazine UK May 2001
Comments from the band and others on the Pearl Harbour Tour february 1979

Melody Maker
Tour Review

A3 Billboard Ad for the Tour

Melody Maker front page only
The Riot Squad
Allan Jones follows the Clash across America

Gary Bushells Tour Notes

Dolly Parton Impersonators

Sylvia Simmonds Tour Notes

Village Voice
Tour Notes

Strummer's Pearl Harbour Diary

Trouser Press
End of Tour Interview

Los Angeles Times January 20, 1979
Clash Crests on New Punk Wave

Time Magazine
5 March 1979

Jenny Lens (clash photographer)
Photos and Exhibition

Any further info / reviews appreciated

Jan 31 Commodore Ballroom, Vancover, Canada
Feb 7 Berkely Community Centre California
Feb 8 Geary Temple (Fillmore), San Francisco CA
Feb 9 Civic Auditorium, Santa Monica CA
Feb 13 Agora, Cleveland OH
Feb 15 Ontario Theatre, Washington DC
Feb 16 Harvard Square Theater, Cambridge MA
Feb 17 Palladium, New York NY
Feb 20 The Rex Danforth Theatre, Toronto, Canada
We were going to drive to Toronto from New York, but we were snowed in and except for the back-line vehicle, the rest of us flew direct to Cananda. Scratchy