Clash Take the Fifth Tour
Joe Ely, LA boys, the Rockabilly Rebels

cdr – lots of distortion – sound 2 – 66min – unknown gen – 18 tracks

Paul turned up an hour late for the gig with the result they were fined by the promoter for being late – the only time this happened to The Clash. They could let each other down but not the fans and so the others were angry with Paul. It’s been suggested that a roadie or someone played bass for at least part of the gig but this seems unlikely, as there’s no comment about Paul on this recording.

The recording does confirm press reports about the behaviour of at least some of the audience that night. Sylvie Simmons in reviewing the 80 show said most of audience (in 79) seemed to have come not to the see The Clash but to see themselves up on stage, a lot more intent on drawing attention to themselves than to let The Clash get on with their job”. Johnny Green commented that LA’s idea of punk was the Addams Family and doing The Worm across the stage. Certainly from the recording Joe and Mick are well pissed off with the crowd for spitting and at one point stop playing and refuse to continue.

Maybe as a result The Clash don’t play White Riot but do play Be Bop A Lula as an encore for the first time.

The famous Hollywood Palladium on Sunset Boulevard was opened in 1940 and accommodates 3,750 and although tattered around the edges still hosts’ concerts today. It has hosted everything from Sinatra, Rolling Stones, The Who to the Pornographic Film industry’s Award Show. The Clash would have favoured it, as it has no fixed seating allowing dancing and indeed returned here again in March 1980 and again for a 4-night residency in 1982.

pretty muddy sounding recording

The only known source comes from a pretty muddy sounding tape, copied too many times and suffering from distortion and poor clarity. The blown out sound can be listened to with vocals and drums probably the clearest. It’s not awful with some range of sound but it is the worst of the Take The Fifth recordings.

There is an edit after Stay Free, which probably loses at least Career Opportunities, Janie Jones, Garageland, Armagideon Time & Capital Radio. It does though have Be Bop a Lula, of which the only known recordings are here and 2 nights later at Kezar, San Francisco.

The recording starts (rather amusingly) with an angry Barry “Scratchy” Myers appealing to the audience who are fed up with waiting; “Lets calm down just a little bit, things are getting a little bit out of order, we’ve got to get this stage together out here, at the moment its like a fuckin’ skating rink, [spitting presumably] someone’s likely to break their necks or get electrocuted, you’d like to see that would you? You’d like The Clash to come on and get electrocuted! Yeah/ If you want that, fuck off! We’re here to give you a fuck’in rock’n’roll show and you’ve done nothing but moan since we got here.. You don’t deserve this, you deserve Boston, Kansas, Foreigner and all that kind of crap”

Finally Paul turn’s up and Barry plays an intro of West Side Story’s ‘Gee Officer Krupke; “Our mothers all are junkies, Our fathers all are drunks, Golly Moses, naturally we’re punks”

Safe European Home kicks off what sounds like another strong performance although the poor recording renders that difficult! Before London Calling Joe tries to settle the crowd “OK I’d just like to say Los Angeles is the most likely city in the entire USA to make it. What I mean make it is you’ve got some good groups coming up. Now everybody back off a little bit.”

Joe sings a new verse on Jail Guitar Doors as he would create for each gig on the tour, but the recording is too poor to hear the words. Mickey Gallagher comes on before Wrong Em Boyo. Clampdown has an edit, which loses about a minute due to tape damage.

“Talking about the law, Julies been working for Joe Strummer!”

During Clash City Rockers as a result of spitting or some other incident the song drops to drum and bass only then stops unfinished. Kosmo shouts excitedly “Everybody must go back, now go back all of you” Joe “Or as they say in England the buggers in the back can’t see!”

Strangely as there appears to be no edit Topper then picks out a repeated drum pattern, with Joe doing his customary cries of “Woahh! Woahh!” for Police and Thieves but the song continues as though it were mid song cutting out the opening music. As the song ends a very angry Mick shouts “If anyone wondering why I’m kicking the bands (?) its because the bleedin’ bands are spitting in me bleedin’ face, that’s fuckin’ shit! 3 years ago there was spit”. The band then refuse to continue, playing a loose jam with Joe singing “Walking on Sunset, trying to pull a funny face!”. Eventually Mick shouts angrily “1,2,3,4” and Stay Free is played.

There is then an edit, which almost certainly loses Career/Janie/Garageland/ Armagideon/ & Capital Radio.

It restarts with Joe Ely singing Fingernails and goes straight into Brand New Cadillac and Be Bop A Lula with Joe Ely sharing vocals. The sound is particularly poor now and Kezar two days later is the best source for the rarity Be Bop A Lula. Normally White Riot would be played after Fingernails but not here, maybe as pay back for the audience’s behaviour?

"The 79 shows, Santa Monica Civic, Palladium and Kezar in the city (sf) were spit drenched, poseur, stage hopping affairs.....Vicious crowds. (Although the Santa Monica Civic has a place in my heart, as it was close to our home and we saw countless shows there including a wild Joe Strummer with Xander Schloss on lead concert in the late 80’s that was something special)

The punk thing was just happening in 79 and la was more orange county punk (black flag, circle jerks, germs etc etc) than san francisco. (Dead Kennedy’s etc). Which was more “authentic” punk than LA

The two cities hate each other, (still do) culturally, sport teams, you name it.. It must have been mind blowing for the clash to step into what is basically another world, California. A lot of anger from The Clash, it must have been hard to play with people spitting on you and jumping on the stage just to show off.

Still the energy, humor and wit of joe are what i remember best. For better or worse, all venues had no seating anywhere near the floor, so it was general crush down front. No mercy was shown to the weak."

Thanks for putting up the information on The Clash concert at the Hollywood Palladium in 1979. I attended this show with my wife and two friends. We drove up from San Clemente (Orange County) to see the show. One thing that wasn't mentioned was the Joe Ely set.

This was a really great set of rock a billy music, but a group of jerks lined up along the front of the stage were jeering, spitting and throwing stuff at them. My impression was that Joe Strummer was really mad about how these people treated the Joe Ely band.

I'm quite sure when he came out that what he was yelling at them was something to the effect that spitting on The Clash was stupid but doing it to the Joe Ely band was just plain ignorant and not acceptable. The only people doing this and trying to jump stage were right in the front row and maybe up to two heads back. 

It was a dance style concert, no seating or chairs. We were about 20 feet from the stage and everyone around us seemed to be into the show and enjoying it.None of trouble that appeared to be at the stage front. By 79 I'd been to hundreds of rock concerts and in my opinion the wait for The Clash to come on wasn't all that bad, relatively speaking. Besides, when they did come on they put on a live show that rates very highly in my opinion.

I don't know what the tape sounds like but take my word for it, the live performance was top notch, peddle to the metal punk rock music. Actually for this type of high energy music it was easily the best show I have attended to this date.

Sorry for rambling on, but after reading your reviews it left me with the impression that you felt the show wasn't all that good and that everyone at the show was a disrespectful idiot. I'd just like to say that most of the people I saw were stoked to see The Clash and a small, but very obnoxious bunch were causing trouble.  GM

Thank you for the info, however, I beg to differ or question comments re Clash at Hollywood Palladium, Oct 11, 1979. I shot them and their opening act were local LA boys, the Rockabilly Rebels. I have color shots of them together backstage. And I shot both groups on stage together the night before in San Diego.

I was onstage for their March 3, 1980 Santa Monica Civic show. That venue barred photographers on the floor, although sometimes we could sneak in cameras. My black and white shots were stolen from the photo lab by junkies. I shot them in England end of June, beginning of July, 1980.

I remember when Johnny left the Clash and decided to work with Joe Ely, having met and toured with him in Texas. That was the first I heard of Joe Ely.

More pix, more stories to come. But I needed to know dates of shows and your site is not only invaluable for that, but Don Waller's (and others) comments. My first published photo was in "Back Door Man." Don, Phast Phreddie and I go waaay back.

Final thought: I was so much in awe of the Clash I couldn't talk to them or ask them to pose. I spoke with Mick Jagger, Johnny Rotten, no one intimidated me. Except the Clash.

I basically shot them onstage, although I hung with them and their road crew. Don mentioned their publicist, Sue Sawyer.

THE BEST LIVE BAND EVER. Photos don't lie.

Thanks again,
Jenny Lens

Part 2...

The first time I shot the Clash was their first CA gigs, San Francisco. Then, I definitely know the Clash only played the Palladium in Oct, 79. I saw them in San Diego the night before, was picked up by Johnny Green and we went back to mny place in West Hollywood staying up up all night with tons of speed. At 4 PM, as he left for sound check, he asked me to give him a guest list of my friends. I was stunned, no one ever offered to get my friends in, I didn’t know who had tickets nor a lot of last names.

Palladium: I only shot some backstage images w/Rockabilly Rebels who opened at San Diego (I have shots of Clash and RR onstage in SD). I don’t recall the show at all. I hate the Palladium cos it’s hard to shoot. I went to a party later. I followed Clash up to San Francisco. My best pal warned me she heard Lindy was looking for me, but didn’t know what I looked like, so I hid out in the Cramps backstage dressing room. I had been up for days on speed and quite whacked. I’d been shooting pix for nearly 4 years and nearly the end, too broke and too many pix stolen, and I was burning out. I even could have gone/shot the Roxy show.

Thanks for the terrific site; it's bringing back some great memories. In regards the Oct. 79 show--I was there, and I concur with the comment by the punter GM that despite the muddy tape, the late start, and the band's violent peevishness, it was a fantastic set. If there were one gig in my life I could see again, in fact, this would probably be it.

The other punter, Jenny, is mistaken if she's implying that Joe Ely didn't open; he most certainly did, and he definitely joined the Clash for "Be-Bop-A-Lula." I'm fairly sure, too, that Paul played the whole set; I'd remember if a roadie had filled in on bass. (Also, your note that the Clash returned to the Palladium in March 1980 is in error; that show was at the Santa Monica Civic.) Before the 79 show, someone had spray-painted "Clash Fought $$, $$ Won" in big letters across a wall in the Palladium parking lot.

I remember the spitting and the stage diving vivdly; what really pissed Mick off was that at one point two stage divers jumped at the same time with their feet tangled in his guitar cable, and he was pulled into the pit. That's what caused "Clash City Rockers" to drop to drum & bass and stop unfinished, and that's when he (and I think Joe as well) started booting spitters in the face with their DMs (Mick said he was kicking "fans," not "bands").



Safe European Home
I'm So Bored with the USA
London Calling
Jail Guitar Doors
Wrong 'Em Boyo
The Guns Of Brixton
White Man In Ham Palais
English Civil War
Koka Kola
I Fought the Law
Julie's In the Drug Squad
Clash City Rockers
Police and Thieves
Stay Free
Brand New Cadillac
Be Bop A Lu La

Gig Reviews

Lubbock Calling:
Joe Ely Remembers the Clash

Reference in March 80 LA
gig review

A Riot of Our Own p209

The Clash Turn Pro (Sort of )
Sounds Tour Report
(St Paul & Chicago mainly)
Peter Silverton, Sounds,
29 September 1979
TUESDAY LUNCHTIME: Cleveland Airport. With a couple of hours to kill before my one-stop-only flight to Minneapolis and the first date on the Clash’s second American Tour...

The Last Gang in The West Leaves Town
NME 13 & 20 Oct Paul Morley
Paul Morley of the NME travels on the tour bus from Detroit on the 17th through to New York on the 21st interviewing and following the band.
DETAILS: The Scene. The Clash on tour of America. There's a glamorous image, with a confident, crusading edge to it. The Clash: a lot of hope and responsibility there. America: it still means a lot. Clash's current six week coast to coast tip to toe tour of the United States Of America is their first major assault

Clash USA 79 - Ray Lowry
The shape I'm In
NME - 6 Oct 1979
Ray Lowry Clash Take the 5th Tour Notes Pt1

Clash USA 79 - Ray Lowry
Brother Creepers Over America or Suedes over the States
NME - 13 Oct 1979
Ray Lowry Clash Take the 5th Tour Notes Pt2

Clash USA 79 - Ray Lowry
Have you heard the news, theres good rocking ronight
NME - 20 Oct 1979
Ray Lowry Clash Take the 5th Tour Notes Pt3

Clash Extension
Unknown / Tour News
15 August 79
The Clash who started a lengthy American Tour last week are due to tour Britain in November to tie in with the release of their new album. Tha band's American Tour, which included the Monterey Festival last week

Jenny Lens
Clash Photographer 1979-1981
I shot the Clash from February 1979 to June 1980. I didn’t bring my camera to the Sausalito Swap Meet, February 3, and ran into them and Johnny Green. I said hello, but too shy to tell them who I was or inquire about photo passes. Their debut California gigs were discussed in San Francisco at the Ramada Inn press conference

The Clash Play Revolution Rock
Chris Salewicz, Trouser Press, March 1980
IT'S FOUR days before Christmas. A dark, early evening damp with snow and rain. Immediately south of the Thames, in the inappropriately genteel Victorians... end of Tour chaos in LA.

Melody Maker front cover only
29 December 1979
Strummer on the Rebound

also check on the web

Sep 8 Monterey CA, USA...Tribal Stomp festival
Sep 12 Civic Centre, Saint Paul MN, USA
Sep 14 Aragon Ballroom, Chicago IL, USA
Sep 17 Masonic Temple, Detroit MI, USA
Sep 18 Cleveland, USA
A Riot of Our Own dates this gig pg194. However local fans believe Cleveland show never happened, the book reference notwithstanding.  "I was 18 at the time and very tuned in to the music scene in the area.  I missed the Agora show because I wasn't 18 at the time.  In September I was and there is no way I would have missed that.  I lived in Akron, OH, a one hour drive.  I have checked all local newspapers and muic papers and there is no announcement of that show nor any review. Ray Sferra"
Sep 19 Orpheum Theater, Boston MA, USA
FYI, Clash played the Orpheum Boston twice during the Take the 5th tour.I believe it was Sept. 19 & 20, and the NY shows were later. I was at all four but I can't remember the date breakdown Good site. Paul Sherman??
Sep 20 Palladium, New York NY, USA
Sep 21 Palladium, New York NY, USA
...famous photo of Paul from the London Calling sleeve taken on this night
Sep 22 Walnut Street Theatre, Philadelphia PA, USA
Sep 25 St Denis Theatre, Montreal, Canada
Sep 26 O’Keefe Centre, Toronto, Canada
Sep 28 Clark University, Worcester MA, USA
I missed them for both the 1st two Boston shows (Harvard Sq. Theatre and the Orpheum) but then I heard thru the grapevine that they were playing at Clark University on 9/28/79.  So we drove down and got in line.  Original scheduled to be in the field house, the promoters (I think it was a student organization) sold almost no advance tickets, and moved it to a smaller auditorium the day of the show.  Then 100s of punks from Boston showed up and bought tickets, and they kept selling tickets.  Terribly overcrowded, fire department came and made a few hundred leave the hall, but as soon as they left, Strummer says "There's a buncha fans out there that paid to see us, and they're stuck outside, but if everybody stays cool, and don't push, we can let them inside."  The Heart breakers opened. That show changed my life.  Cliche but true.  Anyway, I still have the ticket stub.  Rick
Sep 29 Ritchie Colisseum, College Park MD, USA
Oct 2 The Agora, Atlanta GA, USA
Oct 4 Armadillo Club, Austin TX, USA
referenced in Johnny Greens Book, A Riot of Our Own p206 and also by Ray Lowry on page 73 of Mojo (UK Music Mag) No.9 Aug 94 where he says the heat was scorching... see also [Joe Elys acordian player]

Joe; Back to London in 1979 for another tour. The Clash come to the show (Ely's) at the Venue Theater and invited the (Ely's) band to come to studio where they are recording London Calling. Became friends and (the Clash) showed the Lubbock boys around the London scene. The Clash come to America later in 1979. The two bands play several shows together including Houston, Dallas, Laredo, LA and the Monterey Pop Festival. Joe invites them to come to Lubbock to do a show together. They stay for several days mesmerized by the dusty home of Buddy Holly and the strange cowboy culture. In return the Clash invite Joe the following year to come to London for their London Calling Tour.

Oct 5 Cullen Auditorium, Houston TX, USA
dates from [Joe Elys acordian player]. also referenced in Johnny Greens Book, A Riot of Our Own p206
Oct 6 Palladium, Dallas, USA
this is often dated as the 6th and it may have been, but in order to fit the sequence of events in Greens book, A Riot of Our Own it would have to be before that, maybe the 4th.
Oct 7
Rocks Club [The Rox], Lubbock TX, USA
referenced in Johnny Greens Book, A Riot of Our Own, p207, where the band went to play a unofficial gig for Joe Ely (support) in his own town of Lubbock. Green says the band took a couple of days off after flying to LA. dates from [Joe Elys acordian player].
Oct 8? Laredo Texas
Oct 10 San Diego, California, USA
referenced in Johnny Greens Book, A Riot of Our Own p 208
Oct 11 Hollywood Palladium, Los Angeles CA, USA
Oct 13 Kezar Pavilion, San Francisco CA, USA
Oct 15 Seattle
referenced in Johnny Greens Book, A Riot of Our Own p211
... ticket ... photo from gig

"I just stumbled on this site while doing a google ‘egoist’ search. Great site. I wish I could find my taped interview with Joe. That was a story in itself. I must’ve woke up Cosmo at every stop from Cleveland to Denver where he finally put me through to Joe to do a pre-concert interview. You should try and get that from the Oregon Daily Emerald…or I could look in my files. If I recall Joe was getting ready for the Denver show…he was testy and abrupt…and loosened up later. My interview style was not to go by set questions…but to have question points and just talk. I remember asking about recording at Olympic Studios, which was being talked about…and joked that this was supposed to be The Rolling Stones favorite room. No laughter from Joe on that. And it was pouring down rain, with thunder in Denver and it made Joe in bad mood. I casually told him to put that mood into the show. But this was cool. Wish I was a better writer back then.
The photos are by Mark Pynes, now the photo editor of the Harrisburg, Pa. newspaper. Wish I could find the interview tape…I think my ex-wife stole it. Cheers, Cort Fernald"

Oct 16 Pacific National Exhibition Vancover, Canada
referenced in Johnny Greens Book, A Riot of Our Own p213 as the last night of the tour.