16 Tons Tour
Toots and the Maytels (pulled out at last minute)
Supported by Ian Dury & The Blockheads
& The Vice Creems

see also
www.aylesburyfriars.co.uk

updated 3 April 2003
updated 8 Nov 2006
updated 13 April 2011 - corrected support acts

Photo courtesy of Alyn Currie @ www.punkrockposters.net

cdr - Cdr – unknown gen – sound 2 –
60.47mins – 18 tracks / edited

Video – Punk & Its After Shocks – sound 5 –
7mins – 4 tracks -

DVD – Punk in England – sound 5 – 7mins – 3 tracks

London Calling - Police & Thieves
Janie Jones snippet - Complete Control

First night of the lengthy 16 Tons Tour

First night of the lengthy 16 Tons Tour, which would have been even longer but for Topper getting his hand stabbed with scissors during an altercation about drugs, resulting in the last 6 dates being postponed until June.

The Clash had not toured the UK since the end of 78 (partly because of CBS debt) and they were at the height of their popularity in Britain. London Calling, single and album were high in the charts and venues sold out fast. Punk had taken off in a big way with spikey haired punk rockers contrasting with The Clash’s new slicker retro rocker, greased back look.

The Tour, the support acts, a new album

Clash favourites, the great Toots & The Maytals sadly cancelled at the last minute resulting in a last minute search for replacements. Ian Dury & The Blockheads stepped in to repay the favour paid to them by The Clash supporting them at the Kampuchea Benefit. Prince Hammer and Lew Lewis also stepped in, the latter providing harmonica at Aylesbury and elsewhere in 1980. Mikey Dread, of Dread At The Controls fame would appear later and have a huge influence on the sound Bankrobber and Sandinista. Mikey has said recently that he is angry that he has not received the royalties since that his imput merited.

The Clash touring party was still swelled by the likes of Robin Crocker and Kris Needs (whose band played support at Aylesbury) and Mo Armstrong (over from San Francisco with FSLN bandanas and first news of the Sandinista’s. Baker and Johnny were still there but now there was catering and merchandising, organised by Blackhill who were still the management. Barry “Scratchy” Myers still DJ’ed and Tennessee Ernie Ford’s classic, 16Tons became the first Clash stage “fanfare”, the song’s lyric of obvious appeal to The Clash, not least because of their huge debt to CBS. Dreadlocked (at least via his hat) Ray Jordan became a new fixture in the Clash camp, able to defuse any potentially violent situation before it blew up.

Aylesbury

The sound and set was now slick and professional. Shows were paced unlike the 100mph whirlwind from the start of the punk years. But the final run through of early classics still sent the audiences wild. Also see A Riot of Our Own p219 for this gig.

Aylesbury crowds were always enthusiastic; tickets for The Clash were the fastest ever to sell out. The Friars was sadly closed in 1984.


lacking decent clarity or range

The first UK leg of the 16 Tons Tour is poorly served by circulating recordings. Apart from the Lewisham Odeon official tracks and the Punk and Its After Shocks video the remaining recordings are all poor (Southampton is just OK).

The Aylesbury tape in circulation is one of those, lacking decent clarity or range.

It’s been copied too many times and suffers from an annoying static that sounds like something repeatedly knocking the microphone.

It’s interesting though for the harp playing by Lew Lewis on a number of the songs, also for the inclusion of the rare Death or Glory and some experimental intro’s. There are some tape speed problems as well throughout. The sound is very distant and a touch flat. Listenable if poor, Joe’s vocals are muffled and Mick’s guitar dominates, though Toppers drums can be heard as well as well as Paul’s bass.

The tape cuts off some of the end of the main set probably Clampdown, I fought the Law, London’s Burning I and definitely London Calling included in the video.

The recording starts with an urgent sounding Joe shouting “Testing microphones, 1-2” then Mick plays the opening chords of Clash City Rockers.

There is some chat near the taper and then memorably Joe shouts, “you won’t succeed, you GOTTA try”. Straight into Brand New Cadillac a short gap before Mick shouts out “1-2-3-4” and they slam into Safe European Home. “We’d like to bring on a couple of friends” Mickey is introduced on organ “We also have some harmonica”. Lew Lewis’s playing adds another dimension to Jimmy Jazz making this one of the highlights. There’s an edit which loses probably loses at least London Calling. It restarts with Guns of Brixton followed by a lengthy drum intro to Train In Vain. The harmonica can be heard to good effect here.

An excellent White Man also benefits from the harp playing and from Joe ad-libbing over the ending. Koka Kola this time does not segue into I Fought The Law. Wrong Em Boyo is followed by another edit and then an interesting Bankrobber with some experimental touches, still played as a ska/r’n’b number.

Joe’s cries of “woahh,woahh!” herald the start of Police & Thieves, filmed thankfully by Wolfgang Buld in its entirety.

Mick’s Stay Free next before a rare live outing for Death Or Glory. The Notre Dame recording is much more interesting though.

Another edit leads into Janie Jones, and then Topper’s drum intro’s lead us into Garageland and the end of the main set.

Armagideon Time begins the encore as usual, played now in the recorded arrangement. The song leads into English Civil War as it would for most of the tour. The recording stops abruptly during Complete Control probably cutting off the likely second encore.

Spit The Dog & Punk & Its After Shocks Video

On the morning of the gig The Clash were in Birmingham being interviewed by Sally James for Tiswas and being attacked by Spit The Dog! The band were no doubt delighted to be on Tiswas, which was a hugely popular kids Saturday morning show. Juvenile but enormous fun when recovering from a Friday night hangover. An audio recording exists of the short interview.

Punk & It’s After Shocks video

Wolfgang Buld who also produced the Punk In London DVD for Studio K7 was back in London in December 79/January 80 (according to the video cover) to film a follow up. He was at Aylesbury and a short 8-minute but excellent section appears in his film, released in the early 90’s as Punk & It’s After Shocks video. Mick is also seen playing guest lead on Sweet Gene Vincent at the same gig with Ian Dury and the Blockheads. The sound is a big improvement on his Munich (probably) 77 footage; it’s from the desk and in excellent mono. It’s also lip-synched unlike the earlier film.

The Video

The video starts a third of the way into an excellent London Calling (missing from the audio tape of the gig). There is then a short interview with Joe and Paul dressed in their black crombies and trilby’s, who explain the band’s changes since Wolfgang last filmed them. Joe;” Instead of using the hammer, we’re trying to be more subtle with it, first we’d go to hit to hit you right in the middle of the head with it a 100 times (“now we’re behind you!” Paul adds) Now we’d like to … a few strokes of the hammer here and there is more powerful than .. “ pounding his arm up and down like a hammer.

Police and Thieves crashes in and this time we get the whole song which includes Joe’s improvised lines “You read in the bible, page No.1! that’s Genesis to Revelations, now what generation can you tell me, I did not know, I was not brave..” This ties in with the bootleg audio recording further confirming this as the date, along with the Blockhead’s footage.

Another short interview “Can we do the same thing all the time, this is the question. No then you’re just dead, you do the same thing who wants to know, makes people sick in the head to do that, so we have to always try new things and like everyone’s a load of like sheep going its horrible, its nice, but they don’t fucking know, only we know what we’re doing and obviously we think it’s for the best, anyway we can play, we can handle it better now, so we don’t disguise that, we try to play as good as we can (short clip of Munich 77 – Janie Jones) Obviously we’ve spent 4 year’s playing now non-stop, obviously we must be 4 times better otherwise we’d be pretty much idiots, huh?”

There’s then an all too brief 35-second clip of Complete Control. It would be great if like the earlier video it could be released on DVD with extra footage.

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Clash City Rockers
Brand New Cadilac
Safe European home
Jimmy Jazz
London Calling * (Vid only)
I Fought the Law missing?
Rudie Can't Fail missing?
Guns of Brixton
Train in Vain
White Man in Ham Palais
Koka Kola
Wrong `Em Boyo
Bankrobber
Police and Thieves *
Stay Free
Death or Glory
Janie Jones *
Garageland
Armagideon Time
English Civil War
Complete Control*

bold indicates on video

NME Gig review

Magazine?
with set list +

A Riot of Our Own pg 219/221

On the Road with the Clash
Traxmarx - includes this gig

Any further info / reviews appreciated

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... Los Angeles Feb79, Boston Radio 19Sept79, Acklam Hall 28Dec79, Tiswas80, Cuba Tour

BEST n141, April 80
HEAVYWEIGHT - An interview with Mick Jones.
Birmingham Top Rank, Coventry Tiffanys & the Electric Ballroom.
So it was just fabulous. More than the Clash we had some crusty bonuses that justify my job 'cause I'm telling you. [rough french to english text version]

Best Magazine [French] n141, April 80
HEAVYWEIGHT - An interview with Mick Jones.
Birmingham Top Rank, Coventry Tiffanys & the Electric Ballroom.
scans ...page1 ...page2 ...page3 ...page4 ...page5 ...page6

Best Magazine n.143
French Advert for French dates May

NME
Clash dates

Clash dates announced

Toots Quits the Tour

Melody Maker
review 26 Jan

Strummer Busted Feb 10

Clash Tour Hit Again -
dates resheduled

The Observer - 27 April 1980
Joe Interv on 16 Tons Tour

The Sun 11 February 1980
Drug bust, Joe reading the Bible

Whats On Guide - London
22 February - Tour overview
cover - page 1 - page 2

...16 Tons and what do I get / Another day older and deeper in debt... (Tennessee Ernie Ford)
Jan 5 Friars, Aylesbury
Jan 6 Odeon, Canterbury
Supported by ? and Tradition.

Canterbury Odeon Jan 6th was suported by the purple hipsters and a local band that included a chap from camel ..or caravan ...cant quite remember. Is there a recording of this night ?? i went home deaf - sadman1[a]tiscali.co.uk

Jan 8 Top Rank, Brighton
Supported by Gillinski Bros and Prince Hammer and the Creation Rebels.
Jan 9 Top Rank, Brighton
Supported by Gillinski Bros and Prince Hammer and the Creation Rebels.
Jan 11 Leisure Centre, Crawley
Supported by the Escalators and Prince Hammer.
Jan 12 Pavilion, Hastings
Jan 13 Locarno, Bristol

was this gig may have been postponed to the 10th June. 2nd punter says it definatley went ahead on this date. Anon1

theBristol Locarno gig on 13thJan 1980. If my memory serves correctly I'm fairly sure that this gig was cancelled. My recollection is that I wanted to go but didn't get a ticket because I feared not gaining entry as the venue wasover 18's only and I was a very young looking 16 @ the time and had previously experienced difficulty gaining entry at the same venue. Ican recall being delighted when the gig was re shedulded for the Colston Hall as there wereno age restrictions there.

Tony Griffiths <tony_griffiths(at]btinternet.com>

Bristol Fanzine Story So Far (printed summer 1980)
Page 1, page 2, page 3, page 4

Jan 14 Gaumont, Ipswich
now The Regent
Jan 16 De Montford, Leicester
Jan 18 Caird Hall, Dundee, Scotland
Jan 19 Odeon, Edinburgh, Scotland
Jan 20 Odeon, Edinburgh, Scotland
Jan 21 Apollo, Glasgow, Scotland
support Jan 21 & 22nd were Glasgow band "First  Priority". One of thier members is a scottish journalist.
Jan 22 Apollo, Glasgow, Scotland
A Riot of Our Own p227.
support Jan 21 & 22nd were Glasgow band "First  Priority". One of thier members is a scottish journalist.
Jan 23 University, Lancaster
A Riot of Our Own p227 - See Blackpool Gazette
Jan 24

Tiffany’s, Blackpool cancelled

A Riot of Our Own p227 - See Blackpool Gazette
Jan 25 King Georges, Blackburn
supported by The Not Sensibles
Jan 26 Deeside Leisure Centre, Queensferry, Nr Chester
Jan 27 Top Rank, Sheffield
A Riot of Our Own p222
Jan 29 St. Georges, Bradford
Jan 30 Royal Spa, Bridlington
Support The Akrylics and the Gang of Four

Support for this gig was (The) Akrylykz, Roland Gift of Fine Young Cannibals first band

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akrylykz

I don't know if Gang of Four were supposed to play (no support acts were listed on the ticket), but they didn't as far as I recall - Mikey Dread did a set after Akrylykz and got a lot of racist abuse from some local idiots stage left. The abuse died down when Strummer, Simenon and Mickey Gallagher came out and skanked along with Mikey Dread. mark west

Jan 31 University, Leeds
Feb 1 Victoria Hall, Hanley - cancelled
Poster advertising Clash concerts at the Victoria hall in Hanley near Stoke- on- trent. The concerts stated are for 1/2, 20/2, 12/6, & 18/6.

Hanley Victoria Hall, Feb 1 was postponed at least twice, maybe three times. I think the final date was either mid-May or early June (the May date may have been cancelled because Topper broke his finger)

Feb 3 Apollo, Manchester
Feb 4 Apollo, Manchester
Feb 5 Top Rank, Birmingham
Feb 6 Top Rank, Birmingham
Feb 7 Tiffany’s, Coventry
On the Road with the Clash
Traxmarx - includes this gig
Feb 9 Guild Hall, Portsmouth
Feb 10 Wessex Hall, Poole
Feb 11 Sophia Gardens, Cardiff, Wales
The venue is no longer there as the roof collapsed under the weight of snow in the big snowfall of winter 80/81. I seem to remember that the support act, Mikey Dread had a rough time and performed under a hail of pint glasses. However towards the end of his set The Clash came out on stage to join him and skanked around with bandanas covering their faces (a la Bankrobber) and, of course, the mood changed instantly! The gig was stopped on at least one occasion as Mick & Joe pleaded with the crowd to stop fighting. Also there was a big gap at the end of the gig before they came back for their (2nd?) encore, and in fact part of the crowd had already left before they played ?White Riot? and there was a massive surge as people tried to get back into the venue.
Feb 12 Stateside, Bournemouth
Feb 13 Top Rank, Southampton
Feb 15 Electric Ballroom, London
The 1979 shows at the Electric Ballroom were supported by Joe Ely and a group called the Vincent Units - the Lyceum gig (on the Sunday was Mikey Dread and the Nips)...Supported by someone called ANgel?
Feb 16 Electric Ballroom, London
The 1979 shows at the Electric Ballroom were supported by Joe Ely and a group called the Vincent Units - the Lyceum gig (on the Sunday was Mikey Dread and the Nips)...Supported by someone called ANgel?
Feb 17 Lyceum, London

The 1979 shows at the Electric Ballroom were supported by Joe Ely and a group called the Vincent Units - the Lyceum gig (on the Sunday was Mikey Dread and the Nips)

Feb 18 Odeon, Lewisham
Feb 20 Victoria Hall, Hanley
Poster advertising Clash concerts at the Victoria hall in Hanley near Stoke- on- trent. The concerts stated are for 1/2, 20/2, 12/6, & 18/6.

Hanley Victoria Hall, Feb 1 was postponed at least twice, maybe three times. I think the final date was either mid-May or early June (the May date may have been cancelled because Topper broke his finger)

Feb 22 Liberty Theatre, Balham, London cancelled
...Ticket ...Poster
Feb 23 Mile End Liberty Theatre, London cancelled
...Poster
Feb 25 Bristol Colston Hall
Cancelled Toppers injury to his hand. Ticket
Feb 27 Le Palace, Paris, France
Filmed for the French TV Chorus with Antoine Decaunes.