US TV Appearance on the Friday show on ABC TV

updated August 2004
updated 12 april 2011 - added Friday's writer comments in Background section
updated 20 Sept 2012 - punters comments

cdr - 'Fridays' USTV - Sound 4 - 13min - Unknown gen? - tracks 4

video - 'Fridays' USTV - Quality 3 - Sound 4 - 15min - Unknown gen? – tracks 4

Answer to your question re April 25 1980:†Did they play an LA gig that night and was Fridays pre-recorded?

I was a writer on Fridays and remember that night well.

The show was done at 8:30 p.m. L.A. time for live broadcast to the east coast and midwest. It was then seen on tape delay later that night in the western portion of the country. The band was not pre-taped.

They were there all day for numerous rehearsals including a full dress rehearsal in front of an audience late in the afternoon. Following the show there was an after party at Yamashiro restaurant in the Hollywood Hills which all the members of the band attended and everyone stayed until late into the night.

I talked to Joe Strummer for a long time that night, as well as the other band members. There definitely was no other public gig that night - and if there had been, I would have been there. "Joe Shulkin" <jshulkin[a]>

With Paul back from his film work, The Clash seize the offer resulting from Train In Vain reaching No.23 on the Billboard chart, to gain their first network US TV exposure as the musical guests on Fridays, a late night live show on the ABC network.

Fridays was a sketch comedy TV show (to compete with Saturday Night Live) that aired on ABC between 1980-1982. The Clash appeared in the first season, episode 3.


ABC TV Studios, 4151, Prospect Avenue, Los Angeles. Seated audience of general public but clearly some Clash fans too!

The Clash footage has not been repeated recently enough for very good video copies to circulate, unlike for example the 1982 Saturday Night Live footage. Clips from it were included in the 1991 MTV Clash Rockumentary. It therefore could and should have been used on the Essential Clash DVD if Sony had been prepared to do the job properly and pay ABC to licence their footage.

Varying quality video copies circulate the best being one or two copies off the master. Audio dubs are similar, the best have 4 rating sound. Being a soundboard source all the instrumentation and vocals are well mixed although the live music sound on this show had a poor reputation.


A viewer’s account describes the impact of The Clash on the show;
"The single greatest moment of this show happened when the Clash performed. Network TV had never seen such a moment before. The band did six songs back to back. I don't think anyone in the producers box knew what to make of it. Strummer was running all over the stage. It was completely frantic and had more impact then any of the comedy sketches."

deliver 4 tight powerful, performances

The Clash with Mickey Gallagher side of stage, deliver 4 tight powerful, performances and certainly mainstream America had seen little ever like this before.

The camera pans in over the seated audience’s heads to reveal the band backs to the camera as the opening bars of London Calling ring out. They swivel round just before Joe moves to the microphone and delivers his intense vocals. Joe, teeth still not fixed, with a new very short cropped haircut (one he would return to for the Jamaican Music Festival in November 82) looks suitably intimidating especially in close up. He’s wearing a red shirt and braces, and his white Fender Esquire now sports the words “I may take a holiday”.

Paul in black leather jacket has a spikey haircut, following his film role as a punk, he would soon follow Joe and sport an almost skinhead cut on the rest of the 80 shows. Topper is wearing an Alex Michon designed 16 Tons tour shirt but its Mick who shatters the visual impact of the rest of the band by wearing a bright purple zoot suit and tie, that even Kid Creole would have rejected.

Mick delivers a passionate vocal on the hit single, Train In Vain, then the band leave the stage, and the stage curtains are drawn.

When they return Mick, has taken off the offending jacket, Topper is in a red shirt and cap, Joe now wears a black and white striped shirt and only Paul remains unchanged. Paul sings a fine but shortened for TV, Guns of Brixton, losing its usual extended “dubwise” ending.

Then the highlight of the 4 performances; Joe says “Have Mercy” and then the band launch into Clampdown. It’s powerful TV with plenty of moment from the band, not least from Joe who jumps from Topper’s drum riser, to stand on Mickey’s organ and then back to the drum riser before getting to the microphone to sing.

TV constraints limit the usual extended ending but the band are able to build the intensity still further to a climactic ending with Joe adlibbing about Three Mile Island and “When does the pony express leave…last stage!”. The song ends and Joe, Fender aloft goes to Topper who drums on the strings. The footage ends with the band walking off stage side into their dressing room to be greeted by Kosmo Vinyl.


Concerning the 27 April 1980 "Fridays," my recollection, confirmed by IMDB is that the show was broadcast live, like its model, "Saturday Night Live." †It aired later than SNL--at 12:30, meaning it actually aired early Saturday morning. †I suppose the band could have played a regular concert in LA beforehand. †I doubt very much that the band's tv appearance was pre-recorded.

And I remember seeing this particular program!

Cheers, Pete McCluskey


London Calling
Train in Vain
The Guns Of Brixton

Any further info / reviews

Mar 1 The Fox, Warfield, San Francisco CA, USA
A Riot of Our Own 235
Mar 2 The Fox, Warfield, San Francisco CA, USA
Mar 3 Santa Monica Civic, Los Angeles CA, USA
Mar 4 Santa Monica Civic, Los Angeles CA, USA
I was looking at your list of gigs and I wanted to add one. The Clash played two gigs at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in 1980,
March 3 and March 4. I attended both concerts. (My high school was across the street.) For the first concert a barricade was placed ten feet in front of the stage. Naturally, once the concert began people went over it. The next night the barricade was gone. These were the two best concerts I have ever attended. --David
Mar 6 Tower Theatre, Philadelphia PA, USA
Mar 7 Palladium, New York NY, USA
Mar 8 Capitol Theater, Passaic NJ, USA
Mar 9 Orpheum Theater, Boston MA, USA
Mar 10 Motor City Roller Rink, Detroit MI, USA
Apr 25 “Fridays” ABC-TV appearance, Los Angeles CA, USA
Apr 25 Los Angeles
According to the 16 Tons gig poster there was a gig in LA. Could Fridays have been pre-recorded and broadcast on the 25th?
Apr 27 Roxy Theatre, Hollywood CA, USA
“(The Roxy Theatre was) the smallest venue the Clash ever played in the States. And it was a very cool gig, they opened with “Time Is Tight”. The Roxy for years had a red velvet curtain. When it came time for the encore, the audience tore it down, and it was never replaced.”