updated 28 Dec 2008 -
added background story to Radio York Interview
Dec 2014 - added newsppaper review & photo
Aug 2017 - added punters comments

Busking in York on the 9th

The Famous Radio York Interview that found
it's way on to the BBC

A young journalist John Warburton working for Radio York saw the Clash from his office windonw and decided to find out what the fuss was about...

I read with great interest your website. Happy days. Thank you for helping me recall them. You kindly noted that Joe Strummer gave a radio interview during his time in York, and that he'd kill the interviewer if the recording were given to the BBC nationally, which it was.

I was that interviewer. There is a happier ending to the story.

I worked for BBC Radio York at the time as a freelancer. In fact, at the top of my contract, it said "unpaid training contract" although, by that time, I was doing some paid shifts here and there, as well as playing trombone in a local brass band. At the time I saw The Clash from my office window in Bootham Row, there was absolutely nothing I knew about The Clash, other than that they were a punk band, and were terribly famous. If you were present, you might remember that even my appearance, and my first conversation with Joe Strummer may have given the game away.

Yes, I did tell him it was for the local BBC station, and a short interview followed, with Joe Strummer making his condition about the interview being 'independent' clear to me. This, I turned into a package for the following day's breakfast programme, using the one, solitary Clash record we had on station.

Then, all Hell appeared to break loose in York. I'd finished the package late at night, and wonderful things seemed to be happening in the streets. I called a colleague at Radio 1, and they expressed a great interest in the story. So I came out again, with my Uher tape recorder, and found the band once more, heading back to the York Arms. I walked up to Joe Strummer and told him that the BBC as a whole were very interested in the story, and that Newsbeat's night editor had heard the earlier interview. This, of course, wasn't what Joe had wanted but it was necessary to tell him to keep things honest. Once again, all Hell broke loose, this time aimed at me. A convenient shop window behind me very nearly became a weapon of choice.

Somehow (and this isn't mentioned in your recollection), the landlord of the York Arms (whose name I think was Barry) and I persuaded Joe Strummer that I wasn't a muck-raking interviewer and actually had a genuine interest in music, which was and is true. I'm a classical pianist and, as a producer, I've just helped to put Series 3 of the complete organ works of J S Bach on BBC2 television. Joe Strummer then went upstairs in the York Arms with me, and gave me ninety minutes of precious, unadulterated chat and thought on the state of the country, music, and his approach.

I was twenty-one years old, utterly innocent of real politics (coming from a dyed-blue Conservative family), and ignorant of music outside 'classical' and jazz. My father hated even The Beatles. Punk had passed me by. Joe Strummer was a revelation. He did give me permission to send that longer interview down the line to the BBC in London, and I still have the master tape to this day in my garage.

Meeting Joe Strummer, painful though it may have appeared to some who didn't see the full story, was a turning-point in my musical and political life. Later, when Joe was on the BBC World Service at 4.30am, and I'd have another local radio job starting on air at 5am, I felt strangely proud to be following on-air the musical and songwriting genius who showed me his honest, critical side, and who then gave me the benefit of the doubt.

I'm in Australia, the tapes are in my garage in Cheshire, to which I should return by March. That's not a very swift timeline, but it's the best I can really do unfortunately -- there's no-one else who can get in the garage because the only key is with me (unless they break the door down).

I, for one, would like to hear that long interview again. It was a turning point in my appreciation of music and politics (in the VERY broadest sense) as you might imagine. Since then, all art and music has become political to me.

No wonder he has left so many thoughtful impressions on a generation. Trusting your website provides much benefit to those who love music, yours truly, John

Ey up

Im a massive fan of the clash and a born and bread Yorkshire man living in York. Ive always been fascinated by the York busking gig and know a couple of people that saw the band in the streets. I also used to drink in York arms on a very regular basis it was always a place were punks would drink and even though i was born in 86 for some reason us young punks gravitated to the pub with out yet knowing the clash and indeed many older punks had drank there many years before.

When i found out about the busking tour some 10 years ago ive been checking for info on the york gigs every few years for updates, your site is the best resource ive found on the entire busking tour. Good work indeed. Years ago i found a bootleg 7inch of the clash busking in the toon but not much luck York wise. There's a few photographs knocking about but not much else. I have since seen a post on a facebook site called memories of york with a comment that a girl that used to work at the roxy club has a recording of the clash gatecrashing a birthday party in york later that night...Do you know of this? Could it be true?

Also what came of the interview done upstairs at the York arms? Did you get a copy? Since hearing that happened in my regular pub as a young punk with my favourite punk band ive wanted to have that recording probably more then any other clash artefact or recording!

Im rambling but any more info on the york busking stuff would be great.†

Thanks very much for the site, its great. Keep it up.


"At about 7pm a gang of people (I would say 100 plus) with the 5 Clash walked through the streets of York with the band Strumming Spanish style songs leading them to Ripon & St Johns College - like pied pipers!  It was amazing!"

May 9, 1985

York; College of Ripon and York St John's (busking tour).

We lived in a huge old student house on Lord Mayor's Walk, which backs onto the college, and that day, someone appeared at the door asking if the Clash could use our backyard to play their busking concert that evening. We didn't believe it, but said yes.

At the time, we had a band practicing in the living room, and this guy asked whether they could borrow a drum, as for some reason, the Clash didn't have appear to have one. As it turned out, our drummer's snare drum skin was pretty thin at the time, and he didn't want to risk it breaking, as he had no money for a new one. Thus, he actually declined to let the Clash borrow his snare--quite a claim to fame!

Anyway, we waited, and that evening, as promised, the Clash turned up and played their impromptu live set, sitting on the wall at the end of our back garden. I guess there were around 30 people there; maybe more. It was pretty late when they started, and they played until it got a little too dark, then said "Thank you" and left.

Joe busking in York


Clash City Rockers
Guns of Brixton
Police on my back
I fought the law
Straight to Hell
White Riot
Brand New Cadillac
Spanish Bombs
Be Bop a lula

Any further info / reviews

BUSKING TOUR...Joe and Paul took the boys on an impromptu busking tour - playing publicly and outside venues acoustically... the 'shows' generated some excitement about the forthcoming album... They all hitched from London by the M1 and agreed to meet up in the pub near Nottingham Railway Station. The Last Days of the Clash - Vince White pg 226
May 3 S Under Canal Bridge, Nottingham
Vince White describes this as their first gig. A practice under the Canal bridge wheer no-one can see them. Stepping Stone, Police & Thieves, Come on Everybody The Last Days of the Clash - Vince White pg 227
May 3 S The Precinct, Nottingham
Their first public gig where the band walked to following the practice under the Canal bridge. They play Stepping Stone, Police & Thieves, Come on Everybody & Stepping Stone again. The Last Days of the Clash - Vince White pg 228
May 3 S Outside Marks & Spencers, Nottingham
Their second public gig. They play Rivers of Babylon & Not Fade Away (Bo Diddley). The Last Days of the Clash - Vince White pg 228
May 3 S Old Market Square, Nottingham
Marcus Grays Last Gang in Town 1st Edition page 434

"Hi, Had to comment on what a fantastic site. RE:May 3 Garage Club, Nottingham Nice to see that impromptu gig outside the Garage has been listed for posterity. I remember me and my mate dicky making our way to the Garage on that night.  We were in both Nottingham's "No Tears " at the time and were out after a gig. We could hear the strains of someone busking "career opportunitys" floating down the street. I remember commenting that "Someone thinks they're the Clash". We rounded the corner of the small street the Garage was on and there were the Clash playing out on the street. There were only 3 or 4 people watching. As we got up to them they had just finished the number. Joe asked what we wanted to hear. Someone said "White riot" and they just launched into it.They came into the club and held court in the first bar and were very friendly. I'm pretty sure they didn't play in the club. Cheers, Blue" - Stuart Nock
May 3 S Garage Club, Nottingham
Marcus Grays Last Gang in Town 1st Edition page 434
May 4 S Outside Pubs and Clubs - Leeds Sat night
I was sitting in the MJ coffee lounge at Leed Uni. Someone came in and said: "There's a bloke outside, looks just like Joe Strummer." Yeah, right. That's going to happen. So I take my time, drink my coffee, go take a piss and amble downstairs. I get there just in time to see them play the last few bars of the last song. And it wasn't even a Clash song. Apparently they busked the queue of the Phonographiqe later on that evening. But I missed that as well. See also The Last Days of the Clash - Vince White pg 230
May 4 S Le Phonographic nightclub, Leeds
Outside Leeds Railway Station 1.30am Sunday night. See also The Last Days of the Clash - Vince White pg 230
May 6 M Leeds - Royal Park Road pub, Royal Park Road, Leeds 6
Think they only played a few songs there...

Copyright - any use strictly forbidden
I moved to Leeds from the former G.D.R. to live with my 1st wife and very young daughter. We went out the day before the picture was taken to some hippy friends' couple house. He had few days earlier be beaten up by a glue-sniffing skinhead for no reason. We walked through a road called Delph Lane near the spot and in brilliant sunshine saw some very neat looking leather clad punks outside a terraced house drinking beer. We did not recognise them and I said to the mrs jokingly: here are the skins, we're gonna get a walloping. When we arrived, the TV was on and Andy Kershaw said that The Clash are busking in Leeds. The next day I took a camera by chance and managed to take the pics. Unfortunately I may not have the negs anymore, but I'll have a tidy up in the next 2 weeks and let you known if I find them. Tilo - tilohartig[a]yahoo.co.uk
May 7 T Leeds University
Outside Leeds Univercity where the Alarm were playing that night -disrupted after 15 minutes /4 songs (about 7pm) from the Chumbawamba website. "The red paint thrown over Joe happened in Leeds, outside the University before an Alarm gig. There's a couple of references on the web to it: Pouring red paint over the Clash on their comeback "busking" tour in Leeds demonstrated their contempt for what they saw as false prophets. Meanwhile, anarchy was becoming archaic in the U.K., as a pallid version of the Clash, sans Mick Jones, roamed the streets in search of lost credibility. They'd done the America, champagne and coke thing, and they came back over here trying to prove that they could still relate to the kids," says ex-punk Bruce, who felt betrayed by his former idols. To me it just smacked of insincerity; they were doing this tour where they would be busking outside gigs. So [fellow Chumbawamban] Danbert [Nobacon] sprayed them with red paint and then got chased through Leeds City Center by a load of angry people. But he managed to escape."

Alarm website lists gig as May 07, 1985 University, Leeds. The band played Cool Under Heat, Movers and Shakers, White Riot and Clash City Rockers to more than 500 fans. See The Last Days of the Clash - Vince White pg 230
May 7 T Faversham Pub, Leeds
after a short walk down the road from the Uni, the band set up in the pub car park and played a full set for 45 minutes (about 7.45pm) - date confirmed from Alarm website. More info on this gig read The Last Days of the Clash - Vince White pg 231 -

I saw them busking outside Leeds Uni - followed them around town before they caught the train to York when I guess this picture was taken- an amazing night - even had a leak next to Mr Strummer in the Faversham arms! Neil Coombes

May 8 W York St Sampson Square 12noon
York Jam down Petersgate 9.00pm
York Minster, York 9.30pm
played three songs including I Fought the Law before being moved on by the Police.
May 9 T York, Kings Square/Market Square
at Lunchtime on a park bench. The famous photo is from this lunchtime gig and the reason Joe's jacket has orange paint is some protestor threw paint over him from a window in Leeds! "Pete used his drumsticks banging on the bench (and told me he was pissed that he had no drum so a mate of mine went home to get him one which he used at the evening gig at St Johns College.) On the photo I'm the kid with the bleached hair directly infront of Joe! This photo was taken by the Yorkshire Evening Press." Neal
May 9 T York, York Arms Pub
The band Spent all afternoon at the York Arms pub where joe gave an interview to Radio York (which they passed onto Radio 1 and Joe later said if he saw the interviewer he would kill him as he had asked if he was an independent and only gave the interview because of this).  Joe was mainly hanging outside talking to the kids while Paul and the other guys were sitting in the 'snug' at the front of the pub struming and singing guitars.
May 9 T York, Ripon & St Johns College
At about 7pm a gang of people (I would say 100 plus) with the 5 Clash walked through the streets of York with the band Strumming Spanish style songs leading them to Ripon & St Johns College - like pied pipers!  It was amazing!
May 10 F The Bunker, Sunderland
I never made it to this one, but did get to the Gateshead Station gig the day after. Afterwards we got the train back home and went for a drink with them in the Salem. The Gollums gig was originally booked for local band 'Patrick'...who eventually 'supported' The Clash that evening. That was a mental gig in a tiny basement room!! Then it was onto The Drum Club for the final show of the day....... i was 16 at the time, i saw the clash 3 times in one day.....life somehow was never the same again!!
May 11 S Greys Monument, Newcastle
i saw joe and paul and the other guys playing at greys monument in the centre of newcastle one afternoon...i guess it was the same day they were in gateshead too...1985....from what i remember joe just kind of appeared and said "we are the clash" and they started playing.....a large crowd quickly gathered and the police turned up and duly got "on their back" and moved them on - they went about 30 yards off in the direction of the central station they started playing again...by which time i couldn`t see them any more in the melee that quickly developed...
May 11 S Newcastle - Underpass on edge of the Town Centre
They managed to squeeze in another set in the afternoon after moving on from Newcastle's Monument. A small underpass/tunnel on the outskirts of the town centre. Only about a dozen there, including a couple of local kids on BMX's circling the curved wall around Joe.
May 11 S Newcastle Exhibition Park Subway
Could this be the gig mentioned above? 3 tracks only
May 11 S St James Centre
May 11 S The Station, Gateshead, Newcastle (aft)
Acoustic Daze CD and Back to Basics LP; the gig was actually at The Station (not Station Pub), which was a building used by the gateshead music collective for gigs, rehearsals etc. it was actually gatesheads old police station and was situated on swinburne street as opposed to the station pub which is situated on hills street. these two buildings would have been within 5 minutes walk of each other had the old police station not have been demolished since.
May 11 S Gollums Bar, Mowbray Park Hotel, Sunderland
On the saturday night,they played a set at Gollums bar, before the Drum Club set. The lads had spent the two hours previous to Gollums drinking in THE SALEM bar, Hendon. Recording Exists. See The Last Days of the Clash - Vince White pg 232
May 11 S Genevieves function room of The Mayfair. Sunderland (The Drum Club)
Many years of DJing and promoting later Joe turned up with the new gang at my Indie club in Sunderland - busking tour. People always get the name wrong. This was the second busk of the night. Previously done at Gollums a bar associated within the Mowbray Park hotel S'land. Sunderland Mayfair  - in the Genevieves function room which was named as THE DRUM CLUB for my indie nights. Joe talked to me about perhaps going to Glasgow next. Could I see him ok for some expenses. It was the best 30 quid I've ever given away.
May 13 M Edinburgh Princess Street (afternoon)
the clash played in princes street edinburgh in the afternoon and then played at la sorbonne at night where they announced the gig at coasters the next night
May 13 M Edinburgh, La Sorbonne

When they busked at Edinburgh, they also played at a place called the La Serbonne which was down the Cowgate. If my memory serves me, it was the night before Coasters and it was free. The place was jam-packed. I remember it well cause the flat I was staying at got busted by the police the same night. happy days. Holly

May 14 T Edinburgh Princess Street (afternoon)
the band played in the centre of Edinburgh in Princes Street (the main Street)at the corner of The Mound where there is a speakers corner, where basically you can get up and spout off as long as your not offensive.Well he said that The Clash played there before the Coasters gig. They played quite a few numbers before heading off to Coasters with a large following running after them, as they are only about a mile apart.
May 14 T Coasters, Edinburgh
Clouds was the upstairs part of Coasters (now called the Cavendish) where strummer played again with the clash busking in 1985 and with LRW in 1988 - Coasters itself is pretty small and both the upstairs rooms are tiny.
May 16 T The Rock Garden in Glasgow
*we don't have - never received

From memory I am sure that on the 1985 Busking Tour they also played "The Rock Garden" in Glasgow on the afternoon of the 16th May. I was too slow in getting down there but someone from the "Bicycle Thieves", a local Glasgow Band, tipped me off about "Dukes" for later that night. Alan

Just discovered your website. I met the Clash by chance in Glasgow on the day they were here. They were sitting on the stairs of The Art School. We went for a beer then went to the impromptu gig with them at the Rock Garden which is mentioned.

I always carried a little recording walkman in those days (cheap one, couldn't afford a Sony Pro) but did record them to tape. I have done a couple of copies of this for friends in the past but maybe I'll dig it out (ed. nothing surfaced from this email). Quality was poor as the crowd was singing along so loudly but you get a good feel as to what was happening and golden moments like a guy moaning cos they had been given his drums without his permission and you could hear his unhappy comments all the way through. Keep Rockin' PBH. Paul Henderson <pbh667[a]gmail.com>

May 16 T Glasgow University evening- the cul de sac bar
cancelled due to crowd congestion
May 16 T Glasgow Mayfair Reggae Disco early evening
I'm pretty sure that on the Clash busking tour after the Cul de Sac they played a reggae disco called the Mayfair later in the evening, anyone else ever tell you that? I was at the Vics Cafe show next day and was told then by someone. See The Last Days of the Clash - Vince White pg 235
May 16 T Glasgow - Dukes Bar evening
See The Last Days of the Clash - Vince White pg 235

I was going to the corner shop near my house and passed the recently re-opened Dukes Bar, I saw a The Clash plaque outside and took a couple of photos. Dukes Bar now and the plaque

I am opening a bar in Glasgow which in the 1980's was called Dukes - the name of the new bar. The clash played there during the unplugged tour on 16 May 1986, and I intend to put up a plaque outside (artwork attached) It would be good to know if there is anyone about who was there and could share some memories.
Mark Brunjes - Director, AB LEISURE LIMITED - 211 Dumbarton Road - G11 6AA

May 16 T Glasgow - The Wind Jammer Bar
From memory they actually played a pub called the Windjammer on the Thursday night (which is close to Dukes Bar). I also recall there was a small article in the Daily Record newspaper about the windjammer show either on the Friday or Saturday after.
May 17 F Glasgow Art College - Vics Cafe 12 noon
rumours of Carlisle, Liverpool and Birmingham. See The Last Days of the Clash - Vince White pg 235
May 17 F Glasgow The Fixx Pub on Miller Street
A photo of which reappeared in a Scottish obituary in Dec 2002. See The Last Days of the Clash - Vince White pg 235
May 18 S Manchester City Centre
The band arrive in Manchester to busk. Unknown if they actually played. Quickly decide to catch the trai back to London. See The Last Days of the Clash - Vince White pg 237
May 29? Huddersfield - they came to play a gig in Huddersfield many moons ago and just started busking in the street without anyone knowing, 1st rate band, 1st rate lads - David Shilton
Oct 22 Portsmouth
Almost certainly the wrong date but we have this info on good authority:

Back of British Home Stores. According to the fanzine 'Six Gun Sound' The Clash busked in Portsmouth on Monday 22 October just after the release in September of This is England (Released September 30, 1984). The Clash played Career Opportunities, Police & Thieves, English Civil War, All the Young Punks, Brand New Cadilac and 'a scorching rendition of their new single This is England'. Six Gun Sound was a BAD fanzine a couple of years later supporting the band of the same name who started out as Rebel Truce until they realised there were 2 Rebel Truces'.