One fan’s unique remembrance of catching the British punk godfathers on Broadway 40 years ago this month
Since my turntable broke, I can’t listen to my records. It hurts because I have a promotional copy of The Clash LP London Calling that I want to spin.
I don’t know if it was given to me before or after I saw them at Bond’s. But until recently, I played its grooves out. I’d still be doing so but I mistakenly held the album jacket upside down before seeing the discs fall on their edges, cracking chunks of songs off of both LPs. Some songs were salvaged, and hopefully I’ll be playing them again soon.
I was living on 10th Street in 1981and it may be that four of us assembled there before the show. If not, I was definitely doing some pre-show bonging somewhere right off of Fifth Avenue, I suspect, with “Wheat,” “Sky” and “The Don.” We all lived between 8th and 16th Streets. They were keen to see the show. Was I? I don’t remember telling anyone I wanted to. I was still in touch with the music scene. I wasn’t a big fan of The Clash, but I knew these shows were big.
Still, I don’t know why I was at Bond’s 40 years ago. I looked at the song list on Wikipedia, and only really like three of their songs. And each of them–Lost in the Supermarket, Rudie Can’t Fail and Spanish Bombs–are considered one of their “Other” songs. The Wrong ‘Em Boyo isn’t even listed. I don’t remember going, hoping they’d play anything in particular like a wasted fan at the Dead one time, “Pray…for El Paso!” I see that The Clash played a lot of their hits, but I thought their hits sucked. “Train in Vain,” “London Calling,” “This is Radio Clash.” If they played “Should I Stay or Should I Go?”, I would have left.
VIDEO: The Clash “Spanish Bombs” live at Bonds
I don’t know which of the bands that opened for them played on our night. We stood up against the bar, 20 to 30 deep from the stage. While my friends were turned to the band, I turned away. My most enduring memory of Bond’s was not The Clash, or a suit and tie. It was accessories, a pair of seemingly native made, feathered earrings worn by the prettiest girl I’d crushed on in a long moment. She was sumptuous, delicious in her plain peasant top with those earth toned feathers. That she didn’t turn away when I laid a rap on her was more auspicious than hearing the Clash sing Broadway while on Broadway.
I thought I was making headway with her. I sensed the exact anticipation as Ed Grimley when he was going to meet Pat Sajak. (I must say!) I invited her to the party I was having at my apartment the next weekend. I told her to bring a friend. She said she’d have to check with her husband, the guy standing there next to her.
In June of 1981, I was 25. She looked younger. Maybe since then they’ve clashed, and ever since she’s been looking for me. Ha! As my grandmother used to say, “That’s a good one.”
AUDIO: The Clash Bonds NYC 6/8/81
VIDEO: The Clash at Bonds NYC 6/9/81
AUDIO: The Clash Bonds NYC 6/10/81
AUDIO: The Clash Bonds NYC 6/11/81
AUDIO: The Clash Bonds NYC 6/12/81