Jeans. 4 Dec 2012.

I had a couple of great conversations with Tony Patella of Tellson Jeans in SF about Joe Strummer. I traded my story about going to see the Clash in Dallas in 1980. Joe Ely opened for them and the music couldn’t have been more disparate if they tried. The crowd was already in a bad mood and wanted Ely, in no uncertain terms, to kindly leave the stage. Bring on the Clash! Well, Ely finishes up and leaves… And no Clash. For very near an hour — no Clash. The mood of the mob, needless to say, was getting very edgy. Edgy is a civil way of describing it. About a second before a full scale riot was about to break out — they jumped on stage and played their asses off. I told Tony — all I could remember was seeing all of the spit flying out of Strummers mouth as he sang…

Here’s his story:
…on October 23, 1982, the annual Day on the Green concert was taking place at the Oakland Coliseum — this time it was T-Bone Burnett, The Clash and The Who. I was a junior in high school and a friend and I went to San Francisco the night before the show to stay at his sister’s apartment. The next morning she bought us a bottle of vodka and a gallon of OJ — we emptied half of the OJ, filled the container with vodka and headed to Oakland via the subway. Long story short, we got hammered and passed out – when I woke up I heard I Fought the Law by The Clash… I was stoked and then they walked off the stage! A guy standing next to me told me it was their last encore song. I missed the entire show!

Fast forward to last Fall — I’m communicating with a Tellason customer in Pennsylvania and tell him the story. He says to keep an eye on the mailbox… a few days later a bootleg disc of the show I missed arrived in the post. And on October 23, 2010, I finally got to hear the show I passed out through! Exactly 28 years to the day later…

I’m listening to it right now…

All of this Strummer stuff had me revisiting ‘Let’s Rock Again’ and “the Future is Unwritten’; both bittersweet films about a guy that stood for something. The YouTube link above was sent by Tony. And take a look at Tellson Jeans. No racing stripes. No fluegelhorns. No bullshit. The real thing. EV

Published by William Vaughan

filmmaker, artist

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