San Diego Fascist Department

Twenty-nine years ago tomorrow (10/10/79), the Clash headlined a bill at downtown’s Golden Hall that included the Standbys, a local band.

For this date on the “Clash Take the Fifth” tour (a few weeks before the release of London Calling), the venue was only about half full. A series of troublesome punk shows downtown caused the fire marshal to insist on the house lights remaining at full intensity during the entire performance. The Clash played their set so fast and furiously – with virtually no breaks between songs – that local newspaper reporters had difficulty discerning which number was being performed. The audience overran their seats and tried to climb onstage en masse, only to be fought off by security, police, and the band.

“They swarmed the stage in a fervid display of violent solidarity for the disillusioned from all walks of life,” wrote concert reviewer Clyde Hadlock in Kicks magazine (November 1979). As recounted in the book A Riot of Our Own (by Johnny Green), before the full-on audience assault, the band stopped midsong at least twice to complain about patrons trying to get onstage and spitting at the band. According to Joe Strummer, “When they all came at us at once, I kicked one punter right in his face.”

– Jay Allen Sanford

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Gary Heffern of the vintage local band the Penetrators says "Oh yeah, here's another story for you...the night before the clash played that show with the standbys, they came to an after-prom show that we played with the paladins at...I'm thinking La Jolla (?)...I remember I had a broken foot (my main toe-bone came up through the top of my foot, during an on-stage flip in Arizona...had to spend 5 days in the hospital on that one, and wait for swelling to go down, so they could re-break and re-set it)...anyways, I remember doing the show in pajamas and a cane, which strummer and company kept stealing during our show....man I loved the clash...also, after all these years, I actually have had some contact with the world famous lou skum from the injections... Ah, San Diego I still love and hate you from the bottom of my little punk rock heart."

Gary Heffern

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