As we here at KQED Arts shine a spotlight on the ways artists are responding to the Trump administration, it's only fitting that we acknowledge a holiday honoring one of the most influential bands in the history of rock 'n' roll -- and a band whose unambiguous use of music as a platform to speak out against racism, global inequality, and militarism sometimes goes overlooked.
Yes, Feb. 7, 2017, is International Clash Day, thanks to an enterprising morning show host at Seattle's KEXP. John Richards held the first Clash Day celebration there in 2013 -- basically just by deciding to play Clash songs all day -- and five years later, San Francisco is one of seven American cities that currently recognize it as an official holiday. Mayor Ed Lee even signed a proclamation to make it so.
Whereas, the City and County of San Francisco reocognizes the achievements of notable musical and artistic culture, the legendary UK band, The Clash, through its music, has given the world a socially conscious sound that represents progressive values of diversity, tolerance and multiculturalism as well as a bit of rock and roll rebellion; and
Whereas, the City of San Francisco has long been recognized as playing a vital role in the musical and artistic culture of the United States and beyond; and
Whereas, on February 8th, 1979, The Clash chose the City of San Francisco for their second show in the United States and returned to perform in San Francisco a total of eight different times in their career as a band; and
Whereas, the City of San Francisco adheres to the belief, said in the immortal words of Joe Strummer, "People can change anything they want to, and that means everything in the world;" and,
Whereas, the globally minded City of San Francisco wishes to join with other like-minded cities across the globe in celebrating the 5th Annual International Clash Day; now
Therefore be it resolved I, Edwin M. Lee, Mayor of the City and County of San Francisco in recognition of their and [sic] artistic achievements and socially conscious music do hereby proclaim February 7, 2017 as...
International Clash Day in San Francisco!
To celebrate, KEXP is playing a full 24 hours of The Clash, along with Clash covers and tracks by artists who were clearly influenced by the British rockers' sound, politics, or both. Since noon, we've heard Woody Guthrie, MIA, Pearl Jam, Lily Allen (Joe Strummer's goddaughter, natch) Billy Bragg, and more.
Even better -- in between tunes, musicians and music historians are chiming in with phone calls or pre-recorded bits to share what The Clash meant to them, and how their legacy lives on. To paraphrase, as we just heard Dave Grohl share over the airwaves: "In Donald Trump's America, we need The Clash more than ever."