Supporting the Suburban Studs

photo credit unknown

Source: 5 Go Mad @ Roundhouse CD
Sound 4 - 32min - cd/m - Tracks 13

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This is the second gig on the 5 Go Mad At The Roundhouse CD, and although the sound is not as good as the Roundhouse gig, it is still a rare decent early live recording from the new line up. This Clash performance here is some six gigs on since Keith Levene left after the Roundhouse gig, and where Mick took over lead guitar and Joe rhythm.

The Clash had agreed to come up to Birmingham to support bandwagon no hopers The Suburban Studs. John Ingham in a review in Sounds thought their 45-minute set to be their best yet noting "that every song is pared to the minimum required to get it across with maximum energy and zero flab". The 30 people in attendance did not go amiss as Joe remarked upon the next visit to Barbarellas on the White Riot Tour, dedicating at gig to the few soles who where here on this night.

Although no doubt an exaggeration this would have been a small audience which the recording confirms, yet the band is met with warm applause at the end and returns for an encore. Again there were sound problems with a PA malfunction resulting in the vocals being routed through the club system, with the band's own amps required to project the sound of the guitars.

Photo courtesy of Alyn Currie @

The unfortunate Mr Gray (off Last Gang infamy) writes that ironically, this made for one of the clearest vocal mixes they had ever experienced. Unfortunately the vocals on this recording are not that clear and somewhat distant and thin.

The guitars come across brightly though. It's a good stereo miked audience recording (presumably by the same taper as the Roundhouse) and very close to the master. Drums and cymbals are very clear with bass there but somewhat buried. Both guitars are clear but the sound is thin and harsh making this a less enjoyable listen than the Roundhouse. It has a sound quality between a 3 and a 4.

The Clash have developed significantly since The Roundhouse, the songs are faster, shorter and now definitely punk as Ingham pointed out. Out of the set goes Mick's 'I Know What To Think About You', 'I Never Did It', 'Mark Me Absent' and 'Sitting At My Party'. 'How Can I Understand the Flies' and 'Deadly Serious' survive but are further stripped down. In comes White Riot and Career Opportunities with 1-2 Crush On You reduced to the encore and subjected to a piss take by Joe of the teen angst lyrics.

The recording captures the band mid point between the early fast, r'n'b Clash, largely singing Mick's songs about teenage love and school, and the Clash that was to come. A new set of songs with a new direction. Lyrics by Joe inspired by Bernie's situationist politics, and a general instruction to write about as Bernie put it "what you know and affects you".

1. White Riot
The gig begins with Joe saying, "Hello got anymore light, can't see my hero!" and Mick shouting "" before launching into White Riot. This is the first decent recording of it but it's not that fast and raw yet with a poor solo from Mick. A good song but not yet a classic. There are some different lyrics, sadly indecipherable although Joe does namecheck Birmingham.
Warm but polite applause and someone shouts, "where's the pistols" (who had played Barbarella's recently).

2. London's Burning
This song is nearly the finished article with the drum crash ending now added. It's sung as Birmingham's Burning and it's with boredom now.

3. I'm So Bored with the USA
"A tune called I'm So Bored With the USA", and as if to reinforce the point that this song has undergone a highly significant change and is not now about boredom with a girl Joe shouts America after the first chords. The rest of the words though still sound the same as the Roundhouse version, so a song literally in a state of transition! As well as the lyric changes the song is now faster, rawer, and punk. Joe is obviously surprised at the enthusiastic reaction to at least some of the crowd and asks at the start of the song to some of the audience "you don't really live in Birmingham?, straight up!"

4. How Can I Understand the Flies
Stripped down and further Ramones inspired.

5. Protex Blue
"Talking about a durex!". Sounds brilliant, the finished article.

6. Deadly Serious
"its so deadly serious, rock'n'roll". Still a slight song soon to be dropped, but with a better ending, punk treatment and great guitar lick mid-song.

7. Deny
Now rawer and faster, with Joe now shouting a rap over the ending coda.

8. Career Opportunities
First recording of this future classic in circulation. Not brilliant yet, a song in transition and with many different lyrics to the later recorded version.

9. 48 Hours
Joe's intro; "now its my turn to give you a guitar solo in the key of E major!" A good version nearing its final form.

10. What's My Name
Joe "In case you're wondering whether, you don't quite know what to do with yourself, maybe join the Police cadets, go on the railways, maybe you wanna work in a bank, or wanna be a popstar, well this is a song entitled What's My Nameeeee!" A great performance, highlight of the set and these early gigs. Mick sings a middle section.

11. Janie Jones
"Now we come to our big rock'n'roll hit of the year!". It's now a punk classic, played faster and tougher than at the Roundhouse.

12. 1977
"Gonna do 1977 then fuck off!" Fast and frantic, sounds great.

13. 1-2 Crush On You
After shouts of more the band return for a one-song encore. Not as good as the excellent Roundhouse version.

The Clash: Barbarellas, Birmingham
Jonh Ingham, Sounds, 13 November 1976

WEDNESDAY HAD been booked as Punk Night at Barbarellas, an excuse, if nothing else, for the club deejay to fall in love with the sound of his mouth flapping. It was the brainchild of the local Suburban Studs, supported by their mentors the Clash. And here lies a story.

The Suburban Studs are the band initially thought to be called the Suburban Bolts. Now that was a great name, and I'm still hoping someone at least becomes the Bolts. But the Suburban Studs...How mundane, how archaic, how suburban. They supported the Pistols at the 100 Club during the summer, a laughable mixture of tacky jumpsuits, tacky makeup, tacky props and tacky music. More dinosaur rock.

They then supported the Runaways, billed as Birmingham's Glam Rock Band. They realised how recherche they were. Simultaneously, they were encouraged to check out the Clash, playing that night at the ICA. It was instant love; they even drove down to see the band the next week. Generally rockers at heart, they were said to have changed their music and dropped all the makeup and props. Their hair was getting shorter.

On Wednesday it took about five minutes to realise that this short haired geezer chatting to us was actually the formerly ultra-long haired Studs guitarist, Keef (sic). Such is progress.

After all this, they just stood there. Eddie Zippa wears a black vinyl suit – called Julian? – tastefully torn over one tit, singing songs the equal of the punk lyricists in our letters pages. E.G.: 'I don't care what life's about, I just want to jump and shout'. Well, Black Sabbath aren't exactly Bertrand Russels in their social commentary, either.

But their music matches the lyrical artlessness. Stolen riffs and rhythms abound, with a penchant for Bowie. The saxist can't really play; a pity, when you consider the spaces explored by Steven Mackay on the Stooges' Fun House as an example of where it could go, that he stuck to Glitter Band riffing all night.

It's a shame their music is so lacking, because they get full points for trying.

It was the Clash's finest 45 minutes. Due to PA problems only the voices were on it, the rest of the sound coming directly from the amps – just like the old days. It made for amazingly clear vocals.

'White Riot' was superb. The Clash's anthem and view of the Notting Hill Riots, it contains all the Clash's best trademarks: great hooks and chorus, a storming rhythm, and a Clash trick of everything dropping out except for Mick Jones' guitar, dropping back in two bars later behind a thundering crack from Terry Chimes' baseball bat sized drumsticks.

'London's Burning' became 'Birmingham's Burning'. 'I'm So Bored With You' has changed to 'I'm So Bored With The USA'. Not once do the Clash falter. Every song is pared to the minimum required to get it across with maximum energy and zero flab. Which they do with such power, speed and explosion that one assumes the lack of response from first time audiences in London is due to shock – no one young has seen such manic energy except from the Who or Quo in a stadium.

But in Birmingham, the audience began to applaud more and moe vigourously. 'Protex Blue', another rhythmic high point and Mick's vocal bid for the spotlight, exploded into guitar mania, but unfortunately some amps problems took the edge off the attack.

But it was the encore, 'I've Got A Crush On You', that clinched it. Joe sings about being handsome and does his visual best to look anything but pretty. This time, he excelled himself, and with Mick racing between mikes and Paul exploding and jerking, it had powerful effect.

© Jonh Ingham, 1976


White Riot
London’s Burning
I’m So Bored with the USA
How Can I Understand the Flies
Protex Blue
Deadly Serious
Career Opportunities
48 Hours
What’s My Name
Janie Jones
1-2 Crush On You

Career Opportunities

The Clash: Barbarellas, Birmingham
Jonh Ingham, Sounds,
13 November 1976

any further info / reviews appreciated

The birth of The Clash
The Independent
Friday, 10 October 2008
An epiphany at a Sex Pistols gig led to the formation of the most enduring of punk bands. Here, in an extract from a new book, The Clash reveal how they started in a London squat

The Clash: Down And Out And Proud
Caroline Coon, Melody Maker,
13 November 1976
following the ICA gig

The Clash: Eighteen Flight Rock...
Miles, NME, 11 December 1976
interview with The Clash

The Clash - Caroline Coon, '1988:
The New Wave Punk Rock Explosion', 1977
5th November 1976
Interview & review

Don Giovani
Finest post Pistols band

Nov 1976
The Clash & Polydor Demos

Rockscene Anarchy
Photo review 1 2 3

Greatness from Garageland
Peter Silverton, Trouser Press, February 1978
UNANNOUNCED, TO SAY the least, a kid in boots, suspenders and short-cropped hair clambers through the photographers' pit and up onto the stage of London's Rainbow Theatre. Benignly ignored by band, stage crew and security alike...

Jul 4

Black Swan, Sheffield

Last gang in Town p170

The birth of The Clash - The Independent - Fri 10 Oct 2008 - An epiphany at a Sex Pistols gig led to the formation of the most enduring of punk bands. Here, in an extract from a new book, The Clash reveal how they started in a London squat

Aug 13 Rehearsal Rehearsals, Camden Town, London

....private invite gig

Aug 29

Screen On The Green, Islington, London

Midnight Special Last gang in Town p180

Aug 31

100 Club, London

...supporting the Sex Pistols.Last gang in Town p190

Sep 5

The Roundhouse, Camden Town, London

...Keith Levenes last gig with The Clash. journalists invited; 3 show up. Last gang in Town p190

Sep 20 Club, London...100 Club Punk Festival
with the Pistols, the Damned, the Buzzcocks, Subway Sect et al. Last gang in Town p195
Oct 9 Tiddenfoot Leisure Centre, Leyton Buzzard
see ZigZag Aoril 77 'Konctere Clockwork' text version
or scans ... ZigZag Aoril 77 'Konctere Clockwork' .... pg1 ......pg2 .....pg3

supporting the Rockets... just a note on your gig list i saw them at tiddingfoot leisure centre and keith levene was still a member they were supported by a r n b band called the rockets.

the promoter a guy called chris france had also promoted gigs by the jam,the dammed and eddie and the hot rods all in leighton buzzard he also managed john otway and wild willy barrett at this time.the clash were superb sounding a lot like the mc5 at this gig.

i'd actually gone along to see the rockets who i'd seen locally several times in the previous couple of years and followed around a bit,but the clash blew them off stage and they split soon after.cheers glyn

Oct? Guildford
In an NBC 'Live at 5' Interview early 1982, Paul & Joe refer to this gig and the fact there was only 1 member in the audience.
Oct 15 Acklam Hall, Ladbroke Grove, London
supporting Spartacus and Sukuya.
Last gang in Town p210 (from Time Out mag).
Oct 16 University of London, London
supporting Shakin Stevens. Last gang in Town p211
Oct 23

Institute of Contemporary Arts, London

Last gang in Town p215
Oct 27 Barbarellas, Birmingham
Last gang in Town p217
Oct 28

I.C.A., London

with Subway Sect

see ZigZag Aoril 77 'Konctere Clockwork' text version
or scans ... ZigZag Aoril 77 'Konctere Clockwork' .... pg1 ......pg2 .....pg3

Oct 29

Town Hall, Fulham, London

Last gang in Town p217. Supporting Roogalator
Nov 3 Harlesden Coliseum
Nov 5

Royal College of Art, London

A Night Of Treason Last gang in Town p218.
...supported by thge Rockets

see ZigZag Aoril 77 'Konctere Clockwork' text version
or scans ... ZigZag Aoril 77 'Konctere Clockwork' .... pg1 ......pg2 .....pg3

Nov 6

Lanchester Polytechnic, Coventry

3 photos given as this date, though it is likely to be the 29th Nov
Nov 11 Lacy Lady, Ilford
Last gang in Town p222.
Nov 13 Birmingham Barbarellas

Polydor Demos


Harlesden Coliseum - Anarchy Tour Rehearsals

When I spoke with Rob from Subway Sect yesterday he said the Clash only played Harlesden once - in early 1977. They rehearsed there for the anarchy tour. Vincent
Nov 18 Nags Head, High Wycombe
Last gang in Town p224.
Nov 29

Lanchester Polytechnic, Coventry

Last gang in Town p189