When The Clash released their big album London Calling in 1979, became one of the most important bands of the moment in the United Kingdom. However, the following year was a bit exhausting for the group. This as their leader, Joe Strummer, the police stopped him for losing patience and hit a fan with his guitar in the middle of a show.
What was it that prompted Joe Strummer to hit a fan with his guitar?
During a German tour by The Clash in the city of Hamburg in 1980, where local punk people believed that the band had become too mainstream (popular), they tried to make sure how they really felt.
In an interview that year to promote his new album Sandinista! with journalist Paul Du Noyer, Joe Strummer had this to say. “In Berlin there are some German skinheads who said ‘Oh my grandmother likes The Clash.’ It is understandable that they were angry about that.
However, it all sharpened when The Clash came to Hamburg. “In Hamburg these children They attacked us saying ‘They have been sold, they have been sold’. But I thought they hadn’t come to that conclusion, it was more of a fashion fancy (…) I don’t think they thought about it using their own brains. It was a tough year. I mean, it made me rethink things a lot. That from hamburg It was a kind of dividing line You know? ”Added Joe Strummer.
The day of the band’s crash show
In the middle of that show on May 20, 1980, there was total chaos. There was skinheads who danced violently and there were several fights. And they even pounced on the stage and lunged at the security personnel. There was a tug of war of the fans into the vocalist’s microphone. And when they were playing the third song of the show, when Joe Strummer saw a young man attack another for no reason, he lost his patience and hit that person’s head. with his Fender Telecaster guitar.
Joe Strummer continued: “And there was blood spurting on his face. It wasn’t a great cut, but it looked really horrible. And the screams of the audience I should have listened to them. From that moment on it was all jumping and hitting each other.
After that, they arrested Joe Strummer at the police station and they accused him of assaulting a German citizen. Despite this, was acquitted shortly after.
«The violence had really controlled me for the first time. I was very scared that it really would have gotten a hold of me. So since then I have decided that the only way you can fight the anger in the audience is playing a really boring song, “he concluded.