I had only just turned thirteen when this happened, my Dad was a photographer for the local press & got me 2 press pass tickets for The Clash live at Deeside Leisure Centre, who were on their 16 Tons Tour (they always named their tours). Me and childhood sweetheart Lynda Jones sat on the balcony with the other dignitaries as thousands of punks swayed on the covered ice rink below us. The Clash were a big band by 1980 and rumour has it they had played here in 1978 with Suicide in support, although no one can confirm if they actually did.
Just seeing the size of the audience below was breathtaking in itself, the pre-gig music was a lot of reggae and people seemed bored. Then Problems by the Pistols came and everyone got warmed up, pogoing away!
Deeside Leisure Centre was the 6th largest indoor venue in the country at the time & local band the Jiving Daleks from Chester had the honour of opening the show; the female singer, Mazz noted to the crowd that she had never seen so many people before, and pleaded with the crowd ‘Stop spitting at me I will catch hepatitis.’ I thought the Jiving Daleks were great & still remember the song Two Faced Bitch.
Much to the dismay of the punk fraternity Mikey Dread alighted the stage next, they were unimpressed, a reggae artist, & not the best of reggae artists either, was perhaps not the correct choice to entertain unheathen punk rockers brought up on Anarchy In The UK & New Rose.
Mikey Dread, the influence behind the not yet released Bankrobber became target practise for the front 5 rows of gobbing punks as they sprayed the performer with more liquid per minute than a top of the range power shower. The Clash came out in sympathy & dressed in long coats & dark glasses skanked onto the stage & joined Mr. Dread, gobbing back at the crowd.
The Clash themselves were of course quite simply brilliant, even if I didn’t know any of the songs off the London Calling album at the time, they also played quite a lot of reggae. My memory is somewhat jaded of any key points of their set because of events that took place afterwards. The gig had finished & the crowds were trudging off home & me & Lynda stayed in our seats waiting for my Dad to finish chatting at the bar, we approached Mazz & Sven of The Jiving Daleks who were milling around & asked them if they knew where we could get a concert programme from.
Mazz apologised but said she could get us to meet The Clash if we liked. Our mouths fell open, & she lead us down the corridors & past a queue of fans & into The Clash dressing room.
My little notebook was open & pen eagerly poised & Paul Simonen obliged with a smile as did Mick Jones, Topper Headon was busy being talked into bed by a young lady & quickly signed the book & Mikey Dread was in the corner cleaning his gob ridden coat. Joe Strummer was different, he took the time to ask us where we were from, ‘Denbigh! That’s just up the road isn’t it!’
Wow! Joe Strummer knew where Denbigh was! Although, in hindsight, me being so young, I’m not going to be too far from home!
He kept winking at Lynda and put kisses after his autograph for her, I would have taken him outside & given him a good kicking for messing with my bird, but I was only 13 ha ha.
My Dad did get some ace pics of the gig, but the negatives were/are the property of North Wales Newspapers and I can guarantee they’ll be long gone now. He did give me a fantastic 10×8 print showing The Clash in full flow on stage, and I have an inkling it’s in his attic with my school stuff. I’ve tried to get that stuff off him for 30 years!
The Jiving Daleks, being a local band, were enlisted when it was found out that The Clash were looking for local bands to support them on each date. The Daleks were known by everyone ‘on the scene’ from Chester and area.
Maz on vocals, Sven on bass, Shem on lead guitar (later of Rev Rev), Earl on rhythm, and Paul ‘Gazmo’ Williams (ex Martin & The Brownshirts) guesting on drums.
Shem remembers, ‘We played mostly our own songs, except a version of the Stones’ Paint It Black which we rearranged and Maz wrote her own words to, we called it Paint It Blank. Other songs were The Spy, Shuffle-Stink, The World’s Nearly Over, A Contortionist’s View Of Life, 61 To 64, I Have Just Shot Beryl, No Flower Grows, I Heat Up, I Cool Down, Hell, Two Faced Bitch and we had a version of the Stooges’ 1969 which we rearranged and sung about 1980.’
After that the band split, making one cameo appearance playing Two Faced Bitch at South View Community Centre Feb80, but I guess having supported The Clash, everything after would have been a bit of a come down.