My Daddy was…..

Hello again, just a short one for your Sunday morning/afternoon to be getting on with as I keenly wait for my coffee to brew. I need some as remarkably I’m actually cold for once as I watch Liverpool and Everton kicking lumps out of each other in what looks like cold rain off the Irish Sea.

Rarely do I make a ‘comment’ from a previous blog entry into a new post but as this one sheds more light on the filming of the video for ‘Bankrobber’ it seems worth it to me. The Baker, being featured in the video below was in a good position to answer Gil who had asked him what he remembered – “Baker, I’ve always enjoyed watching the “Bankrobber” video. I like the combination of the serious (the band in the studio) and the funny (you and Johnny running around). It looked like it was fun to have been a part of that vid…thanks for the behind-the-scenes memories!”

 

“That was another crazy day at Lewisham Odeon. Don Letts turned up with his film crew to take some footage to splice into a video for ‘Bankrobber’. Having no pre-conceived concept it was an on-the-spot idea to have me and Johnny dress with bandanas’ over our faces and pretend to rob a bank.

I was already less than enthusiastic at the idea, as I already had a full day of work preparing for the show that night. But Don assured us it wouldn’t take long and would be great and Johnny coerced me along. I couldn’t see the point – we were the most unlikely-looking bankrobbers you could ever conjure up….Johnny’s gangly stick insect figure looking ten-feet tall made me look even shorter and squat than normal. Later watching the finished video, I finally understood the comedic visual Don was trying to put forth and it worked quite well.

So he filmed us leaning up against the wall, running out of the bank, running down Lewisham High Street alarming shoppers, tearing across roads, jumping over the camera – it went on and on and all I could think about was what I should have been doing the whole time back at the gig. Suddenly two police Rovers came screeching round the corner, grabbed us and bundled us all up against the wall!

“This is all your fucking fault, Green!” I yelled at Johnny as the cops padded us down. “Now we’re gonna end up down the nick and miss the gig, you cunt!”

bankrobber the clash sleeve My Daddy was.....After much convincing that it was all a stunt, the cops let us go with stern faces and we made it back to the Odeon just as the soundcheck was ending. Fortunately, there were few problems equipment-wise and all’s well that ended well. Ironically, the funniest part of the incident, was the part Don couldn’t film – Johnny and I screaming at each other hands against the wall….”I’m gonna fucking kill you Green when this is over….” “Its your fucking fault Baker for looking like a thug!”

Later, back at the hotel, we divied up the fee Johnny had coaxed out of Don, so that was alright. I always wondered what the fans made of it….what did you think Gil?”

The Baker.

 

pixel My Daddy was.....
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16 Responses to “My Daddy was…..”

  1. ha ! you're right there mate -- seem to remember cbs hating it saying it sounded like bowie backwards !!!!!! big up to mikey dread -- what a star

  2. Brenda Siegelman via says:

    I loved it and shared it. The Baker is such a good writer. So lively, he has a real way with words. Thank you to Tim and the Baker for this great story. (( <3 ))

  3. yep, I've really enjoyed his stories so far. More please and thanks!

  4. Gail says:

    My favorite video! Love the way Joe moves. It had disappeared from youtube for awhile, so it's good to have yet another look and also The Baker's comments. Thanks!

  5. Pete Stevens says:

    Remember hearing 'Bankrobber' before it had been officially released on the 16 Tons Tour. Does The Baker remember where it was first performed live ?

  6. The Baker says:

    @ Pete Stevens

    It was undoubtedly worked up during the 16 Tons tour during soundchecks (with Mickey Dread's influence) and then knocked out at Pluto Studios. No idea when it was first performed live….probably later on in the tour. Sorry Pete.

    The Baker.

  7. Pete Stevens says:

    Thanks very much Baker. Pluto was in Manchester, wasn't it ? I saw the Sixteen Tons tour when it rolled into Deeside Leisure Centre near my hometown of Chester. The audience stood on a thin carpet laid over the top of the ice rink. Outside it was already below zero when me and my mates arrived. Inside was just as cold. I'm pretty sure it was when Mikey came back on before the end of the gig that they played it, mainly because many of the audience looked around after not knowing the track. A friends band were one of the support acts that night. Called 'The Jiving Daleks' they sank without trace !

  8. The Baker says:

    @ Pete Stevens-

    That's right Pete, Pluto Studio was in Manchester. We recorded there for two days on what should have been days off. Everyone was dead tired and in retrospect, we probably shouldn't have. I remember it was snowing in Manchester -- very atmospheric and being bleary-eyed from lack of sleep, quite surreal. Pennie Smith took a load of photos there in black-and-white and captured the ghostly feel of the time perfectly. The heavy dub of the tracks only added to the slow-motion dream-like memories of the studio. Then it was bang out on the road again, full-throttle!

    If the band played 'Bankrobber' in the encore at Deeside then that proves it had already moved from soundcheck number to live and were including it in the set.

    Great memories of the ice rink show Pete -- they were some of the worst to perform in though. No way to keep the guitars in tune as the ambient temperature zoomed from zero off-stage to 100 onstage. I wonder whatever happened to the 'Jiving Daleks'…..such a great name!

    The Baker.

  9. Pete Stevens says:

    @The Baker. My abiding memory of the night was having freezing cold feet and the steam rising from the audience. I had cold feet waiting in the queue outside as the fog came down, they got colder inside standing on the ice. Everything heated up except my feet. I narrowly missed out on one of 'Topper's Boppers' after the final crash of 'Tommy Gun'. The steam rising from the crowd by the end was amazing….By the wonders of the internet…..the Clash were of course excellent as ever, but for us Chester punky types the highlight was seeing the Jiving Daleks….!!?

    The Jiving daleks, a local band, 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 and were our mates , they did us proud. Maz on vocals, Sven on bass, Shem on lead guitar(later of Rev Rev), Earl on rythym, and Paul 'Gazmo' Williams (ex of 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 in February 1980…..

  10. The Baker says:

    @ Pete Stevens

    Any chance of a reunion?

    The Baker

  11. Pete Stevens says:

    Don't think so ! The last place I played in front of a paying audience was also South View Community Centre a couple of years later, before I left for London. I contribute quite a lot of stuff here for Tim….I'm kind of the Acton branch of The Clash Blog….A professional photographer by trade, initially inspired by Pennie's brilliant book back in the 1980, I'm now shooting various gigs and events for my pleasure and hopefully for an appreciative audience via Tim's blog. It's been great having you contribute here and perhaps one day we may meet. Thanks for keeping the whole show on the road back in the day. Without you and Johnny Green the whole thing could've imploded. Lots of us, who are now a certain age, look back and realise just how important The Clash were to our lives and how much of what has come since pales in comparison. The energy at some of the gigs could've powered a small town. About a year ago I was privileged to be standing in the pit at The Scala cinema in Kings Cross to witness Mick and Paul play Clash songs together on stage for the first time in 29 years. Incredible. It wasn't for money, it was for the Hillsborough Justice Campaign. I'm currently working on a book of photographs from the Strummer Of Love festival and have just typed up an old Geordie's memories of meeting the band for the first time. They'd all come down to Manchester Apollo and I'm guessing you'd have been sorting everything on stage. Top man. Cheers, Pete, London.

  12. The Baker says:

    @ Pete Stevens.

    Another 'Untold Story'…..fabulous memories Pete, I couldn't have put it better myself. The countless unintended, divergent directions people take after being inspired by the band never cease to amaze me. I wonder what other seemingly unconnected paths people were spun-off to? I'd be interested to hear those Geordie memories too, as I'm sure many others would be, so make sure you share them here.

    The Manchester Apollo (sorry, the O2 Apollo Manchester), was always a wonderful piece of architecture, as were many of the grand old venues we played like De Montfort Hall, Leicester. Those majestic examples of British structural design and style literally vibrated with their own fantastic vibe of glories past and one had to be comatose not to feel a sense of humble awe when entering them. From West End musicals and classical music to jazz, ballet, comedy and opera, they bore witness to decades of pomp and circumstance, drenched in the fragrance of bygone days.

    Wherever we played, I always tried to take a couple of minutes out of my busy schedule to sneak out and walk around the outside of the building (a freedom the band were unable to indulge in). Nostalgia is seemingly inherent to our national culture and psyche and I now comprehend more fully why Mick screamed to Joe at the Top Rank in Sheffield, "You've got no respect for the stage!"

    And after the show when all was quiet again, one could almost hear the old buildings chuckling down from the rafters and sense their amusement at our new-found passion. We were just another passing act that would grace their stages for a moment in time. The best days of our lives would be merely wiped away by a change in fashion.

    The Baker.

  13. Pete Stevens says:

    @The Baker….Another little part of my jigsaw came together today in my quest to produce this book and I'll see if I can contact you through Tim here at The Clash Blog. What you say above though about the old theatres is so true. The ones I remember best are The Royal Court Theatre and The Empire in Liverpool, The Manchester Apollo and my favourite in London, certainly for The Clash gigs I saw there, The Brixton Fair Deal. I've been to others too, but when you walk through the doors in Brixton you still get that buzz. There are the ghosts from all those great gigs and the memories. Nostalgia, thing of the past they say ! One venue you won't be seeing again though which holds so many memories is The Hammersmith Palais. I think there are pictures on here somewhere, but I'm probably the only photographer who shot some decent stuff of the actual demolition. Pete.

  14. The Baker says:

    @ Pete Stevens.

    Yes, those were all great theatres Pete, and many more besides. To sit in the dressing rooms where some of the greatest names in British musical hall had sat, pasting on their makeup, and fretting about their lines, gave you a shiver down the spine. And anyone who thinks the punk rock days were wild should read up on those old music hall acts before and after the war -- they were truly outrageous, night after night, performing for little money and having to share rooms in freezing cold boarding houses.

    And of course, the old Palais De Danse….who doesn't have a story about the lovely old place? Being from just a few miles south of Hammersmith, I used to go there often dancing on soul nights (years before the Clash-days). My mum and dad and my aunts all had their own stories of great times there when they were young. Even my gran and grandad had their stories of it, before the war. So the old place was in my blood, so to speak.

    When we played two nights there in the summer of 1980, I got quite an eye-opener. Six years before, as a paying customer, the hall had been an intoxicating mix of light and sound to my young senses -- the packed, darkened room, lit by the flashing disco lights, pounding with tough, black American tunes and throbbing with that almost physical confidence that said that was the place to be.

    But in 1980 loading in through the side door and seeing it in the stark light of day, was a shockingly rude awakening, its beer-soaked floors and filthy sweat-stained walls bore testament to decades of human emotion and exhilaration. Without the emotion and exhileration of the night, I realised it was just a cavernous empty hall. The golden memories of my elders forever diminished for me by the cold, hard, facts of life. And now even that diminished status is gone, demolished, felled by the wrecker's ball. London is the lesser without it.

    The Baker.

    • Pete Stevens says:

      @TheBaker….I know exactly what you mean about venues which either have the lights up or the lights down. As a guest, a ticket holder or punter if you will, the venue nearly always looked fantastic -- low light can hide a multitude of sins. The last few times I went to Hammersmith Palais were as a photographer for corporate events. This meant I arrived early in the day with the working lights up and then you literally shed a whole different light on the experience. Back stage and other areas were even more of a shock. When I watched it being demolished, I remembered the magic and forget the fact that really the Palais was an old tramshed ! Still it's worth acknowledging that another part of West London's history has disappeared to be replaced by yet another faceless office block…. Just what we need !

  15. [...] on October 28th 2012, I wrote an editorial on theclashblog.com regarding the Bankrobber [...]

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