The 40th anniversary of The Clash’s London Calling being released in the United Kingdom is not going unnoticed in the Northeast section of the United States.
On Dec. 14 — four decades to the day London Calling arrived in the U.K. — The Warhawks, Rockers Galore and others will perform the entire double album at World Café Live in Philadelphia. And on the same night, Debbie Harry, Jesse Malin and Gogol Bordello’s Eugene Hutz top the bill for the Clash-themed show dubbed “Gates of the West” at the Bowery Ballroom in New York.
A recent addition to the Bowery concert, a benefit for the Joe Strummer Foundation as well as Music & Memory, is The Schizophonics, a San Diego band that formed in 2009. For singer-guitarist Pat Beers and his wife, drummer Lety Beers, London Calling made a lasting impression during their formative years as musicians.
“Like a lot of people, London Calling was my introduction to The Clash,” says Pat. “It’s a good place to start because it has one foot in their early punk sound and one in some of the other musical styles they’d go on to play. ‘Death or Glory’ is one of my favorites off that one.”
“I bought that album on CD when I was in high school and would spend all my money from working at Taco Bell on music,” adds Lety. “I was trying to teach myself guitar and bass at the time, and with The Clash, I remember really being drawn to the bass lines. ‘London Calling’ was one of the first songs I really noticed the bass could do so much more than just follow the guitar. They totally helped me what see a killer melody can add to the power of a song.”
After catching a Schizophonics show in Chicago, Malin invited the band to participate in the benefit show at the Bowery. With all of London Calling already accounted for, Pat says his band will probably perform for 40 minutes, playing a song from the first Clash album or something by The 101ers — Strummer’s band prior to The Clash — as well as Schizophonics originals.
Expect the set to feature material from People in the Sky, the second Schizophonics album, released in October on Pig Baby Records.
“We’re just starting to write new songs for the third album,” Pat says. “In the meantime, we’ll be releasing a 7-inch in the spring with some new tracks.”
Also on tap for early 2020 are shows in New Zealand, Australia and Japan.
“We are really focusing on playing as much as possible,” adds Lety. “We use touring as a way to test out new songs, so you might hear some stuff that will end up on the next record.”
— By Chris M. Junior