I’ve got upcoming gigs in Roxbury, NY (3/21) and Amherst, MA (3/25), so I’m thinking about The Clash more often than I usually do, as I put together my talks. Of particular interest is the band’s May-June 1981 residency at Bond International Casino–17 dates of sold-out shows, lots of exposure for uptown bands like The Sugarhill Gang, Grandmaster Flash, and a host of others.
Kurtis Blow DJ’ed alongside Grandmaster Flash in Harlem and the Bronx in the late 1970s, and was the first rapper signed to a major label in 1979. His second single, “The Breaks” (after “Christmas Rappin'”), must have captivated Joe, Mick, and co., with the west African rhythm guitar, Blow’s flow on the mic, and plenty of drums.
In August 1982, among the final performances with Jonesy still onboard, The Clash played the Akron Civic Theater and introduced Blow to a whole new market, one that couldn’t even get his name spelled right on the marquee. (Thanks to Don Frederick for sending this image–not his–my way.)
If anyone knows the guy flexing guns below the marquee, let me know: I’m happy to give him a shout-out.