Tell the boss you’re staying home, it’s International Clash Day

Feb 7, 2018, 5:49 AM | Updated: 9:44 am
The Clash...
(File, Associated Press)
(File, Associated Press)
LISTEN: Tell the boss you're staying home; it's International Clash Day

The idea started off as a lark, a joke.

John Richards, an associate program director at KEXP 90.3 in Seattle received an email in 2013 from a listener: He wanted to know why the independent station didn’t play more music from the influential British punk band The Clash?

Richards, a fan of the group, didn’t have a good answer. So he played some cuts. “And at some point, I randomly declared it International Clash Day,” Richards recalled. Other KEXP disc jockeys, finding the idea funny, took up the mantle and declared the same.

The next year, they decided to do it again. And the following year. Then, unexpectedly, it began to blow up. Today, nearly 100 radio stations, 13 cities and 38 record stores in nearly each continent host International Clash Day events.

Recently the Gainesville, Florida city council passed a resolution supporting International Clash Day, joining Executive Dow Constantine and the King County Council, among others.

“I think when we got other cities getting involved is when it really took off,” Richards said. “When you see Austin declare International Clash day and really doing things and when you saw cities in the U.K paying tribute as well.”

Richards, 44, has worked at the station for 15 years as a producer and show host. He said while it’s great that the “holiday” is rapidly growing in popularity and been covered in Rolling Stone and other publications, he’s happier still that it showcases an all-time great band with both serious politics and musical chops.

Led by guitarist and co-founder Joe Strummer, The Clash mined subversive and protest topics like immigrant rights, human rights, environmental rights and brought them to punk and popular music, Richards said. But it wouldn’t have mattered for much if the sound wasn’t catchy and inventive.

“For a lot of people, that was their first introduction to a truly political band,” he said, adding that it was the music which sealed the deal. “At the end of the day, they were one of the more accessible bands that you’re ever going to hear. Because they were a good band.”

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Tell the boss you’re staying home, it’s International Clash Day