This week something a little bit different. A couple of previously unseen photos of two absolute punk legends: Joe Strummer of The Clash and Ari Up of The Slits sent in by Les Clark, who rather modestly claims that: ‘These are not photographs, just snapshots of time – leave the photos to the professionals.’
The shot of Strummer was taken on the night of The Clash’s second visit to Aberdeen, this being in July 1978 when they played at the Music Hall and were famously supported by Suicide – and here I should say, RIP Alan Vega, who passed away over the weekend. A true pioneer.
If you watch the docudrama Rude Boy, you’ll see clips of a couple of Clash tracks, The Prisoner and White Riot, belted out that evening and if you want to read Les’s account of the night – or least the part of the night that he didn’t spend in A&E receiving stitches on his head at a local hospital after being hit with a ripped out theatre seat during Suicide’s set – click here.
Around this time Les was starting out his career in graphic design, producing posters for events around town for local promoters. Unfortunately he didn’t own a camera when he first saw The Clash at Aberdeen Uni on the first date they performed on Scottish soil as part of their White Riot tour in May 1977.
He did, though, later get to photograph another one of the acts on the White Riot bill, Ari Up of The Slits, on a visit that her unique and unruly band made to Aberdeen Ruffles, a venue that also played host to the likes of The Radio Stars, Rich Kids, Revillos, The Specials and The Stranglers and which, according to Les, was later burnt down, the site now being a car park.
Today Les is still based in the North East of Scotland, where he regularly designs CD and vinyl covers for a number of acts including some of my all-time favourites and we’re talking here the likes of The New York Dolls, Patti Smith, Dexys Midnight Runners, The Yardbirds and The Stooges.
Here’s a couple of his seven inch vinyl single designs, one sleeve signed by former Damned guitarist, Brian James, the other his Okeh inspired cover for a reissue of Northern Soul stomper Tainted Love.
And here’s a pair of album covers, again designed for British Rock ‘n’ Roll label, Easy Action. Two iconic New Yorkers this time, firstly Johnny Thunders with In Cold Blood, the second Lou Reed’s American Poet.
For more on Easy Action click here.