I can’t prove that Joe Strummer wrote the chorus to “London Calling” about our current fears of climate apocalypse (okay, it was more about the Cold War). But lines like “London is drowning and I, I live by the river” sure feel prescient in the context of work like Flooded London, which imagines the city submerged due to climate change in 2090.
Now, for its seventh annual International Clash Day on Friday, February 7, KEXP is making my imagined connections between the climate crisis and the band concrete with this year’s theme, Clash for the Climate. “As we’re approaching Clash Day this year,” says Dashel Schueler, the station’s associate director of external relations, “we’re thinking about what sort of action, what sort of activism the Clash might be engaged in were they still making music today.” The station's staff figured it'd be working against climate change, even though it wasn't a topic they addressed as a band.
So for the first time, Clash Day—the daylong (6am to 6pm) celebration of the band (its music, its activism) that last year expanded to 115 radio stations in 33 countries—has an official theme at KEXP. The station will still focus on the band’s music, with four new cover videos going up on KEXP’s YouTube channel today (like Great Grandpa covering “Big Yellow Taxi” and Pink Lotion doing “We Don't Need Another Hero”) and a concert in the gathering space with Naked Giants, Tres Leches, and Duke Evers slinging covers (alas, it sold out). But throughout the day, with interviews and music, the station will be directing attention toward saving the planet, whether that’s getting people to vote or directing them toward organizations like C40 Cities and Grist and activists like Edgar Pieterse. So tune in and get to it.