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Randal Doane grew up in Northern California on a diet of casseroles, iceberg lettuce, and rockabilly. He spent decades collecting college degrees, and has published essays and articles on illegal file-sharing, Ralph Ellison, swing dancing, Sigmund Freud, The Ramones, and Malcolm McLaren. He taught sociology courses for ten years, worked as a dean at Oberlin College for ten more, and now serves as the mind and muscle behind Cadence Editorial Services in Northeast Ohio. In his spare time, he builds bicycle wheels and listens to vinyl records on his hi-fi. Randal also sends out the occasional transmission about music, prose, and baseball via @randaldoane and

Stealing All Tranmissions awarded a Silver "IPPY" Award in the Popular Culture Category!

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Stealing All Transmissions: A Secret History of The Clash
Author: Randal Doane • Foreword by Barry "The Baker" Auguste
Publisher: PM Press
ISBN: 978-1-62963-029-8
Published: 10/01/2014
Format: Paperback
Size: 9x6
Page count: 192
Subjects: Music-Punk/History-Media

Stealing All Transmissions is a love story. It’s the story of how The Clash fell in love with America, and how America loved them back. The romance began in full in 1977, when select rock journalists and deejays aided the band’s quest to depose the rock of indolence that dominated American airwaves. This history situates The Clash amid the cultural skirmishes of the 1970s and culminates with their September 1979 performance at the Palladium in New York City. This concert was broadcast live on WNEW, and it concluded with Paul Simonon treating his Fender bass like a woodcutter's ax.

This performance produced one of the most exhilarating Clash bootleg recordings, and the photo of Simonon’s outburst which graced the cover of the London Calling LP was recently deemed the greatest rock’n’roll photograph of all time. That night marked one of the last opportunities for American audiences to see The Clash as a punk band, teetering between conviction and uncertainty, before they became a seriously brilliant rock group.

Stealing represents a distinctive take on the history of punk, for no other book gives proper attention to the forces of free-form radio, long-form rock journalism, or Clash bootleg recordings, many of which are now widely available on the web. This story, which takes its title from the 1981 single “Radio Clash,” includes original interviews with key figures from the New York punk scene. This secret history concludes with an analysis of how we listen to music today and its impact on the written word.


Stealing is unlike anything else you’ve ever read about The Clash. The maneuvers by American radio DJs, music journalists, and record company execs are deftly woven into the band’s own story.”
—Barry "The Baker" Auguste, roadie for The Clash

“With Stealing All Transmissions, Randal Doane documents with wit and verve how The Clash leapt from the Westway to the USA in 1979 with the help of rock journalists and key deejays in the States. It was an honor to work with The Clash back in the day, and a pleasure revisiting those days through this book. It’s a must have for Clashophiles on both sides of the Atlantic.”
—Dan Beck, former senior vice president at Epic Records

“With a captivating narrative and well-written prose, Stealing All Transmissions seeks to make sense of what happened to free-form radio and the DIY ethic of punk, and how to read that history into the digital age of file-sharing and satellite radio. Doane has a firm handle on the history of punk and the music industry.”
—Michael Roberts, author of Tell Tchaikovsky the News: Rock ‘n’ Roll, the Labor Question, and the Musicians’ Union, 1942–1968

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  • Forty Years Later, Can Punk Still Provoke?
    P { margin-bottom: 0.08in; } In 1977, punk took hold on both sides of the Atlantic. For guttersnipes from Los Angeles to Amsterdam, the spring sortie from The Clash rang clear: “No Elvis, Beatles, or The Rolling Stones / In 1977”
  • Such Great Heights: Icarus and American Democracy
    If you love cycling, amateur sports, or democracy, check out Icarus (2017), a Netflix documentary with a cumulative score as high as Citizen Kane’s.Here’s the hook: filmmaker and amateur cyclist Bryan Fogel rides th...
  • David Bowie: Hunky Dory, Indeed
    From ages thirteen to eighteen, I exchanged my every spare dollar for petroleum products: gas for the car, to get us to Tower Records and, of course, long-playing records. In the summer of 1987, I was eighteen years old and, with the August issue ...
  • U2's The Miracle (of Joey Ramone): Homage or Requiem?
    In this feature Randal Doane argues that U2′s latest single, The Miracle (of Joey Ramone), ostensibly an homage to punk, fails in one respect: “it’s too damn long.” He also has a few words to say about the band...

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Interviews, Excerpts & Mentions

stealingRandal Doane: An Interview
March 28th, 2017

Tell us about your book
In 2003, while working as a college professor, I was writing an article on illegal file-sharing for an academic journal. While gathering data – all done in the name of science, I assure you – I found a 77-minute long track called “Clash-Palladium-WNEW-Sept21-1979.mp3.” (You can find the audio on YouTube.)

A couple years went by, and the title of the track gnawed at me. The Palladium was in New York, and I knew The Clash loved it there. But the second half of the title proved enigmatic. What were The Clash doing on WNEW-FM, a station staffed with veteran deejays from the days of free-form FM radio – the two rules of free-form then were: no disco, no punk? Also, how did two concerts take place on September 20-21, 1979, in a theatre with more than 3,000 seats, less than a year after their American debut, Give ‘Em Enough Rope, which peaked at #126 on the Billboard charts, and just two months after the release of the Americanized version of their first LP, The Clash?...

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stealingStealing All Transmissions: A Review
By Ricky Flake
Sun Herald
October 15th, 2015

This book ties the short mega-stardom of The Clash into other trends, including the rise/fall of U.S. classic punk rock, the demise of free-form radio and more. There are good pictures of The Clash, posters/flyers and deejays that helped them conquer the New World. This is a great, easy read.

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stealingStealing All Transmissions: A Review
By Dave Jennings
Louder than War
February 19th, 2015

Randal Doane has produced a superb account from an American viewpoint of the development of one of the iconic punk bands and placed their career and legacy firmly in context, not just of their time, but in the wider picture of the history of Rock.

First up is a brilliant foreword from Clash roadie and confidante, Barry ‘The Baker’ Auguste. The Baker weaves an intriguing narrative of life with the band, from their early London roots to US sports stadiums. The reality of touring at the time is brought starkly into focus, none more so than when he describes the daily chore of scraping the previous night’s gob off amps and drums. ‘The Baker’ is ideally placed to recount the massive highs of Clash live shows and the mundane life between the shows. However, maybe his most perceptive comments emphasise the importance of this book in not just  chronicling the meteoric rise of The Clash in America, but also the importance of those who paved the way for this to happen...

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stealingStealing All Transmissions: A Review
By Bob Gordon
January 17th, 2015

"The Clash was not just a band and this is not a band bio. This is the whole intellectual ball of wax. And it's an American ball of wax.

Written by an American it is the story of how, "the Clash fell in love with America and how America loved them back."

There is no salacious gossip or he-said-she said. This is long-form rock journalism — itself a dying art, according to author Randal Doane.

Doane draws everyone from Alan Freed to Lester Bangs into the Clash's orbit in explaining how the Clash were part of larger currents in American popular culture..."

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stealingStealing All Transmissions: A Review
By John Koenug
Stuff I Like
April 6th, 2015

Stealing All Transmissions is a cool story. The United States, at least the intelligent music scene part of this country, fell hard for the Clash in the late 1970s. This book reflects the impassioned work and lives of many people in the field then, notable free-form radio, striving to effect change and take back control of the music industry from the corporate suits. A brief, impassioned history of the revolution taking place in music in the ‘70s, revolving around the Clash and their role leading the charge, Stealing All Transmissions is on-point and true to the spirit and the music.
The Clash put on a fall 1979 show in New York City that may have been the high-water mark of their career. Stealing All Transmissions brings that seminal evening to life, as it does the heartbeat of the band, their fans and the times. The old adage is that a great music book causes your toes to tap. Author Randal Doane brings sweat to my head with his words. As Hemingway said, this is the “true gen.”

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stealingStealing All Transmissions: The Best "Little" Music Books of 2014
By Matthew Duersten
LA Magazine
December 16, 2014


The scrappy, Bay Area-based PM Press might win the “Little Book” award for 2014. Randal Doane’s Stealing All Transmissions: A Secret History of the Clash (PM, $15.95), which began as an article he pitched to The New Yorker, clocks in at around 130 pages, and Alex Ogg’s Dead Kennedys: Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables: The Early Years (PM, $17.95), originally composed as liner notes, is only 200 pages. Both are similar tales of scruffy underdogs attempting to cross the moat of the Big Time Music Industry. Where they diverge is how their subjects went about doing it. Doane’s account burns through a three-year period (’79-’81) when a group of U.S. promoters, retailers, rock writers, fans, and radio DJs endeavored to break The Clash in America. This culminated in the band, who had been suffering from a nasty press backlash in their home country, being signed to CBS and recording their artistic triumph London Calling.

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stealingStealing All Transmissions
Library Journal
December 1st, 2014

Doane's (Oberlin Coll.) book is more a workmanlike rock-and-roll history, though still not the usual bio/tell-all—only a Clash book would require over 15 pages of endnotes. Thoughtful and enthusiastic, if laudatory, this work examines the Clash through the lens of 1977–83 punk rock and romanticizes the disenfranchised, alternative, DIY work ethic of the movement's leaders. When focusing on the band specifically, Doane is much less concerned with sex and drugs than politics and the battles fought with the record companies. It also features an intellectual foreword by Barry "The Baker" Augustine, the band's principal roadie.

VERDICT Both of these titles are fine purchases for large public libraries and deep music collections; for an intriguing take on punk history, try John Robb’s Punk Rock: An Oral History (2006), or, for Clash-specific history, consider Marcus Gray's Last Gang in Town: The Story and Myth of the Clash (1995).

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stealingStealing All Transmissions— A Review
Big Takeover #75
December 2014

Originally published in 2012, Stealing has been reissued and now includes a foreword from long-time Clash roadie Barry “The Baker” Auguste. Although The Clash are one of the most chronicled of punk bands, Doane’s history stands apart, because it dwells on how the band found America – and equally, how the music business, media and ardent fans discovered them – and forged a new landscape of popular culture. With interviews of radio personalities, Epic Records’ marketing execs, fans, and writers of the day, this look at “the only band that matters” is a welcome expansion of the book’s original text, and gives us more detail starting with the Clash’s arrival in 1979 to America. Arresting and vital – much like the band on which it reports.

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stealingPirate Satellite of Love: A Review of Stealing All Transmissions
By Kris Needs
Record Collector
December 2014

Though the seeds had been planted in both Strummer and Jones way before the band even existed, the US inexorably and beautifully shaped what The Clash became, showing them a world beyond the straitjackets foisted upon them at home. After Doane relates the story of New York punk, he excels on his detailed examinations of US radio and rock writing, exploring Pennie Smith’s immortal Paul Simonon bass-execution photo and getting the inside music biz angle on what was, in retrospect, a remarkable offensive.

Above all, the book helps explain factors crucial to any fan’s understanding and appreciation of this often most misrepresented of groups.

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stealingStealing All Transmissions— Holiday Recommendations
By Mark Perryman
December 12, 2014

Russell is a kind of punk politician, for those of us of a certain age the antecedents are there to be seen and celebrated. Randal Doane’s Stealing All Transmissions in that regard couldn’t be more timely. Instead of yet another biography of The Clash, Randal gets to grips with their cultural and political legacy via a decent dose of Gramsci. This is a cultural politics of dissent for the 21st century, mixing interpretation and insurrection. More of that please in 2015.

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stealingStealing All Transmissions— An Excerpt
By Randal Doane
Louder Than War
December 16th, 2014

The Clash’s London Calling: “…antidote to Me Generation selfishness and self-defeatism.”

Dan Beck, US product manager at Epic Records, recounted how Kosmo Vinyl fought tooth-and-nail with tongue-in-cheek on behalf of The Clash. “When we came up with the phrase, ‘The Only Band That Matters,’ [Rhodes and Vinyl] literally came in the office and protested it,” Beck told me. “‘That’s horrible!’ they’d say, and they’d be bursting with laughter.”

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stealingStealing All Transmissions— How The Clash Conquered America
By Adam Ellsworth
Arts Fuse
November 3rd, 2014

And then on the other end of the spectrum there’s the new Stealing All Transmissions: A Secret History of the Clash by Randal Doane. Discounting its foreword, notes, and index, the tome is only a shade more than 130 pages in length but pound for pound, it’s one of the best things anyone has ever written about the group. It’s at least in the same league as the brilliant Route 19 Revisited.

“This is the story of how The Clash loved America, and how America loved them back,” Doane writes in the book’s opening pages.

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stealingStealing All Transmissions: A Review
By Kathy Shaidle
PJ Lifestyle
November 17th, 2014

Stealing distills one fan’s decades of wide reading, deep listening, and just plain thinking into a multi-faceted gem.

In the hands of a less skillful writer, this book would feel like an out-of-your-league sexual pass, an awkward attempt to squeeze too many topics — the evolution of punk music (along with the etymology of the word); the rise and fall of AM and FM radio; the underground scenes in New York and California, to name but three — between only two (virtual) covers.

Somehow, though, Stealing works, distinguishing itself from similar titles by piling on plenty of original insights; for one thing (a bit like the recent How the Beatles Destroyed Rock ‘n’ Roll), this book explores how the medium changes the message — that is, how the technology we employ to consume music alters music itself, along with the culture at large.

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stealingStealing All Transmissions: A Review
By John Murphy
Spectrum Culture
September 7th, 2014

AHow did the late ’70s arrival of the Clash to a nation they loved and who loved them, in Randal Doane’s phrase, jostle the privileged perch granted FM free-form radio and long-form rock journalism in American popular culture? Doane attempts to answer this complex topic in Stealing All Transmissions: A Secret History of The Clash. He matches an affection for what was pitched as “the only band that matters” with a professor’s determination to apply theory and scholarship about popular culture to the band’s American impact.

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