SUNDAY, DECEMBER 22, 2013
Joe Strummer “Punk rock warlord”
Throughout life, I had three idols; my father, Bret “Hit Man” Hart and “Punk Rock Warlord” Joe Strummer. The Clash front man is my all time favourite artist/musician. Joe inspired me to question authority and to get involved in my community and to stand up for those being stood on by the powerful and oppressive. But above all else, Joe Strummer made great fucking music.
The Clash and Strummer captured the frustrations and anger of millions and converted that into an unpolished audio riot for the unheard. As the group got better, they kept the raw energy, do-it-yourself work ethic and the accessibility that drew so many young music listeners and working class people to “the only band that matters”. The Clash added influences from the American South (Blues), Jamaica (ska/dub/reggae), New York City (hip hop) and anything they could get their hands on. While some fans resisted and thought The Clash was through, history proved the experimental risk-taking by Strummer, Jones, Simonon & Topper cemented their status of not just a great punk band, but also one of the greatest all-around bands to ever exist. But talent and hard work were not enough to keep the band together, as internal problems and drug addiction caused the Clash to fall apart.
Strummer would go through a lot of soul searching and took gigs as an actor and would work on tracks for movies. Eventually Joe would catch lightning in a bottle once again, as he formed his newest band “The Mescaleros”. Before Joe’s tragic death on December 22, 2013, Joe was still fighting for unions and shaking things up. And he did just enough with the Mescaleros to make Strummer fans wonder what might have been had the band continued to evolve. Then there was the possibility of a reunion with The Clash, sparked by the Acton Town Hall Firefighters Benefit headlined by Joe Strummer and The Mescaleros by bringing Mick Jones on stage to play a few songs with Strummer’s new band, while also (paraphrasing) giving a shout out to those other two cunts in The Clash (Topper Headon and Paul Simonon), he meant that as a compliment, by the way.
One of my biggest regret in life was never being able to see The Clash or Joe Strummer and The Mescaleros perform live. While seeing The Clash was impossible for me (without a time machine) if I put more effort into it, I could have seen Joe and The Mescaleros live. I sincerely miss Joe, and I listen to his music several times a week.