"Never Turned Rebellion Into
JOE STRUMMER - Tribute
(21. August 1952 – 22. Dezember 2002)
Die Zeit war einfach zu knapp gewesen, um in der letzten Ausgabe entsprechend
auf den unerwarteten Tod von Joe Strummer zu reagieren.
Ich erfuhr es uebrigens, wie einst bei Joey Ramone Ostern 2001, per Telefon durch Roman Romero, der von nun an den unglueckseligen Titel des „Hiobsbotschaften-Punk“ fuer mich traegt.
Als der Hoerer schellte standen Karin und ich schon mit einem Bein in der Tuer, um noch einige Besorgungen fuer die Feiertage zu taetigen. Nach unserem kurzen Weihnachtseinkauf sass ich dann geschlagene drei Stunden im Wohnzimmer voellig apathisch auf der Couch und zappte die TV-Kanaele rauf- und runter. Zu dem Zeitpunkt konnte ich es einfach nicht fassen.
Joe´s Tod hat mich deutlich mehr beruehrt als der von Joey oder Dee Dee. Weil die Umstaende halt ganz andere waren. Joey war von Geburt an sehr krank gewesen und bei Dee Dee war es nur eine Frage der Zeit, wann die Ueberdosis faellig wird.
Bei Joe lagen die Dinge anders. Er hatte vor Jahren dem Stadtleben den Ruecken gekehrt und war raus aufs Land gezogen. Er erfreute sich dort, laut Paul Simonon, allerbester Gesundheit.
1999 kehrte Joe mit seiner neuen Band, the Mescaleros, auf die Bildflaeche zurueck. Ganz langsam, aber mit stetig steigendem Interesse nahmen ihn die Aelteren sowie die nachrueckende Musikjournalisten-Riege weltweit mit offenen Armen auf und liessen sich von seiner authentischen Art Musik zu machen mitreissen.
Bis kurz vor seinem Tod war Joe Strummer allgegenwaertig. Er reiste rund um den Globus und war in jeder grossen Stadt der Welt zu Hause. Ueberall traf er auf begeisterte Zustimmung.
Es gibt im Musikerleben nichts was anstrengender ist, als auf Tour zu sein. Oft genug hoerte man durch die Presse, das nach den Auftritten nur noch Joe Strummer von seiner Band bei den Aftershow Partys anzutreffen war. Als er in New York im April 2002 in einer Woche an die fuenf Konzerte in einem neu eroeffneten Club gab, sah er auf so vielen „Aftershow“-Fotos sehr erschoepft aus. Ich denke, er ging immer bis zu seiner Grenze, ungeachtet der Tatsache, das er mit einem angeborenen Herzfehler auf die Welt gekommen war. Vielleicht haette er in so manchen Situationen einfach kuerzer treten sollen. Doch er war eben kein Musiker fuer halbe Sachen. Er zog sein Ding immer voellig straight durch.
Als ich ihn nach so vielen Jahren im Fernseh beim „Rockpalast“-Interview wieder zu Gesicht bekam, konnte ich es kaum glauben. Er hatte immer noch diese magische Ausstrahlung. Diesen absoluten Spirit, eine Kaempfermentalitaet. Ein stets waches Auge. Joe Strummer, immer auf dem Sprung.
Es tat so verdammt gut, ihn nach der Zeit mit the Clash noch mal richtig rocken zu sehen. Er bekam die laengst faellige Anerkennung und gut das er das in den letzten Jahren noch so ausfuehrlich erleben und geniessen konnte. Von Bitterkeit keine Spur.
Uns bleibt nur die traurige Gewissheit, die uns schon 1994 Michael Monroe und seine damalige Band Demolition 23, in Gedenken an so viele verstorbene Freunde, wie Stiv Bator und Johnny Thunders wissen gelassen hat: „And The Scum Lives On“.....
Mitte Februar machte ich mich daran, vorwiegend Musiker zu kontaktieren, die einen aehnlichen Bezug, wie ich, zu Joe Strummer und den Clash hatten. Vielen Dank an alle, die mir geantwortet haben.
Ich stellte die drei Frage die ich schon in der No. 22 nach Joey Ramone´s Tod gestellt hatte. Ein schlechter Treppenwitz, aber ich denke, so koennt ihr am besten nachhalten, welche Auswirkungen Joe Strummer auf die fruehe sowie spaetere Entwicklung des Punk Rock ausgeuebt hat.
Es gab, gibt und wird wahrscheinlich auch niemals mehr eine Band und ihre damit verbundenen Persoenlichkeiten geben, ueber die ich so gerne berichtet bzw. spekuliert habe. Die Clash und zuletzt natuerlich Joe Strummer´s neue Band, the Mescaleros, gaben immer wieder genuegend Anlass, etwas neues Aufregendes ueber sie zu schreiben.
Nun fehlt etwas. Etwas Gewaltiges! Etwas absolut Einzigartiges! Mit Joe Strummer ist einer der letzten wirklichen Helden fuer immer von uns gegangen. Er war das Salz in der Suppe. Er brachte uns auf den Geschmack.
You´re Always In My mind. Stay Free Joe! RALF REAL SHOCK (29. April 2003)
A: How did you feel when you first
heard Joe Strummer had passed away?
B: What influence did The Clash have on you?
C: Tell us about the first time you saw The Clash and maybe the last time you saw Joe´s new band, the Mescaleros.
Jay Milette ( the BLACK
HALOS / Guitar, Vancouver )
A: I thought it was a damn shame. So many of the old punks are passing away nowadays it's just sad.
B: The Clash actually didn't have much of an influence on me but I certainly did appreciate what they were doing and I like so many others, do have their records and still listen to them now and again.
C: I never had a chance to see Joe Strummer play in any of his bands.
John Esplen ( „OVERGROUND RECORDS”, Newcastle Upon Tyne )
A: Sad and surprised. He still looked great and I thought he'd live to a very old age.
B: None directly. I thought the first album was superb, hated Give 'Em Enough Rope, enjoyed London Calling, found Sandanista boring and Combat Rock okay. They were to me always a better singles band than an album band.
C: It was live on a TV show. They had more energy than any other band I'd seen and visually looked awesome. I was no fan of The Mescaleros.
Tim ( „PUNK AID”-PROMOTER, London )
A: I got a phone call from a friend and then one from Mark P. I was gutted as I knew him well and was close for around 5 years while he was in London. I cannot say that I was in tears but I felt empty as someone has gone forever that I knew and talked too drank tea with had a beer with. But also someone who I looked up to as a 17 year old in 77-78 thinking that both I and the band and all punks can take on the world.
B: Well the influence was limitless really as I knew him personally for a short time, it was as a genuine man with heart but also as a musician who exuded strength in belief and rights of the individual. He was really into his music and fans, thats something that I think the new punk scene in eastern europe has still yet to learn. It has been an influence to see many fans see the Sex Pistols wear the crown and the Expoited in later years in many countrys without the fans fully understanding the punk scene. But I think now that many punks will learn more about the Clash and Joe and see a bigger picture and learn from it.
C: The first time I saw the Clash was in Tiffanys Ballroom in South London and I was gobsmaked the only thing you could spike your hair with then was Fairy Liquid. They were high octane and let the audience have it. The last time I saw Joe and his new band was a special tribute to him from the Q magazine down at the 100 club which me and Mark P were running at the time. It was amazing seeing many old faces from the clash days. However, there was a lot of industry people there that kept talking through his set, so then he started to play Clash hits and the audience went wild. I think that maybe it was destiny that the Clash would get back together in the end, but sadly that now will never happen. I think that the Punk world has lost an idol but I think the whole music scene will miss him and its down to the punk scene to keep the spirit alive forever.
Bob „Derwood” Andrews ( GENERATION X / Guitar, Los Angeles )
“Obviously the news was a real shock (no pun intended).
The Clash was always a band to look up to, both live and on record. They deservedly lasted the longest out of all the British punk bands, 'cause they had the most to say, musically.
From what I knew of Joe, he was a rare breed of intelligence and angst, and a good laugh.”
Marcus Howells ( FOREIGN LEGION / Lead Vocals, South Wales )
„When we heard about Joe´s death, we were all so fucking sick. Having played support to him and we met him only four weeks before he dies so sad.
We formed a band, because of the Clash. The Clash opened the door for us. You wil never get a band like that again. We were lucky to have seen the Clash in febuary 1980. The last time we seen Joe playing was november 16th 2003.”
Patrick Boissel ( „BOMP! RECORDS”, Los Angeles )
A: I felt a lot of sadness. Joe Strummer was an artist that I truly admired for his music, ideas and integrity. One of the few real heroes of punk, as far I am concerned.
B: By combining all sorts of musical influences from all the corners of the world, they changed rock'n'roll for ever, their music is truly revolutionary in that aspect. Their message was of universality. For a short period of time the Clash were the best rock'n'roll band in the world and as such they became part of my upbringing. Difficult to say to what extend they changed my life. They surely had a major impact.
C: The one particular show that I remember was in Barcelona, Spain, at the start of their European tour for "Sandinista". They opened with "London Calling", and immediately the audience started singing along. Instant power. Fuck, it was a great moment, London was calling us and the Clash were our heroes! I will cherish this feeling of hope and power for the rest of my life. It was real rock'n'roll.
Jonny Napalm ( NAPALM STARS / Drums, New York )
„I felt terrible when I heard about Joe Strummer because I never had a chance to see The Clash and I never saw The Mescaleros. I did, however, grow up listening to London Calling and it had a huge influence on me as a music lover and of course later on, as a musician.
When I heard all of the other Clash albums growing up, I was blown away. This was a band that never compromised their music one bit and at the same time they were able to mix many styles of music together in a way that seemed effortless. The Clash were also a band that was able to change and grow musically with each album, but without ever losing their incredible edge and punk rock ideals. Of course, Joe Strummer was a pillar of The Clash and to punk rock music in general. We will miss him dearly....”
Craig ( the FORGOTTEN / Guitar, San Francisco )
A: I was absolutely devastated. I felt the world lost one its greatest minds. Few have been able to infuse politics in music like Joe Strummer and The Clash. Joe was a hero and a role model to me, he played music with a passion unparalleled by anyone I've ever seen. He played from the heart and soul and changed the world of music forever.
B: The Clash completely changed my perception of music and songwriting, and they still do to this day. Black Market Clash is years ahead of everyone. I wouldn't be playing in a punk band if I never heard The Clash's first record. It was one of the first punk records I ever bought, I got it on tape along with Stiff Little Fingers' Inflammable Material. Those two records changed me forever.
C: I never saw the Clash, I'm only 24. But I did get a chance to see the Mescaleros once in Hollywood at the Troubador. They were brilliant. I got to meet Joe breifly. He was really humble and kind. I've never been at such a loss for words as when I shook his hand. All I could say was "Thanks." He signed my drivers liscense too, I couldn't find anything else.
Brian Young ( RUDI + the SABREJETS / Guitar + Vocals, Belfast )
A: Absolutely gutted - what hit me most was, that it was so unexpected - sure when my all time numero uno Johnny Thunders bit the dust it was kinda expected (but still heartbreakingly sad) but Joe was the fit and healthy member of the Clash and I guess I just expected him to go on for ever. (he ran marathons fer chrissakes!) I thought Topper woulda croaked years back but Joe - no way! Especially coming as it did at Xmas it hit home hard - though I was amazed at sheer scale of the the outpouring of grief for him - showed just how much he was loved. Weirdly I was stunned when Mickey Finn died shortly after and didn't even get a mention in our local paper - which broke my heart.
B: First up I'll come clean - I loved Joe Strummer and looked up to him as one of the true believers - but I didn't rate anything he did after he ditched Jones from the Clash. The Tour they did without Mick was a dreadful embarassment and none of the records he released after Combat rock did anything for me. The mescaleros were a terrible half hearted cash in - and the only time I saw them live they were embarrasingly lame - hamfistedly stumbling through a tedious set of useless new stuff in front of an audience of braindead teens who only came alive every time they botched up another Clash classic. Showband hell! Sure Joe tried his best but his band were totally uncharismatic bland and lifeless and it looked like he knew it too! Yet Joe still inspired me as he truly believed in rock n roll..still pouring it all out on stage - like his life depended on it - and it probably did! It was as a live performer that he shone - I never saw a better frontman ever - and though I only met him a few times he was a real nice down to earth guy who really cared about the fans and believed 110% in what he was doing...(unlike almost every other UK/US punk star I met - and I met em all! They were all lameass wanna be rawkstar bigheaded hypocrites to a man - or woman! Scumbags all of em!)
Joe just burned with righteous anger and made you wanna pick up a guitar and do it yourself - and millions did! Sure he always opened his mouth before putting his brain in gear (he talked absolute rubbish about N Ireland for example - but that didn't make me like him any less! And at least he wasn't afraid to talk about it or come here!) And sure the Clash were major label drug snortin limo ridin expense account stones wannabees to a man - but Joe just had an honesty that ya couldn't fake. Without him the Clash woulda been just another rock n roll band with some good tunes - but with him they were something much much bigger..And the fact that they fucked up mare times than they actually succeeded still didn't stop em trying - and it made them more human too!
I was SO pleased they never reformed.
C: Most important Clash gig here in Belfast was the time they never got to play in October 77 when the insurance was pulled and the Ulster hall gig was cancelled at the last minute. Everybody there was angry that the gig was called off but the cops over reacted and started lashing into the crowd - most of whom were young teenagers!
I was in RUDI - the first punk band here in Belfast at the time and I wrote the song 'Cops' about that one incident and it became the best known Ulster punk song ever. The real significance was that where there had once been only a handful of punks here this gig had brought everybody out into the open and a lot of friendships blossomed and bands were formed and punk here exploded! Even heavy metal band Highway Star realized it was time to cut their hair and become a K Tel punk band for the cash! Typically Strummer and co stayed in the plushest hotel in Belfast - which they described as 'the most bombed' - conveniently also forgetting to mention it was the most luxurious hotel in the country! But they did bring us into the hotel and spent ages signing stuff and chatting to fans. Strummer was the friendliest of em and most interesed in what was happening here. My pal Wee Gordy stayed that night on his floor and used to ring up rehearsal rehearsals any chance he could just to chat to the band and he remained on Joe's guest lists for years!. (when we moved to london in 78 we used rehearsal rehearsals to get washed in and cleaned up when we were still living rough in our van) Next day the band got their pictures taken at the barricades here for the UK press which was a cynical exploitative piece of work and really angered people here who saw it as a cheap publicity stunt - but despite that I was just glad that at least they had dared to try and come and play here - the only other bands who had dared visit here were Dr feelgood and Eddie And The Hotrods - and both of those bands had earned our respect for visiting here - ALL the other UK bands were plain chicken - so much for those tough punk rockers huh! better still they did keep their promise to come back and play that december and that gig is one of the best I ever saw - though it was spoiled by the idiots who got up to singalonga 'White Riot' with the band at the end!..yep I was one of 'em!
Out of all the UK bands the Clash were and are my all time faves - probably as they were they ones most rooted in the rock n roll stuff I idolise/d. They always had by far the best songs and had that Johansen/Thunders thing off pat. Too many of the other punk bands were just hard rock bands with haircuts. Plus they always looked the coolest -( not half as cool as thunders heartbreakers who were the best rock n roll band ever - but pretty damn close!) And they weren't afraid to play with bands I dug like Whirlwind, the Cramps and Bo Diddley. Though for a band who dressed like rockabillies and posed every single second of the day (like all the greats!) they had very few actual rockabilly songs - We (The Sabrejets - Belfast's greaser kings!) just recorded 'Train In Vain' for the upcoming Clash Tribute Cd 'This Is Rockabilly Clash' on Raucous Records - and we had real trouble finding a song we could do rockabilly style!
Hope that's enough - I still judge any band today on whether or not the singers leg is pumpin' like Joe's did!
If it is then they mean it - if it isn't then forget about 'em - they're fakin' it!!
Take it easy greasy!
Dave Philp ( the AUTOMATICS / Vocals, Los Angeles )
„Its funny how when people die you forget and forgive so much. You forget the middle age spread and the receeding hairline and you remember how they were when they were young. You forget "Sandanistas" and remember "London Calling". You forget "The only band that matters" and remember only that they did matter.
They mattered because they lead the way out of "thrash" punk into a more rounded and interesting kind of punk.
I was actually in London when Joe died and all I could think of was his daughters presents sitting under the tree that would never be opened. I'm morbid like that. I was going to see him at his Troubador gig in Los Angeles a short time before he died, but life in the fast lane swept me off somewhere else and that pisses me of too. I would have loved to see him with the Mescaleros.”
David Pedroza ( the PUT-ONS / Guitar + Lead Vocals, Los Angeles )
A: I was sincerely bummed out. I immediately thought, “Wow, we'll never see a Clash reunion for sure.”
B: The Clash was probably the most important factor to play punk rock music during the early 80's. Still to this day if I ever get a creative block or feeling uninspired, I will play the Clash and instantly get motivated to make new music.
C: The first time I saw the Clash was during the “Combat Rock Tour” at the “Paladium” in Hollywood, California. That was probably 1982. It was a great gig. The Clash were so full of energy and the stage presense was amazing. I remember they were raw and kinda sloppy sounding, the sound was extra loud and raunchy. It was cool that such a popular band with so many successful recordings could still retain that garage band quality. I never saw the Mescaleros, I heard the release a couple times, but was not moved. The only cool thing was Joe's voice. My musical heart is dedicated to the Clash.
Rebecca Pollard ( PUNK & Oi! IN THE U.K. / punkoiuk.co.uk )
A: Sad, it is always sad when someone dies especially when it seems too early in life.
B: I am a big fan of most of the The Clash, the Clash album, and you can hear their influence all over the place even today. Personally they helped seal my love for punk. They did a lot of great songs, and also a lot I find totally boring. They certainly contributed to punk, but I am not too keen where they ended up just before the Clash split.
C: I never saw the Clash, but I did see the Mescaleros a couple of years' ago. The gig was both better and worse then what I expected. They did a bigger and better of range of Clash songs then what I expected, but obviously they were not the Clash and that is who I really would have liked to see.
Vom Ritchie ( die TOTEN HOSEN / Drummer, Duesseldorf )
A: I couldn't believe it at first as it was so unexpected, and it took a few days to really sink in. This day was a tragic loss to punk rock and music in general and especially to those who knew him personally. There will never be another Joe Strummer.
B: The Clash had a massive influence on me. Totally inspiring. When I play “Complete Control”, which I do often, it still sends shivers up my spine. What a song. I mean there's so many great songs which bring back so many memories it would take forever to write it all down here. Joe Strummer and the Clash were responsible for so many good times and if ever I felt down all I had to do was put on a Clash record and everything seemed ok again.
C: Unfortunately I never got to see the Clash and in recent years, never saw the Mescaleros which is tragic, as I loved both bands dearly. It was always the case that either something always came up on the same day, or it was sold out, or I thought, “oh I'll go see them next next time", but it never happened. Sad.
John Robb ( GOLD BLADE / Vocals + Guitar, Blackpool )
A: It was the worst day in rock n roll. It was sad when Cobain and Lennon died, but they never meant as much on so many different levels as Joe Strummer. Not only a brilliant musician, great singer and cool fucker - Strummer put the politics into rock n roll and made politics sexy - nearly all the anti globalistion to the firemans strike to anyone who believes in a better world can be traced back to The Clash - without Strummer punk would have just been about nihilism and we needed more than that.
B: I grew up with punk rock and The Clash - all those bands made me feel less lonely in the world and their energy was utterly inspirational - it made you believe that rock n roll could be a force for good.
C: I grew up in Blackpool so the chances of seeing any punk band was severley limited. At 15 I was the oldest punk town so no-one could travel anywhere! But we did make it done to Birmingham to see The Clash. A teacher from out school was persuaded into giving us a lift down there and it was an amazing inspirational rush. I saw the Mescaleros several times. Joe still had it and those two albums he released were a great synthesis of all his worldwide rebel rock influences. His voice could make anything work. The last time I saw them was last year at Brixton. It was great night. The band was really firing. Mick Jones was down the front loving it and the party after show was full of old school Clash faces with a great reggae soundtrack. An awesome old school punk rock night!
TV Smith ( the ADVERTS / Vocals, London )
A: Very sad to see another one of the good ones gone. He was one of the last of the original punk rockers who was still doing something creative in music.
B: They were one of the bands that proved you can sing about politics and the real world, and still be exciting.
C: Gaye and I used to go and see the Clash quite a lot in the late '70s. They hardly ever played the Roxy, so we often ended up seeing them in unusual venues - a disused cinema in Harsledon in North London, for example, or “Fulham Town Hall” in West London, neither of them normal music venues. The last time the Mescaleros played, Campino was in London so we went to see them at the “Astoria”. It was a terrific show - I hadn't seen Joe play since the Clash days and didn't know what to expect, but he was in top form, playing a great mixture of Clash and Mescaleros songs.
Dave ( ABRASIVE WHEELS / Guitar, England )
A: When I heard the news Joe Strummer was dead, I couldn’t believe it, a man who had so much influence on Abrasive Wheels, and now he was dead. It’s not something you would expect from some one so young.
B + C: The first time I saw the Clash was in Leeds (England) about 1977/1978, myself and Shonna went, we were about 16 at the time. We were both amazed. The band had such power combined with fantastic tunes and melodies. Those melodies had a great influence on the way we wrote our songs and the way we write them today. When you saw The Clash live, they always put on a fantastic show, they gave 100% on stage and again this is something that we try to achieve with our live performances. Joe Strummer and the lyrics of the Clash had so much meaning. You could relate to every song.
Kerry Martinez ( U.S. BOMBS / Guitar, New York )
A: I got a call from Howie Pyro (Ex-D Generation) Sunday night. He was askin´ if I heard anything about Strummers death. I said no, and that it was propably a rumor. The next day it was true. My first thought was disbelief, shock then sadness. First it was Joey, then Dee Dee, my mom and then Joe. Like my heroes riddin´ into the sunset for the last time.
B: I had been hearing about the Clash through fanzines (when it was hard to get punk records) and even “Cream Magazine!” ha,ha..., back when they had a clue about music! Ha,ha. Then I heard them, I thought they were like musical terrorists, radicals, pressing there points with machine gun guitars and nuclear verbels. Torturing the masses of disco, urban cowboy and woodstock burnouts. There slogans, there look, there way Joe mixed politics and the bible! Wow! What really stood out to me was how well aranged and musical they were, the split vocals, back up melodies everything! Without the Clash, there would be no U.S. Bombs or alot of other bands that are out there, ya know? I think I can honestly say, there´s a little bit of Joe in all of us.
C: The first time I saw the Clash was at the Santa Monica “Civic Center” in Los Angeles. I think it was 1979. A friend had given me and my mate Danny a vile of liquid l.S.D. in art class. She was fed up with her drug dealer boy friend. Anyway, we didn´t have a dropper, so we tilted the vile back and tapped the drops out on to our tounges. On our way to the gig, in a red maverick, we hit a bump in the road and Danny drank about half the vile of acid!!! When we arrived, Lee Dorsey was playing. The Clash actually came out and played some songs with him. Then the Clash came out!!! Loud and lively with “Clash City Rockers” right into “Brand New Cadallic”!!! They were fucking amazing!!! I remember everyone in the place was dancing, I mean dancing like 50s style dancing. In the front of the stage was an army of rockers jumping up and down, pogoing in unison!!! I seriously thought the floor was gonna break!!! It was that electric! As for Danny, well we had to hide him from his parents for a few days.
I feel privileged to have seen every line up of the Clash and the first U.S. Mescaleros show in New York. That night there was a party at Jessie Malin´s bar. Everyone was crowded around Joe a bit to much. I wanted to meet him, but didn´t wanna bother him. I saw my opportunity and said behind a shoving crowd. “Hey Joe...thanks for all the great music you´ve given us over the years, you´ve truly been an inspiration and influence to me and my band. He looked at me almost with tears in his eyes and said: “Thank you, thank you….”
Thanx Joe, elevator goin up!!!
Mike Rossi ( SLAUGHTER & THE DOGS / Guitar, Los Angeles )
A: Complete shock, disbelief and devastated of course. He was still a young man.
B: I think the Clash influenced just about everybody. You couldn't help but sock up the rawness of the band and their sound.
C: The first time I saw the Clash was in Manchester circa 1976 at a place called “The Electric Circus”; sharing the bill was the Pistols and Johnny Thunders. It was a fantastic night. You have to remember this was pre-punk explosion. My band Slaughter And The Dogs had already played with the Pistols some two months earlier in Manchester. You just knew something great was about to explode.
The last time I saw Joe was in London in a club called “The Limelight”. I was with Tony James from Generation X. It was several years ago, we all hung out and had a good laugh. Joe will be sadly missed.
Mike Magrann ( CHANNEL 3 / Guitar + Vocals, Los Angeles )
A: It was like a faceful of cold water when I heard the news. That night, we all went down to the “House of Blues” (this, a giant corporate nightclub in Disneyland!) to see Social Distortion, and Mike Ness opened the show with church organs backing him on a slow version of "When The Angels Sing". There was a collective sigh, and then the tears started flowing!
B: For better or worse, we've always been called on about our Clash influences. When you hear music that powerful, and it actually touches you to the point that you will pick up a guitar to express yourself, then you naturally want to sound like your heroes!
C: I had just caught Joe and the Mescaleros on the East Coast, where he'd done a week of shows in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge. The combination of new tunes plus the rejuvenated Clash favorites made it my favorite show in a decade.....
I first saw the Clash on the Combat Rock tour, and I can still remember when the lights went low, and Joe stood alone in the spotlight, singing "Straight to Hell”.
The hairs on my arm are standing up in chill as I write this, even today.
Daniel J. Travanti ( the BRIEFS / Guitar + Vocals, Seattle )
A: I was completely shocked....I mean fuck, I really didn't see that one coming. Keith Richards is still alive and Joe Strummers dead...go figure.
B: That first Clash LP was the second punker record I'd ever heard, right after the Pistols. Like alot of people, it was those two bands that pretty much got me into Punk. Also, the first time I ever had sex "London Calling" was playing in the background. I'm not sure how much that had to do with it, but either way I'm extremely thankful.
C: The only time I ever had a chance to see the Clash was when they came through Seattle with the Who. It was maybe 1982 or ´83 and I was a little kid. They were playing a place called the Kingdome which was this huge sports arena and tickets were really expensive, especially for back then. That same night the band X (from L.A.) was playing this club show and I went to that instead, thinking I'll make the Clash next time around. I've since seen X numerous occasions throughout my life but I never had another opportunity to see the Clash, a mistake I'll always regret.
Tommy Napalm ( NAPALM STARS / Bass + Vocals, New York )
A: Well...it's kinda hard to explain. It felt alot like when I heard Joey Ramone died. A big empty feeling. Knowing you'll never get the chance to see him play again. I was quite sad. I don't think it really hit me until we were playing a Clash/Joe Strummer tribute and
I got up on stage and saw the back drop, a picture of Joe from atop the Chrystler building pretending to give "the finger" using the World Trade Towers as his middle finger. I got real choked up.
B: The Clash's influence on me started back in high school (circa 1982). I saw them play with The Who and from that point on I knew this band was going to be my favorite. I wore a Clash t-shirt at least 3 days a week. After finding out that Paul Simonon was a
self-taught bass player, I decided to give it a try myself and formed a band with close friends. And I'm still playing punk rock today.
C: The first time I saw the Clash was in 1982. The were opeing for the Who. I thought the Clash was way better! I was 15 years old and my life was changed forever. I saw them again in 1984 (after Mick Jones had quit). They still put on a great show!
Unfortunately I never had the opprtunity to see The Mascaleros. I always told myself that I would be able to see them "next time they're in town", and now that opportunity has passed forever. I'm really bummed about it.
Dizzy ( „DETOUR RECORDS” Midhurst, West Sussex )
A: Very sad as another one of my heroes from my youth has passed away!
B: The Clash played a very important part in my early life - their first album never left my deck!
C: The first time I actually saw the Clash was on the "Out of Control" tour and they just blew me away! Sadly, I never got to see the "Mescaleros".
Sterling ( BLADDER BLADDER BLADDER / Guitar, Los Angeles )
A: I had a couple of calls VERY EARLY in the morning to tell me and a lot of emails and phone calls from people I hadn't spoken to for years. It was a very big deal for me and a lot of the people I know/knew. I first felt shocked because I had assumed that the Clash would be re-forming for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame thing, especially after Mick Jones got up on stage with Joe back in November. It seemed like the start of something…….
I got maudlin and sad, thinking about his kids, how could someone so young (comparatively) die so young - then I remembered how much he smoked. I put a little RIP reminisce on the Bladder page.
B: An immense influence, obvious to any one that knows me, or knew me back then. My friends and I used to know every scene, every word of Rude Boy off by heart; every little comment and quip from "The Clash: Before and After" book - That book dictated how I and a lot of my friends dressed for most of the 80s !! Every Saturday afternoon we'd go down the King's Road, stand outside the pub getting drunk and then go buying clothes and creepers at Johnson's and Robot. As the years passed, it became harder to find the clothes of course. A pity I didn't spend as much time working on music back then!! And all my songs are obvious Clash re-treads - certainly the ones that are any good at all anyway.
C: The first and last time I saw the Mescaleros I thought they were OK. I don't want to sound like a prick but if you saw the Clash in their heyday, then why would you want to see the Mescaleros ? I don't think their "rock" songs were very good but some of their ballad type numbers and non-rock ones were OK. I think the "Black Hawk Down" version of "Minstrel Boy" is as good as anything the Clash ever did.
I was lucky enough to meet Joe Strummer once, at the end of the 80s. I was rehearsing with some guy who'd been in one of the early English punk bands at a studio in Royal Oak; under the shadow of the tower block where Strummer and Jones wrote London's Burning. My band mate was out in the corridor and I heard him talking to someone he called "Joe." He invited "Joe" in to meet his band and it was Joe Strummer !!! I remember he was really tall and he really talked like he did in Rude Boy. He kicked the wall with his big black harness boots as he spoke. I don't recall speaking to him, I was so nervous. I must have said "Hello" at least. I met him out in the corridor later. I wonder now what he thought of me right then: a walking "Clash tribute" with the cheap leather jacket, cheap engineer boots, DOG TAGS !!! The works. But he smiled and nodded to me. I phoned everyone I knew as soon as I got home.
Andy Lealand ( the PARTISANS / Guitar + Vocals, Stockholm )
A: The news of Joe´s death came as a total shock, as stupid and pathetic as it might sound it actually brought a tear to my eye, maybe not so much in the later years but very much in my younger days Joe Strummer was like the `dad I never had`. It was pretty weird I was on holiday in my native UK, when it actually came on the BBC news at Six, which was so weird, that they actually cared to broadcast the fact made it all the more weird. Didn´t really know if it was a good thing or not, Joe Strummer on the news at 6, and because he was dead, I guess him dying before his number was up has given him legend status now. My first thought was that he must of overdosed on something, but the contacts I have who know Joe Personally have all said that he was pretty clean and living a healthy life, maybe thats what did him in, the clean life like. I dunno, maybe its not for everybody. I will miss him thats for sure.
B: Out of all the punk bands ever, the Clash along with the Sex Pistols have been the only real influence, I dont think I would have got into it as much as I did without them.
The Clash were always a tad more interesting the Sex Pistols, Strummer was actually singing about some sensible if not relevant issues, especially for someone in my age just leaving school and with the threat of unemployment and career opportunities etc, not only that they got me listening to Reggae and Rockabilly, they were just so open to experimenting, even if it didn´t work all of the time.
I am a musician and maybe I look at a band differently to someone who isn´t. Most kids who dont play themselves just love to talk shit about bands that can play their instruments. The Clash were obviously one of those bands. I remember back in 78 when they released “Give ´em Enough Rope”, it was like everybody hated them. I was like thinking wow, bassline in “Stay Free” was awsome, “Tommy Gun” was the best I had ever heard Toppers drumming, just like a machine gun ´ckin brill, the harmonies between Joe and Mick are like amazing, there are not many punk bands if any that have come close to that level of musicianship. Ok accepted that punk was not supposed to be about playing your instruments, and not about becoming rock stars, the Clash did this, and to be honest I really haven´t the time or energy to concentrate on their hypocrisy, the clues are there in their music they were honest about it if you listen carefully "Cheapskates" to get to the point. "Drug Stabbing Time", it was no secret that they were living it up and enjoying their success. Also check out the lyrics on “All The Young Punks”. The Clash were always about what they labeled postive punk, moving forward and not staying static, staying static is something you certainly can´t accuse the Clash of. So lets just agree that they did what they set out to do. They were destined to be great and somehow everyone wanted them to be stuck in the shit along with the rest of the punk movement, just complaining about rotten jobs and dirty citys and world wars and all the other cliches that punk has inherited.
They were honest enough not to sing about that when they had made it. It was no longer relevant to them, they had made it out of the shit, the shit that 99% of the working class live on a daily basis, and to be honest with you anyone who says that they dont want to make it or escape from the shit of being unemployed or having shit employment is a total fucking liar, either that or a little stupid.
NO ONE SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF THEIR OWN SUCCESS !!!!! THE PROBLEM WITH THE PUNK MOVEMENT IS THAT ITS FULL OF BACKSTABBERS !!!!
C: The Clash were infact the very first band I saw, must have been 78 too. Nnever seen anything like it since, the Slits were supporting, it was just like a battlefield, so much energy, they were really going for it, all of them, Joe generated so much electricity, he could have supplied the whole of New York for a year with it.
You never knew who to stare at, they all had so much stage presence, it was just mind blowing. I never got to see the Mescaleros, although I did see a video clip of them live, and well it was a little shocking, in a negative way. They were doing a cover of “Tommy Gun”. Joe just couldn´t hit the notes, and he was pissed out of his head, forgetting the words and stuff plus a little over weight, not the way I want to remember my dad. They say like father like son, I guess it will be or even is similar to my story, but without the legend bit, Lealand the old has been te he. It does feel a little like that bah.
Phil Hendriks ( the STIFFS / Guitar + Vocals, Lincolnshire )
A: I thought it was a great shame for the music world ,as well as his family, that Joe Strummer died at such a relatively young age. Like many people, I`d always hoped that maybe The Clash would re-unite and make one more great album.
B: The Clash had a big influence on The Stiffs sound. They showed us that you could make aggressive music AND still have great melodies. Our drummer, Tommy O`Kane`s hero was Topper Headon!
C: I personally saw the Clash in concert 3 times, as far as I can recall.
One time was on the 'Give `em enough rope' tour I think, `cos I seem to remember they opened up with 'Safe European Home' and the atmosphere was electric, despite the awful sound in Blackburn, King George`s Hall. They were joined by Steve Jones for the encore on one of the shows I saw. The Clash AND Steve Jones was a major event in our small town, I can assure you.
The last time I saw either Strummer or The Clash was on the 'Cut the crap' tour......as far as I can remember they did a great show even if Mick Jones was missing from the line-up. Strummer ALWAYS delivered the goods on stage! God bless him.
Tony Lindstedt ( the PITS / Guitar, Sunderland )
„I would imagine the vast majority of tributes to Joe Strummer will come from punks who were there in 1977/78, can still remember hearing “White Riot” for the first time, or seeing them live for the first time etc. Well. I was 8 in 1977 and if someone had asked me if I liked The Clash in 77 I probably would have replied ‘Fuck off I’m playing with my skateboard’.
Fast forward six years to 1984 and there’s a spotty 14 year old watching ‘The Old Grey Whistle Test’. The video classic for that week was by a band called The Clash. The song, ‘I Fought The Law’. It completely blew me away. Four blokes in leather bike jackets hurling themselves around a stage, flags fluttering behind them. You could almost feel the energy coming through the screen. I needed this music in my life, there was absolutely nothing else about. I began to hang around with lads that were a few years older than me and it dawned on me that the one thing that these lads had in common was total respect for this band ‘The Clash’.
The next footage I saw of them was “Police And Thieves”. Somebody informed me it was a cover of an old reggae song which I found so difficult to believe because The Clash had made it totally their own. How could a band who came from the beginnings of punk (a genre still labelled with non musicianship) play reggae that comfortably? I bought a copy of “Combat Rock” and despite the criticisms I’ve heard since that its The Clash’ worst album , I thought it was a great album and still do. I bought all the other albums and became a life long fan. “White Man At Hammersmith”, “Complete Control”, “Janie Jones”, “London Calling”, “Guns Of Brixton”.... the list of truly great songs is endless really.
The word that springs to mind when I think of The Clash now is still the same as it was then... chemistry. The Clash had it in abundance. They had the perfect balance of hate, aggression, war and tunes and left other bands floundering. They also had the attitude, a belief that what they were doing was totally right, a belief that millions of kids tapped into (and still are to this day.) I know people will claim that Joe Strummers solo projects and Big Audio Dynamite were equally as successful but to me it began and ended with The Clash. And I know this is supposed to be a tribute to Joe Strummer but when Joe died at Christmas, the chance of ever seeing the greatest punk rock band of all time, for one last time, died with him.”
R.I.P Joe Strummer
R.I.P The Clash
Tim Napalm ( NAPALM STARS / Vocals + Guitar, New York )
A: I felt like someone had taken a rusty saw and a pair of pliers, ripped me open, yanked my guts, and left me with the wound still gaping. I wanted to call in sick to work, play "Groovy Times" loudly and repeatedly, and resume my long dormant career in alcoholism. Joe Strummer was no ordinary rock star, nor was his either a stupid rock death or the heroes' demise Clash mythology would have dictated. Meantime, villains unfit to wipe Strummer's ass - and I mean anyone from G.W. Bush to Fred Durst -contiune drawing breath! It's truly diabolical.
B: Plain and simple: Napalm Stars would not exist without the Clash. The name is taken from a Clash lyriC: “Charlie don't surf for his hamburger mama/He's gonna be a Napalm Star”. Tom and I both became musicians after seeing the Clash when we were kids. As far as I'm concerned, the Clash's major lesson was that rock 'n' roll should be loud, exciting, larger than life without sacrificing the common touch, fast, flashy, and classic. And most important, they demonstrated that rock could have substance, brains, and balls. Too many modern bands have lost sight of this. Which is why much modern rock sounds meaningless, mindless, and wimpy to me. But that's just my opinion.
C: I never saw the Mescaleros - those records just didn't touch me the way the Clash did. Plus, seeing the Clash during the London Calling tour was such pivotal life experience for me, I didn't want to risk tarnishing those memories. The Clash in person and on record were just so good, they forever became my ideal for a great rock 'n' roll band, for all the reasons I provided above.
NYC, 2003 ABOUT THE CLASH TRIBUTE:
“The Clash tribute night at the Continental Club at 3rd and St. Mark's in NYC was about energy, guitars, community, smiles, good times, positive energy, and great rock'n' roll. It was about Bob Gruen's classic photo of Strummer atop the RCA building snapped during the Bond's gigs of '81, blown up huge and gazing over the proceedings from stage rear. It was about Walter Lure following "I Fought The Law" with "Little London Boys" in typically snotty Noo Yawk fashion. (Thankfully, he skipped Thunders' sneering dedication to "Joe Bummer" which graced the version on the Heartbreakers' Live At Max's record.) It was about Daniel Rey blowing the words to "Train In Vain”, Mickey Leigh having the imagination to dust off "Julie's Been Working For The Drug Squad," and the Bullys ably backing both beforeturning their own masterful and powerful set. It was about us following our two Clash covers with a new tune written two days following Joe's death, "( I Come From) A Place Like Any Other," about the transformative, liberating powers of great rock in general, and the Clash and punk rock in particular.
It was about being introduced to two of the best local bands I've caught in awhile: The Spunks - imported Japanese cartoon punks, like a hi-fi Teenegenrate; and Brooklyn yob punkabillys Sammytown Jones. It was about 3 versions of "Tommy Gun" (including our own!), 2 each of "White Riot," "Brand New Cadillac," and "Capital Radio One." Hilariously, it was also about Charm School ending their set with "Should I Stay Or Should I Go," only to be followed by Detox Darlings opening their set with the same tune! Sadly, the one thing the Clash tribute was NOT about was politics. Out of 18 bands, Napalm Stars were the one band to nail our grievances to the White House's front door, dedicating "Tommy Gun" to Bush and his rampant war lust. Which seems bizarre to me. I'm not passing judgement - you take from the Clash whatever you choose to take. But it seems to me that, were they to walk among us again, the Clash would not hesitate to connect their classics to the moment from whatever stage they took. But maybe that's just my opinion.”
“These are the lyrics to my song I wrote two days after Strummer's death and debuted at the Continental Clash tribute, "(I Come From) A Place Like Any Other." Yes, they are specifically about the impact the Clash and Joe had on me, but they are also (in a broader sense) about the enlightening and empowering properties of all great rock 'n' roll.”
I knew what I wanted
But I didn't know how
To make a noise
That made some sense
I heard somebody singing
It made all the difference
He showed me where
All the answers were hidden
And when the world said no
Rock 'n' roll said yes
And when the world said go
Rock said go west, young man
Go west, young man
I come from a place like any other
I wrote endless poison
About my lack of power
And practiced all my moves
In front of the mirror
I bought my first Fender
Used off some beggar
And went off
In search of the perfect error
I want to hear that sound
That burns louder than a guitar army
I want a life that burns
Burns louder than a guitar army
A guitar army
I come from place like any other
I want a life that burns
I want a life that burns right now
I want a life that burns
I want a life that burns right now
Now and forever
I come from a place like any other