A Bummer. But the eternal band gains a great musician.
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When Tim Armstrong put Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros on HELLCAT Records he put out some of his most soulful work ever...for those of you unfamiliar with the Clash and the Mescaleros do yourself a huge service and pick up both X-RAY STYLE and GLOBAL A GO-GO.You will not be dissappointed."Welcome you strangers...to the humble neighborhoods".
We were able to meet Joe Strummer at a Tower performance/meet and greet session. We still talk about what a kind person he was. Joe went out-of-his-way to make sure everyone got an autograph, photo, handshake, or anything that made you happy. It was unbelievable.
We will always remember this great experience.
Oh yes, he made great music as well.
I haven't listened to the Clash in a while now. Turned on the radio yesterday morning while in the shower and, lo and behold, they were playing a Mescalaros tune. I just caught the end of it and would not have known who it was except for the DJ's comments about Joe, etc... Just hearing his name brought back a lot of old ( and good ) memories. Sorry to see him go, but i'd like to thank him for all the good times he helped me to have. Sean
The Clash were, for my money, the last great mythical rock'n'roll band. Strode the earth like gods it seemed to me, the way I thought the great bands used to, like Elvis, like Dylan. They saw to this themselves, engaging in self-mythologizing to a degree not seen since the heyday of the Beatles and Stones. But they backed it up just as well, with music that truly earned them their audacious (and self-annointed) moniker, "The Only Band That Matters". I only saw them once; drove 250 miles round-trip with a couple of good friends in an old beater at age 17, one of my most fondly remembered rock shows ever. I don't think Joe Strummer's singing was ever caught on record as powerfully as he came across live. A genuine original - we won't see his like again around these parts.
P.S. - VH1 promises two hours on Strummer and The Clash tonight at 10pm est.
I was also surprised and not a little disappointed. I can't count the hours I've spent listening to "London Calling" and many others!
Sometimes I feel like everyone else is getting older, sometimes I feel like I'm the only one getting older. I guess it is all of us.
When the law breaks in
How you gonna go
Shot down on the pavement
or waiting in death row
Joe Stummer and the CLash elevated "punk rock" to a Beatlesque quality...in fact...it really is a disservice to categorize them as "punk"...they were way better than that...in musicianship,songwriting caliber,and creativity...while the genre was full of McPunk, "flash in the pan" safety-pin bands...the CLash had enough quality material to ensure some longevity...their combination of power pop melodies,reggae,and deep dub will likely be unmatched...and their intelligent,social consciousness brought a certain serious angle that separated them from their contemporaries...like the Beatles...a band that housed two very gifted songwriters(Mick Jones being the other half)... made some of the most compelling music of the 80s...and would easily make the top 50 bands of all time...quite an accomplishment
Joe Stummer and the CLash elevated "punk rock" to a Beatlesque quality...in fact...it really is a disservice to categorize them as "punk"...they were way better than that...in musicianship,songwriting caliber,and creativity...while the genre was full of McPunk, "flash in the pan" safety-pin bands...the CLash had enough quality material to ensure some longevity...their combination of power pop melodies,reggae,and deep dub will likely be unmatched...and their intelligent,social consciousness brought a certain serious angle that separated them from their contemporaries...like the Beatles...a band that housed two very gifted songwriters(Mick Jones being the other half)... made some of the most compelling music of the 70s/80s...and would easily make the top 50 bands of all time...quite an accomplishment
I agree with Phasecorrect - much as I love a lot of The Clash's early stuff, they were never entirely convincing as a "punk" band, and IMO were in fact overrated as such. When I want to hear first-wave English punk, I put on something like The Damned, The Pistols, or maybe a comp of one-off 45's by some of those "safety-pin" flash-in-the-pan bands. The Clash were a Rock & Roll band in the classic sense, and really showed what they were capable of when they began shedding the "punk" straightjacket. They sounded infinitely more comfortable melding rockabilly, reggae, dub, ska, folk, jazz, hard rock, rhythm & blues, soul, funk, disco, rap, pop, and punk into their own potent brew. Strummer/Jones was one of those providential rock partnerships that only comes along once in a very great while, a Lennon/McCartney or Jagger/Richards for my generation. Joe's gargling voice was in the best tradition of Jagger or Dylan, an ugly-duckling instrument of desperate emotiveness, entirely unique and more soulful than a 1,000 pretty-sounding run-of-the-mill singers. I always thought that The Clash hung it up too soon - after three great albums (London Calling, Sandinista!, Combat Rock) they seemed to have a world of possibilities still in front of them, were still the best band going. Up 'til yesterday, I have to admit that I always held out some small hope that the original band would eventually work together again one day (today we'll agree to forever forgive Joe his terribly ill-advised last "Clash" record 'Cut The Crap' made without Jones, something I believe even he later acknowledged amounted to little more than a bad joke). Few guys I've ever witnessed on a stage have possessed as much essential energy without descending to the merely signifying/posing/strutting; as much heartfelt blood, sweat, and tears (not to mention spit, piss, and spunk!) - it's hard to think of such a fierce life force snuffed out, but his spirit will live on a long, long time.
Joe Strummer was, by all credible accounts, a sincere gentleman and a decent chap. He practiced what he preached. His music frequently evinced the sort of nuanced understanding and appreciation of the subtleties of Jamaican music that was so obviously lacking in the ham-fisted efforts of such lesser contemporaries as The Police.
Joe Strummer also killed punk rock.
Punk was a big fuck you to all the self-satisfied ideology of hippies. This included their politics. For one profound moment in the late 70's, The palpable obscenity of punk rock was something to behold. Identifying oneself as a punk invited the same degree of opprobrium (and violence) as would identifying oneself as a child molester.
I remember the day I knew that punk was dead. I saw someone at a show sporting a badge bearing a slogan so touchy-feely, so saccharine, so HIPPIE that it made me want to rip it off the wearer's leather jacket and shove it up his puckered rosebud. The message, derived from a Clash song, was "Stop Hate and War!"
Remember punters, "Hate and War" was a song from the FIRST Clash album. Punk was, with the release of that album, pretty much stillborn. Quite simply, by grafting hippie political ideology onto the carcass of punk, The Clash made punk safe for the pompous secular piety of University students. The pioneering pillheads, sociopaths and glue sniffers soon found that they were no longer welcome. I am not the first to notice that, very early in the 80's, punks became just another subspecies of hippie. Vegetarianism and patchouli oil, anyone?
For that matter, Joe Strummer deserves primary blame for the the preachy drivel of U2. Check out the CNN.COM obit. Quoth Bono, "The Clash were the greatest rock band. They wrote the rule book for U2."
If you want to waste your short life getting preached to by a moral philosopher, read some crap by the likes of Jeremey Bentham or Immanuel Kant. If, on he other hand, you like punk rock; do as I do, and crank up The Ramones, The Vibrators, The Buzzcocks, Fear, The Anti-Nowhere League, The Stooges, Flipper, or Radio Birdman.
Tweakgeek, although I can't really tell from your post whether or not you actually like The Clash at all, I don't disagree that true punk rock is basically apolitical and socially irrelevent except as a phenomenon.
Punk is also something that can't be "killed" by one man - it is by definition doomed to die everytime a generation that fashions its own punk movement grows about two years older and moves on. If you're like me, you'd probably rather listen to The Cramps than to The Dead Kennedys, but seeing Lux & Ivy perform 25 years later, trying to extend the same gloriously puerile mindset well into middle age, just seems contrived. I stopped going to Ramones shows after Dee Dee left, but they had already become boring professionals. Among the other artists you mention, those who maintained ongoing music careers, primarily Iggy (but I could add Lou Reed and John Lydon), grew and changed. I'll still go to see The Buzzcocks, The Vibrators or Deniz Tek (Radio Birdman) if they come around and enjoy it, but I don't pretend it's better than The Clash; despite the fact that the latter is practically a "classic rock" band by now, it's the former who are actually ossified, good as they may be.
Your contention that Strummer is somehow "responsible" for Bono is silly. Of course The Clash must have influenced U2; so did Elvis Presley. That's the way art movements work. To me, Strummer was basically a protest folkie at the core, but I don't "blame" Woody Guthrie for his existence. If you don't like Strummer's work and want to say so, then you'd make a more worthy argument by criticizing the man's own efforts rather than someone else's.
The notion that punk was at root a rejection of hippie ideology has always been wrong. It may have originally started as a rejection of hippie style and music (the aesthetic), but idealogically, it was, if anything, a rejection of the co-opting and corrupting of true hippie ideals by the corporate "rock" industry. In the local punk movement that I was a part of during the early 80's DC harDCore scene, Minor Threat's Ian MacAye has cited the ideals portrayed in the movie "Woodstock" as being one of his prime inspirations, even though his band's style and music were anything but hippie-derived. (Yeah, I know that his is not the kind of "punk" you're talking about, but even Iggy admittedly modeled himself on Jim Morrison, who himself bridged the gap between Lou Reed and Jimi Hendrix. Although today the word "hippy" tends to bring to mind SF jam bands like The Dead, during the 60's, The Beatles were actually the world's foremost representatives of flower-power, and all subsequent rockers bow before [and were/are relativistically defined by] them. Besides, what do you think The MC5 were? Or The Seeds? Johnny Ramone has said that his guitar style was his way of expressing the power [given his comparitively limited abilities] that he had originally felt from listening to Hendrix.) Rebellion, questioning of authority, and forming a counterculture community are timeless impulses independent from tie-dye, LSD, and long hair.
Bottom line: Punk couldn't have existed without the hippies - the similarities you note are not coincidental, and both movements were really in reaction to pop superficiality and slick corporate packaging, despite their aesthetic polar opposition. The main practical difference is that punk revels in a manifest nihilism which, up until Nirvana, prevented it from becoming acceptable as the mainstream. Ultimately everything old becomes new again, except that it's probably already dead before most of us get to know about it. Enjoy picking through the remains!
Zaikesman, I think that there is a messy problem with semantics here. Punk rock was something that happened in the 70Âs. I t was pretty much over by 1980. The US hardcore/underground scene of the 1980Âs, though it was strongly influenced by punk, was something else entirely.
Temperance, Seriousness, Responsibility, Political Correctness, and Benevolent Intentions were all absolutely antithetical to the Spirit of 77. I find it interesting that you would cite Ian as an authority on punk. I always thought of him more as an agent of its demise. After all, this is a man who, wrongly or not, has been credited with (or blamed for) kick starting emo, for ChristÂs sake.
No feelings, mate.
Punters younger than I have sometimes asked me what early punk gigs were like. I always found it hard to put into words. However, while (literally) soaking up the atmosphere at one of G.G. AllinÂs legendary gigs at The Exit in Chicago (it must have been 1989), I observed with glee the random fornication and unnatural acts, the pill popping, the fights, the painted Whores of Babylon, and the Dionysian frenzy. This, I thought to myself, THIS is what the punk shows used to be like.
Tweak, I think if you carefully reread my post (particularly the fourth paragraph), you will find that I have taken what are saying above into account. No semantical misunderstandings here, although I freely admit that while I also appreciate in theory the spirit you so admire, I don't romanticize it - or buy it - in the same way you seem to long to do again. I don't hold any truck with either Fugazi *or* G.G. I'd rather listen to The Beatles or Howlin' Wolf. Or The Clash.
Kind of late for a Eulogy ,but I am glad to say that I had the EXPERIENCE to see the CLASH and to turn other people on to them.
One of the greatest bands of all time,PERIOD.
They stood at the forefront of political music long after it was fashionable in the 60's and wrote about history and activism like no other band I know of.They where the common man's band for along time and still are.
Right before his passing I started getting my collection of the Clash together on CD and had most all of their stuff on LP.
They shall be rememberd not only by us their fans,but by a generation because of "Rock the Casbah".It is an historical tune now along with Joe.
Sorry to see you go Joe!