‘We seem to attract quite a bit of it,’ Mick Jones said about the interest of the local Bobbies in Dundee, in this short film of The Clash on the road across Scotland, from February 1980.
Joe Strummer joked The Clash were giving the Tayside police a change from the usual drunks, giving them the opportunity to have some fun with some lads from down south. ‘And we could do well without it,’ Jones added.
An hour before their concert in Edinburgh, Strummer preps his voice with some honey and lemon. Outside young fans, some without tickets, have been waiting since 2 in the afternoon just to get a glimpse of their idols. Later, the band will let in a few of these youngsters into the concert for free.
This is The Clash when they were still living a precarious existence, hand-to-mouth, constantly on the move.
Happy Birthday Joe Strummer, who would have been sixty-years-of-age today. Strummer was one of Rock’s figures, the link between The Beatles, The Stones, The Stooges, Bolan, Bowie and Nirvana. He was a contrarian, a free-thinking radical, who didn’t speak for a generation, but encouraged that generation to speak for itself.
To celebrate Strummer’s 60th, here is the documentary Viva Joe Stummer, which “tells the story of the man and not his myth”, which is described on Vimeo:
The Sudden Death in December 2002 of Joe Strummer, frontman of the legendary seventies punk band The Clash, robbed the world of rock and roll music of one of its unique talents.
This year marks the 60th birthday anniversary of Joe Strummer. Viva Joe Strummer is the definitive story of one of the world’s greatest rock frontmen, and includes performance footage together with revealing and exclusive interviews with fellow clash members Mick Jones and Topper Headon, Tymon Dogg of the Mescaleros, and ex Sex Pistol Glen Mattock, along with close friends, fans and those who worked with The Clash on the road.
Packed with electrifying hits like London Calling, White Riot and Capital Radio One, the programme follows Joe’s career from his early beginnings as a member of London squat band the 101ers, through the triumphant years of The Clash, and latterly with his own nineties band, The Mescaleros.
Viva Joe Strummer is an authoritative and overdue tribute to one of British rock music’s greatest performers and songwriters who earned his own unique place in the pantheon of popular music history.
Please Note: If you have problems viewing this, check this link for the whole documentary on Vimeo.
Here’s a little slice of rock history I did not know about: Joe Strummer’s letter of recommendation for Bruce Springsteen. Strummer faxed this letter to documentary producer Mark Hagen in 1994 when asked about his opinion of Springsteen for British TV film Bruce Springsteen: A Secret History.
ATTN: MARK HAGEN
Dear Mark - here’s my contribution
BRUCE IS GREAT… IF YOU DONT AGREE WITH THAT YOU’RE A PRETENTIOUS MARTIAN FROM VENUS. BRUCE LOOKS GREAT… LIKE HE’S ABOUT TO CRAWL UNDERNEATH THE CHORDS WITH A SPANNER & SOCK THE STARTER MOTOR ONE TIME SO THAT A ENGINE STARTS UP - HUMMING & READY TO TAKE US ON A GOLDEN RIDE WAY OUT SOMEWHERE IN THE YONDER… BRUCE IS GREAT… BECAUSE HE’LL NEVER LAY DOWN & BE CONQUERED BY HIS PROBLEMS HE’S ALLWAYS READY TO BUST OUT the SHACK & HIT THE TRACK… HIS MUSIC IS GREAT ON A DARK & RAINY MORNING IN ENGLAND, JUST WHEN YOU NEED SOME SPIRIT & SOME PROOF THAT THE BIG WIDE WORLD EXISTS, THE D.J. PUTS ON “RACING IN THE STREETS” & LIFE SEEMS WORTH LIVING AGAIN… LIFE SEEMS TO BE IN CINEMASCOPE AGAIN. BRUCE IS NOT ON AN EGO TRIP… BRUCE IS ACTUALLY INTO THE MUSIC… WE NEED PEOPLE LIKE THIS… A LOT OF RECORDS TODAY ARE MADE BY PEOPLE JUST TO FEED THEIR FAME. BRUCE IS GREAT… THERE AINT NO WHINGING WHINING OR COMPLAINING.. THERE’S ONLY GREAT MUSIC, LYRICS & AN OCEAN OF TALENT. ME? I LOVE SPRINGSTEEN!!!
Alan McGee has shared this gem with Dangerous Minds - Joe Strummer’s original lyrics for “London Calling.”
THE NEWS OF CLOCK NINE
RETUNE YOUR RECEIVER FOR THE LONDON SIGN
LONDON CALLING TO THE FARAWAY TOWNS
NOW THAT WAR IS DECLARED AND BATTLE COME DOWN
LONDON CALLING TO THE UNDERWORLD
COME OUT OF THE CUPBOARD ALL YOU BOYS & GIRLS
LONDON CALLING NOW DON’T LOOK TO US
ALL THAT PHONY BEATLEMANIA HAS BITTEN THE DUST
LONDON CALLING SEE WE AINT GOT NO SWING
‘CEPT FOR THE RING OF THAT TRUNCHEON THING
THE ICE AGE IS COMING The Sun is zooming in
ENGINES STOP RUNNING & The WHEAT is Growing THIN
THINKING NUCLEAR ERROR, BUT I HAVE NO FEAR
LONDON IS DROWNING - AND I LIVE BY THE RIVER
LONDON CALLING TO THE IMITATION ZONE
FORGET IT BROTHER, AN GO IT ALONE
LONDON CALLING UPON THE ZOMBIES OF DEATH
QUIT HOLDING OUT - AND TAKE ANOTHER BREATH
LONDON CALLING - AND I DON’T WANNA SHOUT
BUT WHEN WE WERE TALKING - I SAW YOU NODDING OUT
LONDON CALLING - SEE WE AINT GOT NO HIGHS
EXCEPT FOR THAT ONE WITH THE YELLOWY EYES
The lyrics are still as relevant and as powerful as when they were first written. Alan was given this piece of rock history by the song’s co-writer Mick Jones, and says, ‘Some people have the Bible, we had The Clash.’
There are moments in this performance by Joe Strummer and The Mescaleros that reach Clash-like power and glory. I saw the band perform in June of 1999 at Irving Plaza in NYC, five months before this Roseland show, and it was thrilling. Strummer had the energy of a man half his age and he blew the roof off the place. The thought he would be dead three years later was inconceivable. In 1999, he seemed to be at the height of his powers and invincible.
01. Safe European Home
02. Yalla Yalla
03. Rudie Can’t Fail
04. Tony Adams
05. White Man In Hammersmith Palais
06. London Calling
07. Tommy Gun
08. X-Ray Style
09. White Riot
This is exciting stuff. It’s edited down from the full set, which I believe was around 16 songs. The quality is terrific.
Deux interviews avec le Joe Strummer filmed for French television’s Rapido from 1988. Each clip has different interview footage with Strummer, but the same archive and performance material.
Strummer enthuses about Shane MacGowan and The Pogues (who he is seen performing with in concert on “I Fought the Law” and “London Calling”), and explaining why he writes (like Paul Simon) for his generation; why each young generation should have their own musical revolution; and why Hip-Hop / rap is for “yuppies”.
Interview part deux avec Mnsr. Strummer, after le jump…
This was Mick Jones’ last performance with The Clash in front of an audience of 140,00, headlining at the New Wave Day for the US Festivals, Saturday May 28th 1983. The support was an odd mix for New Wave, consisting of Divinyls, INXS, Men At Work, Flock of Seagulls, The Stray Cats and Oingo Boingo. The quality is rough and watery VHS, but it all adds to its appeal.
Joe Strummer and Paul Simonon talk about the infamous Bond’s concerts, their image, the film project with Don Letts Clash On Broadway which was eventually abandoned, New York City…and more. This was broadcast in 1982 on the NBC affiliate in NYC.
The intent of Clash On Broadway was to document the events and performances centering around the band’s historic seventeen consecutive shows at Bond’s International, a club located in Time’s Square, NYC, extending from May 28-June 13, 1981. Footage included Topper Headon strolling around NYC at night & being interviewed while riding in a taxi, the group sitting on a rooftop watching a group of young black kids rap and breakdance, the graffitti artist Futura plying his trade, the backstage scene, and stellar performances from the Bond’s shows.
Although the film itself never materialized, the footage that was shot provided the basis for the “This is Radio Clash” video and formed much of the backbone of Letts’ 2000 documentary of The Clash, Westway to the World.”
The interviewer is Sue Simmons and she’s quite good as is Joe’s fairly new dental work.
Age may weary and death may claim, but the ears will not condemn this fine selection of essential listening from Blondie, Joe Strummer, Ian Dury, Sonic Youth, David Bowie, Johnny Cash and Leonard Cohen taken from Later with Jools Holland.
01. Blondie - “Heart of Glass” from 1998
02. Joe Strummer - “London Calling” from 2000
03. Ian Dury - “Sex and Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll” from 1998
04. Sonic Youth- “Sacred Trickster” from 2009
05. David Bowie - “Ashes to Ashes” from 1999
06. Johnny Cash - “Folsom Prison Blues” from 1994
07. Leonard Cohen - “Dance me to the End of Love” from 1993
“I never saw Joe pass a needy or homeless person without giving them something.” – Bob Gruen
Strummerville will be releasing a Christmas card this year to raise money for music in schools related charities, featuring an unpublished photo by Bob Gruen of Joe Strummer. You can order them starting November 11th.
Probably the best documentary ever made about The Clash - Don Letts’ Westway To The World.
Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon and Nicholas ‘Topper’ Headon give their personal account of The Clash. The interviews are simply shot by Letts, who has mixed the interviews with live footage and rare film, which plays out against the individual memories of triumphs and frustrations. Listen to the emotion in Strummer’s voice when he talks about the band’s demise, or Headon’s humble (and moving) apology for his drug abuse. This is a classic piece of documentary film-making - catch it while you can.
The Clash’s Joe Strummer wrote and directed this rather strange gangster filck, Hell W10, which stars fellow bandmates, Paul Simonon as Earl, and Mick Jones as kingpin gangster, Socrates. The film centers around a tale of rivalry and ambition, murder and violence, mixing the style of 1930’s gangster movies with 1980’s London. It’s a reminiscent of something Alex Cox might have made (who later directed Strummer in the punk spaghetti western Straight to Hell), and while the film self-consciously meanders, it holds interest, and is aided by a superb soundtrack from The Clash. Watch out for Strummer as a mustachioed cop.
Glammy pub rockers The Little Roosters released one album in France in 1981. It was produced by Joe Strummer (with help from Roosters’ guitarist G.J. Lammin) at London’s Pye Sudios in 1980 and features Alison Moyet as a guest vocalist. Joe also plays piano on the album.
Instead of being paid cash for his production services, the Roosters’ manager arranged for Strummer to receive extensive dental work.
The album is long out-of-print which is too bad. Sounding like a combination of The New York Dolls and Dr. Feelgood, the Roosters did indeed rock.