It does not seem like ten years have passed. More than plenty has been written about JOE STRUMMER over those years. His story has been told in numerous films and documentaries. But if we sum it all up, the influence he had on the other musicians that came into contact with him, and the influence he had on those who were inspired by him, is immeasurable. I can only say that I was, in some ways, more impressed with what Joe went on to do after THE CLASH. The immense pressure to have to live up to his persona and the legacy of that band, combined with an admittedly enormous ego, led to some long musical droughts, all well documented in those books and films. Equal parts gifted lyrical preacher and musical explorer, the musical explorer took the lead in defining how he would continue to preach his message. Many years removed from THE CLASH, he found his second wind with THE MESCALEROS. That band effectively incorporated all the World Music discoveries Joe had made. STRUMMER’S musical curiosity was insatiable and he always felt responsible to share what he found with others. Sure, THE CLASH were huge and maybe Mick and Joe could have gotten back together and blah, blah, blah… I would have eaten it up like everyone. But the last album, Streetcore (2002), still seems new and exciting to me and I would have been eager to hear what new musical discoveries would color any followup.
Knowing I cannot articulate what Strummer meant to so many, I went looking around for some commentaries I could link to. I found the one below from GIDEON COE, a BBC radio presenter who has been around long enough to appreciate the enormous impact STRUMMER had. I was not surprised to read his description of STRUMMER as a “musical magpie”, another reference to that unquenchable curiosity. (Also note the side bar comments from DON LETTS, a bandmate and colleague, who also has a BBC 6 Radio program – I know I’ll be checking out his tribute on 12/23).
The full concert video below features JOE and THE MESCALEROS in great form and it is decent quality. This is what we are missing.