August 1, 2008 |
As front man for the Clash, Joe Strummer was one of the most compelling and charismatic figures in rock. The Clash sprang from London's punk scene in the mid-'70s, but the band's monumental legacy stems from the way it transcended those origins, spurning nihilism for idealism and embracing a broad array of musical styles. And Strummer, the self-styled "punk-rock warlord," was the driving force behind it all. Julien Temple's The Future Is Unwritten is a moving portrait of the man born John Graham Mellor, who died at 50 in 2002 of an undetected heart defect.
November 9, 2007
Directed by Julian Temple. With Bono, Steve Buscemi, Terry Chimes, John Cooper Clarke, John Cusack, Johnny Depp, Matt Dillon, and Joe Strummer. Distributed by IFC Films. 2 hours, 4 mins. No MPAA rating (profanity). Playing at: Ritz at the Bourse. The Sex Pistols declared that there was "No Future. " The Clash insisted that there was one worth fighting for. The cruelest twist of fate involving the two greatest British punk rock bands is that while Johnny Rotten and the surviving Pistols continue to embarrass themselves on misbegotten reunion tours, Clash leader Joe Strummer has been dead and gone for five years now. But it's some small solace, at least, that with Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten, Julian Temple, the British music-documentary director who helmed the 2000 Pistols' flick The Filth and the Fury, has done such cinematic justice to the punk humanist born John Graham Mellor, who died of a congenital heart defect in 2002.
September 27, 2007 |
When Bono was but a boy, the rock-star-to-be heard John Lennon whispering inspirational words in his ear. "That changed the way the world looked outside my bedroom window when I was 12 years old," says Bono, lead singer of U2 and cofounder of DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa), a Washington-based advocacy group. Tonight, Bono and DATA will be honored with the Liberty Medal at the National Constitution Center, whose president, Joseph M. Torsella, cited Bono for proving through his activism "that the office of 'citizen' is the most important in the world.
March 15, 2005 |
It was early in 1991, and the buzz about Black 47 was building. The band was playing its galvanic mix of rock, rap and Irish music to celebrity-jammed crowds at a cramped Manhattan bar called Paddy Reilly's. Among the big-name regulars was former Clash front man Joe Strummer. Watching Black 47 one night, disc jockey Vin Scelsa told Strummer what a lot of people thought about his defunct group: "The Clash are the only band that matters. " Strummer just pointed to the stage and said, "No, they're the only band that matters now. " Larry Kirwan, Black 47's singer, songwriter and guitarist, reveals that anecdote in his lively new memoir, Green Suede Shoes: An Irish-American Odyssey (Thunder's Mouth Press)
November 7, 2004 |
What's the greatest pop album of all time? With apologies to Pet Sounds, Exile on Main Street, and It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, I'm going with London Calling. And I cast my vote for the Clash's 1979 double LP - recently reissued in a three-disc edition, with rehearsal tapes and a making-of DVD - without even being sure it's my favorite album by the British foursome once hyped as "the only band that matters. " But London Calling is that rare magnum opus - like, say, The Godfather or Moby Dick - that fully delivers on its grand ambitions without sacrificing a smidgen of immediacy.
November 15, 2003 |
Several thoughts sprang to mind at the sold-out Electric Factory on Thursday as Rancid tore through a torrid 75 minutes of punk rock that owed as much to the Clash and Sex Pistols as it did to Chuck Berry and Eddie Cochran. Among the musings: All these punk-in-hair-only lightweights infiltrating MTV and radio? Mallternative chumps. . . . Could the world use a man like Joe Strummer right now. . . . Rancid? It may just be the most galvanizing punk band still standing. With its ska-inflected hits ("Time Bomb")
January 30, 2003 |
Why is Joe Strummer dead and half of the rock half-wits of the world still alive and recording? Why ask why? Remember his late, great legacy fondly, Philly-style, with a tribute by Cranked Up, the Boils, Famous in Vegas, the Low Budgets, and Graveyard School (9:30 tonight at the Balcony, 10th and Arch streets, 215-922-LIVE, $7). One of the coolest things about seeing the First Unitarian Church (2125 Chestnut St.) back in action is the use of its beautiful inner sanctuary for shows like Will Oldham, with brother Ned (who played with Palace, Anomoanan and other Drag City stars)
January 3, 2003 |
Singer-guitarist Joe Strummer of the Clash died in his sleep of a heart attack, a British coroner has ruled. Unlike the deaths of many of his rock predecessors, Strummer's death wasn't related to drug use, Michael Rose said after conducting the autopsy last week. Strummer, who cowrote some of the Clash's most politically charged anthems, including "London Calling," died Dec. 22 at age 50 at his home. His family and friends gathered in rainy west London on Monday to pay their respects, Britain's SkyNews reported.
December 28, 2002 |
It was the day after Christmas, and the Theatre of Living Arts was packed tight with mid-teen to early-20s types digging hometown hard-core-poppers the Starting Line, like-aged locals who reportedly sold 7,000 tickets to five days of shows in the Philly-New Jersey-New York area without benefit of radio or MTV play. Does no one spend time with parents at the holidays? As crowd members milled about (skinny ties, studded belts, fave-band badges, chains round their necks), I thought about another elder - Joe Strummer, of the Clash, who died this week - and wondered what he'd have thought of the raucous punk he hath wrought.
October 5, 2001 |
For the decade that followed 1989's less-than-cataclysmic Earthquake Weather, Joe Strummer retreated to his country house in Somerset, England, to "raise a couple of kids" and tend to his "fantasy vegetable garden. " "I had a loss of confidence," says the 49-year-old former frontman of the late, great Clash, the self-proclaimed "Only Band That Matters," on the line from the United Kingdom. "I was burnt out after all the excitement of punk-rock and what have you. Plus, I'm a lazy son of a gun. " Prodded by friends in his local pub - "They'd say, 'You should be back out there, mate,' and I thought, 'Sod it!