November 19, 1999 |
Unlike the Sex Pistols, Blondie and other punk-era contemporaries, the Clash has yet to cash that reunion check. Maybe it's due to the principles that "the only band that matters" once brandished with bravado. More likely, the always-swaggering, often-disorganized London foursome just can't get it together. After all, drummer Topper Headon is still struggling with drug addiction. This would have been the year to do it. There's a Don Letts-directed Clash documentary, Westway to the World, playing the festival circuit.
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!
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)
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.
May 2, 2016 |
In 2016, I've had to abandon my long-held, entirely nonscientific theory about the timing of the deaths of much-loved musicians. It's not the they-come-in-threes theory, which, if true, might provide solace in a year when David Bowie, Merle Haggard, and Prince have been lost. If that numerological reasoning holds true, maybe there won't be any more enormously influential titans exiting for a while. No, my theory was calendrical. They die in December, it always seemed to me. That idea is partly based on the memory of the most shocking rock death - John Lennon's assassination in December 1980 - as well as a long list of others who left as days grew short.
July 29, 1987 |
Straight to Hell is the only movie you're likely to see this year that boasts a "sex-and-cruelty consultant" in its credits. For the record, his name is Martin Turner. Also for the record, this Alex Cox (Repo Man, Sid & Nancy) "caffeine-western" is short on flesh though it dispenses buckets of blood. It's hard to slam a crude Sergio Leone spoof shot on location near Almeria, Spain, that features motley rockers (the Pogues, Grace Jones, Elvis Costello and Joe Strummer) harmonizing on "Danny Boy" in front of a cantina.
January 3, 2016 |
Joe Strummer's punk rock takes an odd but mesmerizing detour on the Clash song "Lose This Skin" (from the 1980 classic Sandinista! ) with wailing violins and the croaky vocals of Tymon Dogg. So when longtime Clash fans Brendan Hartranft, Leigh Maida, and Brendan Kelly decided to take a little detour at Coeur from their usual focus on beer, they had the perfect name for a new house cider and a collaborator with its own kind of wild yeast croak: Bullfrog. The Williamsport brewery was one of the first in Pennsylvania to work with brettanomyces, a natural wild yeast that lends Bullfrog's beers and ciders a tart smack and terroir funk.
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 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")
November 10, 1989 |
The Clash's London Calling, recently named the greatest album of the 1980s by Rolling Stone magazine, seethed with a working-class anger provoked by Britain's turn-of-the-decade racial and economic unrest. Although that band's co-founder proved he still could slam out beautifully brutal music, it was a slightly gentrified Joe Strummer who played suburban Glenside's Keswick Theater last night. While audience members pleasantly bobbed along to the wickedly textured roil of Strummer, guitarist Zander Schloss, bassist Lonnie Marshall and drummer Jack Irons, their concentration clearly was on entertainment, not outrage.