JOE STRUMMER – A LOST OPPORTUNITY

 

Joe Strummer Portrait by Dane Hanson

Joe Strummer Portrait by Dane Hanson

My all-time favorite musician died 13 years ago today on December 22nd, 2002.  To describe the front man for The 101’ers, The Clash, The Pogues (if only for a brief time) and The Mescaleros is a daunting task so I will let you Google “Joe Strummer” if you don’t know who he is or the legacy he left behind.  I was only lucky enough to see Joe play with The Clash and never any of his other bands.

My ticket stub from the only time I saw Joe Strummer live in concert – The Clash, August 11th 1982, St. Paul Civic Center, St. Paul, MN USA

My ticket stub from the only time I saw Joe Strummer live in concert – The Clash, August 11th 1982, St. Paul Civic Center, St. Paul, MN USA

Joe Strummer Book 2

The History of Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros by Anthony Davie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I read a fascinating book on Joe’s time with his band The Mescaleros called Joe Strummer and The Mescaleros: Vision of a Homeland which was published in 2004.  The book is basically broken into three sections; a history of the band, biographies of each band member including interviews and the author Anthony Davie’s experience seeing the band live, written with notes from diary entries.  Anthony saw the vast majority of the shows Joe played with The Mescaleros.  He also includes a detailed account of their complete tour history.

Before Anthony Davie released the second edition of his book in 2012, renamed The History of Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros, he asked for fans to submit memories, photos or stories of Joe Strummer and how Joe made an impact on them.  I submitted the short note below which made the 2012 second release of the book on the 10th anniversary of Joe’s passing:

After I heard the news, I had a sinking feeling the rest of the day that Joe died.  I had been following his work with The Mescaleros and really wanted to see him with the new band.  I kept waiting for a show in a city that I would be in or nearby.  Living in South Dakota has many advantages; however access to great live music is not one of them.  I realized I had lost my chance forever to see Joe play live in person with his new band and vowed never to let any opportunity like that pass me by again.  When a band that Joe played with for a bit, The Pogues, got back together I was not about to make the same mistake I did with Joe Strummer and The Mescaleros.  I have seen every US tour that The Pogues have made, including multiple shows on some tours.  Although this usually means plane tickets and hotel rooms with travel to the East or West Coast, I always justify the expense when I think about the day John Graham Mellor died and my lost opportunity.

May I remind you of that scene
The spirit is our gasoline
May I remind you of that scene
We were arms aloft in Aberdeen

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