JOE STRUMMER

WILD AT HEART

  

December 22nd was the 10th anniversary of his death so Vive Le Rock featured the man himself on the cover of our current issue (no. 10, click HERE to get your copy) maps out the musical timeline of the legendary JOE STRUMMER.

Fiery, honest, original. Three words that sum up Joe Strummer. Punk as fuck would be another three. For, while Johnny Rotten and the Sex Pistols captured the ire and attention of the nation thanks to shock tactics, it was the late great Joe Strummer and The Clash who pushed boundaries, shattered preconceptions, broke rules and quietly crushed the old guard of the ’60s and ’70s into dust. Born John Graham Mellor in Ankara, Turkey, on the 21st of August 1952, the legacy of Joe Strummer is one that continues to inspire to this day, from the lowliest toilet circuit band to stadium headliners. With the recent release of Julian Temple’s ‘Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten’, we thought it high time to look at Joe’s musical life.

1971
A young Joe visits the second-ever Glastonbury Festival. Mind suitably blown, he becomes a life-long vegetarian and gets himself a criminal record for robbing a pint of milk from a South London doorstep the same year.

1972
Bitten hard by the music bug, a young Joe tries his hand at busking on the London Underground where he starts to feel his way around the frets of a guitar. By Christmas he would find himself living in Newport of all places.

1973
Forms his first band, playing with The Vultures while staying in Newport before moving back to London and throwing himself into the squat scene of the time.

1974
Abiding at 101 Walterton Road, it was no great leap when it came to naming his next ban, The 101ers, who would later be seen as one of the most impacting of bands in the pub rock scene were born, with the aim of raising funds for other squatters.

1975
Playing practically the length and breadth of London and sandwiching in as many benefit shows as they could, the 101ers start to receive glowing reviews in the press.

1976
With momentum building on the back of debut single ‘Keys To Your Heart’, the 101ers play the Nashville Rooms in London, supported by a bunch of little-known street urchins called the Sex Pistols. It was to be another life-changing moment for Strummer. One month later and, following an offer from Bernie Rhodes, Joe had joined The Clash.

1977
The Clash sign to CBS Records and release incendiary debut single ‘White Riot’ and album ‘The Clash’ (Strummer and drummer Topper Headon would later get nicked for spraypainting the motif on a hotel room wall). After heading out and staying out on tour since May Day, Strummer and guitarist Mick Jones decamped to Kingston, Jamaica, deeply immersing themselves in reggae.

1978
Eighty thousand people turn out in London’s Victoria Park for Rock Against Racism and The Clash steal the show, ploughing through a set including numbers from the newly released ‘Give ‘Em Enough Rope’.

1979
The Great American Assault begins, as Strummer and company hit the United States running for the ‘Pearl Harbour’ and ‘Take The Fifth’ tours before unveiling their career-defining opus and love song to the city that spawned them, ‘London Calling’.

1980
Released in December, the triple album ‘Sandinista!’ splits Clash fans right down the middle as both an overblown exercise in grandiosity and a melting pot of dub, reggae, rock, hip hop and world music.

1981

The Clash play an unprecedented seventeen sold-out nights at Bond’s in New York’s Times Square, while Joe takes a break from music to run and complete both the London and Paris Marathons.

1982
Topper Headon leaves the band, replaced by Terry Chimes for the straightforward ‘Combat Rock’.

1983
With Mick Jones having also parted ways with Joe and co., chopping out his last riffs for the band in Bristol the year before, there is however light at the end of the tunnel for Strummer and partner Gaby, when the couple’s daughter Jazzy is born.

1984
Touring the UK, Europe and the US with a new Clash line-up, Joe visits the grave of Spanish Civil War poet Federico Garcia Lorca.

1985
Playing their final live show in Athens, the release of ‘Cut The Crap’ is followed shortly after by the official announcement that The Clash were completely done.

1986
Presumably burnt out on life in a band, Joe instead explores the medium of film, appearing in Alex Cox’s ‘Straight To Hell’ and ‘Candy Mountain’ in the same year, as well as writing the soundtrack to ‘Walker’. Gaby and Joe’s second daughter Lola is born.

1987
When Pogues guitarist Philip Chevron is taken ill, Joe joins Shane McGowan and company for the Irish songstrels’ UK and US live dates.

1988
Performing live as Joe Strummer and the Latino Rockabilly War before moving to America to start work on his solo album, Strummer also found the time to write a handful of songs for the movie ‘Permanent Record’, which starred a young Keanu Reeves.

1989
Releases debut solo album ‘Earthquake Weather’ and appears alongside Steve Buscemi in Jim Jarmusch movie ‘Mystery Train’.

1990
Stepping into the producer’s chair, Joe mans the desk during the recording of The Pogues’ ‘Hell’s Ditch’ and even takes over vocal duties live when Shane McGowan leaves the band.

1991
Clash best-of ‘The Singles’ is released. Joe and the rest of The Clash reject the obvious cash cow of reforming the band.

1992-1994
Joe splits his time between London, a home in Hampshire and sojourns to Almeria, Spain.

1995
He marries Lucinda, mother of his step-daughter Eliza and becomes enamoured with British musical festivals, soaking up the atmosphere at Glastonbury and Womad and birthing the concept of ‘campfire’ and Strummerville. Also plays piano on The Levellers’ ‘Just The One’.

1996
Joe records new music for the soundtrack to ‘Grosse Point Blank’ and hooks up with Black Grape and Keith Allen for a Top Of The Pops storming performance of ‘England’s Irie’.

1997
Finding a new base in deepest Somerset, the Strummerville campfire launches the Fuji Rock festival in Japan. The idea of The Mescaleros is fermenting while Joe contributes backing music to ‘Kicks Joy Darkness: A Tribute To Jack Kerouac’.

1998
In between rehearsing with The Mescaleros and DJing at various festivals, the radio show ‘Joe Strummer’s London Calling’ begins on BBC World Service, with Strummer as The Controller rolling out everything from ’50s rock ‘n’ roll to Cuban party songs for a worldwide audience who would lap it up for the next four years. Also appears on ‘South Park’ tie-in album ‘Chef Aid’.

1999
The newly-minted Mescaleros, a vehicle for Joe to channel his eclectic band of influences from folk to world music by way of London squats, embark upon their debut tour on the back of album ‘Rock, Art And The X-Ray Style’, culminating in a rousing performance at Glasto.

2000
Strummer makes a further mark on popular culture when seemingly the majority of films and TV shows featured music, be it Clash, solo or Mescaleros, from the man himself, including ‘Billy Elliott’, ‘Complicity’, ‘Daria’, ‘Hanging Up’, ’28 Days’ and ‘Coyote Ugly’.

2001
Inking a deal with Rancid’s Tim Armstrong’s Hellcat Records, the Mescaleros set about second album ‘Global A Go-Go’, and mix up their live set by throwing in a cover of Ramones classic ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’.

2002

The Mescaleros play a benefit show for striking London firefighters at Acton Hall in November that culminates with former Clash wingman Mick Jones taking to the stage with the band for Clash classics ‘Bankrobber’, ‘White Riot’ and ‘London’s Burning’, the first time the duo had played together since 1983. Less than a month later, Joe Strummer dies peacefully in his home in Somerset, the victim of an undiagnosed heart defect at the age of fifty, leaving behind a life and a legacy unmatched.

‘Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten’ is out now on DVD

STRUMMERVILLE: A CELEBRATION OF CREATION

Created by the friends and family of Joe a year after he passed away, Strummerville is a charity that provides new opportunities for aspiring musicians, offering support, resources and places to play, with the first official Strummerville resource located at London’s Roundhouse (www.roundhouse.org.uk/studios). With plans afoot to open more rehearsal spaces and Strummerville offering quarterly showcases for up-and-coming bands, you can find out more over at www.strummerville.com

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DEVO

With their striking uniforms and energy domes, mind-bending American new wave music and kitsch sci-fi and surrealist lyrics, DEVO changed the face of modern music and influenced scores of bands along the way. Vive Le Punk digs beneath the strange surface to reveal an intelligent, subversive and exciting band…

Gawkily at odds with the outlaw stance of their punk-scene contemporaries in the late 1970s, Devo’s robotic-corporate-jerk schtick was arguably a hundred times more subversive than any hollow-cheeked black-leather nihilism. Certainly, these Ohio oddballs’ social critique was more carefully thought out; mercilessly satirizing US culture and conformity, Devo undermined the foundations of ‘normality’ with their theatrical stage act and infiltrated the charts both sides of the Atlantic with their itchily memorable electro-rock. While the band’s surface ‘wackiness’ afforded instant commercial appeal, beneath their novelty-act gimmickry, Devo had some controversial and occasionally disturbing points to make.

Devo’s philosophy hinged on the concept of ‘De-evolution’ – the idea that mankind regresses rather than progresses, and is in the process of reverting to an underdeveloped state. This theory was more than mere sloganeering; Devo’s worldview of regression and enforced social conformity was directly influenced by band members’ witnessing of the Kent State shootings in 1970, in which state marksmen had opened up on demonstrating students causing a number of fatalities.

Devo – whose lineup centered around long-term members Gerald and Bob Casale and Mark and Bob Mothersbaugh – honed their act on the underground circuit a few years until a short film they’d produced on the notion of de-evolution attracted interest from Iggy Pop and David Bowie, which landed them a Warner Brothers contract and the production skills of Brian Eno on their first LP, ‘Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!’ Their spastic deconstruction of Rolling Stones staple ‘Satisfaction’ from this record grabbed the public’s attention, as did the provocatively themed ‘Mongoloid’.

The punk period proved a highly productive phase for the band, garnering critical praise and good sales with their 1980 classic ‘Whip It’ making a dent in the top 40. By this point, Devo’s stage show had reached its full level of theatricality, a boiler-suited, flowerpot-hatted troupe giving consumerism and corporate homogeny a thorough lampooning.

Extending their efforts to visual media, Devo’s ventures into music video made for some groundbreaking entries into that field. One early promo introduced the ‘Booji Boy’ character, a grotesque representation of infantile regression who remains in Devo’s live show to this day; a disturbing apparition played by a squeaky-voiced Mark Mothersbaugh in a rubber mask, Booji’s first act as a Devo figurehead was to jam a fork into a toaster in an unsettling don’t-try-this-at-home video clip.

Although the band’s success had slumped by the mid 1980s, Devo’s various members stayed active in musical fields, particularly soundtracks, and the band would reconvene at intervals; a spot on the 1996 Lollapalooza tour was enthusiastically received, and the dates they’ve played this year around a prestige appearance at the ‘07 Meltdown Festival have similarly generated much excitement. While their ongoing influence is proclaimed far and wide, the evidence for De-evolution appears to be all around us at present, so it’s doubly fitting that Devo have cracked out the boiler suits, Booji Boy prosthetics and ‘energy dome’ hats one more time. Devolution is real, spuds!

Hugh Gulland

DEVO’S ALBUMS

‘Q: Are We Not Men? A; We Are Devo!’ (1978)

‘Duty Now For The Future’ (1979)

‘Freedom of Choice’ (1980)

‘New Traditionalists’ (1981)

‘Oh, No! It’s Devo’ (1982)

‘Shout’ (1984)

‘Total Devo’ (1988)

‘Smooth Noodle Maps’ (1990)

CHOICE CUTS

Download the following…

‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’ (‘Q: Are We Not Men?…)
‘Mongoloid’ (‘Q: Are We Not Men?…)
‘Jocko Homo’ (‘Q: Are We Not Men?…)
‘Devo Corporate Anthem’ (‘Duty Now…’)
‘The Day My Baby Gave Me a Surprize’ (‘Duty Now…’)
‘Girl U Want’ (‘Freedom of Choice’)
‘Whip It’ (‘Freedom of Choice’)
‘Freedom of Choice’ (‘Freedom of Choice’)
‘Beautiful World’ (‘New Traditionalists’)
‘Love Without Anger’ (‘New Traditionalists’)
‘Peek-A-Boo!’ (‘Oh, No! It’s Devo’)
‘That’s Good’ (‘Oh, No! It’s Devo’)
‘The 4th Dimension’ (‘Shout’)
‘Are U Experienced?’ (‘Shout’)
‘Some Things Never Change’ (‘Total Devo’)
‘The Shadow’ (‘Total Devo’)
‘(Walk Me Out In The) Morning Dew’ (‘Smooth Noodle Maps’)
‘Devo Has Feelings Too’ (‘Smooth Noodle Maps’)

INFLUENCED

Polysics
The Aquabats
Weird Al Yankovic
Rage Against The Machine
Superchunk
The Groovie Ghoulies

THE DEVOLUTIONARY OATH
(taken from www.clubdevo.com)

1. Be like your ancestors or be different. It doesn’t matter.

2. Lay a million eggs or give birth to one.

3. Wear gaudy colours or avoid display. It’s all the same.

4. The fittest shall survive, yet the unfit may live.

5. We Must Repeat.

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BUZZCOCKS NEW ALBUM IN ’09

The BUZZCOCKS have spoken to the News of the World newspaper to take about their history and that they plan to write a new album, due out before the end of the year. Guitarist Steve Diggle explained,

“We’re still here trying to make real music for real people,” insists Steve. “In fact, I feel more fire now than I did when I was 20. What’s the alternative? Snow Patrol and Coldplay? They’re not rock revolutionaries — they’re Blue Peter presenters with guitars. You tend to be so busy writing, recording and playing gigs that you don’t appreciate how much impact your music is having. It wasn’t until Bruce Springsteen told me how much our music meant to him that I began to think about that stuff.”

“It’s crucial for us to keep going forward. Some people like to remember the past. Me? I like to say, ‘Remember the future’.”

Touring the UK in January and Europe in February and March, its expected the band will start writing the highly anticipated new album when they return.

 

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PUNK & DISORDERLY FEST FINAL LINE-UP ANNOUNCED!

punk__disorderly_fest.jpg

punk__disorderly_fest.jpg

The final line-up for Berlin’s PUNK & DISORDERLY FEST (20th-22nd Feb.) has been announced. See below:

FRIDAY
LAST RESORT
SYMARIP
DIE KASSIERER
KLINGONZ
KLASSE KRIMINALE
TOXPACK
MOPED LADS
MIDDLE FINGER SALUTE
BLACK TARTAN CLAN
GIMP FIST
RAZORBLADE

SATURDAY
COCK SPARRER
STOMPER 98
DISCHARGE
GONADS
SECTION 5
URBAN REJECTS
FREIBOITER
MOSTER SQUAD
VICE SQUAD
CRUSHING CASPARS
CRASHED OUT
DETECTORS
PULLOUT
SUNDAY
THE BOYS
THE GLITTER BAND
ARGY BARGY
MARK FOGGO & THE SKASTERS
PÖBEL & GESOCKS
EASTSIDE BOYS
SONIC BOOM SIX
MELANIE & THE SECRET ARMY
RADIO DEAD ONES
THE DESPISED

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RON ASHETON TRIBUTES

The death of founding Stooges guitarist Ron Asheton has led to his bandmates paying tribute. They said,

"We are shocked and shaken by the news of Ron’s death. He was a great friend, brother, musician, trooper. Irreplaceable. He will be missed. For all that knew him behind the façade of Mr Cool & Quirky, he was a kind-hearted, genuine, warm person who always believed that people meant well even if they did not.

As a musician Ron was The Guitar God, idol to follow and inspire others. That is how he will be remembered by people who had a great pleasure to work with him, learn from him and share good and bad times with him."

Former bassist Mike Watt (also of The Minutemen) told the LA Times,

"As a musician, he was a pioneer — very singular, very unique. To get to be onstage with him was incredible for me. We all looked up to Ronnie with that guitar sound. Man, it was a sound, but especially in those days in the early ’70s. Then the punk scene comes, and the Stooges was the common ground. That scene, which was not very popular here in Southern California, was just all these different weirdos from different places. The one thing in common was the Stooges. […] I loved being his bass player."

 

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STOOGES GUITARIST RON ASHETON FOUND DEAD

RON ASHETON, guitarist for THE STOOGES has been found dead in his Ann Arbor, Michigan home today (Jan. 6th), aged 60. A cause of death is yet to be confirmed but early reports suggest a heart attack. Detective Sgt Jim Stephenson told a local paper that Asheton was discovered on a living room sofa and had been dead for several days. Police are not treating the death as suspicious.

Asheton founded The Stooges with his brother Scott Asheton (drums), Dave Alexander (bass) and Iggy Pop (vocals). He wrote the famous riffs of their garage rock classics, such as ‘No Fun’, ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’ and ‘Down On The Street’ before moving to bass for the 1973 album ‘Raw Power’. When ‘Raw Power’ was a commercial failure, Asheton left The Stooges to play in a number of bands, including The New Order (not to be confused with the UK band), Destroy All Monsters, New Race and, more recently, with Mike Watt, J. Mascis and Mark Arm for the soundtrack to the film ‘Velvet Goldmine’. Asheton also acted in three films.

In 2000, alongside brother Scott and Mike Watt, he played shows under the moniker ‘The New Stooges’. Iggy saw them perform and they decided to reform The Stooges properly. They played their first reunion show in 2003 and went on to release a new album in 2007, titled ‘The Weirdness’, with Asheton back on lead guitar. That year they were the highlight of Glastonbury Festival, causing a mass stage invasion.

Asheton is ranked as number 29 on Rolling Stone’s ‘100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time’.

Vive Le Punk’s condolences go out to Ron Asheton’s friends and family.

Ron Asheton 1948 – 2009

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THE DRONES NEW ALBUM IN FEB.

Australian alt-rockers THE DRONES are set to release their fifth album  ‘Havilah’ on Feb. 16th through ATP Recordings. The four-piece  combine influences such as Neil Young’s guitar spasms and Velvet Underground and Suicide’s scuzzy pop.

The tracklisting is:

1) Nail It Down
2) The Minotaur
3) The Drifting Housewife
4) I am The Supercargo
5) Careful As You Go
6) Oh My
7) Cold and Sober
8) Lucky in Odd Numbers
9) Penumbra
10) Your Acting’s Like the End of the World

The album will be available on CD, 2 LPs and digital download.

 

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NEWMODEL ARMY MANAGER SUDDENLY DIES.

Tommy Tee, the popular manager of New Model Army has died suddenly on Dec 26th , aged just 46. Tommy had been with the band from the early days when he started out driving the band. In later years he went on to manage the Almighty, before returning to manage NMA in the 90s, and with the advent of the vinternet, he pushed the band into setting up its own label. He will be sadly missed and leaves a wife and children. Vive Le Punk send our condolenses.

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SID VICIOUS FILM

Alan Parker has finished his film, based on his book on the life and crimes of Sex Pistol Sid Vicious. Looks like it will hit screens in Feb. And there ,may be a screening in London at the end of Jan. More news soon.It features Glen Matlock.

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