Twelve years ago today Joe Strummer died, having just got in from walking his dogs. I’d been out in town doing some last minute Christmas shopping. Mrs Swiss phoned as I was on the tram home (my first mobile phone I think). I got in and it was all over BBC News 24, footage and interviews with whichever punk related people the Beeb could get hold of (including Bob Geldoff. Pfffff.). It was and still is the most I’ve been affected by the death of someone I don’t actually know. Joe died of an undiagnosed congenital heart condition- it could have gone at any time. Amazing really considering the amount of energy he poured into every performance that it was something as normal as dog walking that caused it in the end. Pete Townsend said something along the lines of ‘Joe’s heart always beat twice as fast as everyone else’s’.

I saw Joe play with The Mescaleros three times in a couple of years before his death, twice at Manchester Academy and once at the arena supporting The Who. The two gigs at the Academy were an absolute blast, a man reborn. At one they came on stage, launched into Safe European Home and the place erupted. The closing double of Yalla Yalla and Bankrobber ended with Joe prowling the stage, mic stand over his shoulder. A young boy appeared on stage and he ended up on Joe’s shoulder too. This song is from an appearance on Jools Holland’s Later in 2000, the year he died.

This song is taken from an unreleased acoustic in-store performance, which I think Davy H provided me with many years ago. I’ve got a feeling the appearance was in Portland, Oregon but I could be wrong. The four track session is made up of Trash City (from the Latino Rockabilly War days) and X Ray Style, Island Hopping and The Road To Rock ‘n’ Roll (from The Mescaleros).

Cheers Joe.

Trash City (In store acoustic performance)


2 Responses

  1. Thinking back to the shows with The Who, I have the recollection that Joe sang White Riot in a very slowed down manner. Something like ” Riot, riot I wanna riot”. Could be wrong though.
    I was at one of his last shows when he played in Edinburgh just a couple of weeks before his death. It was a cracking concert and I remember looking forward to his next ones.

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