imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
latest news
best of news




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Long Live Joe Strummer! 1952-2002

by D. Firebrand Saturday, Jan. 18, 2003 at 12:40 AM

Tribute to Joe Strummer

Long Live Joe Strummer! 1952-2002

by D. Firebrand

Revolutionary Worker #1183, January 19, 2003, posted at

We received this correspondence from an RW reader.

"Somebody's got to say the truth and it's a hard job to say the truth."

Joe Strummer, interview in the Revolutionary Worker September 28, 1979

I was pretty fucked up for a few days. Seriously. It's like, in life you prepare yourself for losses and sacrifices. There's a lot of that going on these days and surely more to come. As 2002 was coming to a close, things were quiet in the holiday season. Then in an unsuspecting instant we lost a hero. Joe Strummer slipped away just as he came, making indomitable music. It's as though he was always there. A stalwart.

But he wasn't always there, and neither was The Clash. By the time I was born, The Clash had basically came and went. But in my orbit The Clash was the beacon. They created incendiary music on the threshold of contemporary culture. They were a revolutionary band, who put forward the need for a radical overturning in society and in music. Their music was an audio onslaught. Of all the radical bands, they were the first to really do it, putting it down for the people and sticking it to the system. I have loved The Clash for a long time and although they broke up almost 20 years ago I've always been able to go back to them. Now I've been listening to The Clash incessantly since Joe died.

You just wish people could stick around, even just a little bit longer. After I heard about Joe's passing I put a Clash poster up and bought a small candle in a glass. I scratched the prayer off of the glass and lit the candle in remembrance of Joe. When I woke up the next morning the wax had melted away and the wick burned down. All candles will eventually go out, but I really wish that first one had lasted longer. I have since replaced that candle. I guess that's how it goes, everyone dies, but you just wish that Strummer could have been around longer.

Thinking about The Clash really brings to mind the space and the oxygen provided by the people's bands. The great revolutionary artists do not simply create inspiring music that exposes people to ideas and politics to change the world. They are a force of attraction that people gravitate towards. Millions come to live their lives by what these artists say, do, mean, and come to exemplify.

You see, The Clash had so much disdain for the bloodsuckers running the world, especially the Yankee fools. As one of the seminal bands of the late '70s punk explosion, where various bands embodied a straight-up fuck-you attitude to the status quo, The Clash also had and gave hope for the future.

From the days of '77 until the very end, Strummer was an internationalist. When The Clash jumped on the scene in England their music fostered and promoted common cause between the white working-class youth, Black people, and immigrants, especially the Dreads who had such an influence on them, helping define much of the band's sound. They embraced and fused dub reggae into their music, and even incorporated the early rap sound when hip-hop was only a baby.

Though I never saw The Clash live I did have the chance to meet Joe four or five times, and all in one night. Last year after I saw Joe Strummer and The Mescaleros he brought a few dozen people out to the bars. And all through the night Joe was talking it up with the people--old friends, new friends, people who didn't know who he was. He would approach you, ask you questions, dis you, talk to you about music, politics, the world, all interspersed with countless anecdotes about his many years making music and meeting people all over the world. With whatever struggles they went through as a band, and the bitterly painful breakup, Joe was so proud of The Clash and what they had done. It was so good to see Joe and his new band. He was carrying the torch, and in listening to their albums and seeing them live it felt like they could come to mean a lot to people. When you saw Strummer on stage, with the younger musicians behind him, it was something else. He was beaming with rapture and had more heart than most artists half his age these days. He stepped to each show like it was a battle, and they were gonna win.

Strummer was a living legend. When you were with him, it was written all over him. He would tell you all he knew and thought. There was no pretension. And when we spoke Joe was challenged and excited to cross paths with revolutionaries from a new generation, who had been so inspired by his music. The passion was constantly flowing out of his eyes to his arms (which he used as his own `palm pilot' of sorts to write down important things that you said to him). When you were with him you felt as though you mattered. He was the kind of dude who stood really close to you in conversation. He wanted to hear what you had to say and was curious about the intonations in the way you spoke.

When you listened to his music it was deeply personal and yet at the same time it was as if he were speaking for millions of youth. From The Clash years all the way up to The Mescaleros, Joe faced the facts, and he challenged us to do the same. From "London Calling" to "Yalla Yalla" Joe fought against any notions of saviors coming down and rescuing the people from the horrors of the system. He proceeded from reality as it is, and not definitions--as idealists wish it to be.

There is a famous picture of The Clash standing in front of a photo of Red Army fighters during the Russian Revolution. Emblazoned across the top, over the band it says, "Clash, The Only Group That Matters." The attitude and demeanor of that band in taking themselves so damn seriously is something to learn from. For real. With the war on the world that the U.S. government is raining down around the planet and the police state that it's implementing here in the "homeland" I am reminded of the stance of that classic Clash song, "Clampdown."

The Judge Said Five To Ten But I Say Double That Again

I'm Not Working For The Clampdown

No Man Born With A Living Soul

Can Be Working For The Clampdown

Kick Over The Wall Cause Government's To Fall

How Can You Refuse It?

Let Fury Have The Hour Anger Can Be Power

D'You Know That You Can Use It?

It was this approach of taking all that rage that gets pent up inside and among the people, and diverting it towards the source of all the horrors, and being so fearless about that stand. Politically Joe had become disillusioned by the possibilities of revolutionary change. He never thought that a radically different world was undesirable, but the prospect of that happening in our lives--even if it could stay good-- was a big question for him and he had his doubts. Joe was hurting from defeats and letdowns of the past, but he never gave up on radical change.

In the Mescaleros song "Tony Adams," Joe asks, Somebody tell me clearly - has the new world begun?then declares, We're waiting for the rays of the morning sun.He wasn't sure if it could be done, and knew it would not happen in his life, but he wasn't closing the door on real change. In "Cool'N'Out" again he asks, "what's it all about,"but says, "let someone else figure it out."In spite of this torn-up feeling of change not coming in his life he still would come out and sing with hope for the future and faith in the people. "Well So Long Liberty, Let's Forget You Didn't Show, Not In My Time, But In Our Son's And Daughter's Time"("Yalla Yalla"). He wanted it sooo bad. He was throwing it out to the next generation.

He saw a power in music from all over the world bringing people together. In "Willesden to Cricklewood" he crooned, Come with me and be no good/ Be a madman on the street/ Sing something out like reet petite/ Let's hip-hop at the traffic lights/ Ten thumbs up and smilin' bright/ Crossing all the great divides/ Colour, age, and heavy vibes.

The pain is real, and I feel it in my gut. I wish Joe were with us right now. It felt so good to be out there knowing that Joe was trying to figure it all out with us. He has left with us quite a legacy. His memory will keep on strumming and nothing can take that away. I think Joe would understand that we need to mourn for a little while, then he'd tell us to grab a brewsky or tequila while we thought of him. He wouldn't want us to sit around too long though, he'd tell us to get up and make something better of this mess, and go find some people to get down with too, whether they look like you or not.

Make your moments count, cuz you never know how many more of them you can count on. The torch has been passed, now who's gonna take it towards the finish?

Crashing Head-On Into The Future

It Won't Even Leave A Dent

Just Walk In Like You Own It

Remember, It Ain't Set In Cement"

You Gotta Live In This World

Go Diggin' The New

Joe Strummer, "Diggin' The New"


This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online

Write: Box 3486, Merchandise Mart, Chicago, IL 60654

Phone: 773-227-4066 Fax: 773-227-4497

Report this post as:

Local News

Change Links September 2018 posted S02 10:22PM

More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre A30 11:09PM

Site Outage Friday A30 3:49PM

Change Links August 2018 A14 1:56AM

Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land A12 11:09PM

More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke J29 10:40PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 8:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 7:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 7:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 11:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J11 6:58AM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M31 5:20AM

Change Links June 2018 posted M28 7:41AM

The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years M22 8:01PM

Unity Archive Project M21 9:42AM

Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi M17 10:22PM

CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police M10 9:08PM

Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies M10 8:57PM

California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings) M02 8:31PM

Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico A29 11:47PM

Change Links May 2018 A27 8:40AM

Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed A27 5:37AM


lausd whistle blower A11 6:58AM

Website Upgrade A10 10:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 8:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 6:58PM

Change Links April 2018 A01 6:27PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Paraphysique de psychosomatique S22 6:58AM

Chuck Grassley: Women Abusing, Animal Murdering, Illegal War Supporting Criminal S22 2:58AM

Finance Capitalism and the Digital Economy S21 4:45PM

Muselières syndicales, muselières patronales S21 7:19AM

Jeff Bezos, Amazon, The Washington Post, Whole Foods, Etc S21 2:50AM

Why Choose Nut Milk Over Cows' Milk S21 1:01AM

Antrhopocène, le grand effondrement S19 9:53AM

Abolir l'économie S18 11:18AM

The Dictatorship of Corporations S17 5:26PM

18 Lethal Consequences Of Hunting S17 3:13PM

Paraphysique de l'outplacement déontologue S15 6:51AM

Shopping du bashing S14 8:42AM

After Lehman Brothers, Experts Say Global Financial Crisis Can Happen Again S13 8:28PM

“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen S12 9:30PM

Probabilités de fin d'humanité S12 6:49AM

Florida Area of Migrant Farmworkers Denied Right to Construct Health Clinic near NaplesCIW S11 2:57AM

Steer clear of work morality! S09 12:10PM

The Shortwave Report 09/07/18 Listen Globally! S06 11:23PM

August 2018 Honduras Coup update S06 12:28PM

Brett Kavanaugh Filled The 5th Circuit With Execution Judges S06 6:14AM

Augusta Georgia Woman Gets 5 Year Prison Sentence for Writing About Russians Crime Acts S05 8:29AM

Paraphysique de contextualité S05 8:29AM

Crisis Regulation in Global Capitalism S03 3:39PM

Ex-voto de réification S03 10:24AM

Please Oppose Warmonger, Execution and Torture Supporting Bush Operative Brett Kavanaugh A31 10:45PM

Paraphysique d'exploitation occultation A31 10:24PM

Ryan Zinke Is Charging Taxpayers For A Trophy Hunters' Council A31 2:10PM

Is the Financial Crash 2.0 Coming? A31 10:07AM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy