Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros: Glastonbury '99

Was there ever really a Strummer comeback? (A Strumback?)

While I dutifully bought Earthquake Weather and the Permament Record soundtrack they weren't very moving. Then came the acid-house/world-beat Rock Art & the X-Ray Style in 1999 and the bottom fell out of my Strummer obsession. I'd like to say I hated that record but I couldn't stay awake long enough to rouse any sort of emotional reaction whatsoever. It was during this time that I passed on an opportunity to drive down to Minneapolis with one of my silent blog followers (he knows who he is) to see Strummer. Not only did I not go, I may well have heaped scorn on the possibility.

I now greatly regret not seeing the man in action and while I've come around quite a bit to both of the first two Mescaleros albums in many ways, I still can only see the very last album, Streetcore, as a true Comeback.

Even with such a powerful final testament, whispers abounded: were all those glowing reviews just "we'll love you when you're dead" critic-talk? Did the band (or the label) fiddle with what Stummer had intended for those final tracks? Those were baseless charges and could not erase the fact that Strummer laid out one of the greatest works of his career in the days and hours leading up to his untimely demise.

What follows is Strummer's smash-out-the-cameras performance from Glastonbury 1999 that was taped by the BBC so that it might forever bear witness to a legend's comeback.

Glastobury 1999 link is in the comments

Speaking of comments, when do you think Strummer made his comeback?

Support the artist!









  1. .






  2. Agree that the Strummer solo stuff never did too much for me ...

  3. I was gutted about not seeing strummer a month before he died - had tickets - lived 2 miles from the venue and was so ill i couldnt even make it down the road - now i wish i had at least tried

  4. I like every version of Straight To Hell I have ever heard except for the original Clash versiuon

  5. Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros slipped by me during the 90's (kids growing up kinda took my priorities) but I'm getting back into my music now that they're living their own lives. Everything you've posted has been just awesome to get into again, but this Glastonbury gig blows all out of the water...Thank You very much

  6. I'm going to try this because it's loaded with Clash numbers. I have the 3 Mescaleros records and never listen to them. Can't blame the guy for trying though.

  7. Thanks for this! I saw the Clash many times and Joe a couple of times. As you say, not every solo album was solid but his shows were always great!

  8. got too admit his solo stuff was ok, i got global a go go and thats it! as for live i saw him twice once at astoria and once at a festival and both times it was special just too see the man the clash tracks were very emotional for me, he was searching for a new direction with mescaleros

  9. I'd like to think that Joe never really went away and that his spirits still out there with all those his music/lyrics touched (solo or Clash stuff)and being passed on to the next generation then again I may be talkin' bollocks after a couple of beers, mind you sometimes I don't need beer. All the best for 2011 jeffen, and Keep On Keeping On!

  10. Strummer fue el mas grande.
    Gracias por compartir esta joya.

  11. Never turned on by the solo stuff, but appreciate the opportunity to give it another listen.

  12. I don't think Joe ever had a proper comeback. To try and compete with the myth was going to be a losing propisiton, the same with trying to play with the Clash again. Coma Girl kicks ass though...
    Miss ya Joe!

  13. Thanks for the great show. But dudes, really. "Rock Art" was like a blast of electricity the first time I heard it and remains a classic that I never tire of hearing. Love his solo stuff - his spirit and passion coming out in new directions.

  14. I think Joe's comeback started around the release of Rock Art and the X-Ray style in 1999, but it really started to pick up speed with Global A Go-Go. Streetcore is a great record, Joe was at a high point in his Mescaleros career.

    On a side note:

    I thought i'd mention that on December 22nd at a radio station in Windsor/Detroit they had a Joe Strummer Day playing his music for a 24 hour period, while wrapping it around issues relating to poverty in the area.


  15. "A Strumback?" No. Never.

    I always play the soundtracks to Alex Cox films or Permanent Record more than any of the Mescaleros stuff. The Latino Rockabilly War seem to have able to capture 'the fun' that the Mescaleros never did for me.

    Streetcore came pretty close, but sadly too late.

    Moments of The Future Is Unwritten DVD and Acton Town Hall Firefighters Benefit show Joe shedding all the years of mediocrity, so I can only imagine him re-igniting the world if he had live a little longer.

  16. Thanks for this post! I stand firmly by Streetcore, and the Walker soundtrack, too. Of course Joe wasn't going to equal the Clash, but I feel that he - more than many of his peers - at least tried to stay true to the music rather than pursuing easy cash. Having even a handful of great tunes after a run like the Clash is a feat.

  17. I don't think Joe ever had a true comeback, but I'm still a big fan of Global a Go-Go and Rock Art. Loved Global when it came out - it's just so solid and to me combines everything that Joe was about (except maybe the rock and roll). Rock Art took a while to grow on me, but gets more play now than when it came out.

    Streetcore has some solid songs, but it (justifiably) sounds like a compilation. I liked the live versions of Coma Girl and Get Down Moses better than the record.

  18. I dug his last solo album. To my ears, Joe Strummer's solo output seems better than most Big Audio Dynamite.

  19. While Strummer obviously peaked with The Clash, I still liked his later stuff. Perhaps Mano Negra (or Manu Chao) was the band he hoped the Mescaleros would become.

    Thanks for the effort!

  20. thanks for posting this. the finite nature of what's out there makes every recording a little more valuable...

  21. Anon
    Give Streetcore another shot!

    "gutted" - my feeling on missing out as well.

    Really? Hell, I love a lot of the 22 different version I posted a while ago but man that original knocks me dead every time!

    Yeah, life does temper obsession but I'm glad to help re-strat your Joe kick.

    hope this one moves you!

    Lucky man, wish I'd gone to see him...


    I really think he found that direction right at the end.

    A little beer-fuelled nonsense is a fine tribute to Joe and yeah considering how his voice echoes down the ages he is still with us in a way.

    De nada

    Let us know what you think.

    It's the kick-assingness of "Coma Girl" et al that makes me feel Streetcore was the Comeback, even if it wasn't The Clash.


    Hey thanks for defending Rock Art, I have come to see some of its strengths.

    Yeah he was building up on each album

    P.S. Look like a set list for Joe Strummer Day

    I do like PR (and some of the early solo singles) but none of it ever seemed to add up to a statement and every Clash album made a STATEMENT.

    Well put, I do have to go back and appreciate the Walker OST soon.

    "combines everything that Joe was about (except maybe the rock and roll). " yeah that was my issue with those albums and the fatc that Streetcore was a mess of things made it remind me of London calling/Sandinista a bit.

    I've forgive BAD but I'd still rather listen to a Strummer album than a BAD one.

    Amen to all that.

    Yeah the death of material does give each boot extra power.

    Some Ugly/Anon

  22. I was at Glastonbury '99 and went with the intention to see one act - Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros.
    It was a brilliant afternoon show and one I'd saved myself for - no drugs or drink until after the great man had played on that fine Sunday in June and I was beside myself with laughter as Joe started wrenching on the crane camera that strayed within his reach during 'Straight to Hell' and ranting about how "you can't even take a shit in this country without some cunt pointing a camera at you...", which is probably why that song never made it to the final broadcast.
    Great show, great band, great songs.
    Really, REALLY wish he was still with us.

  23. Growler Rob
    Fucking amazing to have first person point of view on this amazing show.


  24. Joe, a true artist, exhibited his growth and maturity in the late 90's as a result of his experiences. Always looking forward, not trying to recreate the past. His post Clash work is beautiful, powerful, insightful and inspirational.

    Thank you for posting the link. Wish there were more live concerts available from 1988 through 2002. If you have anything else, it would be much appreciated!


Thanks for clicking the COMMENTS link.
Now that you're here,I should mentions that
without reader feedback blogs slowly wither and die