Joe Strummer Remembered with Box Set Commemorating Punk Icon’s 70th Birthday

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Dark Horse Records is celebrating what would have been Joe Strummer’s 70th birthday on August 21 with Joe Strummer 002: The Mescaleros Years, out September 16. The collection is the first comprehensive collection highlighting Strummer’s work with the Mescaleros, the band he fronted after playing lead guitar for the Clash.

The collection is broken into four parts, including all three of the band’s studio albums—Rock Art and the X-Ray Style (1999), Global A Go-Go (2001), and the posthumous Streetcore including their third and final release with Strummer after his untimely death on December 22, 2002, at the age of 50—and remastered by engineer Paul Hicks (The Beatles, John Lennon, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie).

The fourth album, Vibes Compass, includes 15 rare and unreleased demos Strummer wrote for the Mescaleros, including “The Road To Rock ‘N’ Roll,” “X-Ray Style,” “Techno D-Day,” and the previously unreleased “Secret Agent Man,” as well as “Ocean Of Dreams” featuring former Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones.

“All that’s happening for me now is just a chancer’s bluff,” said Strummer during his Mescaleros years. “I learned that fame is an illusion and everything about it is just a joke. I’m far more dangerous now, because I don’t care at all.”

Outtakes of several of Strummer’s final recordings with the band are also included in the box set, executive produced by Strummer’s widow Lucinda Tait and produced by David Zonshine. Joe Strummer 002: The Mescaleros Years also features exclusive new interviews with Strummer’s Mescaleros bandmates, friends, and collaborators in addition to never-before-seen handwritten lyrics, drawings, and notes by Strummer pulled from the Joe Strummer Archive.

To celebrate the news of the new collection is the unreleased version of “The Road To Rock ‘N’ Roll (Demo)” with an accompanying video using Strummer’s drawings and handwritten lyrics.

Joe Strummer and The Mescaleros

“There’s so much great music that Joe left us in his archive,” said Strummer’s widow Tait in a statement. “We started this work with ‘001,’ so to focus on Joe’s work with the Mescaleros was the natural second step on ‘002’ because those songs he made with them just seemed to resonate so strongly and reinvigorated his connection with his audience at a level he hadn’t experienced since his days with the Clash.”

She added, “He was so excited to work with the Mescaleros and the reception he got from the press and fans was incredible, it gave him a whirlwind of energy and confidence and he was creatively fulfilled and happy. His words are so beautiful and honest and together with the Mescaleros some fantastic tunes were created and to listen to some of the tunes recorded as outtakes for me was really special.”

Joe Strummer 002: The Mescaleros Years Track Listing:

Rock Art and the X-Ray Style

1. Tony Adams
2. Sandpaper Blues
3. X-Ray Style
4. Techno D-Day
5. The Road to Rock ‘N’ Roll
6. Diggin’ The New
7. Nitcomb
8. Forbidden City
9. Yalla Yalla
10. Willesden To Cricklewood

Global A Go-Go

1. Johnny Appleseed
2. Cool ’N’ Out
3. Global A Go-Go
4. Bhindi Bhagee
5. Gamma Ray
6. Mega Bottle Ride
7. Shaktar Donetsk
8. Mondo Bongo
9. Bummed Out City
10. At The Border, Guy
11. Minstrel Boy (full-length version)

Streetcore

1. Coma Girl
2. Get Down Moses
3. Long Shadow
4. Arms Aloft
5. Ramshackle Day Parade
6. Redemption Song
7. All In A Day
8. Burnin’ Streets
9. Midnight Jam
10. Silver and Gold

Vibes Compass

1. Time And The Tide
2. Techno D-Day (Demo)
3. Ocean Of Dreams (feat. Steve Jones)
4. Forbidden City (Demo)
5. X-Ray Style (Demo)
6. The Road To Rock ‘N’ Roll (Demo)
7. Tony Adams (Demo)
8. Cool ‘N’ Out (Demo)
9. Global A Go-Go (Demo)
10. Secret Agent Man
11. All In A Day (Demo)
12. London Is Burning
13. Get Down Moses (Outtake)
14. Fantastic
15. Coma Girl (Outtake)

Photos by Shigeo Jones Kikuchi / Big Hassle PR

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