Strummer Week: The Movies

Joe Strummer, Rick Aviles, and Steve Buscemi in Jim Jarmusch's Mystery Train


Today’s Strummer week post covers Joe Strummer’s sideline career in films. While Joe composed film scores and wrote songs for films, he also appeared in a few of them. The first was 1980’s Rude Boy, a film conceived by the Clash’s manager Bernie Rhodes, likely in a chess move response to frenemy Malcolm McLaren’s film project for the Sex Pistols, The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle. While the main attraction of the film is live footage of the Clash, a story involving “roadie” Ray is woven in. The success of the film is debatable, and while it is a must-see for hardcore fans, the band ended up hating it in the end.

Rude Boy excerpt

Watch this video on YouTube


Joe’s next foray into film would be his own creation Hell W10. Written and directed by Joe in the summer of 1983, the black and white gangster film featured members of the Clash as well as their friends and business associates. The film was thought lost until, as the story goes, a rough copy was purchased out of the back of a car by a pair of fans. The … Continue reading

Strummer Week: The Pogues


We continue our week-long Joe Strummer tribute, leading up to the 10-year anniversary of his death on December 22, with a bit about the Pogues. The lives of the Pogues weaved around Joe’s for a number of years, beginning before the Pogues even existed. In the late ’70s, young Shane MacGowan was a visible fixture on the London punk scene, but more as a fan than as a music maker. The first known intersection in the lives of Joe and Shane came on October 23, 1976, at the Clash’s first headlining gig in London at the ICA on the Mall. Part of the reason the date is so memorable involves Shane.


Cannibalism at Clash Gig - news clip featuring young Shane MacGowan


Yes, you recognize him: that young man in the pinstriped jacket, with blood later streaming down the side of his head is the same person who would later go on to pen literary and poignant tunes like “Fairytale of New York” and “A Pair of Brown Eyes”.

A true punk, Shane wouldn’t let a … Continue reading