Dark Horse Records is celebrating what would have been Joe Strummer’s 70th birthday on Sunday, 21 August with today’s premiere of ‘Fantastic‘, available now at all DSPs and streaming services. The previously unreleased track stands as one of Strummer’s final recordings, with vocals recorded in December 2002 at the famed Rockfield Studios in Monmouthshire, Wales, mere weeks after Joe Strummer and The Mescaleros played their last ever live show at Liverpool University on 22 November 2002.
Continuing the celebrations around Joe’s 70th birthday this weekend, longtime Strummer fan Eddie Vedder has covered ‘Long Shadow‘ from the posthumous Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros album, Streecore. “I just think that what Joe did with the Mescaleros and those records, and those songs, and those words, it was a very communal sound,” said Vedder. “I think when you have a communal sound, the listener feels like they can be part of that community.”
WATCH EDDIE VEDDER COVERING ‘LONG SHADOW’ HERE
‘Fantastic’ heralds Dark Horse Records’ upcoming release of Joe Strummer 002: The Mescaleros Years, the first-ever comprehensive collection highlighting Strummer’s work with his post-Clash band, The Mescaleros, arriving everywhere Friday, September 16 on 4 CD w/72-page book and 7 LP w/32-page book, special edition packaging and exclusive 12”x12” art print. Pre-orders are available now HERE. Joe Strummer 002: The Mescaleros Years includes remastered editions of all three of The Mescaleros’ studio albums, plus 15 rare and unreleased tracks spanning the first demos Strummer wrote for the band to outtakes from their final recordings together, as well as songs like ‘Ocean Of Dreams’, featuring the Sex Pistols’ Steve Jones on guitar. Executive produced by Strummer’s widow, Lucinda Tait, and produced by David Zonshine, the richly curated boxset also includes exclusive new interviews with Joe’s friends, collaborators and Mescaleros band mates, plus never-before-seen handwritten notes, lyrics, and drawings by Strummer taken from the Joe Strummer Archive.
LISTEN TO ‘FANTASTIC’ HERE
Joe Strummer 002: The Mescaleros Years was unveiled last month alongside a previously unreleased early version of ‘The Road To Rock ‘N’ Roll (Demo)‘, available everywhere now for streaming and download. An official video featuring drawings and handwritten lyrics found in the Joe Strummer Archive is streaming now at YouTube HERE.
LISTEN TO ‘THE ROAD TO ROCK’N’ROLL (DEMO)’
WATCH OFFICIAL VIDEO
While best known as the front man for The Clash, Strummer produced some of the most exciting work of his career with The Mescaleros. Strummer said during this period: “All that’s happening for me now is just a chancer’s bluff. 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.”
Joe Strummer 002: The Mescaleros Years highlights this intense period of creativity from 1999-2002, collecting for the first time such extraordinary albums as Rock Art and the X-Ray Style (1999), Global A Go-Go (2001), and the posthumous Streetcore (2003), along with Vibes Compass, a brand-new compilation of 15 B-sides and rarities, including early demos of some of the first tracks Joe wrote for the Mescaleros such as ‘The Road To Rock ‘N’ Roll’, ‘X-Ray Style’, ‘Techno D-Day’, as well as the previously unreleased ‘Secret Agent Man’ and the original recordings from Joe’s last ever sessions, including outtakes of ‘Get Down Moses’, ‘Coma Girl’ and the song ‘Fantastic’. All albums are remastered by three-time GRAMMY® Award-winning engineer Paul Hicks (The Beatles, John Lennon, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie) especially for the release and are packaged with extensive new liner notes, unreleased images, and four reproduction lyric sheets and chord charts from the Strummer archive.
PRE-ORDER JOE STRUMMER 002: THE MESCALEROS YEARS HERE
“There’s so much great music that Joe left us in his archive,” says Joe’s widow and the executive producer, Lucinda Tait. “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.
“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.”
2022 marks twenty years since the passing of the legendary Joe Strummer. Punk poet, musician, composer, actor, and style icon, Strummer spent his life smashing musical and cultural boundaries both as the singer of The Clash and as a solo artist. His songs sound as urgent and vital today as when they were written. Calling out social injustices and giving a voice to the struggles of the working class, Strummer’s politically charged lyrics struck a chord with legions of fans and the press alike, with Rolling Stone calling The Clash “the greatest rock & roll band in the world.” He famously once said, “Without people, you’re nothing.” Through his art, Joe Strummer played his part in shaping the musical landscape of the world and with it left an unrivalled and timeless legacy.