Joe Strummer The Sound Of The Joe
“We were like sticks of dynamite… We could go off at any minute…”
Joe Strummer (real name John Graham Mellor) died on the 22nd of December 2002. Although was a talented broadcaster with a groundbreaking half-hour programme on the BBC World Service (called somewhat appropriately “London Calling”), as well as being an actor and founder of The Mescaleros – he is, of course, best remembered as the front man for Punk icons The Clash…
I was standing in the legendary (to me anyway) “Round About Records” in Papanui, Christchurch N.Z. – when I first heard the news of his death. A band I used to play in used to mangle “Charlie Don’t Surf” and “Should I Stay – Or Should I Go” – and I was truly gutted to hear the news.
A few months later I produced two versions of this tribute documentary – one for commercial station Radio Hauraki in Auckland, and another for national broadcaster Radio New Zealand.
It was the first project I was privileged to work on with New Zealand broadcasting legend Barry Jenkin (the narrator) – who later contributed to my “Down Under The Moonlight” series of David Bowie documentaries.
This documentary includes recollections from those who saw his memorable live performance at “The Big Day Out” in Auckland, New Zealand. It also features clips from the highly recommended documentary “Westway to the World” by Don Letts, which in 2003 won the Grammy Award for best long form music video. It was produced using a Sony TCD-D8 Portable DAT Recorder, Sony ECM-MS907 Stereo Microphone and cut together using the good old Cool Edit Pro Digital Editor (which crashed quite a bit during the final mixdown if I recall correctly).
The documentary’s title, “Sound of the Joe”, comes from the name of a song written by Clash guitarist Mick Jones immediately after news of Strummer’s death, in his honour.
The documentary went on to win a Silver Medal Winner at the New York Radio Festivals in 2003, and was commended in the New Zealand Radio Awards.