When Joe Strummer, The Clash’s fervent frontman, died in 2002, not only was the spirit of punk diminished, but another burning fire was reduced to embers. Strummer was a lifelong supporter of the DIY ethic and grass roots values, as witnessed by Clash fans he sneaked into gigs and hotels, and the many thousands of people for whom he personally shared his wisdom with, taking the time to listen and talk to anyone that would approach – most notably at Glastonbury Festival, where every year Joe could be found holding court around a roaring campfire.
In the weeks after his death, The Joe Strummer Foundation was set up to maintain that energy of benevolence. A non-profit organisation, it is committed to supporting new music by providing resources to aspiring musicians and relevant projects, enabling momentum that was previously unavailable. Artists who have benefitted from the Foundation’s backing include Bastille, Florence And The Machine, Anna Calvi, and Jamie T. In addition, their work has spread further afield – international projects have included supporting musical education in Malawi, and opening a studio in Sierra Leone in aid of street youth.
Last week, in a timely celebration of what would have been Joe’s 63rd birthday, the Foundation released its first ever fundraising album, which collates 17 songs from a variety of unsigned acts.
‘Strummerville A Go-Go #1’ includes tracks from LA jungle punk band Bill Mountain, Dublin-based psych-folk songwriter Noel O’Brien, eclectic London outfit One Eyed Wayne, and Brighton indie band The New Thieves. A re-working of ‘Rock The Casbah’ by Clash associate Ranking Roger also features as an exclusive.
Available as a digital download for only £1 (or any larger amount) from the Foundation’s Bandcamp page, all donations will go directly to the charity, ensuring a continuation of their good work.
‘Strummerville A Go-Go #1’ is out now. To download the album, or for a tracklisting and further info, see: https://strummerville.bandcamp.com/album/strummerville-a-go-go-001
Words: CC Baxter