Punk Rock Warlord explores the relevance of Joe Strummer within the continuing legacies of both punk rock and progressive politics. It is aimed at scholars and general readers interested in The Clash, punk culture, and the intersections between pop music and politics, on both sides of the Atlantic. Contributors to the collection represent a wide range of disciplines, including history, sociology, musicology, and literature; their work examines all phases of Strummer’s career, from his early days as ’Woody’ the busker to the whirlwind years as front man for The Clash, to the ’wilderness years’ and Strummer’s final days with the Mescaleros. Punk Rock Warlord offers an engaging survey of its subject, while at the same time challenging some of the historical narratives that have been constructed around Strummer the Punk Icon. The essays in Punk Rock Warlord address issues including John Graham Mellor’s self-fashioning as ’Joe Strummer, rock revolutionary’; critical and media constructions of punk; and the singer’s complicated and changing relationship to feminism and anti-racist politics. These diverse essays nevertheless cohere around the claim that Strummer’s look, style, and musical repertoire are so rooted in both English and American cultures that he cannot finally be extricated from either.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction: John Woody Joe Mellor Strummer: the many lives, travails and sundry shortcomings of a punk rock warlord, Barry J. Faulk and Brady Harrison. Part I John/Woody/Joe: ‘Don’t call me Woody’: the punk compassion and folk rebellion of Joe Strummer and Woody Guthrie, Edward A. Shannon; Joe Strummer: the road to rock and roll, Lauren Onkey; From the 101’ers to the Mescaleros, and whatever band was in-between: Joe Strummer’s musical journey (or, why Woody?), Brian A. Cogan. Part II I Don’t Trust You: ‘This is Joe Public speaking’: why Joe Strummer’s passion is still in fashion, Mark Bedford; Saint Joe: an apostate writes, Alex Ogg. Part III Why Should You Trust Me?: Revolution rock?: The Clash, Joe Strummer and the British Left in the early days of punk, Matthew Worley; The creation of an anti-Fascist icon: Joe Strummer and rock against racism, Jeremy Tranmer; The last gang in town: masculinity, feminism, Joe Strummer and the Clash, Maria Raha. Part IV Strummer on Broadway (and Sunset): ‘I am so bored with the USA’: Joe Strummer and the Promised Land, Justin S. Wadlow; Culture clash: the influence of hip hop culture and aesthetics on the Clash, Walidah Imarisha; Mystery train: ‘Joe Strummer’ on screen, Chris Barsanti. List of references; Index.
Barry J. Faulk is a Professor in the English Department at Florida State University, and the author of Music Hall and Modernity (2004) and British Rock Modernism (Ashgate, 2010). He has published numerous articles on British literature and cultural studies. Brady Harrison is Professor of English at the University of Montana. He is the author of Agent of Empire: William Walker and the Imperial Self in American Literature (2004) and editor of All Our Stories Are Here: Critical Perspectives on Montana Literature (2009). He has published stories, essays, and articles in books and journals in the US, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, France, and Australia.
"This important contribution to popular music studies is the first collection of critical essays on John Mellor and challenges the existing narratives around the idol Joe Strummer. Overall, the book can be recommended to scholars and fans who have a general interest in punk rock, The Clash, and a critical approach towards the human being behind the ‘Joe Strummer’ label."
- Dr André Rottgeri, Universität Passau, Universität Paderborn, HfM Karlsruhe