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.
"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
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.
Popular musicology embraces the field of musicological study that engages with popular forms of music, especially music associated with commerce, entertainment and leisure activities. The Ashgate Popular and Folk Music Series aims to present the best research in this field. Authors are concerned with criticism and analysis of the music itself, as well as locating musical practices, values and meanings in cultural context. The focus of the series is on popular music of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, with a remit to encompass the entirety of the world’s popular music.
Critical and analytical tools employed in the study of popular music are being continually developed and refined in the twenty-first century. Perspectives on the transcultural and intercultural uses of popular music have enriched understanding of social context, reception and subject position. Popular genres as distinct as reggae, township, bhangra, and flamenco are features of a shrinking, transnational world. The series recognizes and addresses the emergence of mixed genres and new global fusions, and utilizes a wide range of theoretical models drawn from anthropology, sociology, psychoanalysis, media studies, semiotics, postcolonial studies, feminism, gender studies and queer studies.