Joe Strummer's final album was far from finished when he died last December. But the former Clash leader's backing band, the Mescaleros, weren't about to let the material go to waste: Streetcore, a ten-track collection, will be released October 4th.
"A huge thing had been taken away from my life," says guitarist Scott Shields, who co-produced Streetcore with keyboardist Martin Slattery. "My motivation was to finish this for Joe. But I also wanted to finish it because it's a fucking great record."
This spring, Slattery and Shields hunkered down with demos of several songs Strummer had recorded at studios in West London and South Wales. One standout track, "Coma Girl," is an affectionate rocker inspired by Strummer's seventeen-year-old daughter, Lola. Along with the seven songs completed at the final Mescaleros sessions, the album is rounded out by tracks Strummer recorded during sessions in Los Angeles with Rick Rubin and Danny Saber. Among these is an acoustic take on Bob Marley's "Redemption Song," recorded with Rubin during the making of Johnny Cash's American Recordings IV: The Man Comes Around. "It is quite a strange experience," says Shields. "When you're listening to his vocals, you imagine that you're going to see him in the room."
Sadly, two of the band's favorite songs -- the upbeat "Dakar Meantime" and "Steady America" -- were written and road-tested on the band's final tour, but vocals were never recorded. "You can't say to Joe Strummer, 'Come on, sing! Do your vocals,'" says Shields with a laugh. "He'll come in at one o'clock in the morning and go, 'Right, stop! Get me a mike!' He'd pace up and down and do his thing, and then, 'Right, see ya,' and just be gone as fast as he appeared."
Track list for Streetcore:
Get Down Moses
Ramshackle Day Parade
All in a Day
Silver and Gold