Saturday, October 24, 2009

BIBJ Playlist of the 2000s entry #65: Constructive Summer by The Hold Steady

Raise a toast to Saint Joe Strummer!  I think he might have been our only decent teacher.

Every time I hear this line, I'm reminded of a documentary I saw on the Sundance Channel a few years ago.  Let's Rock Again followed Joe Strummer in what would surprisingly turn out the be the last year of his life, on the road with his new band The Mescaleros.  

For the most part, Let's Rock Again is a pretty typical tour doc, focusing primarily on Strummer's attempt to get his new band some notoriety after he had spent the previous decade-and-a-half basically out of the public eye.  But there is one scene that blew me away, where Strummer roams up and down the Atlantic City boardwalk begging people to come to his show.  This guy was in The Clash!  And he's passing out handmade flyers!  And usually getting rejected!

Strummer never seems frustrated, which is probably to be expected.  Despite his influence, he's not a guy that would be easily recognized by the masses.  He actually seems to be getting a thrill from embracing the DIY mentality and literally hitting the pavement to drum up business.  (I also wonder if he has some weird side bet in place concerning how many times he can work Captain Beefheart into conversation.)  He seems to be a man fully content and self-aware, refusing to rest on his legacy, while simultaneously embracing its existence.  When reflecting back on guides in the school of rock stardom, does anyone really need any other decent teachers?

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