Joe Strummer’s widow, Lucinda Tait, has revealed that the late punk legend hoped to reform The Clash for a performance in 2003, just months before his unexpected death.
Shortly before Strummer died from a heart attack in December 2002, The Clash were announced as inductees for the 2003 class of the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame. That was followed by a surprise reunion between Strummer and his former Clash co-frontman, Mick Jones, during a benefit concert in London – the first time they’d performed together since May of 1983.
That brief reunion may have signalled a proper comeback for The Clash, as Tait said to Consequence earlier this week: “Joe definitely wanted The Clash to play at the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame.”
She conceded, however, that no plans had been formalised between the band themselves, with Strummer apparently making it clear to Tait that the prospect “was all dependent on everybody wanting to do it”, which “was not a given”. Nevertheless, she continued: “I think he would have liked it. Yes, I think he would have liked The Clash to have played at the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame.
“But at the same time, he was very proud of [his then-current band] The Mescaleros. And he was really on a roll with his writing and his creativity with The Mescaleros. And I don’t think that, necessarily, it was in on his mind to get The Clash back together [long-term], if you feel what I mean. I know he definitely wanted to do it for the Hall Of Fame, though. He was so honored. It meant the world to him.”
Touching on Strummer and Jones’ surprise reunion in late ‘02, Tait said the latter’s brief appearance onstage – during which they performed ‘Bankrobber’, ‘White Riot’ and ‘London’s Burning’ – was “not planned” at all: “He came to the show, and he literally said, ‘Hold my coat, I’m going up.’ And nobody was expecting it.”
Earlier this week, a group of musicians honoured the 20th anniversary of Strummer’s death by busking in front of his mural in New York City. It followed a new box set of music from The Mescaleros, which arrived in September (marking the first exhaustive compilation of the band’s work), as well as a new edition of The Clash’s ‘Combat Rock’ album from May of this year.