May 2, 2015
‘You rich southern bastards, come up here and keep us waiting!’
I meant to get this up yesterday for “May Day.”
By accident or design, it was highlighted in yesterday’s Rock’s Back Pages newsletter:
“Joe Strummer: Your Money or Your Life,” by Robin Gibson, in Sounds, August 6 1988.
Like everything at the site, the article behind their pricey paywall, but I can’t resist posting a bit of it here (scroll down), as a follow up to my older post about (among other things) what was written on one of Joe’s guitars:
The Fridays set does offer an unusual, almost “Saturday morning cartoon” display of the three major Clash “looks” on stage at the same time:
Scorpio Rising extra; Depression-era wanted poster; and “uniforms night” at The Manhole.
The thing that stands out for me is what Joe has written on his guitar.
There’s some dispute as to whether or not it reads “1 MAY TAKE A HOLIDAY” or “I MAY TAKE A HOLIDAY.”
Given his political leanings, I’m sure it’s the former.
Perhaps it’s too bad it wasn’t the latter.
The surviving members now say the group probably should’ve just taken a much-needed break rather than breaking up less than three years after this performance.
It was the now-dead guy, Joe, who’d wanted to keep touring and recording at their inhuman pace.
Unlike Bobby Darin, Strummer didn’t know he had a fatal heart defect, but it’s always been tempting to speculate that he sensed his time was short.
As far as the breakup, the writing may not have been on the wall, but maybe it was on the
Anyhow here we are in 1988, via Sounds, and Joe is now in his Latino Rockabilly War incarnation, and from the, er, sounds of it, pleased as hell to be on something called the Rock Against the Rich Tour:
It’s a tour put together by an organisation for which no one claims to be organiser. Their newspaper Class War openly and gleefully campaigns for anti-rich and anti-police violence. It’s completely serious, and funny too — one classic cover pictured massed rows of tombstones below a headline celebrating record numbers of new police homes.
The Latino Rockabilly War is a band for whom Liverpool, if my fingers serve me correctly, is only their seventh gig. They rehearsed for four days before the first, and already they’re probably the best live rock band in the UK.
It’s a tour which, along with numerous Green Wedge benefits, will leave Strummer [ED: DESCRIBED ELSEWHERE IN THE PIECE AS “MIDDLE CLASS“] “near the breadline”. It’s a mass of so-called contradictions and that’s in character. (…)
After the gig we retire to a curry house. Finishing the meal, we notice a Liverpool hen party trilling, “Why are we waiting?” behind us. Light banter follows.
Then they hear the accents.
“You rich southern bastards, come up here and keep us waiting!”