Joe Strummer, the lead singer for the landmark British punk band The Clash, has died at the age of 50. It appears that he died in his sleep, no foul play or drugs are suspected.
The news of Joe’s passing bums me out in so many ways. He was a great musician, he and the Clash helped define the concept of punk at a time when I was still wearing catholic school uniforms, riding skateboards through traffic, and climbing over the walls of boarding schools to go see them. One of my fondest London memories is seeing them play at the Marquee. I still have the poster of the band that I ripped from the wall of the club on my way out. I met one of my best friends (now also deceased) at a Clash show. The Clash, like the Ramones, was a constant soundtrack to my teen angst, blaring my indifference to the commercial world of pop crap, a loud rhythmic drumbeat that fueled my belief that conformity was evil.
It sucks when the punks start dying of natural causes, because one realizes that this means your own generation is starting to get old enough to die, without there being something stupid like booze, drugs, or fast cars involved.