This book is awesome. It is very Diane Arbus-esque examining the underbelly of the Haight Ashbury District of the 1980s. I personally love this book for its documentation of Skinheads in the early 80s (SF Skinz) which was rarely done pre-Geraldo/Oprah.. If you are a collector of subculture you should definitely check out this book and William T. Vollmann’s book Rainbow Stories based upon the same groups of people.
I posted this on MYSPACE shortly after his death. So i thought i would re-post it here:
The Clash has always been one of the major soundtracks of my life. I never got to see them play live so when the chance to see Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros at the House of Blues in Anaheim came about I was down. Seeing Joe Strummer on stage with all the same energy of clash footage from years past was awesome. But I never thought we would run into an old friend of Boxer’s that would take us backstage. I have met and know a lot of people in entertainment so I have never been one to get star struck but being inches away from Joe Strummer left me speechless. He and Boxer were talking about some tour they were on together in Italy while I stood listening to them. Joe Strummer noticed me and asked Boxer: “Aren’t you going to introduce us?” and then he politely shook my hand. We stayed backstage drinking beers and hanging out for what felt like hours but was probably just an hour and a half. Forever etched in my mind will be Joe Strummer listening (no- really FEELING the music- eyes shut, head moving) to music blaring out of a boom box, drinking a glass of red wine, and talking about the magic of reggae. I remember feeling the sweat soaked wetness of his shirt as he handed it to me and asked me to put it under the chair I was sitting in. Normally I would have cringed touching sweaty musician clothes but it was Joe Strummer man sweat so somehow that made it alright. What I remember most is how fucking NICE and down to earth he was. He had no attitude, no rock star personae, he was just a passionate man listening to some nobody girl’s demo tape on a boom box. I smile when I recall how much he tripped on the fact that Manic Hispanic would do a cover of one of his Clash songs. I think Boxer may have even sung a few lines. Joe was amazing in the few minutes our paths crossed and I am so glad I had the privilege of meeting him that night.
Later that summer I took my little boy to the Hootenanny and the Mescaleros were headlining. It was so cool to watch my son recognize the clash songs and sing along. It was the first time I took him to see live bands. Joe Strummer as a first gig- how awesome is that? I was more grateful that I was able to share that experience with my boy, when unexpectedly, a few months later, Joe passed away. My kid doesn’t know it now, but he is one of the few 6 year olds that can say when he is older, he saw a legend perform.
Joe Strummer, you will be forever missed.
This original painting of Joe Strummer was done by the awesome Rebecca Curren-Willingham check out her online store