Located in Cleveland, Ohio, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Inc. is a unique nonprofit organization that exists to educate visitors, fans and scholars from around the world about the history and continuing significance of rock and roll music. It carries out this mission through its operation of a world-class museum, library and archives as well as its incredible educational programs. Guitar Shop TV is collaborating closely with the Museum, and in upcoming episodes brings its viewers deep inside the vault of the Museum’s amazing Rock archives. We also speak with several of the fascinating members of the Museum’s staff about legendary guitarists and bands.
In this clip, Howard Kramer, the Curatorial Director of the Museum, talks with Guitar Shop TV about Joe Strummer, the lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist and lyricist for The Clash. Kramer shows off Strummer’s main axe, a Telecaster with the sticker “Ignore Alien Orders,” discusses the roots of The Clash’s music and why they were considered by many to be “the only band that mattered.”
The Clash were a critically acclaimed English punk band that burst onto the American rock scene with their third album, London Calling, which hit the US in early 1980. Rolling Stone later called it the best album of the 1980s. The band’s politically conscious lyrics and explosive sound struck a chord, as did their mash-up of punk with ska, rockabilly, dub and rap influences.
After The Clash disbanded in 1986, Strummer worked with London/Irish folk band The Pogues and played a lead character in the Jim Jarmusch film Mystery Train. He had a musical resurgence in the ‘90s with his band The Mescaleros and had just finished writing a song with Bono for Nelson Mandela‘s campaign against AIDS in Africa when Strummer died suddenly in 2002 of an undiagnosed congenital heart defect.