Posted by: Devin | February 25, 2012


Emailed to my best friend, Janelle. Posting not for critique, as I wrote it stream-of-consciously and to express myself and exorcise some sadness…rather, posting in honor, love, and respect for Joe and to show he still lives on.


…When I first got into The Clash, I didn’t think that would happen…the sadness. I remember being all OMG I LOVE THE CLASH SO MUCH AND THEY MAKE ME HAPPY AND WEIRD AND CREATIVE AND INSPIRED and I had this jacket I wrote lyrics on the back of…theirs and the Pistols..then ONE DAY I was on my LiveJournal (no facebook and stuff) and this music loving, weed smoking, reggae loving guy on my friends list had an RIP post. And I thought it was a joke.

I distinctly remember, as the fear and numbness crept in, thinking, “why would you say that?” then I googled and…it was true. I am quite sure I went to listen to them (on my Discman) and felt…detached. And the more I listened, and the more I thought about it, the darker it felt. I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT HIM, other than The Clash…

but high school was a dark time for me and that year I finally got into Bowie and The Clash and Pistols and Blondie and I felt like my weird quirks and  differing opinions were VALID. That this small town mindset was not going to define me cuz look at what Joe is saying…other people are pissed off about things and make it out and create and that was INSPIRING to me and though I didn’t yet know how witty and dorky and weird and fond of vests he was, I knew something special was there,

and the fact that I was able to gain such strength and sense of validation from his words made me realize JOE STRUMMER MATTERS. JOE STRUMMER IS IMPORTANT. JOE STRUMMER LIVES. Why is everyone saying he’s dead? His thoughts and creations and energies he formed have shaped this teenaged outcast and made her realize there is more world than she knew of.

We are not defined by our past…thinking differently is okay, it is encouraged, it is strength and world-changing and beauty and art and the air in my lungs that keeps me going.

And to be told that he was gone was like…IS like…no, no, that isn’t true. That can’t be true because when someone is dead, it signifies there is no more they do for the world, no more interactions with the world, no more breaths and words and fears and dreams.

But dammit, that is NOT true. Because I feel that he is still here. Be that through the life in his creations, or something spiritual, he is here all the same. The fact that there are still those he inspires, that he makes people find an outlet and make them strive for change, that his words and attitudes and everything he created are still relevant and inspiring people and he DOES live,

he lives like a gnarled tree that has long seen its last season lives…does it grow new leaves each season? No. But its foundation remains, this thing that is beautiful in its twisted up facade, that refuses to stop being present although it no longer blooms. And you know what happens to such things? They start to nourish other things and encourage them to grow, it becomes the supporting  system that sustains and gives life to others, that through its own battered and weathered shell, gives up pieces of itself to be carried in the physicality, the mind, the everything of countless others.

The moss, the butterflies, the ants, the birds. This is not sad…this is not the end…it is a continuing life…one that grows even after it ends, that ensnares in its withering roots and forces you to to fall, to feel the pain, to be angry and then inspired and take that anger, take that pain, use that tree that remains although it does not bloom, and take pieces of it with you, use its branch to prop you up, take what it created and let it be your comfort and shade.

There is nothing to be sad about because his life wasn’t wasted…wasn’t forgotten…was not a mistake or something wiped out from the pages. This is what it means to say that JOE STRUMMER LIVES, to say that death is not the end, that the life we live may not always traverse the path we had set it on, but every little life we encounter feels us and has the capability to be touched and inspired and encouraged to grow. To spread itself out til it cannot possibly lay itself any barer, to show the world THIS IS WHO AND WHAT I AM. I am here. I breathe. And when I do not breathe, I will still exist in the lives I have touched and ideas I have planted.



  1. Joe’s legacy lives on, and Joe’s spirit no doubt gone onto somewhere better ! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings. For all of its misuse and contradictions punk rock really is at its most creative, generous and explosive personified by Joe Strummer !!

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