Rock News: Music's high and low notes

By JOHN SWENSON, United Press International   |   Dec. 24, 2002 at 3:00 AM
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British punk rock pioneer Joe Strummer, who co-founded and fronted with the Clash, died Sunday at his home in England. Strummer was 50 years old. With the Clash, Strummer played guitar, sang and wrote songs along with Mick Jones. The news of Strummer's death was announced on his Web site. The message on, dated Monday, reads: "Joe Strummer died yesterday. Our condolences to Luce and the kids, family and friends." A spokesman for Avon and Somerset police said: "We believe police did attend as the death at the farmhouse in Broomfield near Bridgwater was sudden." The cause of death is believed to be a heart attack pending an official autopsy. Strummer had been in the studio to record the third album with his Mescaleros group, the follow-up to 2001's "Global a Go-Go." During the band's recently completed tour, several songs slated for the album were given run-throughs, including "Dakar Meantime" and "Coma Girl." The band also performed well-known Clash tunes like "Rudie Can't Fail" and "(White Man)in Hammersmith Palais." Strummer was joined at London's Acton Town Hall show by Clash crony Jones for a reunion after nearly 20 years. The two joined forces to perform the Clash classics "Bankrobber," "White Riot" and "London's Burning."


Sir Paul McCartney is not just a knight, he also now has his own coat of arms, reports the Sunday Times of London. The Times said the crest features a liver bird, an imaginary being from McCartney's hometown of Liverpool's crest, holding a guitar. The emblem also features four curved figures in the shape of beetle shells, an obvious reference to McCartney's time in the Beatles. McCartney's motto on the coat of arms, "Ecco Cor Meum," is Latin for "Behold My Heart," the title of a McCartney composition. McCartney's coat of arms came from the College of Arms, which dates back to 1484.


The New York Post reports Stevie Wonder is feuding with his mother, Lulu Hardaway, over the content of her just-released biography, "Blind Faith" (Simon and Schuster). Wonder pulled support from the book and permission to use his songs in a film version, the Post reports, when he discovered his mother revealed his father forced her to turn tricks for him.

"I wanted people to know," Hardaway, 72, told the Post's Page Six column, "whatever my husband did to me, he gave me some wonderful children and I'm proud of them. This is not Stevie Wonder's book. This is Lulu's book. And I have more children than just Stevie Wonder."


Several of New Orleans' top guitarists collaborated with their children in an unusual concert over the weekend. Dave Malone, Spencer Bohren and Cranston Clements were joined by Annie Clements on bass, Andre Bohren on drums and Johnny and Darcy Malone on vocals, collectively known as The Chilluns. Helping out on keyboards was New Orleans' ubiquitous John Gros, who drew raves, particularly for his exchanges with pere Malone. Bohren was particularly effective on pedal steel guitar during the band's cover of the Crosby, Stills and Nash classic "Teach Your Children."


If you're in the market for a really unusual last minute Christmas album, check out the Christmas Jug Band's "Uncorked." The latest effort from the Dan Hicks-led band, which has been provoking belly laughs for a quarter of a century running, leads off with the wacky hit "Santa Lost a Ho," the chuckle-inducing story of what happens when "Ho-ho-ho" turns into merely "Ho-ho" (uh-oh!). The record also features alumni from the Commander Cody band, Norton Buffalo, Maria Muldaur, Angela Strehli, Mike Duke and the Fabulous Opinions.

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