Missing Joe and missed opportunities
Hello once more and thanks for dropping in. I’m dictating this post…to my fingers..who are typing…
‘I began to notice that I’m 47 and I wanted a certain vibe out of my hi-fi. Something culturally heavy but not someone yelling at you. I found that if I had yelling things, I’d kinda spin ‘em once or twice and then they’d go to the back of the pile. I liked chilling out with U-Roy, where it’s kind of bubbling along, when it’s inside the rhythm.
I began to study people like Tony Bennett. I know I’m being ridiculous, you can’t touch Tony. But I’m just saying the way it sits inside the rhythm. This is how I planned it to myself. (holds out his palm) This is the beat of a record. (holds out his other palm) Say that’s the lyrical phrases. Now, when you can’t do what Frank (Sinatra) and Tony do, it looks like that. (puts his palms together skewed) But when you can do what Frank and Tony do, which is called phrasing, it magically goes like that. (lines up his fingers on both hands together) You can magically see through it ‘cause the phrases are intrinsically rhythmic. See, there I’m out of kilter. (slides his fingers away from each other) I’m singing too fast or too slow or dragging on too long. When you really relax, you see right through the music. (puts his fingers back together) The space survives because you are not jamming your words, that willy-nilly in defiance of the vibe, the pulse. Both those guys (Sinatra and Bennett) aren’t like that because they’re relaxing into the groove. It finally hit me. They’re SO super confident! Those motherfuckers! They’re like sitting back on a chair, crossing their legs. (crooning) ‘I’m sing-ing… to all the grapes in Cal-i-forn-ia’. But when you wind yourself up, it’s like (shouting) ‘I’M SINGIN’!’ That’s where I learned it or at least that’s where I saw it.’ – Joe Strummer
For me the music is a vehicle for my lyrics. It’s a chance to get some really good words across.
Joe Strummer by Jenny Lens.
Joe Strummer and Paul Simonon with Jenny Lens, March 3rd, 1980, in Santa Monica, LA. Photo by Jenny Lens.