The material Joe Strummer was working on before his sudden death last month is being compiled for an album that may be ready for release by Hellcat/Epitaph as early as May, according to a spokesperson
The material Joe Strummer was working on before his sudden death last month is being compiled for an album that may be ready for release by Hellcat/Epitaph as early as May, according to a spokesperson. This week, the surviving members of Strummer's Mescaleros will begin combing through tracks intended for their third album that feature finished vocals but are as yet unmixed. "Everyone wants the record to come out, and it's entirely possible to have it out in May as originally scheduled," the spokesperson tells Billboard.com.
Beyond the Mescaleros tracks, the upcoming album may feature songs the Clash principal was working on outside the band. One such tune is "The Long Shadow," written and recorded with Beck guitarist Smokey Hormel. "It's fantastic," the spokesperson enthuses. Strummer told Billboard.com last April that he had approximately 20 song ideas for his next record, but it is unknown how many tracks he completed. Several new songs, including "Guitar Slinger Man" and "Coma Girl," were performed during a fall U.K. tour.
With U2 frontman Bono and the Eurythmics' Dave Stewart, Strummer had also penned the song "48864," which he was planning to premiere at the Feb. 2 AIDS benefit on South Africa's Robben Island. The track was named after the ID number worn by former South African President Nelson Mandela during his imprisonment under the country's Apartheid regime. Mandela is organizing the concert, which will feature performances by Coldplay, Shaggy, Nelly Furtado, and Eve, among others.
Meanwhile, there's some new activity in the Clash camp. According to a group spokesperson, Strummer was compiling the tracklist for an "Essential Clash" collection before his death. The set is expected March 11 via Epic. The DVD edition of the 2000 Clash home video "Westway to the World" is also being refurbished with a never-before-seen home movie, "Hell W10," directed by Strummer and starring his Clash bandmates Mick Jones and Paul Simonon.
The DVD will also feature the band's music videos and extra interviews not included on its first pressing. "Westway to the World," directed by Don Letts, is up for best longform music video at this year's Grammy Awards.
Finally, fans wishing to memorialize Strummer are being encouraged to make a donation to Future Forests, a U.K.-based organization that works to counteract the harmful effects of carbon dioxide emissions by planting trees. The artist was a long-time supporter of the organization, which will pool donations into creating a dedicated Strummer forest on the Isle of Skye in Scotland. For more information, visit Future Forests' official Web site.