Tuesday, June 01, 2004

The Strummer Effect.

Before I go on, I should probably explain one specific term. Namely, The Strummer Effect. I use this term a lot, and I'm gonna just go ahead and get it out of the way now.

This is something my friend Chris Lamb and I first figured out some time ago. Joe Strummer had just passed on, and we both felt it like a punch to the gut. Two kids too young to have ever seen The Clash (though we know the music backwards and forwards). Both younger than punk rock itself. Still... Somehow Strummer carried across to us. The music, the image, but more. Something in his whole persona, all the elements he embodied and combined.

And in conversation, Strummer became a checkpoint for how we tried to be, tried to live.

And I think Lamb finally put the name to it, after much discussion of "go be Strummer" and the like. It's The Strummer Effect. When you get it, when you finally hit it, it's an amazing thing. And you get it by just stopping wasting time trying, and doing what you do.

So that's what I'm doing. That's what he's doing. (You can keep tabs on him, too.) That's what this summer, this year of 2004, hopefully the rest of my life will be about.

This is what happens when you just go ahead and DO, and don't overthink. Accept the contradictions, and press ahead regardless. Be a rock star. Never put yourself above the rest of the world, but always walk tall. Be humble, yet know you can do things better than the rest. Because you trust that you can and you're doing what you love. Everything you do is the most important thing in the world, but when something doesn't work you move on and find something even better. Use your passion. Ignore whatever limitations you're told about. Find something you love. Run with it. Set yourself up for the best camera angle, but immediately forget the cameras were ever there. Be always cocky, but never conceited. Don't waste time caring, and care about everything you do with all your heart. And just go.

* * * * *

I wrote this to Lamb, in conversation back in April 03. Just found it last week. It still says more in fewer words than I probably ever have before or since. And it's even truer now than it was then:

>>I had a pen and my notebook, and I just realized...

When I grow up, I want to be Joe Strummer.

Make my passion palpable to everyone.
Look half that cool.
Ignore the hype, and still play it for all it's worth.
Work hard, keep running 'til I drop.
Do what I love.
Not care for a moment, and care about everything in the world.

I want to inspire kids like me to grow up to be kids like me.<<

...And that's it. Strummer Effect Go.


(In memory of Joe Strummer 1952-2002. Thanks, dude.)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for your words about Joe.
London Calling is the greatest song ever written. I traveled maybe a thousand miles in 1980 or 81 to see the Clash live, and it was a defining experience for me. I remember pretty exactly 3 years ago that I read the news about what had happened, the death, and tears shot into my eyes.

I wish somebody with more money and initiative than me would set up a memorial in Central Park, NY, like Strawberry Fields, so that people could go there and remember.

1:26 PM  

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