Rob Jones

On a personal note, after many years of going to gigs two of my greatest triumphs have been experiencing both The Clash and The Mescaleros on stage at different junctures of a colossal Joe Strummer career – and, I still have a much-treasured t-shirt from the latter event.

The new Dark Horse Records boxset, Joe Strummer 002: The Mescaleros Years is a 2022 release as part of the celebrations honouring Joe’s 70th birthday year. This is the first-ever comprehensive collection highlighting Joe’s work with his post-Clash band, The Mescaleros.

The set includes remastered editions of all three of the band’s studio albums, plus 15 rare and unreleased tracks spanning the first demos Joe wrote for the Mescaleros, and outtakes of several songs of Joe’s final recordings with the band.[]As with The Clash the diversity in the detail is extreme as an array of aural angles are afforded.

This richly curated 2022 merchandise was executive produced by Lucinda Tait (Strummer) and produced by David Zonshine. The contents feature exclusive new interviews with Joe’s friends, collaborators and Mescaleros band mates, plus never-before-seen handwritten notes, lyrics, and drawings by Joe taken from the Joe Strummer Archive.

Joe Strummer 002: The Mescaleros Yearsis available as 4 CD’s with a 72-page book and a 7 LP with 32-page text, special edition packaging and exclusive 12”x12” art print.

While renowned as the front man for The Clash, Strummer produced pristine pop with The Mescaleros. Strummer said during this period: “All that’s happening for me now is just a chancer’s bluff. I learned that fame is an illusion and everything about it is just a joke. I’m far more dangerous now, because I don’t care at all.”

Joe Strummer 002: The Mescaleros Yearshighlights this intense period of creativity from 1999-2002, collecting for the first time such extraordinary albums as Rock Art and the X-Ray Style(1999), Global A Go-Go(2001), and the posthumous Streetcore(2003), along with Vibes Compass, a brand-new compilation of 15 B-sides and rarities. This includes early demos of original tracks Joe wrote for the Mescaleros e.g. ‘The Road To Rock ‘N’ Roll’, ‘X-Ray Style’, ‘Techno D-Day’, as well as the previously unreleased ‘Secret Agent Man’ and the material from Joe’s last ever sessions, such as outtakes of ‘Get Down Moses’, ‘Coma Girl’ and the song ‘Fantastic’.

All of the albums are remastered by three-time GRAMMY® Award-winning engineer Paul Hicks (The Beatles, John Lennon, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie) especially for the release and are packaged with extensive new liner notes, unreleased images, and four reproduction lyric sheets and chord charts from the Strummer archive.

“There’s so much great music that Joe left us in his archive,” says Joe’s widow and the executive producer, Lucinda Tait. “We started this work with ‘001’, so to focus on Joe’s work with The Mescaleros was the natural second step on ‘002’ because those songs he made with them just seemed to resonate so strongly and reinvigorated his connection with his audience at a level he hadn’t experienced since his days with The Clash.

He was so excited to work with the Mescaleros and the reception he got from the press and fans was incredible, it gave him a whirlwind of energy and confidence and he was creatively fulfilled and happy. His words are so beautiful and honest and together with the Mescaleros some fantastic tunes were created and to listen to some of the tunes recorded as outtakes for me was really special.”