We’re digging into the Far Out Magazine Vault to bring you a very special clip of the great frontman of The Clash, Joe Strummer, performing Lou Reed’s iconic underbelly anthem, ‘Walk On The Wild Side’, live at St. Ann’s Warehouse in 2002—it’s a heartwarming joy.
The late, great Joe Strummer can be typified in the comments section of the below YouTube clip, it reads: “Joe Strummer was my best mate, and I never even met him.” In that simple sentence is the essence of The Clash frontman and it’s a connection that Reed also shared with his audiences.
When Strummer wasn’t writing generation-defining punk songs with The Clash, the enigmatic singer was defending the rights of the oppressed off the stage. When he wasn’t performing those very songs for heaving sweaty audiences, he was running the Paris Marathon after a heavy night of drinking. Joe Strummer was the hero we all deserved and one we sadly miss.
Tragically, the singer’s life would come to an all too short end in 2002 when he passed away from a congenital heart issue. The year had been a busy one for the Strummer, as well as radio work, he was also touring the festival circuit with his band The Mescarelos. The period of time had hinted that Strummer was far from done and, in fact, he had once again begun to provide energising music for his new project.
It was a gig with that same project, The Mescarelos, that would see Strummer feel free enough to move between original numbers, Clash classics, and covers of his favourite tunes too. When the band arrived in New York there was clearly only one influential artist on his mind, the brilliant and influential songwriter Lou Reed.
One of the founding fathers of the alternative rock scene with the Velvet Underground, Strummer decided to pay homage to the great Reed with a cover of his iconic solo number, ‘Walk On The Wild Side’. In the natural habitat of the dark-eyed singer, it was only fitting that they chose the subversive anthem. It’s a rendition that the crowd at the St. Ann venue instantly connect with and sees Strummer at his unifying best.
Note-perfect? Certainly not. But is it near perfect, all the same? Absolutely.
The video below shows Strummer reaching out to all his fans with every single breath and lyric. The anthem of the unwashed mass sung by their appointed leader.
Listen to Joe Strummer’s 2002 cover of Lou Reed’s ‘Walk On The Wild Side’.