December 23 2002
Joe Strummer, vocalist and guitarist of the pioneering punk band the Clash, was found dead in his home in southwest England Sunday, according to a police spokesperson. The cause of death is unknown, though authorities do not believe the
circumstances to be suspicious. An autopsy has been scheduled for Tuesday. Strummer was 50.
Strummer's body was discovered Sunday afternoon in his Somerset home by his wife Lucy, who phoned police. They arrived around 4:45 p.m. and pronounced him dead at the scene. Officers believed Strummer died from heart failure.
Along with the Sex Pistols and the Ramones, the Clash ushered in punk's first wave, giving voice to a generation of restless youth that was too nihilistic for disco's feel-good vibe and the bloated corporate rock of the day. Unlike the Pistols, though, who reveled in the anarchy of their loutish behavior as much as the chaos of their music, Strummer and the Clash harnessed their rage and ferocity into reggae and dub-influenced political anthems about class and economic struggle such as "Death or Glory," "London Calling" and "The Guns of Brixton." The results were albums such as 1979's London's Calling, considered by many critics to be one of the greatest rock albums of all time.
Born John Graham Mellor in Ankara, Turkey, in 1952, the son of British diplomat Ronald Mellor, Strummer attended London's Freeman boarding school in Surrey as a child, visiting his parents in Teheran and in sub-Sahara Africa during school holidays.
He began his rise to musical prominence busking in the London subway and in the cover band the 101ers in the early '70s. After seeing a performance by the Sex Pistols in 1976, Strummer broke up the 101ers and set out in search of a more intense muse.
Joining forces with co-singer/guitarist Mick Jones, bassist Paul Simonon and drummer Topper Headon in West London in the mid-'70s, Strummer was instrumental in bringing his political, worldly view to one of the most influential and principled bands in the history of rock. The group performed its first concert in the summer of '76, opening for their idols, the Sex Pistols, in London. A slot on the Pistols' hectic Anarchy in the U.K. Tour that fall helped land the Clash a recording contract.
Though they trailed the Pistols in arriving at the punk party, the Clash far outstripped the sideshow antics of Sid Vicious and Johnny Rotten with fiery, passionate songs of righteous protest such as "I'm So Bored With the U.S.A.," "London's Burning" and "White Riot," from their self-titled 1977 debut, which was not released in the U.S. because the band's American label did not think the songs were fit for radio. The album was released Stateside in an altered form two years later.
In part because of Strummer's peripatetic childhood and his embrace of global music, the Clash augmented the usual three-chord punk blitz with reggae, dub, rockabilly, folk and a swaggering, Wild West style and bearing. His middle-class background mixed with Jones' working-class Brixton upbringing made for a volatile combination, which the band played to the hilt in its image, songs and interviews. For a time, the group's fearless embrace of political ideology and cultural diversity earned the Clash the distinction as "the only band that mattered."
That status was reinforced with the release of the band's third record, London Calling. The double-album is rife with searing, rocking, working-class politico-punk anthems such as the title track, but it also features a startling array of musical styles: loungey jazz ("Jimmy Jazz"), rockabilly ("Brand New Cadillac"), ska ("Rudie Can't Fail"), pop ("Lost in the Supermarket"), boozy R&B ("The Right Profile") and even some Stonesy blues rock ("Lover's Rock").
It's a staggering artistic statement from a group that had only been together for three years, but had already surpassed its peers in terms of growth and stylistic range.
Through it all, Strummer was the angry young man at the center of the storm. With a cigarette-scarred, throaty rasp, Strummer stumbled through the Clash's reggae cover of the traditional blues number "Junco Partner," croaking like a drunken street-fighter hitting daylight. The song sits alongside many of the classics written by Strummer and Jones on the band's 1980 magnum opus, the three-album set Sandanista!. Tracks such as "Somebody Got Murdered" and "Career Opportunities" decry the plight of England's youth with a passion and vigor, as well as a desperate hopelessness, that made Jones and Strummer the poet laureates of punk. Like London's Calling, the album, though packed with songs, was released at a fan-friendly discounted price.
Though the group's influence was on the wane in England, with the release of 1982's Combat Rock the Clash finally achieved the American success they long sought with the hits "Should I Stay or Should I Go?" and "Rock the Casbah." The Middle Eastern-themed video for the song made the mohawked Strummer an icon for the MTV generation. (The anti-war track was later played by the U.S. military as it bombed Iraq in the 1991 Gulf War.) The group, however, was frequently booed off the stage in the fall of 1982 as it made the rounds with the Who on the venerable English rock band's first farewell tour.
The Clash's appearance at the massive US Festival in the summer of 1983 would mark their last major concert, as the group disintegrated following the September 1983 firing of Jones, whom the others felt had strayed from the band's original ideals. A new lineup toured the U.S. in 1984 and released the poorly received Cut the Crap album before disbanding in 1986.
Jones and Strummer reunited in 1986 to write a handful of songs for Jones' band, Big Audio Dynamite, while Strummer began a second career as an actor. The singer appeared as "street scum" in "The King of Comedy" (1983), a baddie in Alex Cox's punk rock western, "Straight to Hell" (1987) and Cox's "Walker," (1987) and played bit parts in "Candy Mountain" (1987) and Jim Jarmusch's "Mystery Train" (1989). In the latter, he played the part of "Johnny" a.k.a. Elvis, in the film about a Japanese couple's obsession with 1950s America.
Strummer released his solo debut, Earthquake Weather, in 1989, which bore the signature Clash mash-up of dub, reggae, folk and punk rock. After a brief 1991 stint as the touring vocalist and rhythm guitarist for Irish rockers the Pogues, Strummer receded from the spotlight, performing on Black Grape's 1996 hit "England's Irie" and scoring the John Cusack comedy "Grosse Pointe Blank" (1997). Strummer lent his voice to "It's a Rockin' World" from the soundtrack to "South Park" (1998). He returned in 1999 backed by his new band, the Mescaleros, with Rock Art and the X-Ray Style, an eclectic album that added some dancey beats to Strummer's increasingly world music mix of exotic percussion and African influences. A second album, Global a Go-Go, followed last year, and Strummer had been working on a third Mescaleros LP. He had also recently completed a European tour with the band.
A punk to the end, Strummer had ignored lucrative offers for the Clash to reunite and steadfastly followed his musical and social conscience. Along the way, he influenced everyone from former Rage Against the Machine singer Zack de la Rocha to Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder and U2's Bono, with whom he collaborated on a song for an upcoming concert in South Africa to raise money to fight AIDS. Along with the Eurythmics' Dave Stewart, the pair wrote "48864" — named for former South African president Nelson Mandela's prison number — which will be performed at the benefit show on February 2 (see "Bono, Shaggy, Macy Gray To Play AIDS Benefit In South Africa").
Strummer recently filmed a pilot for an MTV2 show, "Global Boombox With Joe Strummer," which features clips from a number of world, reggae, pop and punk artists, including Buccaneer, Capleton, Angelique Kidjo, Youssou N'Dour and Rancid.
The Clash are scheduled to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 10 in New York (see "AC/DC, Clash, Police To Be Inducted Into Rock Hall Of Fame" ), and the drums had begun beating for a long sought-after reunion. Jones and Strummer performed together for the first time in nearly 20 years on November 16 at a charity gig at London's Acton Town Hall, playing the songs "London's Burning," "Bankrobber" and "White Riot," which raised hopes for an onstage set at the Hall of Fame induction.
Strummer is survived by a wife, two daughters and a stepdaughter, who are all requesting privacy at this time
October 10 2002
I just put a link on the main page to the Spencer Park site. Unfortunately the site has moved or something else has happened. I am adding an Egan's Rats link on the menu as well. I know for a fact that site works. I recently purchased a cd burner from which to convert tape to disc. Sometime in the very near future i will feature a cdr version of "Pullstartwitchhunt:Transition." I am also in the process of compiling "Just Can't Cope With The Freaky Stuff: The Complete JMFC Cult." I'm quite excited. I've dug up damn near everything that we ever did; live recordings, the propaganda video, as well as the reunion show. It should be interesting. Out of Sorts is actually progressing much more quickly than i anticipated. Look for a single in January/Febuary and a full length sometime in late spring.
September 3 2002
Matt and I are still on the lookout for a drummer and organ player, if you know someone. We should have a single out in early February. We will begin recording as soon as I have a suitable space to set up my studio. The project has been tentatively titled, "Out of Sorts." We are also looking for a male and female vocalist for the songs that we are planning to record.
By the way, I just got the new White Stripes record. It has completely and utterly consumed me. I can think of/listen to nothing else.
July 18 2002
At this time i am starting to write songs with another guitarist in hopes of forming a band. We are currently looking for an organ/piano player and a drummer. I would liken our style to MC5,Doors,Black Crowes(mostly blues based rock and roll.) If anyone knows someone who might be interested in jamming, let me know.
July 5 2002
Spencer Park is currently taking part in WXRX's Bandemonium. Go to www.wxrx.com to vote as many times as you see fit.
March 21 2002
I have recently decided that the Pullstartwitchhunt Transition ep will indeed be released, in tape form, as is, to whoever requests it from me. This is the end.
March 13 2002
It is one thing when noone seems to show any interest in your music. It is another when those who take part in the making of the music don't seem to give a fuck. As each day passes it seems less likely that the ep will ever be released. As I expressed before, I will more than likely take my songs and begin my own project where I will not have to rely upon others.
February 17 2002
When the label rep at Invisible contacted me he failed to mention that the deadline for the new comp was two days later. Needless to say we will not be taking part in the Notes From The Real Underground Vol3. However, we have decided to take part in Vol4. As for when this will be released, I have no fucking clue. Our forthcoming ep "Transition" will be finished within the week and will be transferred to cd in another week or so. Email me for details
January 7 2002
On January 4 I was contacted by a representative of Invisible Records to take part in a compilation series. There is no way to be sure at this point when the record will come out, but I am guessing within the next few months. The compilation will be called Notes From The Real Underground volume 3, and will be distributed by Caroline so you should be able to purchase this release at any music chain store.(Media Play, Best Buy, Borders,etc.) I will keep you posted.
December 3 2001
On December 15 The Fightbacks and Carly's Day Out will be playing their final show. It will be all ages at His Cup Church in Rockford with God's Reflex. Do not miss this. You will never forgive yourself.
On December 27 Spencer Park will be playing an all ages show with Mulligan Stu and the pimps at Lt's on Alpine Road. Show starts at 6:00.
November 30 2001
George Harrison, lead guitarist for the band that changed the face of rock forever, lost his battle with cancer Thursday in Los Angeles. He was 58. The Associated Press reports that Harrison passed away at 4:30 p.m. ET at a friend's home. His wife, Olivia Harrison, and son Dhani were with him.
The Beatles, unlike most bands of the early '60s, both wrote and performed their songs, making them the first entirely self-contained music outfit. Even today, few superstar acts can take credit for penning all their hits, but from writing the lyrics and music to recording in three-part harmony, the Beatles did it all.
As the lead guitarist in a group for which the guitar solos weren't the most striking aspect, it's no wonder Harrison was known as "the quiet Beatle." But along with well-constructed, rockabilly-rooted solos, he also contributed the occasional lead vocal on early Beatles recordings such as "Roll Over Beethoven" and "I'm Happy Just to Dance With You." And while not as prolific as the legendary songwriting team of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, Harrison wrote, and sang, such Beatles classics as "Taxman," "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," "Here Comes the Sun" and "Something."
Throughout their seven-year recording career (1963-1970), the Fab Four changed with the turbulent times, beginning as clean-cut mop-tops and moving into far-out psychedelic harbingers and laid-back bohemians. Their music adapted, too, eliciting screams from fans of early pop hits like "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" and "Please Please Me" before confounding deep-thinkers with the mysterious "I Am The Walrus" and blowing the minds of heavy metal pioneers with "Helter Skelter."
Harrison first sat in with Lennon and McCartney's high school band the Quarrymen, when he was only 15. A year later he became a full-fledged member, and the group, which also featured Stuart Sutcliffe on bass and Pete Best on drums, changed their name to the Silver Beatles, which was soon shortened to simply the Beatles, by 1960.
After Sutcliffe departed in 1961 (leaving McCartney to take over bass duties) and Ringo Starr replaced Best on drums, the Beatles released their first single, "Love Me Do" b/w "P.S. I Love You" in September 1962.
From 1963 to 1966, Beatlemania was at its peak, and the band issued nearly two dozen releases, including singles, imports, compilations, and the classic LPs Please Please Me (1963), With The Beatles (1963), A Hard Day's Night (1964), Help! (1965), Rubber Soul (1965), and Revolver (1966).
In 1965, Harrison became one of the first rock musicians to experiment with Indian music, studying with sitar master Ravi Shankar and employing the instrument on "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)" off 1965's Rubber Soul.
After encounters with the Maharishi in the late '60s, Harrison's interest in Eastern religion became a matter of lifelong devotion, and he blazed a spiritual trail still followed today by artists such as the Beastie Boys and Perry Farrell.
When the Beatles vowed never to tour in 1968, Harrison focused on his songwriting and musicianship, penning "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" for 1968's self-titled White Album and "Here Comes the Sun" and "Something," the first Harrison song released as a Beatles A-side, for 1969's Abbey Road.
After the Beatles called it quits in 1970, Harrison released his three-disc, Phil Spector-produced opus, All Things Must Pass, whose "My Sweet Lord" became the first post-Beatles solo offering to top the singles chart.
A year later, he founded rock's first major charity event, the Concert for Bangladesh, two shows held at New York's Madison Square Garden to raise money for the famine-stricken country. Backing Harrison on All Things Must Pass selections as well as Beatles classics were Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Leon Russell, Billy Preston and members of Badfinger.
A string of solo albums followed without making much mainstream impact until 1981's Somewhere in England, which featured "All Those Years Ago," a memorial to Lennon, who was murdered December 8, 1980.
Harrison kept relatively quiet throughout the mid-'80s, resurfacing on 1987's Cloud Nine with the pop-charting single "Got My Mind Set on You," which was accompanied by a music video that found Harrison, alone indoors, strumming his guitar amidst the room's swaying furnishings.
He impacted the charts once again in 1988 as part of the supergroup, Traveling Wilburys, along with Dylan, Tom Petty, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne.
In 1995, he collaborated with his Beatles bandmates McCartney and Starr on the "new" Beatles songs "Free As a Bird" and "Real Love" for the compilation Anthology 1.
Harrison was also an acclaimed movie producer, and his Handmade Films was responsible for such British comedies as "Monty Python's Life of Brian" and Terry Gilliam's "Time Bandits."
In December 1999, an intruder broke into Harrison's home and stabbed him. His second wife, Olivia, was also injured in the attack (see "George Harrison Recovering After Stabbing").
The former Beatle checked into Staten Island University Hospital in New York earlier this month. Harrison had since been undergoing a rare form of radiation therapy, known as fractionated sterotactic radiosurgery, which hits tumors with high doses of radiation while leaving the surrounding, healthy tissue unaffected, according to Dr. Gil Lederman, the hospital's director of radiation oncology.
Staten Island University Hospital specializes in the radical practice, treating 10 to 30 patients a day, Lederman said.
He had a malignant lump removed from his neck in 1997 (see "George Harrison Winning Cancer Fight"), and a cancerous one taken from his lung in April (see "George Harrison Recovering From Cancer Surgery"). He began undergoing radiation treatment for the brain tumor that brought about his death in June (see "George Harrison Says He's 'Fine' After Cancer Treatment").
George Harrison is survived by Olivia, his son Dhani, his brother Peter and his sister Lou.
November 20 2001
On November 21st B-town will be representin' at Mary's Place with 3 Belvidere bands. Spencer Park, Belvidere(formerly Television Again,) and the Blasting Agents will be playing on Madison street in Rockford. Show starts at 9. Spencer Park will also be playing with The Stellas, and Vince Rocket and the Cherry Bombs at CJ's lounge on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
Check out: www.mp3.com/Spencer park
November 12 2001
By the way, whoever left the message on my answering machine referring to me as a "desperate homo," and a "loser"......I will find you.
November 9 2001
A decision has been made to delay the release of the Pullstartwitchhunt ep for a few months. It has been decided that several other songs will be written and recorded as to make it a full length album. Now that fall is upon us, depression has set in and hair has been dyed black. In light of this, creativity usually is ignited and songs are often written in days, compared to weeks or even months.(We are truly lazy bastards.) Transition will most likely be released in the beginning of the coming year (January or February.)
I have recented added a calendar of recent events that is threatening to become drastically out of date. Please email me at CorpCharney@hotmail.com with any upcoming events.
September 28 2001
Spencer Park will be playing(with the Fightback's,God willing) at Mary's on Madison Street October 13. They will also be playing there on October 31 so show the fuck up.
September 11 2001
At this moment in time I am sitting in a building that is considered a major target by all enemy nations, due to the fact that parts for commercial and fighter aircraft are manufactured and shipped from here. I'm told the perimeter gates have been locked. Could this be the end of Charney? If I could be killed, I might be worried.
September 5 2001
Spencer Park and the Fightbacks will be performing at The Earth Cafe in Belvidere right next to the bridge construction on September 15th. Show starts at 8:00. I assure you this will be a good time. BYOB. If you haven't gotten a Spencer Park cd yet email me and I will take care of it.
August 22 2001
The Spencer Park promo cd should be finished in a matter of weeks. I will be aiding in the distribution of this cd so if you want a free copy email me or just tell me you want one when you see me. haha By the way, if you missed the Fightbacks/Carly's Day Out set at The Youth Against Hunger show at Rockford College last Sunday you have nothing else to live for.
July 25 2001
At this point in time, we have all of the songs mixed and arranged. Two of them still require vocals which should be recorded by the end of the week. With any luck we will make a master cd in the next few weeks, followed by the finished layout of the booklet. Anyway The Stellas are playing this Saturday night at The 505 Club in Rockford, and will be playing the following week at CJ's on Madison street also in Rockford. Spencer Park will be playing an outdoor show with Magnum Opus at Belvidere Park sometime in the next few weeks.
June 25 2001
By the way, Ginch got the new Oghr record. It is fucking awesome! techno/new wave kinda shit with the usual caustic noise, and the undistorted vocals of Oghr. Apparently at their show at the metro Cevin Key played keyboards, but it has someone else's name(Mark Walk of Dead Voices on Air and Download) on the record, strange. Anyway, buy this.
June 20 2001
Well, I finally have this site up and running. Though it may be a while before anyone sees it since it will take a few weeks to be setup with the search engine. Since I have just aquired a cushy desk job. I will be able to update this section often. As long as I can think of something. Anyway, Aethan Stagger's band The Fightbacks just left on the 15th for a three week tour of the west coast. Apparently the shows have gone alright so far. I was told that last night they played very well and those who attended were very much into it.
Ginch's band Spencer Park and The Stellas will both be playing this Saturday night(23rd) at 810 tenth street in Rockford. God only knows when they will start so just show up.