"Let's Rock Again!" tells the story of Joe Strummer, a man who ended up having to remind the world that "I was in the Clash." Dick Rude's film, shot in 2001 and 2002, followed the onetime punk star and his new band, the Mescaleros, as they toured the States and Japan. It covers the 18 months before the singer's death of a heart defect.
The film and DVD extras show Strummer signing endless autographs while listening to fans tell how he changed their lives. "Everybody's got a story to tell," Strummer explains. "You can't hurry them along." Rude calls his old friend "a born sweetheart."
Strummer took a decade off after the Clash went supernova. His young band was a hard sell, but the music was good and his shows made fans happy with "nuggets from the past." The main DVD extra is a treat: Strummer and the boys working through "The Harder They Come" and dub-era Clash songs like "Armagideon Time."
Director Rude did a 15-minute Q&A session at the Tribeca film festival, included here as an extra. He tells the audience it was "very difficult for me to cut this movie" after Strummer died.
Other extras have Strummer talking about his life on the road. "Performing is partly joy and partly terror, and you have to be able to deal with both emotions. It takes a lot of spirit to perform." One of the last extra clips has Strummer considering the death of another punk star, Joey Ramone: "It doesn't seems real. ... He was one of the best."
Images are full-screen; audio is in stereo. The presentation is good enough, despite some here-and-there synch problems.
on August 29, 2006
A very brief review: If you both like and respect Joe Strummer ... if you realize that he invented his own mold and then broke it to remain utterly unique AND if you love wonderfully challenging music that still can kick you in the gut, THEN YOU NEED TO CLICK THAT "PURCHASE BUTTON" near the top of this page and bring "LET'S ROCK AGAIN!" into your home. Don't be fooled by the title - it takes on a whole new meaning when you hear Joe say it near the end of the film. One huge caveat for those who LOVE Mr. Strummer. As joyful as the music is and as enraptured as Joe seems when he's playing it with this amazing band of brothers that he's assembled, there is an underlying sadness to the film that you wish could be wiped away. This story was supposed to be a fairy tale; one with a happy ending where Joe is sitting on his porch at age 85 teaching London's new breed of punks what matters and what doesn't. Watching Joe dig and scratch for airtime by glad-handing dunderheaded button-pushing dj's seems tragic and backwards. They should be bowing before him and feverishly explaining how "The Call Up" changed their perspective on everything - but like I said, this isn't that fairy tale. Joe always knew it was all about the music and so he did his glad-handing with pride and dignity ... for the chance at one more go in the studio ... and another tour ... and another chance to joyfully blow out his voice in honor of THE TRUTH and all the working musicians who went before him. This film makes me miss him all the more - and in a weird and unfair way, that's good.
on January 29, 2007
Beginning with Tom Snyder's introduction of the Clash for their appearance on his Tomorrow show (how apropos), "Let's Rock Again" races (in two minutes and twenty-two seconds) through the rest of the Clash's history. I mean, it RACES - so fast the clips and the headlines are barely distinguishable and hardly legible. You would be forgiven if you found this annoying (especially if you're a Clash fan, as I am).
But then the film jumps all the way to October 1, 2002, at one of Joe Strummer's final gigs (this one in Tokyo, Japan) where we find him hobnobbing backstage with his new bandmates, the Mescaleros. And one of the first things we see Joe say in a sitdown interview is, "I think it's great to live in the moment and not think too much about the past - it can really drag you down"
Point taken, Joe! (and if you want a documentary about the Clash, get Westway to the World, and if you want to see the Clash on stage, get Rude Boy).
Coming off an "11 year break," we find Joe to be much as he always was: quite possibly the least pretentious and most down to earth person one could ever hope to find winding his way through this world. He talks as excitedly in this doc about breaking even with his latest album as he does in other docs relating his punk rock heyday.
It's both heartbreaking and inspiring to see him going to locked radio station doors and pleading his case to get his record played or handing out flyers to mostly apathetic passers-by on an Atlantic City boardwalk (even though the likes of Matt Dillon, Jim Jarmusch and Steve Buscemi show up backstage at his NYC show, and - one can assume - he didn't have to personally give them flyers). You know, you often hear the words "DIY or die" kicked around the punk/indie scene, but this great man was DIY until he died.
Ultimately, it's sad to see some of these scenes, knowing that our Joe had less than two months to live. And it's hard to watch this movie without still feeling the freshness of the loss. As director Dick Rude himself said in the excellent Q&A on the DVD: "I would trade this movie in a...New York second to have him back."
Unfortunately, I found the Q&A more interesting and emotional than the movie itself. But thankfully, the deleted scenes are oftentimes better than the ones that were chosen for the film proper. You get 42 minutes of extra scenes with Joe waxing lyrical about songwriting, performing, touring, the set list, the members of the band, 9/11, G-8 summit, running marathons, the state of punk today, you name it. So while I don't quite understand Dick Rude's choices regarding what made the finished film and what got cut, that's OK - because it's all here on the DVD.
And at this point, especially with Joe's untimely passing, we just have to be thankful for any lasting document we can have of him. As films go, this one isn't horrible. As bands go, the Mescaleros are quite good. And the DVD extras are outstanding. Thus, I give 2 stars to the film, 4 starts to the band, 5 stars to the extras, and 5 for the man himself: and that right there, my friends, is an average of 4 stars.
And just before the end of the film, Joe looks at the camera (and thus at us) and says, "My throat feels a bit rough, my legs are gone, but we're still in with a chance, so let's get it - let's rock again!"
And thanks to this DVD, you can do it again, and again, and again.
on September 7, 2006
`Let's Rock Again!' follows the live tour of Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros in America and Japan. The documentary film, directed by Joe Strummer's friend Dick Rude, is now an invaluable record of the energetic live performances of the band after the sudden death of Strummer on December 22, 2002, but the film is more attractive as the engaging portrait of this outspoken rock icon who knows the music and industry better than anyone.
After the brief introductory section in which we can see Joe Strummer as the frontman of legendary British punk band The Clash in the late 70s, the film jumps to the `present' day when Strummer in the backstage having fun with other members of his new band the Mescaleros. Between the live scenes of the band, the film shows Joe Strummer relaxed before the camera, casually talking with and hugging the fans who gather around him. Now well over 40 years-old, Strummer is still very cool dressed in black, and his charming personalities are easily telegraphed to us. He really cares when he talks with his fans even though the number of the audiences is reduced from thousands to hundreds since the days of the Clash.
Some parts may be a little painful to see. In one scene Joe Strummer visits a local radio station to promote his new album during the US tour, but as the door of the building is locked, he has to talk to the security office through the phone, telling the guy behind the machine that he used to be in the Clash. In Atlantic City you will be watching him handing the hand-written flyers to the passers-by, sometimes ignored.
It is not pathetic, but still a little shocking. Who could have imagined this back in the 80s? But Strummer, older and wiser, frankly admits that he had a full experience from hero to zero, and even confesses that because of his recent album the record company lost money. Whatever he says, we know Strummer is earnest, always doing the best he can do, and the songs you hear on stage are all powerful. (His Mescaleros songs are more dynamic when heard live.)
It is a must not only for The Clash fans but for any rock fans. Very simple with his frank words, and strong with his performance, and heart-breaking at times.
on June 29, 2006
This is a must-see and must-have for any Joe Strummer fan. Fantastic footage of Joe and the meskies on stage and backstage and Joe doing fun things such as talking his way into a craphole corporate radio station in New Jersey to plug Global A Go-Go and encouraging people on the Atlantic City boardwalk to attend his gig that night. My only complaint is it was over way too soon (only an hour long) and I was bummed out none of the live songs are shown in full during the documentary. But the DVD has the full performances of all the songs used in the documentary as an extra feature. Buy two copies, never know when you might need a back-up. It's a bargain at any price to see Joe do his thing.
on November 16, 2006
A terrific personal look at a Rock Legend, forever humble, as he restarts his career with a great band, The Mescalaros. The film briefly covers the history of Joe Strummer with The Clash, and includes lot's of live footage of Joe and the Mescalaros right before his untimely passing. The reason Strummer was loved by so many fans is evident - as Joe's charm is in high gear throughout this wonderfully produced documentary.
on August 8, 2006
After watching this tour-documentary the only impression i had left was that I wanted to watch more! If you are a fan of Joe Strummer this dvd is a must have. It follows Strummer and the mescaleros on tour in Japan, and really give a close look into what tour-life is all about. And that's hard work.
Scenes where Strummer hands out posters and are marketing his concerts himself on the street are priceless. Buy this one folks, you won't regret it!
R.I.P: Joe Strummer
on April 23, 2007
This is a great, although way too short documentary about Joe's all too brief return to the stage. It shocked me when Strummer came to town and was playing these small places, someone who was part of something important and influential, you would figure he'd be playing bigger places just based on legend, but no. The in-stores were a given, the radio promotion as well, but Joe hawking the show on the Atlantic City boardwalk? Say it ain't so Joe!
All the kids that spend a lot of money looking "punk rock", Strummer was the real deal (and a LOT nicer), and his body of work in and out of the Clash speaks for itself.
He didn't burn out, he didn't fade away, but he is part of a group of people who represent(ed) the integrity in music.
This and Shane McGowan's documentaries are worth watching.
on January 28, 2009
THIS IS A GREAT DOCUMENTARY DVD OF THE LATE JOE STRUMMER, THE LEGENDARY FRONTMAN FROM THE FAMOUS PUNK BAND - THE CLASH!!! THIS DOCUMENTARY IS ABOUT JOE'S LIFE AFTER THE CLASH. IN THIS DOCUMENTARY IT COVERS THE LAST 18 MONTHS OF JOE'S LIFE. HE DIED IN 2002. JUST LIKE HE ROCKED IN THE CLASH, HE CONTINUED TO TRY AND "ROCK AGAIN" THIS TIME WITH A NEW BAND CALLED THE "MESCALEROS".
JOE CHANGED HIS NAME TO JOE STRUMMER BECAUSE, AS HE PUTS IT, HE COUNDN'T PLAY ONE GUITAR STRING AT A TIME, HE HAD TO "STRUMM" THE ENTIRE 6 STRINGS ALL AT THE SAME TIME!!! HE ALWAYS PLAYED WITH A PASSION AND PUT 150 PERCENT EFFORT INTO IT!!!
THIS BAND WAS REALLY, REALLY GOOD. THEY WERE MUCH DIFFERENT THAN THE "CLASH". THIS BAND WAS MORE "ORGANIC" AND EVEN INCLUDED FIDDLES. HOWEVER, THEY FAILED TO EVEN BREAK-EVEN ON RECORD SALES OF THEIR FIRST ALBUM. THIS PUSHED JOE TO STRIVE HARDER ON THEIR SECOND ALBUM, TO TRY AND AT LEAST GET IT TO BREAK EVEN IN SALES. HOWEVER IT WAS NOT SUCCESSFUL EITHER.
THIS DVD SHOWS JOE TRYING HIS BEST TO BE SUCCESSFUL AGAIN, AND NEVER GIVING UP, EVEN UP UNTIL THE END. IT SHOWS HIM ON THE STREET, HANDING OUT "FLYERS" TO HIS BAND'S CONCERT TO BE PERFORMED THAT NIGHT. ITS SAD THOUGH, BECAUSE MOST OF THE PEOPLE DON'T EVEN RECOGNIZE HIM. HE TRIES HIS BEST TO PROMOTE HIS SHOW, BUT THE "STREET" PEOPLE DON'T SEEM TO CARE.
THE DVD CONTAINS ABOUT 5 SONGS PERFORMED BY THE "MESCALEROS" BAND. THEY ARE REALLY, REALLY GOOD!!! ITS SAD THAT THEY DID NOT GET THE RECOGNITION THAT THEY DESERVED. ANYWAY, YOU CAN ENJOY THESE 5 SONG PERFOMANCES. AND IN THIS DVD, YOU GET TO KNOW WHAT JOE WAS LIKE DURING HIS LAST 18 MONTHS ALIVE.
THE CLASH INCLUDING JOE STRUMMER ARE INDUCTEE'S INTO THE ROCK & ROLL HALL OF FAME IN CLEVELAND, OHIO!!! JOE WAS WELL RESPECTED BY HIS PIERS AND THE ROCK & ROLL INDUSTRY. CHRISSY HYNDE OF THE PRETENDERS EVEN WROTE A SONG ABOUT JOE STRUMMER CALLED "THE BIKER". IN HER DVD "THE PRETENDERS LOOSE IN LA", SHE PERFORMS THE SONG AND DEDICATES IT TO JOE AND SAYS JOE "YOU BRING OUT THE BIKER IN ME"!!! ALSO, THE NEW ORLEANS SOUTHERN ROCK BAND, "COWBOY MOUTH" HAS A SONG CALLED "JOE STRUMMER". THEY PERFORM IT IN THEIR CONCERT DVD "THIS IS COWBOY MOUTH". (PLEASE SEE MY REVIEW OF THIS DVD).
IF YOU LOVE ROCK & ROLL AND IT'S STORY AND HISTORY, YOU SHOULD REALLY ENJOY THIS DVD, AND IN THAT CONTEXT I RECOMMMEN IT!!!
on February 1, 2011
There are slicker, bigger-budget documentaries about Joe and/or The Clash but this simple film, shot by a friend while he was being virtually ignored by the public, really shows you what Joe Strummer was made of. I can't recommend it highly enough.