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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Joe Strummer Quotes


“Authority is supposedly grounded in wisdom, but I could see from a very early age that authority was only a system of control and it didn't have any inherent wisdom. I quickly realised that you either became a power or you were crushed”

“If I had five million pounds I'd start a radio station because something needs to be done. It would be nice to turn on the radio and hear something that didn't make you feel like smashing up the kitchen and strangling the cat.”


“And so now I'd like to say - people can change anything they want to. And that means everything in the world. People are running about following their little tracks - I am one of them. But we've all got to stop just following our own little mouse trail. People can do anything - this is something that I'm beginning to learn. People are out there doing bad things to each other. That's because they've been dehumanised. It's time to take the humanity back into the center of the ring and follow that for a time. Greed, it ain't going anywhere. They should have that in a big billboard across Times Square. Without people you're nothing. That's my spiel.”

“The future is unwritten.”

“We aren't particularly talented. We try harder!”

“Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistance. Talent will not. There is nothing more common then unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not. Unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not. The world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and Determination alone are Omnipotent.”

“It is fun to be alive. It's a hell of a lot better than being dead.”


“Yeah, all those things, responsibility, pressure. It's a bit stressful. I try and come to terms with it by not thinking about it.”  

“When you're out to get the honey you don't go killing all the bees”


“People can change anything they want to, and that means everything in the world. ”

 “Everybody has a story to tell.”

 “You've gotta be slightly stupid.”

 “I want to grow up with my audience. I don't expect to be getting through to the younger pop crowd. I learned that from Paul Simon.”

 “A lot of people... use a calculator!”

“As the floods of God

Wash away sin city

They say it was written

In the page of the Lord

But I was looking

For that great jazz note

That destroyed

The walls of Jericho

The winds of fear

Whip away the sickness

The messages on the tablet

Was valium

As the planets form

That golden cross Lord

I'll see you on

The holy cross roads

After all this time

To believe in Jesus

After all those drugs

I thought I was Him

After all my lying

And a-crying

And my suffering

I ain't good enough

I ain't clean enough

To be Him

The tribal wars

Burning up the homeland

The fuel of evil

Is raining from the sky

The sea of lava

Flowing down the mountain

The time will sleep

Us sinners by

Holy rollers roll

Give generously now

Pass the hubcap please

Thank you Lord”



“And the pebbles fight each other as rocks/And my father bends among them/Two hands outstretching up to me/Not that I can hear.”

Rock Art & the X-Ray Style

“When you blame yourself, you learn from it. If you blame someone else, you don't learn nothing, cause hey, it's not your fault, it's his fault, over there.”

“What I like about playing America is you can be pretty sure you're not going to get hit with a full can of beer when you're singing and I really enjoy that!”

Anyway, it's good to be sent back to the underground. There's always a good side to bad things and the good side to this is that at least everyone has to go back down.

I began thinking there should be an American phrase book, 'cause I've got an Italian phrase book, and an Arabic one... now a British one. I think it'd be pretty good to have an American phrase book.

I have a weird life because I live on songwriting royalties, which are a strange income. Sometimes it rains, sometimes it doesn't.

I think we're going to have to forget about the radio and just go back to word of mouth.

With The Simpsons you can go back to work with a keen heart.

Yeah, all those things, responsibility, pressure. It's a bit stressful. I try and come to terms with it by not thinking about it.

 “I sometimes look at myself, I'm sitting with a biro and a cigarette packet, desperately scrawling dribble on it. And sometimes I put down my fag pack and think, what am I, a grown man, doing at this hour of the night? Then I banish that thought, pick the fag pack up again.”

''The way you get a better world is, you don't put up with substandard anything.''

(Interview at Bizarre Festival in Germany, 21th Aug. 1999)



''All the power's in the hands of people rich enough to buy it.''

(''White Riot'' - 1977)



''We're all going to have to learn to live together and develop a greater tolerance

and get rid off whatever our fathers gave us in the way of hatred between nations.''



''Everyone has got to realise you can't hold onto the past if you want any future.

Each second should lead to the next one.'



On political leaders he admires:

''Well, I kind of got off all that because it all seems to be such a power trip. Political people,

to get elected you've got to be on a power trip, and you can't trust anybody on a power trip.

I can't see a way out of this.'' (1999)



''Lawrence of Arabia always was my hero.

I think it's great to come from England to lead the Arabs.''



''Everything's fucked! It's down to individual people to make life enjoyable.

I don't have anything more to say than that. I think people should avoid the world fucking them up.

People are becoming too uptight, treating their children bad, being negative.'' (1999)



''I hate it when I go out and I see parents going, 'don’t do that', or 'stop doing that'

when some kid's just hanging off a staircase or something.

There's too much of this, 'don't do that'. The whole thing baffles me.'' (1999)



''I will always believe in punk-rock, because it's about creating something for yourself.

Part of it was: 'Stop being a sap! Lift your head up and see what is really going on in the political, social and religious situations, and try and see through all the smoke screens.'' (July 2002)

About the continuing globalization of the world:

''We can at least be optimistic in (that) it forces the renegades and the underground to get it together.

The worse s--t gets, the more interesting the underground becomes. So I'm always quite hopeful.

I believe in human beings. Human beings won't let this happen.

We won't all end up robots working for McGiant Corp or whatever. It can't happen.'' (July 2002)

''You gotta be able to go out there and do it for yourself.

No one's gonna give it to you.''

''I never really bothered to spend too much time thinking about what was done, you know?

'Cause, you put a record out, there's no way you can change it once it's out.''

''It's difficult, when you're involved in a group, to stand all the way back.

It's part of your life. It doesn't seem real that other people know about it.

At the end of the day, it doesn't seem possible, maybe.''

''I'm a very harsh critic of my own work, if you like, because I'm trying to get the standard really high. So, obviously, it's better to criticize it - you know what I mean?- rather than accept it at face value.''

''To write good songs you have to be somewhere between a genius and a village idiot.''

''People have told me songs I've written have changed their life.

That's remarkable. That keeps your faith.”

''Whether it's jazz or punk or anything else, you have to fight against the purists who

want to narrow the definition. That's what kills music because it stifles it to death.''

''I have a big legacy of The Clash to live up to and I don't intend to uriny on a legend.

I intend to build forward into the next century. The music has to be by the musicians, and there's too much changing things by the record company.

I got a message for everyone in a record company: We don't care if you lose your job!

You ruin music and I'll get all the smoothers out off the way, the people who smooth the sound off.

Let the musicians have the music the way they want it,

and not the way you think the grandmothers and 3-year olds will gonna buy it.

'Cause this is not about 3-year olds or grandmothers... This is Rock and Roll!''

(Interview at Bizarre Festival in Germany, 21th Aug. 1999, Joe's 47th birthday.)

''There's nothing but bad news in the newspapers to make us live in a constant state of paranoia. That's what they want because it keeps people in fear.''

''We were brought up to believe that science and engineering were going to make the world

a better place. Now we've got pollution and everything and it seems we've come to a halt.

But I think we've got to retain some faith in believing tomorrow will be better than today.''

''If I had five million pounds I'd start a radio station because something needs to be done.

It would be nice to turn on the radio and hear something that didn't make you feel

like smashing up the kitchen and strangling the cat.''

''I'm strange, actually, you know? I'm kind of like one of those people that picks up

small and interesting bits of wood and doesn't want to let go of them.

Or, you know, I'm fascinated with the wrapper on a sardine can. A little cuckoo.''

''I've got no doubt the fourth dimension exists.

But is it just like the world we're trying to escape from?

I need to know if you're allowed to smoke in there...''




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