Why The Clash Didn’t Reunite Without Joe Strummer

While future members of The Clash were part of the music scene at the time, they didn’t get together until the 1970s. Their first big gig with the original line-up was in support of the Sex Pistols at Black Swan in Sheffield. It took only a year for The Clash to make a name for themselves, especially in Europe. Punk became the new genre everyone wanted to be a part of, and The Clash broke the scene in England with their self-titled debut studio album in 1977.

Their breakthrough in the US quickly followed their success in Europe. In 1979, the band released their ‘London Calling’ album, a massive hit in the US, encompassing punk rock, reggae, ska, and traditional rock and roll. Although the band broke records and paved the way for new sounds like punk, they didn’t stay together that long. After years had passed, the band never agreed to reunite as their friendship surpassed any desire to continue something that ended long ago.

Why Did The Clash Refuse To Get Back Together?

The Clash’s co-founder and lead vocalist, Joe Strummer, worked with the band from its founding in 1976 until its dissolution in 1986. Strummer resumed his solo career soon after The Clash disbanded. He was also part of a backing band called The Mescaleros for a few years before his tragic death. The co-founder of Clash was found dead in his home at 50 from a heart attack caused by an undiagnosed congenital heart defect.

The guitarist Mick Jones once talked about why a reunion never took place and stated that there were several occasions when he and Strummer wanted to get back together before he passed, but Paul and Topper didn’t want that. He added that due to Strummer’s recent passing, they did not perform together during the Hall of Fame reunion in 2003. He mentioned that they were never on the same page. In the end, Jones claimed they were all friends, which was more important than any reunion.

Mick Jones explained his thoughts on why the group didn’t decide to reunite:

“There were a few moments at the time I was up for it, and Joe was up for it. Paul wasn’t. And neither, probably, was Topper, who didn’t wind up even coming in the end. It didn’t look like a performance was going to happen anyway. I mean, you usually play at that ceremony when you get in. Joe had passed by that point, so we didn’t.

We were never in agreement. It was never at a point where all of us wanted to do it at the same time. Most importantly for us, we became friends again after the group broke up and continued that way for the rest of the time. That was more important to us than the band.”

The surviving Clash members decided to remain friends and honor their dear friend Joe Strummer by not getting back together. Although they stopped making music for decades, their musical influence still lingers. More recently, in March 2022, the surviving members of The Clash gave Ukrainian punk band Beton their blessing to rewrite the lyrics to their famous song ‘London Calling.’ The song came out after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and all proceeds from the song were donated to help fund the Ukrainian people.