LONDON (Reuters) - The wife of punk rocker Joe Strummer plans to publish a book based on some of the Clash front man’s rare memorabilia jointly with British artist Damien Hirst, she said in an interview published on Saturday.
Strummer died five years ago at the age of 50 and his wife Lucinda Mellor has just finished sifting through a stack of his suitcases, each stuffed with about 30 plastic bags containing the rocker’s lyrics, cartoons and random thoughts.
“One day we will do an amazing book, with Damien Hirst,” she told the Independent newspaper of the project with Strummer’s close friend.
“But it’s a long time off. It’s not something that’s going to be rushed into; it’s going to be beautifully done.
“It’ll be like an art book, with photographs, lyrics, drawings, maybe unreleased songs, rarities. It’ll have CDs in it, rare Joe stuff.”
Helped by another artist, Gordon McHarg, Mellor is carefully archiving the memorabilia.
“I suddenly realized each bag was pertinent to a week on tour or a session,” she said. “Each bag had a sharpener in it, each bag had cigarette papers, a matchbox, endless bits of napkins, kitchen roll, receipts.”
Born John Graham Mellor to British parents in Ankara, Turkey, Strummer’s talents propelled him from busking on the London Underground to fame with the Clash, who helped define the brash sound and style of 1970s British punk.
Until they split up in the 1980s, the Clash produced a catalogue of punk classics, including “London Calling” and “Should I Stay or Should I Go?,” distilling the depression, anger and energy of 1970s Britain.
The Clash fused a variety of musical styles — reggae, funk and even rap — with a political message that brought punk to the mainstream and also found success in the U.S. market.
After the band split up, Strummer pursued several projects, dabbling in acting and writing music for films.
Reporting by John Sinnott; editing by Andrew Dobbie