resident of Granada and music fan, I really needed to make this publication.
a different city, in many ways, from the rest of the cities of Andalusia and
Spain. It has a special atmosphere, which causes attraction since the first
moment, fantastic places and a rich history. Surely this was what attracted the
singer of The Clash to the city. If ever you come to Granada, there is a place
that you must visit: the Joe Strummer square. It is not the biggest or the
prettiest, but it is certainly the most beloved. One would think that given the
name of that place no other reason than to have some international publicity.
Wrong. Joe Strummer was the musical father of Granada, marking the city with
his presence forever.
In 1984 the
band was having a difficult situation, so Strummer decided to take a few months
off, away from all the hype it generated. In the winter of that year it was
rumored that the leader of The Clash was in town looking for the grave of
Lorca. It is no secret that he was a great admirer of the poet, as evidenced by
the song “Spanish Bombs”. After a fruitless search and do a bit of sightseeing,
an album entitled “Cementerio de Automóviles”(automobile graveyard)
of a newly formed local band called 091 came to his hands. The album pleased
Strummer and the band decided to seek to meet them.
asked some people where he could find them, until he finally find out that they
used to frequent a pub called el Silbido(the Whistle). He went there and drank
trying to go unnoticed until someone from the band appeared. Finally the bar
owner, who recognized Strummer, called Jose Antonio Garcia, the lead singer of
the band. There they forged their friendship talking about Corazón Rebelde, a
French group that had a sound much like The Clash. At the end of the night, as
Jose Antonio accompanied him to his pension, Joe promised to produce their next
Joe disappeared and it was not until several months later, when they were
already recording “Más de 100 Lobos” (More than 100 Wolves) that they
would again see him. Joe returned to stay a long time and help with the
recording process, and brought even his wife.
many stories of those months.
that one day, walking down the street; they found a wanderer who was a great accordionist.
Strummer came to congratulate him. The tramp replied to touch Tchaikovsky was
not difficult; difficult were playing songs of The Ramones or The Clash with
the accordion. Joe Strummer told him that he was the singer of The Clash and,
of course, accordionist did not believe him. There are witnesses who say that
the two protagonists of this situation ended that afternoon, playing
"Jimmy Jazz” together at a bar.
happened a few anecdotes with 091. “I remember when we returned from
Madrid in a second-hand Dodge he had bought. The Civil Guard (Spanish police)
stopped us for speeding,” said Jose Ignacio Lapido. “Joe’s wife was
pregnant with their second daughter and Joe had no driver’s license. I played
the role of a translator. Joe immediately invented the excuse that he was going
very fast because his wife was about to give birth. In the end, nothing
happened to us. ”
Arias, bassist of 091, suffered pleurisy at that time that forced him to spend
several months in bed. “As Joe knew of my passion for learning to play the
piano, and he was penniless in Granada, one day came to my house with a
keyboard drawn on a piece of carboard. That was how I learned to play the piano”.
For the singer, Jose Antonio Garcia, meet Joe was an almost mystical
experience. He had come a few years earlier to Madrid to see a concert of The
Clash and was three days without talking about what they had left bewildered
British musicians. Years later would that band singer sleeping in his house for
weeks. Garcia was the one who suggested the name of the second daughter of Joe
Strummer, Lolita, the child who was conceived in Granada.
left Granada with the promise to return, something that he often did during the
following years, even to celebrate his 40th birthday here.
admiration for Lorca not stopped, which again would lead him to want to find the
body of the poet: “He picked me up in a huge car he had bought and we went
to Viznar. There he wanted us to buy shovels to dig up the body of Federico
Garcia Lorca, but he first wanted to see the place where we realized that this
was impossible. Once there and after the deep emotion he felt at the sight made
me promise we would write a song together and that one day we would go there
all friends and we would play” says Arias, who still has recorded one of the phrases
that Strummer whispered close the burial place of Lorca: "I can still hear
the cry of the dead.”
that song would be called Lorca, although Strummer, who died in 2002 at age 50,
never completed the lyrics. Nor did another composition promised to do with
Jesus Arias: a song that spoke of the bombing of all cities called Granada by American
soldiers. A little revenge for using Rock The Casbah motto in the Iraq war,
according to Arias confessed: “In April 2002 I show him the music and he
promised that we would record that together: Trance Blues. But he only came to
do a verse: I am a soldier at the top of the world ”.
achieved great success nationally. Arias was separated from the band a few
years after starting his own project “Lagartija Nick”. These two
bands, imbued with the spirit of The Clash, were the pioneers of the great
music scene there today in the city.
So when the 10th anniversary of Joe’s death, thousands of people signed so that to make him
his name to a square.
A cloudy sky
did not stop a mass of supporters from approaching the tribute that gave his
friends and musicians: the singer and bassist of 091, Jose Antonio Garcia and
Antonio Arias; the battery that came with Strummer in his first band The
101ers, Richard Dudanski; Paul Cook of The Mescaleros; And the banjo in The
Pogues, Jen Finer. They sang ‘I Fought The Law’, 'Junco Partner’, 'The Sound of
sinners’,’ London Calling 'or’ Spanish Bombs “that thrilled the audience.
He was also remembered with the subjects 'Que fue del siglo XX’ or 'La vida que
mala es’ of 091.
will always be grateful to the unconditional love of the great Joe Strummer.