Joe Strummer


Today was the six year anniversary of Joe Strummer’s way-to-premature death. When I first started Built on Respect, there was no better ‘mission statement’ to me that his statement: In Fact PUNK ROCK means EXEMPLARY manners to your fellow human being.

I’d recently been researching some other quotes, and thought I’d share them with you. They are truly inspiring…

Q: What’s a punk attitude?

JS: Punk ain’t the boots or the hair dye. I’ve been asked to define it many times so I’ve actually thought about it for a couple of seconds. It must be the attitude that you have, that approach everything in life with that attitude. Say that you come in here and the music sucks. I don’t care if the guy is big and in a bad mood. The first thing I do is go up to him and say ‘change that music!’ I do it in a cool way though but I don’t sit here fuming, getting sick and having to leave in twenty minutes. I go straight in, see what’s wrong and I fix it. If we’re meeting some new couples, the second someone lights a cigarette, I grab an ashtray and it’ll be there while everything’s going on.

Everyone else there will be standing around while thier ashes fall off. That is a punk attitude because I wanna be aware of what’s going on. My motto is ‘never take your eye off the ball,’ which is a soccer motto. I like to be completely aware of what’s going on at all times, even if it’s four in the morning. She needs a chair or he needs a beer. There’s no long wait ’cause I’ve already clocked it while everyone’s going (jabbering) meh-meh-meh. I’m going meh-meh-meh too but I know what’s going on around me. This is punk rock.

In fact, punk rock means EXEMPLARY MANNERS TO YOUR FELLOW HUMAN BEING. Fuck being an asshole, what you pricks thought it was twenty years ago. It’s totally just dawned on me. These interviews are good because it makes you think. ‘Cause otherwise you go to sleep and watch the Rider’s Cup or something.

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.

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.”

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

”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.”

”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.”

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.”

The yuppie idea of the future ain’t my idea of a future. Your safe car, and home, and job, and all the time rushing between the three—let’s make people feel they can grow up and have some education, some interest in life! That’s what counts!

You learn a lot about life getting shafted royally.

I preached everything in my life with a punk rock attitude. In fact, ‘punk rock’ means ‘exemplary manners to your fellow human being.

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