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In route with Joe Strummer to Granda and Almeria

It is more than 10 years since Joe Strummer left us. This artist, famous for his punk period with the well-known The Clash, was in love with spanish poet Lorca, Granada and Almeria coast, where he spent lost of time during his lasts years.
This is something which can be surprising for lots of people, but not for the ones who really knows him drinking rhum and coke at the famous Silbar – at calle Pedro Antonio de Alarcón in Granada- or for those ones that digg into his discography.

It was in the squat where he lived in London – despite being a world-renowned artist- living together with two girls from Málaga and a guy from Navarra, where Strummer once said that he wanted to set up a hardware store in Andalusia. Hence the documentary’s name by Antonio Jesús García and Javier Navarrete where he explains how the singer took refuge in Granada and Almería in search of anonymity and Carlos Prats directed under the title “I Want a hardware store in Andalusia “. All kind of anecdotes are explained in the documentary by his widow Lucinda Garland, vocalist of the band 091 José Antonio García a.k.a. ‘Pitos’, his first band drummer Richard Dudanski and Jem Finer, The Pogues’s component.

Another documentary about his stay in Spain is “I Need a Dodge ! ” by British director Nick Hall, that inquires about the location of the car he loved and he left forgotten in a garage in Madrid . By buying this Dodge, he wanted to go to Víznar, a population at 8 kilometers from Granada where Federico García Lorca was shot to death , with the crazy idea to buy a shovel at a hardware store, locate his grave and dig it up .

The fact is that Joe had great interest in the Spanish Civil War and Federico García Lorca. Thereby he wrote “Spanish Bombs” in his honor, one of the most emblematic The Clash’s songs . In 1984 he settled in Granada and spent long periods of time searching for himself and looking for disconnection in southern Spain’s land. Ten years after his death, the city he loved gave its name to a small square in the heart of Realejo, the old Jewish city’s quarter.

Joe Strummer Square

Due to the popular demand from fans on Facebook asking for Joe to be a part of the city, the City Council of Granada has ended up dedicating him a small space close to the Alhambra. In addition to his first wife, Gaby Slater, and his widow, Lucina Garland,an emotional concert in acoustic remembered the influential figure of the leader of The Clash. The features some Jose Antinio Garcia and Antonio Arias of 091 to which Joe godfather for “Más de 100 Lobos”, Paul Cook of The Mescaleros, Jem Finer of The Pogues or Richard Dudanski of the 101 ‘ers have done a review on some of the artist’s repertoire, without forgetting classics such as “Spanish Bombs” or “London Calling.

Las Gabias – Granada

 In this village a few kilometers from the city of Granada, Joe Strummer was hosted at Gaby Contreras’s home, a radiologist nicknamed ‘the mad doctor’ by Joe and who was also close friend to Sid Vicious.

San José – Almería

During his long stay in southern Spain, Joe Strummer settled for a time in the small picturesque village of San José, in the Natural Park Cabo de Gata-Nijar. Bought a house to spend the summer and enjoy Mónsul and Genoese beaches. He spent the nights at Jo’s bar, the Red Fish that is now the Pez Azul – and . Fan of cantaor el Niño de Olivares, Strummer went regularly to Fernan Perez’s flamenco club to attend his performances.

In summer and coinciding with Joe’s birthday on August 21 they continue to schedule concerts in his memory at Jo’s bar in San José by Richard Dudanski’s band Doghouse -former The 101′ers’s drummer and whom Joe Strummer made his first foray into the world of music.

Desierto de Tabernas – “Straight to Hell”’s filming

Tabernas Desert is located about 30 kilometers from Almeria, in a desert area with a low rate of rainfall that becomes one of the driest in Europe. Although it has a tourist charm for having been the scene of the shooting of many spaghetti westerns like Death was priced or The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and many others

Here the film Straight to Hell Alex Cox was filmed in 1987, starring Joe Strummer and the cameos by Dennis Hopper, Courtney Love, Grace Jones, Elvis Costello, Jim Jarmusch and members of bands Amazulu, The Circle Jerks and The Pogues. The Irish Pogues’s travel to Almeria inspired them in one of their most famous “Fiesta”. Straight to Hell is a parody of spaghetti westerns that was written in two or three days and was shot in four weeks.

I am Francisco Vasquez Garcia
I am welcome to Almeria
We have sin gas and con leche
We have fiesta and feria

Why not take a trip to Almería? Have a look at our flights here!