December 22, 2012 marks the ten year anniversary of the death of Joe Strummer, the man who was the centerpiece to The Clash. “The Only Band That Matters” was a definitive piece to the birth and rise of punk rock before transforming into a traditionally infectious rock band. Strummer and The Clash weren’t fueled by punk angst alone; there was soul, substance and relatability.

Strummer left The Clash in 1986, worked as a solo artist then spent nearly a decade out of the spotlight before resurfacing with The Mescaleros in 1999. Just three years later, he would die of an undiagnosed congenital heart defect. But during that half century, Strummer shared quite a few important words of wisdom. Here are 5 Joe Strummer quotes that teach you how to live life. Here is Joe Strummer…

… on being tough

Source: YouTube

Source: YouTube

“The toughest thing is facing yourself. Being honest with yourself, that’s much tougher than beating someone up. That’s what I call tough.”

– from 1988: New Wave Punk Rock Explosion by Caroline Coon.

… on accountability

AP Photo/Epic/Legacy Records

AP Photo/Epic/Legacy Records

“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.”

– from Punk Magazine (2001) with Judy McGuire.

… on patience


Source: YouTube

“My motto is, ‘What’s the hurry?’ I’m trying to get it across to the modern world that we need to sit around and think a little bit more.”

– from Rolling Stone Online (December 2, 1999) with Corey Levitan

… on improving the world

AP Photo/Mario Cabrera

AP Photo/Mario Cabrera

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

– from Rude International (March 1999) with Earl Chalmers.

… on punk attitude

Source: YouTube

Source: YouTube

“In fact, punk rock means exemplary manners to your fellow human being. F**k being an a*****e, what you p****s thought it was twenty years ago.”

– from CD Now (September 1999) with Jason Gross.

EDITOR’S NOTE: If you enjoy The Clash or rock ‘n’ roll in general, Listen to Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros, notably their third and final album Streetcore (2003). It is Strummer, both as a musician and a man, at his best.

@ejjudge, CBS-FM

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