I Need A Dodge! – Joe Strummer on the Run
directed by Nick Hall
Cadiz Music / Tindog Films
Is it better to burn out than to fade away? Neil Young voted for the former, but I’m always torn. It IS a pregnant question and Joe Strummer sort of did a bit of both. The Clash powered out of the late 1970’s British punk scene and dropped three of the most powerful albums of the movement (The Clash, Give ‘Em Enough Rope, and London Calling). This documentary focuses on the back-end of Strummer’s career and his relationship with Spain; the focal point is a Dodge automobile he misplaced somewhere in Granada in 1997. We explore his friends and coworkers from Radio Futura; this documentary gives good background and raises some interesting points but ultimately it boils down to reminisce sessions and a quest to locate a vehicle that may well have stolen and stripped down twenty years ago. We never do find the car or even decide what color it was, but it’s a peg to hang the other material upon.
Much better than the doc itself is the packaging, it contains an audio tape marked Radio 3 – Glastonbury – En Española which I presume to be the tape we hear in segments of the story. I currently don’t have a functioning cassette player so if I’m wrong be gentle. You also get some interesting bits of paper including a $1,000,001 “Joe Strummer Note”. Not sure what it’s good for, but it’s cool. Does any of this material – his clutch, the stories the car brings up, or the gossip about his love life generate new insights? A few appear all of which are personal anecdotes and none of which are earth shattering. There’s no significant concert footage and not much from Joe himself but the audio interviews. This is a cool item, but honestly it’s only for the diehard fan. Rock on Joe, we still miss you.