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Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros Biography

Last updated: 10/05/2010 12:00:00 PM

The original Mescaleros line-up featured alongside Joe; Martin Slattery, Scott Shields, Pablo Cook, Antony Genn and Jed Lynch. After recording most of the first album Rock Art & the X-Ray Style, Jed left to play on a Marianne Faithfull tour. Smiley (aka Steve Barnard), ex Robbie Williams drummer, was brought in. He had been due to team up with The Eurythmics, only to let down by a last minute Lennox/Stewart change of plan. With the Marianne Faithfull tour never materialising, The Mescaleros were left with two drummers - Smiley got the nod and played drums on Forbidden City on the Rock Art album.

With the studio work completed, the band undertook a short British tour,with the first ever Mescaleros live performance not at Liverpool Lomax but, a week or so earlier at Sheffield Leadmill with the Llama Farmers supporting.

During the summer of '99 the band played a number of festivals including Amsterdam, Glastonbury & Fuji Rock. This was mixed with a short six date American tour and odd European dates. To promote the album and first single Yalla Yalla, a nine date British tour followed in October, with November seeing the start of an extensive North American tour. This punishing schedule finished in Paris in early December, the last of a three date mini European tour.

In January 2000, the band embarked on a three date Japanese tour, then flying onto a six date 'Big Day Out' festival listing in Australia and New Zealand. Two further dates were included at venues in Sydney and Richmond. With the band returning to England in early February, a three month gap saw only one live performance with Pablo Cook accompanying Joe at The Poetry Olympics in London, performing three numbers...Island Hopping, Junco Partner & London's Burning.

May 2000, saw a five date British and Irish tour finishing at Brixton Academy. On the last day of June the band (minus Antony Genn) played the Beach Bum festival in Jesolo, Italy. A V2000 Festivals listing took The Mescaleros to Chelmsford and Stafford. These were to be Antony Genn's last appearances with the band. A sad loss as Antony is an exceedingly talented musician/producer. The V2000 weekend kicked off with a warm-up bash in sauna-like conditions, at the Charlotte in Leicester.

A support roll on The Who tour came next, an unusual move as the band had several months earlier turned down a similar position on the Pearl Jam European Tour. A semi-secret gig at London's famous 100 Club was used as a warm up and enabled Q magazine to film the gig for later partial transmission in the glitzy Q Awards ceremony, where Joe received a special commendation for his lifetime achievements. The 100 Club was also the debut of Joe's long time friend Tymon Dogg as a permanent Mescalero. Scott Shields was a last minute casualty with nervous exhaustion and John Blackburn stood in very professionally. The date November 16th is a sad one in Mescaleros history. Wembley Arena, the final night of The Who tour, the final time Smiley drum rolled for The Mescaleros.

The early part of 2001 saw the band working on their second album Global a Go-Go. Pablo Cook was away with Moby but reunited with the band in Los Angeles, who were supporting The Brian Setzer Orchestra.

The summer release of first the single Johnny Appleseed and soon after, the album, was promoted by in-store performances with two date British and five date North American appearances. The revamped line up included Luke Bullen on drums and Simon Stafford on bass. In October 2001 a fifteen date North American tour began, including four nights sold out at the Troubador in Los Angeles. This was quickly followed by a five date Japanese tour. November saw a seven date British and Irish tour, preceeded by the Womad Festival in Gran Canaria. The month finished off with three dates in Europe - Paris and two shows in Greece.