Once Upon a Time in Almería
22 December 2018

Remembering Joe Strummer

Joe Strummer died sixteen years ago, on December 22, 2002. He had a life-long love for Spain, and particularly Almería. He traveled around Andalucía, became obsessed with Federico García Lorca, spent many hours in bars around Granada, and eventually bought a house in the village of San José on the coast of Almería. The Bar de Jo, along the coast at Los Escullos, paid homage to Strummer every summer, but was sadly shuttered this year. The 2011 documentary Quiero tener una ferretería en Andalucía (“I Want to Have a Hardware Store in Andalucía”–he loved hanging out at the local hardware store) tells the story of Strummer’s longtime connection with southern Spain.

In 1986, Strummer joined Alex Cox to make ‘Straight to Hell’ in the Tabernas desert, using an old 1970s western movie set. I wrote about the story behind the film in a previous post. Unfortunately, little remains of the set today, as Alex Cox notes in the Forward to my photobook ‘Once Upon a Time in Almería’:

“Nothing remains but a fragment of the back wall and some wooden beams. But thirty years ago, when we went STRAIGHT TO HELL, this was our saloon where Strummer snarled at Courtney Love, and Sy Richardson and Dick Rude gunned down the Weiner Kid, and Grace Jones barred Dennis Hopper from smoking.”

See more images and read the rest of Cox’s essay inside the book: Once Upon a Time in Almería (Daylight Books 2017)

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5 years ago

I’m afraid I grabbed one of those orange roof tiles when I was there… to save it from vanishing into the desert.

Ruth Graham
Ruth Graham
1 year ago

I knew him to be on the dole and signing on with no royalties.