The punk icon’s passing in 2002 at the age of 50 was unexpected, as he suffered a heart attack caused by an undiagnosed congenital heart defect. Several weeks prior to his death, it was announced that The Clash would be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2003.
And just a week after the Rock Hall announcement, fans at a London benefit for firefighters were pleasantly surprised when Clash bandmate Mick Jones jumped onstage to join Strummer for three songs to end the show — “Bankrobber,” “White Riot” and “London’s Burning.” It marked the first time the two performed together since Jones’ last Clash show in 1983.
Consequence recently caught up with Strummer’s widow, Lucinda Tait, who discussed that surprise performance at the benefit concert. “Mick came to the show, but it was not planned that he was going to get up at all,” recalled Tait. “He came to the show, and he literally said, ‘Hold my coat, I’m going up.’ And nobody was expecting it.”
As for the prospects of a Clash reunion at the 2003 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony had Strummer not passed away a few months prior, Tait said, “Joe definitely wanted The Clash to play at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. But I think he said it was all dependent on everybody wanting to do it, as well. And that was not a given. So I think he would have liked it. Yes, I think he would have liked The Clash to have played at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.”
She continued, “But at the same time, he was very proud of [his then-current band] the Mescaleros. And he was really on a roll with his writing and his creativity with the Mescaleros. And I don’t think that, necessarily, it was in on his mind to get The Clash back together [long term], if you feel what I mean. I know he definitely wanted to do it for the Hall of Fame, though. He was so honored. It meant the world to him.”