Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder has paid tribute to late Clash frontman Joe Strummer ahead of what would have been the latter’s 70th birthday with a cover of “Long Shadow,” from the posthumous Strummer and the Mescaleros album Streetcore.
In the Lance Bangs-directed video, Vedder performs the song solo acoustic next to a campfire, and afterwards burns his handwritten lyric sheets in the flames. “I just think that what Joe did with the Mescaleros and those records, and those songs, and those words, it was a very communal sound,” Vedder says at the end of the clip. “I think when you have a communal sound, the listener feels like they can be part of that community.”
Strummer played a major role in Vedder’s eventual membership in Pearl Jam, thanks to a chance meeting at a San Diego club in 1989. At the time, Strummer’s touring drummer was former Red Hot Chili Peppers member Jack Irons, who eventually became friends with Vedder and later passed along to him an instrumental demo tape that had been made in Seattle by former members of Mother Love Bone. Vedder recorded his vocals atop the tracks and within a matter of days, he was in Seattle making music with the band that would become Pearl Jam.
The video coincides with the arrival of another previously unreleased Strummer track, “Fantastic,” from the upcoming Dark Horse Records collection Joe Strummer 002: The Mescaleros Years. “Fantastic” is believed to be one of the the final recordings from Strummer, who died at age 50 on Dec. 22, 2002. The artist put his vocals to tape shortly after the Mescaleros’ final live show on Nov. 22, 2022 in Liverpool, England. In an added twist, Strummer was planning to open for Pearl Jam during its summer 2003 tour; after his death, he was replaced by fellow U.K. punk originators Buzzcocks.
Joe Strummer 002: The Mescaleros Years will be released Sept. 16 and rounds up his three studio albums with that band, plus a disc of 15 previously unreleased tracks.