<p>Joe Strummer is dead .</p>

<p>I had been <a href="http://www.rumblestrip.org/blog/archives/2002/11/you_know_youre_getting_old_when.html">feeling old</a> lately, realizing much of the music I like is over a decade old.  My musical taste had always been odd, but now it&#8217;s just predominately old.  But the too-soon death of Clash guitarist Joe Strummer on December 23, 2002 really has me in a musical funk now. </p>

<p>The Clash were, quite simply, the Greatest Punk Band Ever.  Rolling Stone Magazine named &#8220;London Calling&#8221; the greatest album of the &#8216;80s, and I did the same thing a month before those poseurs, for my college magazine&#8217;s &#8220;best of the decade&#8221; piece.  (The New York Times, in their typically annoying manner, had a one-sentence paragraph in their obit piece about the fact that the album was actually released in 1979.  True for the U.K., but &#8220;London Calling&#8221; was not released in the U.S. until 1980.  So go screw, Times.) </p>

<p>I can still remember wearing out a copy of London Calling, getting complaints from the neighbors for the enthusiastic volume settings I played it at, memorizing all the &#8220;Ha! Gitalong gitalongs&#8221; in the song &#8220;Working for the Clampdown&#8221;.  Their first three albums form not just the foundation of punk, but also a playbook for how it&#8217;s done, and no one ever came close to matching what they did, the way they did it.  I missed them over the years, and now it really feels like they&#8217;re gone. </p>