Dec 23, 2002
The music business, as well as the world of people who love music, lost two special individuals this last 2 weeks in Mary Hansen (Dec 10) and Joe Strummer (Dec 22). Although Mary was the only one I personally met out of the two of them, I always FELT like I knew Joe because he stood for everything I always felt inside that I was maybe not capable of expressing.
Joe Strummer was to my generation what Frank Zappa was to my Mom’s generation. I even remember being in high school and listening to RUSH’s 2112 and my English teacher, Mr. Horton (who HATED RUSH and called them fascist, among other things), gave me a copy of Sandanista! He said I was to take it home for a month and then give it back.
I planned to “pretend” to listen and give it back in a few days. But I put it on…and I mean we’re talking 3 LPs!!!! and I LOVED IT and played it OVER and OVER and OVER until the grooves were all fucked up. So I had to replace his record…but to my surprise, the price of the triple record wasn’t much more than a single record! And this was due to Joe’s non-rock star attitude and his respect for the FANS who loved the Clash so much. I could go on forever about how much the Clash changed my life, how much Mick Jones’ approach to the guitar-influenced me, and how much I love all their records. But, for the most part I’m speechless. The guy was 50 years old!
But before this, I found out in an e-mail from Stereolab’s Producer ( a good friend of mine, Fully)that Mary had passed away. It was a sad moment as I recalled her hanging backstage with us at Queen Elizabeth hall this summer and saying how much she loved the show. She had a cute collared shirt under a really cool sweater. She was taking art classes in London and said a lot of the students were talking about the upcoming Royal Festival hall show. it was going to be great to see Mary again, i thought. Fully’s wife, Susan, explained to me that mary was gonna sit for them in a few days. Susan had accompanied mary to our show…we were all making plans…maybe a drink after the show? maybe a curry sometime?
And I was so excited that one of my favorite bands in the universe, Stereolab, were about to go into the studio in late Jan in France to record their new record. And Mary was that wonderful VOICE, the conscience of each song…the exclamation point of matters. She was only 36. And i’d only met her one time and she left such a strong impression on me. An NYC writer recently said, if Laticia was the Champayne, then Mary was the bubbles. I put on a Depeche Mode song today. They were right; God quite possibly does have a sick sense of humor.
All the best, Mike