Joe Strummer at the Roseland Ballroom

It’s crazy to think that Joe Strummer has been gone for almost a decade. The man was such a force of nature. He created primal, earthy music that never sounded gimmicky or lame. When people ask me who I look up to? Who I am inspired by? Who is my hero? Joe Strummer is one of the first names I usually reply with. I probably name my dad first, but he is slightly less cool (fine, a lot less cool) than the man who ignited the fire of punk rock and rebellion under a nation of desperate and helpless young teens. I was barely born in 1977 when The Clash released their eponymous first record, but their message of unity spread far into my generation and “London Calling” was the soundtrack of my youth.

I was lucky enough to photograph Joe Strummer three or four times in the late ’90s and early ’00s while he was on tour with The Mescaleros, promoting to amazing records, “Rock Art & X-Ray Style” and “Global-a-Go-Go.” Every concert was photographed with my trusty old Nikon point and shoot. A few frames came out well, but most produced throwaway shots that were lost during multiple moves. These two photos aren’t the greatest images of Joe, but I’m so glad I got to create them when I had the chance. I shared a few words with him at the Virgin Megastore in Herald Square, and thanked him for filling so much of my life with joy. He thanked me and talked to me for a little while about why he still prefers vinyl to CDs. Joe is definitely one of those legends that inspires me to do what I do, and do it well. Thank you, Joe.