The Clash were working on new songs, claims Mick Jones
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The Clash were working on a new album shortly before Joe Strummer's death in 2002. That's the spin put on the revelation that guitarist Mick Jones was writing new songs with Strummer, although the various members had dismissed lucrative offers to get the band back together.
The Jones and Strummer partnership made five albums together as The Clash before they had an acrimonious parting of the ways in 1983. They subseqently reconciled and Strummer wrote material with Jones for the guitarist's new band Big Audio Dynamite. This is the first indication that they were working on new Clash material.
Jones told the BBC that he thought the songs were for Strummer's backing band the Mescaleros. "We did write some more songs together and he was going to do them with The Mescaleros," Jones said. "We wrote a batch - we didn't used to write one, we used to write a batch at a time - like gumbo. The idea was he was going to go into the studio with The Mescaleros during the day and then send them all home. I'd come in all night and we'd all work all night."
That idea didn't come to fruition, but Jones wondered what happened to the material. "Later on, a few months later we were at some opening or something and I said, 'What happened to those songs?!' If you didn't do them straight away and get them back straight away, it was like, 'What's wrong with them?!' So, I went, 'What happened to the songs?!' He went, 'Oh man, they're the next Clash album'."
Whether Strummer was serious will never be known as he died at the age of 50. At one of the last shows he played, a benefit for striking firemen at Acton Town Hall, Jones joined him on stage for the encores. That was the closest The Clash ever came to a reunion gig.