The poem’s call-out “Hey Joe” became the first notes of the bass line via the DNA method. Everything else built upon that dub foundation. The flute lines are all DNA’s from the vocal.
John Trudell’s ode to Elvis (Baby Boom Che) and the dub poetry of Linton Kwesi Johnson were key references and inspirations, in addition to the punk godfather himself.
Hey Joe Strummer
Hey Joe StrummerI was reading Sylvia Plath on the day you diedCold and gray outsideNo techno deejay, no ragga fmJust dead winter air (then: “late news breaking, this just in . . .”)Joe Strummer dead and gone? Say it ain’t soHey JoeBack in ’79 I enrolled in Telecaster Universityand took your courseon Urban Planningand Geopolitics 101 (call us the 101-ers)Joe Strummer, Instructorfirst assignment:plot the Global a Go-Go and locate the map of the soul“ok punk rockers, can you find these cities on the map?Clash City Rockersthe lost citythe forbidden citythe reggae citythe new citythe city of nervesthe city of the deadHo Chi Minh citybummed out city& the inoculated cityin the nefarious zone”second assignment: findlondon, brixton& third millennium britain“this is england”mid-term exam: travelthe sweetheart highwayand drive a brand new cadillac on the road to rock ‘n’ rolland punk rock’s what it’s all about(back when punk meant freedom)final exam: knowyour rights& walk down the highroadHey Joe,we’re your students, your little brothers & sistersten thousand bandsa hundred thousand gutter poets &a million ghetto prophetslingo graffiti and western spaghettipunk rock ph.d’sHey Joe, you always took the highroadeven when you skipped out to Parisand weforgave you for cut the crap, everybody goes crazy sometimechalk it up to cigarette butts & earthquake weatherHey Joe,human typewriter, lyrical link between lee dorsey and lee perry,between allen ginsberg and zach de la rocha,between long-gone rockabillies and the next shake-it-up rastapunkWhere you going with that revolution in your head?Hey Joe,Where you going with that revolution in your head?Mensforth HillWillesden to CricklewoodHammersmith Palais to GaragelandGrenada, Andalucia& KingstonCosta Rica, El Salvadoroh ma corazon(and why didn’t my professors tell me about the Sandinistas?)Hey Joe, MescaleroWhere you going?Grooving, you cut out of the scene&I was reading Sylvia Plath on the day you diedI was reading Sylvia Plath on the day you died