By the time I finally managed to contact Joe Strummer for a phone interview, The Mescaleros were in Los Angeles. It was the last port of call on the American leg of their tour to promote their second album, "Global A Go-Go." They had already played the first of four gigs at the Troubadour in West Hollywood, and tickets to the last show were already sold out. Within the week (i.e., by the time you read this), they would be arriving in Japan.

News photoThe Mescaleros, not The Clash

Joe has come a long way since he was frontman for The Clash, the British punk band he formed in 1976. His songs added intelligence and style to an otherwise growl 'n' grind genre. The band's guitarist, Paul Simonon, was the one with the spiky, blond hair and skinny jeans who gave the band their look. But it was Joe who drafted their ideology and crafted their sound -- and, in the process, helped the Blank Generation negotiate the reefs and shoals of anarchic nihilism.