The week after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, I interviewed Joe Strummer, the leader of the great British punk-rock band The Clash for the first and only time.
“The evil brilliance is just too much,” Strummer said, speaking from his home in Somerset, England where, a little over a year later, he would die of a heart attack at age 50. “I can’t get away from those images when I go to bed at night.”
Those images are burned into all of our brains, and we’ll be reliving them in remembrance this weekend. But The Clash were first and foremost Romantics, and in the aftermath of the tragic day, Strummer chose to be optimistic.
To me, that's maybe the most depressing thing about the 10th anniversary of September 11: When we look back on the culture of fear and endless war of the 9/11 decade, it’s hard not to conclude that Strummer's belief that the horrific events would somehow lead to more good than harm was hopelessly naive.
“There’s got to be some good that comes out of it," he said. "Maybe people are just going to be nicer to each other. Because it’s just too horrible. The world just can’t be that bad. It just can’t be.”
"Death or Glory" is below.