This review originally appeared at Chartattack.com
Joe Strummer always projected himself as a humble man. Even at the height of The Clash‘s megalomania, when he fired guitarist Mick Jones, Strummer came across like a better read, more worldly Bruce Springsteen. The everyman image has made eulogizing the singer difficult.
Get Up, Stand Up was originally released in 2005 as Viva Joe Strummer. It’s comprised of contemporary interviews with band members and friends mixed with some classic concert footage. It charts Summer’s career from his time with The 101ers through his work with the Mescaleros.
The film strikes the right tone and presents some affecting, raw interviews with Strummer’s former bandmates — in particular drummer Topper Headon. But unlike Julien Temple’s excellent Strummer doc The Future Is Unwritten this film suffers from lack of access. We’ve seen much of this performance footage before and it offers no new insights into Strummer’s more mysterious post-Clash years.
Get Up, Stand Up is well worth seeing, but if you’re going to watch only one film about The Clash or Joe Strummer, this ain’t it.