The legacy of punk rock legend Joe Strummer continues to live on and grow louder with the release of Fender's new Joe Strummer Telecaster guitar. Designed with the guidance and support of the Strummer estate and featuring distressed "road-worn" treatment, a "Revolution Rock" engraved neckplate and a limited edition art customization kit, the Joe Strummer Telecaster will be available at music product retailers worldwide beginning July 2007.
Forward-thinking cultural icon Joe Strummer (1952-2002) was co-founder, lyricist, rhythm guitarist and lead singer of seminal British punk rock band the Clash. He later founded, recorded and toured with the Mescaleros. All his life, Strummer vigorously championed individuality, self-expression and change—tenets often reflected in the constantly altered look of his favorite and most recognizable instrument—his Telecaster (currently on display in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland).
The Joe Strummer Telecaster is modeled after the '66 Telecaster Strummer played throughout most of his career. Although the guitar's appearance changed often, it was a fairly standard '60s-era Telecaster with all the original parts and specifications.
When Strummer bought it in 1975 for £120, the instrument had a three-color sunburst finish, but he soon had it sprayed with gray primer at a London auto shop, and then later added a coat of black paint. These new "finishes" deteriorated quickly, giving the guitar its distinctive look. Like Strummer's music, the battered guitar changed constantly—plastered as it was with stencils, stickers and new paint jobs through the many stages of Strummer's life and career.
To celebrate Strummer's fierce sense of individuality, Fender and acclaimed artist Shepard Fairey collaborated on the new guitar's special Joe Strummer Telecaster Customization kit, which includes stencils and stickers inspired by the custom designs Strummer decorated many of his instruments with. The kit comes in a classic 12" album cover featuring Shepard Fairey graphics and photography by Bob Gruen. This collectable album art set is a limited edition companion to the first 1,500 guitars.
An avid Strummer fan and admirer, Fairey wrote a personal letter to Strummer in summer 2002, some of the text of which is reproduced in the customization kit. As Fairey reverently notes in his letter, "As a visual artist, I have fashioned my approach in many ways after the Clash. I try to be provocative but humorous with my art. Hopefully, people can get a kick out of my stuff and ponder some issues at the same time ... Thank you for your contribution to the world and my life."