You would think that a rock star who was the lead singer for one of the most influential bands in the world would have no problem starting a new band, making a record, and selling out concerts. But that's not the case for Joe Strummer, the former lead singer of The Clash, as he and his new band, The Mescaleros, embark on their tour. Longtime Strummer collaborator Dick Rude creates an image of a humble man trying to do what he loves best: create music that connects people. If for some reason you didn't know who Joe Strummer was, you would think that this was just another documentary about a struggling musician trying to make it. And in many ways that's exactly the point. We watch as Strummer does an impromptu radio interview and passes out handwritten flyers on Atlantic City's boardwalk to promote his own show -- and then arranges photo shoots and more radio interviews in cities from New York to Tokyo to San Francisco. Mixed with incredible live and backstage footage are segments that include Strummer, who passed away before the completion of the film, talking about the essential records that he needs to bring on the road with him and his drive to get back to "finding" music instead of taking what is given, as well as footage of his last recording sessions. Rude's observational style creates a portrait of a rock legend whose ego takes a back seat to the raw emotion in his music performances, channeled through his personal beliefs and values.
Dick Rude was born and raised in Los Angeles. His film career began at 15 when he attended the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute. As an actor, he has appeared in several films, including Sid and Nancy (1986), The Wild Life (1984), and Repo Man (1984), on which he was also a contributing writer. Rude left UCLA Film School to cowrite and star in Straight to Hell (1987), which features such notables as Dennis Hopper, Courtney Love, and Elvis Costello. His other writing credits include a pilot for Sofia Coppola, Hi Octane, and an unproduced script commissioned by River Phoenix. He has directed several music videos, as well as music documentaries for the bands Blonde Redhead (Nothing Something), and the Red Hot Chili Peppers' (Off the Map). Rude is currently preparing for his next film, The Asshole, with his friend and executive producer Jim Jarmusch.