Chapter 6

Down & Out in Paris

In April 1982, on the eve of a UK tour to promote Combat Rock, Joe Strummer went missing. With the UK tour yet to sell out, manager Bernard Rhodes asked Joe to go AWOL as a publicity stunt to drum up ticket sales; instead, Strummer vanished entirely, secretly holing up in Paris where he grew a beard and ran the Paris Marathon incognito. With the UK tour cancelled and dates in the US looming, the band’s chief aide Kosmo Vinyl was tasked with tracking down the singer and persuading him to come back to London. Eventually, he found him in a bar, hailing the bearded Strummer with words, “Fidel!”

Hits Back
Part 1

On Joe’s Move to Paris

“I think that Joe must have felt so bad about it that he decided to disappear” — Mick

“Joe did go for a couple of days and a couple of days more and more and Bernie basically at this point had lost contact with Joe and didn’t know where he was so basically Joe pulled a bluff on Bernie” — Paul