For The People. By The People. A Clash Photo Book By Joe Streno

  • Thursday / December 15, 2011
For The People By The People

For The People. By The People.
A Clash Photo Book By Joe Streno

“For The People. By The People.”

I came to the Clash as a fan. I heard the British import of their first self titled album when it first came out … and I was hooked! When I went to the Palladium to see them for the first time in 1980, I went as a fan, who happened to bring his camera. And even as I gained access to get back stage at Bonds (thanks Brenda!) or got guest listed to the three Asbury Park shows in 1982 (thanks Kosmo!) I was still going as a fan … really. A very FORTUNATE fan.

It’s been over thirty years since I took my first live and street photos of The Clash at the Palladium in New York City. And in the following two years I’d have more chances to photograph them live and backstage. Since first publishing my photos on my blog, I have had many people ask me … ‘so Joe … when will you make a book of your photos?’ It’s taken me a while to get here. But here I am. I’m in the process of working on said book.

Here’s the twist. So many of the books out there have focused on the band. I’d like this one to focus on the fans. Both old and new. In posting to, and reading some of the Clash fan sites, I’m always amazed to read stories of how people came to the Clash. “My folks listened to the Clash when I was a kid … and I love them still!” … ‘I never got to see them. I wasn’t even born yet. But the music & the politics made me a fan’…

So here’s what I propose. I want YOU THE FANS, from AROUND THE WORLD, to write small essays. One to four paragraphs (no more … unless I ask directly) and tell me a story about your experience maybe meeting a band member. Maybe how you came to be a fan. Your favorite song and how a lyric influenced you. Who’s your fave and why. Did you meet one of the Clash? Where! When! Did you go to one of the shows I photographed? Did you go to any shows and what was your experience? It’s up to you what to write.

I will ask you to post your essay here in the comments. You must include your eMail address so I can contact you if need be. I’d suggest writing your essay in a word processor, and then coming back here and creating a new comment & pasting the text. It’s an idea. Do it however you want.

The name of the book is not written in stone. Nor is the cover art above. But I do like both so far. I will be trying to self publish the book, and promote it. So as it gets closer to the finish line … I will need your help promoting it. Word of mouth is always the best. Tweet about it. Blog about it. Post to Facebook about it.

Here are the links to my Clash posts and photos. Maybe an image will inspire you. If it does … let me know that too.

The Clash @ The Palladium NYC 1980

The Clash @ Bonds NYC 1981

The Clash @ Asbury Park Convention Hall 1982

As far as compensation, I can’t afford to pay you. I don’t know if I’ll be able to afford to send a free book to everyone who ends up being chosen and published. Though I may be able to print the page and photo your story was included on and send that to you to frame. We’ll see.

A little disclaimer here … I am not responsible for what others write. Please do not be unkind to a writer. I will moderate the comments & delete anything inappropriate.

If your story is accepted, I will contact you directly. That’s why it’s important to include your eMail address when first clicking on the comment button.

Other than that … have fun! I can’t wait to hear your stories! And thanks for participating!

Joe Streno

Joe Streno

Joe Streno

artist . musician . photographer . apple computer consultant . residing on planet earth with his two cats rocky & rose & living to tell tales about it

Blog Comments

Hey Joe!
You still looking for stories/essays? I came across this a little late, but would love to submit something if you’re still open to it. Don’t know if you remember, but we interacted a little back in 2011, first on my blog, then over here at your site. Anyway, I’d love to submit and help if you’re still looking. Best,
jasonjackmiller at gmail dot com

Joe Streno

Hey Jason!

Just sent you a longish eMail.

A lot going on here. This project had been put on hold for lack of participation, me not wanting to have to learn Adobe In-Design, or wanting to take on the design duties. I think I was suffering from Blank Canvas Syndrome and a good dose of fear.

I have found a designer through my connection with Danny Garcia’s “The Rise And Fall Of The Clash” documentary film my photos are in. So things are looking up.

Thanks for reconnecting. I’m sure we’ll be talking.



Born in the wrong era for the Clash, but God knows I wish I wasn’t. I didn’t really get into the Clash until I took a trip to The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. That was where I was really first exposed to punk. I checked out of life for about 2 years. I didn’t give a fuck about anything and was terrified of what people thought of me. I started listening to the Clash and it brought me back. All of a sudden, I wanted to DO something instead of just staying trapped inside of my head using mindless TV to drown out my thoughts. A lot of people say that the Clash changed their life, as cheesy as it sounds, I can say with certainty that they saved mine.


I was 15 year’s old. I already had the Stranglers under my belt, but nothing would stay more in my memory than the Saturday night i hopped on a train with a pal to Crawley. I was at that stage where to see a band, any band, was cool and my tastes were typical fickle teenager. 1978 and punk seemed to be bowing under the weight of it’s own excess . Didn’t bother me. I had a ticket.
One look out of the grimy train window and i nearly turned tail.
A train full of skinhead’s just alighted from London.
That night was a blood bath. Terrified? you betcha. In love with the Clash?
No competion.


That’s exactly where I want to get it too haha! I’m glad it turned out well :)


Hey Sophia, I got “the future is unwritten” tattooed on my shoulder the moment I turned 18. It’s been three years since and I love it as much today as I did the day I got it. Save up and get it done!


The funny thing is, I can’t remember how or why I started listening to The Clash. I guess their music has always been a part of my life in some way, I always knew who they were and I was always a fan of a couple of their songs. And then, I’m not sure exactly how it happened, but suddenly, their songs simply became part of my lifestyle. I started reading books, articles, fan mail, quotes, I started watching interviews and films and documentaries and I knew straight away that this band, was going to lead me to great things.

Joe Strummer is my biggest idol. Hell, I even refer to him as my God at times! He has taught me many, many valuable life lessons. He’s taught me to not give up- that if I want something, or if I want to be someone, I’m going to have to work damn well hard for it. Many times he’s shaken me up, told me ‘stop complaining, snap out of it, it’s not as bad as you think’ or ‘stop being pathetic and DO something about it’. Not only do I have the biggest respect for him as a person, I respect him as a Musician. I love the fact that Joe, Mick, Paul and Topper didn’t get too power hungry, they remembered what it was like to be at the very bottom of the foodchain, and they respected their fans, they honoured them. I always think of The Clash as one of the most genuine punk bands ever to be formed. They were so beautifully pure, beautiful in a dirty, rough and honest way. Yes, they were one of the most well known bands from the Punk generation and each time they went up on that stage, they had the guts to say ‘hey, here’s the problem, I don’t like it, so fuck you!’. Songs such as Career Opportunities and This Is England and White Riot are just a few perfect examples of what I just stated above.

All in all, The Clash are definatly my favourite band. I have never had the pleasure of meeting any of the band members unfortunatly, but I still have high hopes of seeing Mick and Paul next time Gorillaz come to Perth. Joe has definatly had the biggest impact on me, he is the most inspirantional role model I have had and will ever have, and I hope to have his brilliant words tattooed on me someday; ‘The Future Is Unwritten’ and ‘Go easy, Step lightly, Stay Free’.
Thank you Joe, for saving my life and teaching me how to live it the right way.

Yours sincerely, Sophia Golovanevskaya.

[email protected]


Hey Joe,
I was born in London, but when I was ten my parents decided to move to California. Despite my young age, I was immediately hit with a culture shock and initially found it difficult fitting in, making friends, and being comfortable not conforming to new norms. From the day I arrived to the day I left, ten years later, I never quite at home there. At thirteen, I stumbled upon The Clash’s US version of their self-titled album, and it changed my life. It taught me to be confident with myself, to be humble, and that it is ok to stand up for who I am and what I believe in, regardless of others’ opinions. I was so absorbed in Clash mania that in high school I was more commonly known as “the girl who loves The Clash,” rather than “the girl from England.” The Clash have helped me grow as a person, accept and be tolerant of others, and to always stick to my guns. After listening to them I’ve become more aware of global affairs, more in tune with unfair legislations (that some bow their heads and give in to), and more inquisitive so as to never take anything at face value. They instilled a special type of ambition in me to want to improve unfortunate situations and give help to anyone who needs it.

Last year I was fortunate enough to see Paul perform on stage twice, and I’ll admit I was a bit watery-eyed the first time. His stage presence is phenomenal, still as lively and as passionate as it was during The Clash years. I also got the chance to briefly meet Mick this December outside the Scala, just before his London gig of the Justice Tonight tour. Despite horrible weather conditions, and him being in a rush to head into the venue, he took the time to meet me; he was lovely. Since then I can’t help creeping a smile onto my face every time I hear his voice on a Clash tune, it always takes me back to that December night.

People often ask me what my favourite Clas song is. To be honest, I find trouble in choosing a favourite album, let alone a favourite track. When push comes to shove, I’d say one song in particular that really gets me going is (White Man) In Hammersmith Palais. I love that it’s got a bit of a reggae undertone to it, and the version on From Here to Eternity is impeccable. In terms of lyrics, however, I’d say this verse from Death or Glory is pretty hard to beat: “‘N’ every gimmick hungry yob diggin’ for some rock’n’roll grabs the mic to tell us he’ll die before he’s sold, but I believe in this and it’s tested by research: he who fucks nuns will later join the church.” In terms of a favourite member, it’s been Joe from the start. I love the fact that he was a son of a British diplomat but chose to squat in flats than live off his parents. I love that he never asked for a hand out after his brother committed suicide in his early twenties. And I love how he made his own rules; he and Mick chose to write lyrics that were meaningful, despite social acceptance (or lack there of), and regardless of being label as a “punk” band, they never restricted themselves to a certain kind of sound – The Clash are a prime example of how punk, at its core, is an attitude. They signed a contract when they started that limited their takings, despite how much money they made on paper, and they stuck with that until the end. They weren’t hypocrites, they had something to say that they legitimately believed in, and it’s that rare honesty that has contributed to them being so popular decades after they broke up.

Hope this isn’t too much, when I get started on The Clash it’s hard to limit what I have to say. Good luck with this, it’s a brilliant idea,


Hi Jo,
Seen your photos and blog before and i must say it’s really good of you to share so many great photos of The mighty Clash, I look forward to the book. I met Joe in 1983 on a tube train and we had a nice conversation, he also took my phone number and as promised he actually phoned me at home a couple of days later ( can e mail you the full story if required ) saw them many times in london, And apart from Topper i have seen all members of the clash in london ( yes Vince, Nick, & Pete ) look forward to the book, Peace & Love


Joe Streno

Hi Shah …

Thanks for posting. I’d love to read your story! eMail me at ejo at

I hope others will start posting and sharing their stories too.

Thanks again … Joe


Will you take stories from England ?

Happy to contribute..may have a photo or two..


Joe Streno

HI Simon ….

I will take stories from fans all over the world.

The photos in the book will be my photos of the Clash. The stories will be a mix of mine and other fans.

Though I might ask for a photo of each fan that gets published to include with their story. It’s a work in progress. I have the broad strokes, but if I get NO fan, or too few fan stories I may have to “rethink” the direction of the book. But my intent and desire is to use fan stories. : )

Thanks … Joe



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