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Unlike his more technically proficient bandmate in The Clash, Mick Jones, John Graham Mellor was strictly rhythm, hence his stage moniker, Joe Strummer.
The ‘sour’ to Jones’s ‘sweet,’ Strummer was a Tele man all the way, and he played it like a weapon, driving the band with a fervor that bordered on demonic possession. His axe of choice was a ‘66 sunburst that he painted black.
Aside from a bridge with individual saddles and six ’F’-style tuners, Strummer made little in the way of modifications. But he changed its look often: the word ’NOISE’ was stenciled on the upper part of the body, an ’Ignore Alien Orders’ sticker was placed above the bridge, a rasta flag sticker was affixed at the horn of the pickguard and a large question mark was spray-painted on the back of the instrument.
Strummer continued to play his ’66 Tele right up to his untimely death at the age of 50 in 2002.