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Letter Perfect

We analyze Billy Corgan's catalog, count our Ps and Qs with They Might Be Giants and remember Joe Strummer's humble beginnings

Amateurishness may be part of the 101ers' charm, but the soundtrack Walker -- Strummer's first work after the Clash's split -- shows a man with the tools to express his vision. The setting of the 1986 film, nineteenth-century Nicaragua, provided a musical context for Strummer's political interest in Latin America. Far more accessible than most "world" music, the album is a cascade of bright Latin piano, flamenco guitar and horns, and hints of the rockabilly that Strummer always admired.

"He had such an ability to embrace all styles of music, immerse himself in the culture, sociology and sounds of that music, and then deliver his own brand," says Kolosine. "In my opinion, it came from a fundamental respect, rather than a desire to exploit."

The album is dominated by gorgeous instrumentals, complemented by several ballads in which Strummer's one-time growl cools down to a rough croon. And even with its eclecticism, Walker is purely Strummer, his most satisfying solo work next to 2001's excellent album with the Mescaleros, Global a Go-Go. It's never pretentious, never a stretch, but rather the sound of Strummer's own infectious fascination.

"He was very passionate about what he was doing, very interested in people and everything around him," recalls Dudanski. "Joe was always a special geezer. -- Andrew Marcus

Your Band Is Now Free to Move About the Country
So we see that the current (and possibly last) Destiny's Child tour is traveling under a McDonald's-sponsored banner: "Destiny Fulfilled... And Lovin' It."

Tacky? Yes. Crass? All the way. A total sellout maneuver? You betcha.

Still, we're, ahem, lovin' it. Why should those sponsors have to settle for having their banners festoon every flat surface for a square mile around the venue, their logo printed on every article associated with the shows or a few shout-outs from the stage -- when they could have even more? Like, why shouldn't the tour be named after one of the sponsor's slogans? After all, corporate sponsorship is what America's all about, isn't it?

We thought it would be fun to go back through the annals of both music history and that of America's highest art form -- advertising -- and come up with some new, improved tour names.

Corporate CEOs, you're welcome -- just send me my consultancy fee in a plain brown envelope. I'll take it in hundreds. -- John Nova Lomax

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