This week on the music beat

By Carrie Borzillo and Rob Brunner
Updated February 07, 2003 at 05:00 AM EST

TO BE CONTINUED? When the Clash’s Joe Strummer died from a heart attack on Dec. 22, he was working on a third album with his new band the Mescaleros. Although much of the record had been completed, there was no immediate word about whether Strummer’s death would end up scuttling its release. Now it looks like the still-untitled disc will come out as planned, possibly as soon as late spring (the date hasn’t been finalized). ”The band and management, along with Joe’s wife, are going through the recordings to figure out if the album was close enough to completion for release and, most importantly, if they feel this is what Joe would have wanted,” says a spokesperson for Strummer’s label, Hellcat/Epitaph. Our fingers are crossed. — Rob Brunner

DISC DRIVE Are record buyers ready to go from J. Lo to J. Le? Juliette Lewis, best known for roles in films like ‘Natural Born Killers’ and ‘Cape Fear,’ is the latest thespian to eye a career as a rocker. She’s busy writing songs in L.A. with Linda Perry, the former 4 Non Blondes frontwoman who has remade herself as a successful pop producer and songwriter (Pink, Christina Aguilera). ”We’re real intuitive. It’s kind of a magical process,” says the 29-year-old Lewis, who covered PJ Harvey’s ”Hardly Wait” in the 1995 movie ‘Strange Days,’ sang backup on ”Feed the World” with an all-star vocal lineup that included Beck, and appeared in the video for Melissa Etheridge’s ”Come to My Window.” Look for her album to draw from varied influences, including Patti Smith as well as Blondie and the Cars, ”which are both cutting-edge, but poppy,” she says. So far, the actress has signed up drummer Patty Schemel (Hole) and hopes to also lure Beck, the White Stripes’ Jack White, and the Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne. But Limp Bizkit’s Fred Durst needs no convincing; he tried to sign Lewis a year ago to his Flawless Records. (She declined, saying it wasn’t the right time.) Guess Durst thought she was a natural-born crooner. — Carrie Borzillo-Vrenna