The Stranglers

The Stranglers

‘I’m moving in the Coleherne with the leather all around me, And the sweat is getting steamy but their eyes are on the ground’ spits Baz Warne singing Hugh Cornwell’s claustrophobic and quite brilliant lyrics to the 33 year old Strangler classic, ‘Hanging Around’.

The atmosphere is electric, the band are in their third encore and the place is going old school mental. The Stranglers are back in Manchester for the spring 2010 sold out tour- a celebration of this band that is more of a strange cult than a mere group. there is talk of this being the band’s last tour- afterall Jet Black is now 71- but he’s pounding the drums harder than the new bands and the Stranglers don’t stop- they may talk about it but the band is as they sang on their last album, ‘Relentless’.

I travel a lot and everywhere I go I get the Stranglers conversation.

That hushed intense talk of esoteric lyric matter, suicidal career decisions, karate chopping bass ruffs and awesome songs that for several years made the band the best selling band to come out of the punk scene in the UK.

For me, like many a bit too smart, intense misfits The Stranglers have been an important part of our lives and their covert, strange, weird and wonderful world has become a fascinating enclave in rock music.

They were the nastiest, funniest, darkest, moodiest, weirdest, glowering bunch of outsider pop stars ever.  Easily the sleaziest, most off the wall band in the whole punk rock canyon. If you were taking magic mushrooms and getting off on punk rock and living in Blackpool like I was then, they were as near as damn perfect. The music was a brutal slab of angry, snarling punk rock psychedelia served up as three minute slices of pure pop magic- every song constructed from great riffs with unexpected melodic flourishes and an intro and outro that was another great riff. Most bands manage one good riff in a song if they are lucky! the Stranglers outros had riffs in them that most bands would kill for!

Their bad attitude and dark charisma was a neat extra.

They talked and sang about aliens, karate, motorbikes, Yukio Mishima, Leon Trotsky, heroin, Nostradamus, rats, ravens and alienation.

This was no average band.

History has remembered The Clash and pushed the rest of the punk bands away; retro features now re-write the history of the punk era around the Westway wonders. But as much as anyone who grew up with punk loves The Clash, it is a crime to see The Stranglers pushed aside. Their influence has been enormous and overlooked.

Maybe The Stranglers didn’t help themselves. They always antagonised the press and flew in the face of the curse of fashion. they were called sexist and they played up to the accusation winding up the press when in fact they were no more or less sexist than most of the bands from the punk era.

Their utter originality and influence has been largely  ignored by the media but acknowledged by a rabidly loyal fanbase and a generation of musicians who were in thrall to this creative unit who had wilfully defied fashion to carve out their own distinctive niche with a moody, belligerent bass and keyboard driven pop that was a great mixture of melodic, snarling rock n roll and sometime beautifully baroque.

There has never been a band quite like The Stranglers.

Denied credit by the media and rock snobs they relished in their outsider status and quirky line up of a black belt karate kicking bass god, a 40 year old ex ice cream selling drummer and a moustache bearing psychedelic, warlord keyboard player working with the suitably eccentric, laconic, lanky Cornwell- whose rich vocals are still one of the best signature voices in British rock n roll and were, with the Sex Pistols, the most commercially viable of all the initial punk new wave bands.

In the late seventies they sound tracked the times better than everyone else. I loved the Clash and the Pistols like anyone else did at the time but the band’s bass driven punk Floyd weirdness, aggression and sheer melodic nous hit a raw nerve like no other band.

Their inventiveness, originality and their surly attitude was perfect for my magic mushroom stained punk upbringing. The way the band were obviously not fashionable and existed with their own set of rules was perfect as well. The way that you could get into arguments with punk purist snobs just by owning their records made them even better!

The Stranglers were ahead of everybody musically.    Their whole composite sound was perfect- four lead instruments with Jet Black’s neo jazz pounding drums, Hugh Cornwell’s idiosyncratic guitar work that hinted at Beefheart before switching to scratching, scarping Telecaster scouring and Dave Greenfield’s amazing bubbling keyboards that were such a signature sound. Meanwhile JJ Burnell invented that bass sound- dredging the bass up to lead instrument with tough sounding, gnarled bass epics that a generation learned to play bass from. You can hear echoes of his bass sound in any band that cranks the bass up- from the Fall to a whole host of hardcore, indie or rock bands who reworked the bass into its rightful lead place.  Saying that no-one has ever got the bass as good as the sixth dan four string master though! And his hunched on stage shapes with the bass- where he becomes one with the instrument-  has been copped by so many other musicians- step up Peter Hook (a Stranglers acolyte incidentally).

The band released a series of massive hit singles and tough sounding leering albums in the late seventies that were stuffed full of songs that could also have been singles. Their melodic suss has been unrecognised by many taking the likes of Pete Waterman to call them the most melodic British band apart from the Beatles!

Their attitude was hilarious- grumpy old men who could stand their ground, they were charismatic, deadly and took on everybody and won.

And they looked cool as fuck dressed in black, like rock n roll ninja assassins come to cause trouble in the prissy corridors of pop.

They made the angriest punk albums with their debut, ‘Rattus Norvegicus’, detailing the sewer life of their underground, steaming London of the late seventies and its follow up, ‘No More Heroes’, perfectly capturing the juvenile outrage of punk. In 1978 they swerved into a sort of avante garde and invented post punk a full year before Joy Division on their stark and bass heavy ‘Black and White’ (which features the best bass sound ever!). They then came on all weird-punk-prog-pop with ‘The Raven’ before going really bizarre on their aliens come to earth piece of weirdness ‘Meninblack’ before swerving back to crystalline Strangler tough pop on ‘La Folie’.

They then grew up and got more polished or maybe I grew up and got less polished! I’m not sure- the later albums still had flashes of genius but didn’t quite take over our weird world like their earlier works. In 1990 Hugh Cornwell left and they became a great live band, one of the best before finally getting Baz Warne joining in the 21st century to pull of really unlikely comeback with ‘Norfolk Coast’ and ‘Suite XVI’

Which brings us neatly to tonight’s sold out, packed show at Academy 1 in Manchester. Routinely ignored by the mass media which is still in thrall to the far smaller and less influential (although still great) bands like The Fall- the Stranglers take comfort from their fiercely partisan fan base that supports the band like some strange black clad religion.

The atmosphere is intense and the gig is joyous. At 71 Jet Black is still the powerhouse drummer and the set list is peppered with the weird, wonderful and plain genius anthems from their long career.

The line up has now settled with JJ singing again and his tough gnarled voice is a welcome piece of genuine aggression on ‘Go Buddy Go’ another song they have not visited for a long time. His co- vocalist Baz Warne takes all the Hugh vocals and sings them perfectly.

In 2010 you don’t think of Baz as a replacement. You think of him as a Strangler.

The fact that they can play complex long pieces like the bizarre ‘Genetix’ with Dave Greenfield’s great weird vocal and the utter genius, classic ‘Down In The Sewer’ again after 15 years is thrilling.

‘Down In the Sewer’ for me is one of the greatest songs I’ve ever heard, the Stranglers’ very own anthem and a distillation of everything great about the band. A swooping, dramatic and darkly funny song, it has a twanging Ventures guitar break and a stub toed bass riff to end all stub toed bass ruffs. In the songs seething middle section Baz Warne and JJ resurrect the Stranglers famous rat walk on the stage and you were there back at the heart of Stranglerdom- that sense of outsider outrage and great twisting music, a disdain for everything and amazing songs. The stage is drenched in red and green lights and the seven minute epic burst at its climax- a pure Stranglers moment.

There were new songs in the set like recent single, ‘Retro Rockets’, and a cavalier assault of great songs from a never ending, relentless career that shows no sign of slowing down. Baz Warne rejuvenated the band and the fact that he looks like Strangler and can deliver the vocals with the same kind of menace as the great Hugh Cornwall stand the band in great stead. JJ is as charismatic as ever- doing the karate kicks and picking out those killer bass lines.

The band were easily as good as in their pomp. It’s criminal to ignore them any longer. It’s time to acknowledge the group’s massive influence and to stop pretending they don’t exist because it’s not convenient.

Many bands have their importance overstated –continually.  I’m sick of seeing my youth re-written. I’m bored off the linear narrative of rock n roll that tells us that the Clash made everyone want to be in bands. I grew up in those strange times and I know what people felt- I’ve met them all!  I’veproduced countless records where the band wanted the JJ sound. I’m bored of the lies that get told.

The Stranglers may not have been nice to media people at the time but their music made a massive difference. They were the sound of the real UK of small towns, they captured the frustration of the times with the high IQ smarts of disillusioned graduates with a darkly funny sense of humour that half of them were. They reflected the ugliness back at everyone and they made some great records while they were at it.

The fact that can still triumph in packed, big halls all these years later is living proof of the band’s genius and way that the public will not always be fooled by what they read.

44 Responses to The Stranglers

  1. Paul Wilkinson says:

    What a great read John, you have truly captured the magic of the greatest band of all, how good it is to see that finally they are getting some of the reward they have deserved for such a long time.
    I have certainly not seen a better live band in the last 30 years, long may it continue!

  2. Patrick says:

    Another great piece John. ah the Stranglers, the men in black, what a band. first record I ever bought was rattus norvegicus.

    Saw the stranglers years ago, 1979 , Raven tour I think it was. Hooked up with an old school mate recently (we both were in the strangled fan club) I don’t do nostalgia, and with no cornwell feared the worst….but what a gig, started with the more poppy stuff (they were a great singles band) and then played most of the black + white album……awesome cover, awesome album. what a catalogue to choose from, nearly every song a classic. Great mixed crowd too, loads of youngsters, even saw a few father and son combinations screaming along to the lyrics together.And jet black got a 2 minute ‘jet black’ chant before the encore.

    yes its strange how they have been overlooked and not put into the ‘seminal’ band category, prob bacause too hard to categorise/band of misfits, not sanitised enough by todays standards. Always thought they were meant to be a prog rock band that happened into punk with their ‘doorsy’ keyboards. Down in the sewer, that strange 4 part song was excellent, where it breaks down and then gradually all the instruments come back in, dave greenfields analgue keyboards going beserk, used to play this at 45rpm, its sounds even better if thats possible. Genius.

  3. Andy Mac says:

    Black and White & The Raven are two of my favourite ever albums. Amazing band. Well said John!

  4. Pete Stevens says:

    Really interesting article John and I do think they’ve been unfairly treated, especially by the media. They were a fantastic live band, who sadly I only managed to see once at the Liverpool Royal Court Theatre on the ‘La Folie’ tour.

    Their popularity, particularly where I grew up in the north-west, was unquestionable, with unswerving loyalty from their hardcore fans. I was puzzled by some of their so called ‘career’ moves, but the fact that they remain so popular is testament to quality and diversity of their music and the point blank refusal to toe the line…..

    Dark indeed, but that keyboard line from ‘Grip’ and the bass from….well virtually any song you care to name…I was going to say ‘Hanging Around’…show what great musicians they were at that time when hundreds of others were picking up cheap guitars to figure out how the Ramones did it !

    My only problem now is finding ‘Rattus Norvegicus’ amongst my CDs….It’s not bloody there and I can’t remember who has it !!

  5. Helgy says:

    I agree everyone was into the Stranglers at the time and then you get all this crap over the years by self serving nobodies who think that they are showing a true reflection of punk at the time.
    They are not only twisting the factas to their belief that the stranglers were nothing just an irritation at the time untter bollox.

  6. Steve says:

    John,

    Great read they are my favourite band of all time and they seem to get marginalised today with the TV trying to rewrite the history of 77 punk that marginalises the Stranglers more horrific not even mentioning them in a punk TV documentary. Now the revisionists say they are pub/punk/prog outfit then in 77 they were encapsulated under the banner of punk. The aggression of the first the album should in my opinion be confirmed more closer punk with a touch of Doorsesque keyboard psychedelia. Isnt it strange that Dave Greenfield had never heard of the Doors at the start of his musical career!

    • johnrobb77 says:

      interesting that most of the comments are pissed off about the re-write of the history of the period. It is annoying and it slowly becomes ‘the truth’. It was the audience who decided at the time and the audience totally decided that the Stranglers were a punk band because the audience definition of punk was far wider and far more on the case than the media one…

  7. Thanks for that – great to read. Wish I’d been there. Wonder what the “esoteric lyrics” are?
    Robin-the-acting-teacher.

  8. Neil Smith says:

    You’re right John. They changed lives, and that is not being melodramatic. I remember always feeling out of place with all the boys at school with their bags covered in Deep Purple and Led Zep logos, and the girls with their love of Bowie/Ferry/Soul. 1977 changed all that, although we didn’t get to see many bands in Blackpool. Punk and ‘New Wave’ (not quite as derided at the start as it was to be later) came along and gave a lot of us so much more to get excited about, and The Stranglers were absolutely central to the whole thing, out in the provinces. I never had a favourite band, my musical taste has always been eclectic, but there are still few songs anywhere as exciting as Hanging Around, Grip, Something Better Change or No More Heroes. With these new options and a feeling we were doing something different, came a new confidence. They certainly altered the paths of many lives, yours as much as any I guess

  9. Kevin Nacey says:

    Hey John,
    great read thanks for that. I didnt get to Manchester this tour ( work…ho hum) but I did 4 other dates on the tour, and they were all just utterly brilliant.

    I’m 47 now, and I remember hearing “Grip” when I was 15 and thinking “thats interesting”, and then hearing “Sewer” and thinking “thats fucking great”, and even after all these years when you hear them, you know its “them”, and the hairs stand up on the back of your neck and the pulse starts to quicken.And to see them live, well they still deliver.

    They are a national treasure, and while the biz dishes out honours to nomarks like Robbie Williams or gives lifetime achievement awards to people who havent written a decent tune in the last 30 years, we will carry on supporting our band, the mighty Stranglers.

  10. RayGil says:

    A great read John,Very well written. I grew up with the Strangles, and spent many a night at Lancaster Uni, they always seemed to play there. Outstanding Band and great to hear they have still got it! I will certainly try and catch up with their Music! Need to widen my Radar a little!

  11. Robert Endeacott says:

    Brilliant words John, good to meet you before the gig as well – hope I didn’t make too big an arse of myself :-P but I’ll live if I did!

    Great gig, no surprise there then!

  12. Istvanski says:

    I started early with this lot after being exposed to fans’ favourite “No More Heroes” when I was in primary school. Years later I bought the album of the same name and I remember listening with gob wide open as the two opening songs mercilessly took my breath away. None of the other punk bands managed that with me. They are more relevant to music than the fluff that the mainstream media are eager on feeding us.
    I saw them in Brighton on this Spring tour and I certainly hope it won’t be their last with Jet.

  13. Mark Luff says:

    fantastic read mate (hope there’s more like that in “the book”).the only reason they are not revered like the Clash etc,is that they p****d off too many people which might have influenced a few mysterious chart failures(bit controversial),”Always the Sun” springs to mind….I also think their singles choices have not always been the best.But at the end of the day I have been able to see the only band I have ever loved,for the last 30+ years ,and maybe for a couple more yet(still ache from “Hammersmith”)so as far as i’m concerned LONG LIVE THE STRANGLERS

  14. Duncan Round says:

    This was a fantastic piece of writing John – written from the heart. I’ve watched them as they have evolved from 77 & can honestly say that at Hammersmith Apollo on Friday nite, listening to Baz was almost interchangeable with Hugh.The only difference is the fine repertoire that has been added to since 90. Respect also to Paul Roberts though who helped (in hid time with the band) to polish the Stranglers moniker over the years.The return to a foursome though has really kicked the band on to a higher level again both creatively & technically.

    The Stranglers on stage are an event. Each event has a family gathering, a pilgrimage to see the Meninblack again. It is an opportunity to witness one of the most original & entertaining of all real bands.They are a band who have never compromised their originality, which is very rare in these times of Simon Cowell.

    John you have almost written your piece in the past tense, so I think it important to look to the future. More new material appears to have been laid down last Autumn, but even more interesting is that finally the MiB are to appear at Glastonbury this summer on the Friday.

    I say to you that this is an opportunity for the world, either directly on stage at Pilton or courtesy of the BBC to witness the playing out of their legacy. It will be a time for the band to stamp their rightful place in our musical history & correct all that air brushing that has gone on over the years.

    I have been wearing black for many years, and am quite biased towards the band, but suggest there is quite a degree of quality to be enjoyed yet before it’s time for the band to hang up their instruments for the last time.

    • johnrobb77 says:

      thanks duncan…wasnt meant to be past tense- the band are very mucg current in my world! great they are playing glastonbury..would love to hear a new album at some point…the next single is really good.

  15. John C says:

    Hi John

    Great read. I’m a Stranglers fanatic. Went to see them in Leeds a couple of weeks ago as they weren’t playing Dublin. You should write a book about the band, we need an updated biography to cover the Baz Years!

    • johnrobb77 says:

      would love to do a book on the band- but its been done..also there’s a great looking book about the fans history of the band getting put together- perhaps the best story!

  16. PJ not JJ says:

    You’ve managed to put into words exactly what i’ve been thinking for the last 34 years. Brilliant read, thank you.

  17. Marc says:

    An article I can concur with in so many ways.

    Similarly growing up in the northwest, Heroes was my first album. Then on the release date of Black and White, I queued up outside Bolton’s record store Tracks to make sure I got the free white vinyl Walk On By EP.

    My bass, guitar and keyboard playing are all still heavily influenced by these fantastic musicians.

    You hit the nail on the head with “Sewer”… the build up into part 4 with the driving guitar rhythm, bass and keyboards still makes my head spin.

    I must admit I drifted away a little during the Roberts days, but with the return to a four-piece with JJB sharing vocals again seems much more how the band should be.

    Last year’s Shepherds Bush was good but last week’s Hammersmith was even better. The new tracks seem to have found the true Stranglers sound again. This ensures they will continue to be a current and developing band rather than living off past glories.

    With gigging the only way to make money nowadays, I look forward to more mosh pit madness….

    • johnrobb77 says:

      the 4 piece linear strangs with no frontman and crucially with JJ doing a bunch of singing again is the perfect vehicle…

  18. Peter E says:

    Awsem review John, summed exactly how I feel. Hope some of your journalistic friends wake up and smell the coffee before its too late start to recogonise how important The Stranglers were to the music culture of this country. They have always been true to themselves and thats why I respect them all the more even though it had cost them at times.

    Finally loved the comment Baz is a Strangler! Too right!

  19. Duncan Round says:

    John

    I’ve sent you a PM on thestranglersite forum, @ the following link:

    http://www.themeninblack.co.uk/forums/index.php

    Pretty please

  20. Mark says:

    Black and White for me is the most perfect stranglers and maybe the best album ever made. It’s easy to see how Joy division were influenced by this post Apocalyptic dark and menacing concept. Even the minimal typeface predates the Factory image. Your review echoes my view of this extraordinary band, and might No.1 song is Down in the sewer as well.

  21. Mich says:

    My Favourite album is Black and White. A collection of songs that exudes bleak war torn imagery and references the cold war to great effect. (U2 and Joy Division went on to create dark music with war torn overtones but the Stranglers did it first on Black and White). The production sought to capture death and destruction with a stark sneer of cold command and entrenched paranoia that existed in the late 1970’s. A true masterpiece – never bettered.

  22. Hmm… I don’t know if it’s correct to say “they became more polished” after the early 1980s. I think there is no doubt The Stranglers are a great band, one of the greatest bands of their time. The fact this greatness has not been fully recognized by the specialized print does not affect it. Often music criticians can’t see the wood for the trees… :-)

    I am speaking as an admirer of their work which knew them with “Always the Sun”. So, for me, their discovery has taken a particular route: 1987 to 1984, to 1982, to 1990, and back to 1977. And then, 1997/1998, up to Norfolk Coast.

    I don’t have the musical preparation to properly appreciate their earlier albums, but I consider “The Gospel according to the Meninblack” a masterpiece.
    Also, “10”, is an underrated album. Most of the album with Roberts have very fine songs in them, this goes also for the more recent work, but the albums as a whole, well… I feel them less strong than their 1977-1990 productions.

    But this is not a problem: they have always kept the quality high, and the search honest. Now maybe I should listen to “Suite XVI” (which I did not buy), but I have difficulties with Baz Warne’s voice…

    Ciao,
    Claudio (Italy)

    • johnrobb77 says:

      claudio,

      the Stranglers imagination and brute intent is endlessly fascinating and great to listen to…

      ‘suite xvi’ is a good album….check it on the internet…JJ sings a lot of it!

  23. Duncan Round says:

    Cluadio – go & listen to Suite XVI, watch Rattus @ the Roundhouse & watch / listen to Live at the Apollo that is just about to be issued. You will see how fine an addition to the band that Baz is. Go & see them live – I promise you, you won’t be disappointed.

    On On ON On
    Manc In Black

  24. Mark Fleming says:

    Loved the article. I witnessed The Stranglers several times during their ‘heyday’, including a blinding performance at the Loch Lomond Festival in May 79. I religiously bought all their vinyl output from the Something Better Change EP (the mottled pink disc that some wag at school claimed would make you vomit if you stared at it being played at 45rpm!) right up to ‘European Female’. Then I kind of lost interest, and when Hugh left I thought that was that, another classic punk band consigned to history.

    I saw Hugh Cornwell doing a solo acoustic spot around 2005. It was good. But nostalgia was masking the fact that the overriding feeling was disappointment. ‘Peaches’ on acoustic guitar, without JJ’s seminal bass line, was like a lift muzak version of a pop classic.

    After many years apathy towards The Stranglers on the grounds that ‘they’re not the Stranglers without Cornwell’, I’ve since been persuaded back. In fact, I’ve seen them twice in Edinburgh over the past 8 months or so. They were brilliant, with Baz more than aptly filling Cornwell’s shoes. I’d ignored them for so long but they have remained a brilliant band.

    As ever, their music was multi-layered but effortlessly poppy, dark but wickedly humorous. Their full-bodied blend of punk rock was as mesmerising in 2010 as it was when I first clocked them sneering while miming ‘Go Buddy Go’ badly on TOTP in 1977.

    I came across a Raven t-shirt at the back of a wardrobe recently. I was over the moon, and rushed to try it on. Sadly, it now exposes a midriff that wasn’t there when I was 16 and pogoing in the mud at the Loch Lomond festival! Still, the fact I’ll still be able to pick one up at a live gig by Guildford’s finest makes up for it!

    • johnrobb77 says:

      I think both halves of the great Stranglers schism have something to offer!

      Baz has been great for the Stranglers…the last two albums have been good and live they are a monster…be great to se JJ get the credit for his genius bas work outside our strange black clad world though!

  25. 'CHARD says:

    Just discovered the blog John, I think I slept through those years spent in London… Your take on the Meninblack is spot-on. I picked up Retro Rockets in ASDA of all places in the small hours of a spring morning. The twisted irony of this: an epic double-cd sharing trolley space with the trappings of 2010, from a band who still symbolise a time which for me was full of contradictions as England struggled for cultural rebirth itself. And when the CD concept was beyond even Michael Rodd’s wildest dreams! Vive les STRANGLERS!

  26. GrahamWeeks says:

    I love the Stranglers,

    thanks John.

  27. [...] The Stranglers were strikingly different from any other band on the ’77 British punk scene. They were older (Jet Black, the drummer was 39 years-old in 1977), they had a keyboard player who looked like a shepherd, and their karate freak bass player, JJ Burnel was beating up everybody who pissed him off. And it was quite easy to piss him off. The same aggression defined the way Burnel played the bass. In his hands it wasn’t an instrument, it was a weapon. Fact is, nobody ever played the bass like him. No wonder he inspired legions of punk rock bass players, including the guy from Bankrupt. Burnel and guitarist/singer Hugh Cornwell were both cynical intellectuals, who reveled in their thuggish image. The way they treated women in their lyrics makes Borat look like a feminist. But keep in mind, this was before punk became politically correct. While the members of the Clash were selected carefully by Mick Jones and manager Bernie Rhodes to fit the image they had in mind, and the Sex Pistols were put together by Malcolm McLaren, the Stranglers found each other randomly, and didn’t care about their image. Maybe that’s why they lasted longer: the original line-up remained intact until 1990, when Cornwell left, and the band has been going on ever since with the addition of new members. Amazingly, they are still touring actively, featuring 72-year-old drummer Jet Black. They released two perfect punk rock albums (Rattus Norvegicus, No More Heroes), a perfect new wave album (La Folie), and a lot of good albums with awesome tracks among the fillers. Their influence on Bankrupt is quite obvious with songs like Face The Failure, or Another Girl. (You can read a cool post about the Stranglers by John Robb here.) [...]

  28. rick bethell says:

    john,great stuff mate,it seems a bit churlish with the us and them camps but if you poke somebody enough times they tend to poke back.i like others still adore the stranglers and will defend em to the hilt,but its the tunes that count and they cant hide them!i was at the man acad gig brilliant as per usual.i still get them same feelings now as i did back in my youth and as my 50 approaches life would be a lot poorer without the mibs.so thankyou for putting your head above the parapit wall and shouting loud and proud.long may they reign….rick

  29. phil says:

    John

    Just stumbled on this posting, what a pleasant surprise. It is the best single posting i have read summing up what the Stranglers meant back then…and now. So much of what you wrote struck a chord, you were in blackpool, i was in stockport – same time. It was exactly that combination of humour, menace and musical sheer weird brilliantness…and an anger that was monumental and so much part of what it was to grow up in small city/town england on the verge of the thatcher years. Heck even slept in a phone box in Liverpool on a very cold night after missing the last train home from a gig…clutching a signed copy of strangled.

    For all that music media have ignored/pissed on the Stranglers, i dunno, i kinda get the sense that despite everything they have become, for want of a better phrase, a British Institution. They seem to have leapfrogged over the wilderness years to becoming well…so much part of the music fabric that they are finally starting to be termed “legendary” “influential” – interestingly, this is without much media support.

  30. getagrip1962 says:

    Great post.
    Saw them in Edinburgh and went along not knowing how it was going to be.
    I’ve seen them many many times since my first gig at Dunfermline
    I was a very happy guy they played well and sound fantastic.
    Crowd loved em
    Hope I am about for the tour in march 11

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