Sounds 17th November 1990
Strangled may have broken the news first to the subscribers (I can't recall), but as far as the wider world was concerned the band maintained radio silence until January of the following year when one Paul Roberts was revealed to be the man with the task of filling Hugh Cornwell's very large monkey boots. Joining him, on guitar duties, was long term Stranglers associate (ex-Purple Helmets and ex-JJ's ill-fated Euroband).
Sounds 26th January 1991
First impressions were based only on a picture, so limited to...... long hair!? Now, dodgy barnets we knew and understood (see Hugh Cornwell in the late '80s and Dave Greenfield in... er.. 1974 to mid 2000s!!) but even so concerns were raised.
Still, the acid test would always be a live show and my first opportunity to see them was at The Old Trout in Windsor (the first live gig in the UK, but the third for the new line up, having played two nights in Athens a couple of days earlier). This warm up plan was no doubt in preparation for some of the flak that the band could receive on a UK stage (and it did come to some extent).
A quick look at the bootleg shows that at this point the band had already introduced 4 new songs into the set (including the single Heaven & Hell). On the night I was quite impressed, the versions of the old material were played with a sensitivity and there was none of the flamboyance that would become a feature of some of the shows that followed. Really though, I think that what I liked most about it was the lack of brass! This was back to basics stuff for the band.
At the time I was quoted in a magazine (could have been a fanzine) and said some encouraging things about the new line up. Unfortunately, I think that these were the last nice things I said about the band for another good many years!
That's the back of my pre-male pattern balding head second from the right.
The Old Trout, Windsor 25th February 1991