Aural Sculptors - The Stranglers Live 1976 to the Present

Welcome to Aural Sculptors, a blog aimed at bringing the music of The Stranglers to as wide an audience as possible. Whilst all of the various members of the band that have passed through the ranks since 1974 are accomplished studio musicians, it is on stage where the band have for me had their biggest impact.

As a collector of their live recordings for many years I want to share some of the better quality material with other fans. By selecting the higher quality recordings I hope to present The Stranglers in the best possible light for the benefit of those less familiar with their material than the hardcore fan.

Needless to say, this site will steer well clear of any officially released material. As well as live gigs, I will post demos, radio interviews and anything else that I feel may be of interest.

In addition, occasionally I will post material by other bands, related or otherwise, that mean a lot to me.

Your comments and/or contributions are most welcome. Please email me at

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Malcolm Owen - 32 Years Gone

Malcolm Owen R.I.P.

Today marks the 32nd anniversary of the death of Malcolm Owen, lead singer of The Ruts.

Back in 1980, Malcolm's demise at the mere age of 26 passed me by without knowledge or understanding. I was 11 years old and didn't even know who The Ruts were. It was a few years later that the band entered my life. From what I recall, a mate taped 'The Crack' for me in about '84. It must have been 1984 because I remember alternating much of my 'O' level mocks revision between 'Machine Gun Ettiquette' and 'The Crack' which were on opposite sides of the same C90.

It was only when I went to Brunel in Uxbridge in 1988 that I met some mates in the area that The Ruts became much more important on my musical horizon. In this period I lived both in Hayes and Southall, two areas steeped in Ruts history. Of this my mates were justifiably proud!

The Ruts never had the breaks that they deserved. The plaudits for almalgamating punk and reggae always went (and continue) to go to The Clash, but The Ruts did it better without half as much fuss.

Here's an audio recording of the band in Paris a few months before Malcolm died.

A little later the tragic death of Malcolm was the subject of a short documentary which makes interesting and poignant viewing.

To finish, I can thing of no better tribute to the incandescent talent that was Malcolm Owen than The Damned's 'Limit Club' written for Malcolm in 1981.

'The Limit Club'
The Damned
Leamington Spa 2010


  1. I stumbled across this blog by accident, I was actually looking for archive news on The Stranglers, I didn't realise it was 32 years today since Malcom died but I do recall 'West One, shine on me' was released shortly afterwards, the Ruts were a massively under rated band.

    R.I.P Malcom.

  2. I remember the day after really well. One of the lads in our class was a massive Ruts fan and someone said something he shouldn't and Stu nearly took his head off. Thanks for the heads up Adrian and RIP Malcolm. Still think Love in Vein is, in the circumstances, the most poignant song I've ever heard.

  3. Thanks for the memory. Nothing but a tragedy. The man was 26 years old. And with no disrespect to Ruts DC (who soldiered on with a great album), where would the band have gone next? On the evidence of West One, it would have been somewhere special for certain!

  4. Hi, Musky03, first time I've left you a comment, so time for thanks for all your work - and our shared interest in the Ruts. For your info, this was recorded for French television; details are

    Chorus TV, Paris, France. 13-01-80

    01.Jah War
    02.Babylon's Burning
    03.You're Just A...
    04.It Was Cold
    05.In A Rut
    08.Babylon's Burning.

    Your link's gone down unfortunately (a re-up would be good for other readers, as I don't think this is up on the web elsewhere), but ta for the effort, and as a little thanks for your work, see the comments to your Newtown Neurotics post for some more local music. Cheers now, Dave Sez.

  5. it might be worth re-upping this recording, i`ve just seen on music ruined my life that none other than henry rollins has tweeted a link to this post!