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

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Two Severns Clash! Ruts DC At The Fleece Bristol 9th March 2013

Regular visitors to these pages will be familiar with my documented frustrations in getting to see Ruts DC in the Capital. So it was with a two week gap between my scheduled Stranglers gigs and a string of Ruts DC dates to choose from I had to go somewhere and Bristol was looking good.

Not only was Bristol far enough away from the London Borough of Islington to be jinx-free, the gig at The Fleece would be my first opportunity to see these chaps play a full set as headliners in the kind of venue that I love.... capacity about 350 to 400.

And....and.... things were set to get even better as Andy Peart, my travelling companion for the trip, had arranged an interview with the band which will feature in the pages of a future issue of the excellent Vive Le Rock magazine.

Arriving in Bristol (for the first time in my case) at around five, we made our way to the salubrious Grand Hotel. When asked upon check-in what brought us to the city for the evening, Andy replied 'To see a band', 'Oh, would that be Fleetwood Mac?' the young girl on the desk enquired. We walked away without causing a scene. I mean, I know that neither of us have much chance of getting up a mohican.... but Fleetwood Mac! And it wasn't even the real one, but a tribute act (Rumours of Fleetwood Mac were playing at The Colston Hall that night).

A quick beer then in the hotel room, or a cup of tea if you go by the name of Peart, before setting off in the direction of the venue in time for six.

Walking in to The Fleece, we found the whole band on stage soundchecking. Now I love a soundcheck. Being a pen pusher and not a musician, I like the way a soundcheck comes together, culminating in a full run through of a song or two... almost your own private mini gig. And when one of those songs happens to be 'No Time To Kill', Adrian's a happy lad indeed!

Next up we follow Ruffy up into the eves of the building where the band's dressing room is situated. For a little peace and quiet, the four of us decamp to a room beyond the dressing room . Andy checks that the red light is aglow on the cassette recorder (he's old school and digital is some way off yet) and takes up position opposite Ruffy, both being astride an old wooden bench. Meanwhile, Segs and I face each other in matching wicker rocking chairs and thus seated prepare to talk about the Punk Wars! Well, I leave the talking to the other three as I am not the interviewer and I steel myself the best I can to keep the 101 questions that I have held in behind my front teeth.

As the tapes rolled however, it was evident that there was actually no cause for interruption (and if truth be told, little opportunity as these two London geezers can really talk, especially Segs, who at one stage was chastised by Ruffy and told to let the interviewer speak!).

I will not divulge the content of the interview.... don't be tightwads and buy the magazine! What I will say is that I felt privileged to sit back.... gently rocking.... listening as these two blokes spoke so candidly about both Ruts DC and The Ruts for well over an hour. What was especially noteworthy about the interview was the absolute respect and affection that they maintained for Malcolm (and Foxy of course).... the pain they still felt about Malcolm's early death..... their disdain for the music industry .... and perhaps most importantly of all, the passion and enthusiasm they have for what they are doing today.

As an aside, part way through the interview Auntie Pus emerged from the dressing room en route to the nearest pub.

With the interview complete, there was time for a couple of photos for the blog before departing in search of food and water (well maybe not pure water).

Returning to the venue at 9.30, we planned to be in time to see the second support of the night 'Criminal Mind', who turned out to be a good punk/ska band who set the tone for the night and the evening's main event.

Taking up position by the merch stand offered another couple of photo opportunities.

Ruts DC guitarist Leigh Heggarty ('Who is filling no man's shoes!') and Andy Peart
The Fleece, Bristol 9th March 2013

Andy and Me

On time at 10.30, Segs, Ruffy, Molara, Leigh and Seamus appeared from stage right and took up position. Now, I am crap with remembering running orders, suffice to say that everything that you would expect to see in the set was present and correct, with a considered mix of Ruts DC material from the aforementioned 'Animal Now' through to the new, about to be released 'Rhythm Collision Vol. 2' via 'Rhythm Collision Vol. 1'. Oh yeah and there were Ruts songs aplenty!

Segs and Molara
The Fleece, Bristol
9th March 2013

So, here's some highlights from me:

'No Time To Kill'
'Mighty Soldier'
'Smiling Culture/SUS'
'Staring At The Rude Boys'
'It Was Cold'
'West One'

'Staring At The Rude Boys'
The Fleece, Bristol 9th March 2013

'It Was Cold'
The Fleece, Bristol 9th March 2013

Trust me, I really am no sycophant, but this set was pretty near perfect for me. It represented a real celebration of the 35 year roller coaster musical journey that Segs and Ruffy had spoken about a couple of hours earlier and in 'Smiling Culture/SUS', the circle was closed, one song spanning over 30 years..... same theme..... no change.

So all that remains for me to do at this stage is to thank Ruts DC for such a memorable day and Andy P for his organisation skills and company over the course of the weekend.

Next up, London in May and with luck  a few gigs further afield in 2013.


  1. To quote Michael Palin from "The Life of Brian", "You lucky bastard! You lucky lucky lucky lucky bastard!" Glad it's finally worked out, Adrian, cheers Dave Sez.

  2. Thanks for the interview. Your welcome at the Fleece anytime.

    cheers Zig (Death or Glory Promotions)

  3. Great night, nice to see my vid of it was cold on here, special night for me being a huge ruts fan,i kept scrapbooks (geek)from back in the day, 30 odd years later not knowing what to do with them decided to give them to Dave and segs think they were gob smacked by the content ,think i might have had a bit of ocd when i was younger lol they were extremely grateful and gave me and my son a free tshirt each bless em lovely chaps it was a fantastic gig playing a mix of old ruts and ruts dc classics, Leigh done a great job on guitar anyone not sure of going to one of their gigs check em out YOU WONT BE DISAPPOINTED!!!!!!!!

    1. I saw Dave flicking through one of them prior to sitting down with them. Thanks for filming them!

  4. seen them last night, excellent, heres full gig

  5. This is fantastic" please can you email me.