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 adrianandrews1@sky.com.


Saturday, 30 November 2013

The Ruts Feature In The January 2014 Issue Of Mojo Magazine


The current issue (January 2014) of the UK monthly music magazine Mojo, features an in depth article on The Ruts. Entitled 'A Punk Tragedy' and based around a lengthy interview with Segs and Ruffy, it is an affectionate but sometimes harrowing account of the formation, heyday and calamitous demise of the West London band. Anecdotally interesting, I didn't know for instance that Malcolm laid out one Sid Vicious at The Music Machine after a row with the delightful Nancy, this is an attempt to publicly set the record straight about the events that unfolded on 14th July 1980 and the ensuing problems in the months (and years) that followed.

It's a great read, and hopefully a taster for the forthcoming book. I would just say however, that the the journos description of Ruffy as a 'Buddhaesque jobbing sticksman' is a bit harsh!!

And so the Ruts story continues as tonight I will get my first taste in Leamington Spa of a pairing that I never expected to see in my wildest dreams. Couldn't be there in '79, but this will do nicely.


Dot Dash Again Open for Hugh on 5th December


I had an email in the week from the band Dot Dash, previously the subject of a post on this site (here). They are again supporting Hugh at the Black Cat in Washington DC.

Dot Dash is a Washington D.C.-based post-punk pop band comprised of ex-members of Julie Ocean, The Saturday People, and Youth Brigade, among others. To date: three albums released by Canadian indie label The Beautiful Music:www.thebeautifulmusic.com
More info about Dot Dash can be found on their site:

https://www.facebook.com/dotdashdc

So, if you are in the area next week go along and support them and HAC.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

The Stranglers Versus The World in 1977



Here's a collection of three radio interviews recorded with Hugh, Jet and JJ back in 1977. These interviews reveal how the band saw themselves at the time. This is interesting listening for me as by the time I got into the band (late 1981) 'Golden Brown' had just come out and with it the perception of The Stranglers as musical pariahs evaporated.

What does come across at least in the Capital Radio interview phone in is an evident connection with the genuine teenage fan base.

Many thanks to MeAnIe again for both the compilation and the associated artwork.


MP3

01. Tony Myers Late Show Capital Radio London Autumn 1977 (Hugh & Jet)
02. Picadilly Radio Manchester 1977 (JJ)
03. Mark Lewis Interview Los Angeles Late 1977 (Hugh)

Ruts DC The Georgian Theatre Stockton-On-Tees 16th March 2013


In eager anticipation of the forthcoming, and nearly upon us, winter tour by The Damned and Ruts DC, here's a gig by the latter recorded earlier this year.

This is the audio taken from the excellent footage of the gig that is available on youtube (thanks to the original filmer/uploader!)



So for those that will be seeing Ruts DC for the first time this month, or indeed for those that haven't seen Segs and Ruffy on stage since way back when, this is where Ruts DC are in 2013. Still relevant, still vital and again a perfect combination with The Damned.

FLAC



John Cooper Clarke 2013/2014


The Bard of Salford rides again. A couple of years ago we had the pleasure of seeing John Cooper Clarke in Cambridge, on that occasion he played a very intimate gig at the Junction 2. This time around he is playing the larger Junction 1 next door. Looking at the dates above, it would seem that his popularity is rising again as there's some big venues in there for a poet!

Here's a recording I found in a box of tapes from 1994. It features one of my favourite JJC poems, his own Haiku.

FLAC

Robert Elms Show
BBC GLR (Greater London Radio)
July 1994

01. Interview
02. Hire Car
03. Interview
04. I Wrote The Songs
05. Haiku
06. Outro


Saturday, 16 November 2013

Dem Bones, Dem Bones, Dem Dry Bones

Those that know me will also know that I have for a number of years suffered with lower back pain, which at its worst has rendered me completely immobile. In the last few years I have received numerous opinions as to what the cause of this recurring problem is. Diagnosis has ranged from slipped disc to ruptured disc to scoliosis to non-neurological spina bifida.

After an acute episode a couple of weeks ago, enough was enough and I needed an absolute diagnosis and prognosis after so many years of uncertainty. An MRI scan was arranged and I found myself on a Friday afternoon high up above Tottenham Court Road in a tube for my first MRI experience and it is an experience indeed. Luckily for me I would not consider myself to be overly claustrophobic, but initially I had that uncomfortable situation. Then, the noise kicked in. In terms of sound, I would equate the MRI experience to listening to Kraftwerk... a really early one, pre-Autobahn, where all the elements were in place bar the tune!

Out of gown and properly dressed once again, I claimed by DVD of medical pornography and waited for my next meeting with the consultant. He was not alone as he had invited the physio of Saracens into the room...... clearly looking for opportunities to increase Saturday's packweight!

So the problem turns out to be something of a double whammy. On the one hand, I have extremely short leg muscles, especially the psoas major, which causes a forward tilt and ensures that the muscles in my back are continuously under tension.


The second problem, and here's the rub (on the nerve). From the report:

The L5-S1 disc is degenerate with a prominent annulus fibrosis tear and a central disc protrusion in contact with both SI nerve roots.


A weakness from birth or wear and tear on the spine.... too many punk gigs?

Personally I blame The Stranglers!

Hugh Cornwell 53 Degrees Club Preston 5th July 2013


Here's a recording of Hugh doing his Totem And Taboo thing in Preston back in the summer. This recording was made by wegga66 and he has agreed to this upload. Many thanks!!

MP3: http://we.tl/QpX2qCs9SW

01. Totem And Taboo
02. Nice 'N' Sleazy
03. The Face
04. Nuclear Device
05. I Want One Of Those
06. Duchess
07. Stuck In Daily Mail Land
08. Hanging Around
09. Bad Vibrations
10. Skin Deep
11. God Is A Woman
12. Golden Brown
13. Love Me Slender
14. Grip
15. God, Guns And Gays
16. Always The Sun
17. A Street Called Carroll
18. In The Dead Of Night
19. Walk On By
20. No More Heroes

Many thanks as ever to MeAnIe for some excellent artwork for this one!



Toilers In The Sea Looe Music Festival 23rd September 2012

And The Band Played On - Baz Faces The Storm
Looe Music Festival
23rd September 2012

The festival at the last chance saloon. I didn't make his one, but by all accounts it was a wash out, so all credit to those who did make the journey to deepest darkest corner of south west England to the last festival that The Stranglers played that year.

Thanks to MeAnIe for some great artwork!



FLAC: http://we.tl/eSANiykeUo

MP3: http://we.tl/VlBgvHERtD

01. Golden Brown
02. Always The Sun
03. Walk On By
04. Peaches
05. Relentless
06. Something Better Change
07. No More Heroes
08. Tank



Berlin Ist Mit Angst Brennen! (I Could Be Right..... I Could Be Wrong)

'Babylon's Burning'
Ruts DC at SO36, Berlin
18th September 2013

As a prelude for the upcoming tour with The Damned, here's a pro-shot clip of the band playing 'Babylon's Burning' from the SO36 Club in Berlin. We chatted (well when I say we, I mean Gunta, as the only German speaker in the marriage) to the two girls who end up on stage in this clip and they were very sweet and highly appreciative to finally get the opportunity to see the band.


Wednesday, 6 November 2013

The Day I Met God I Got So Carried Away - Adam Does Dirk In Hammersmith



I managed to get hold of tickets for this a couple of days ago. It was strange that I was only listening to 'Dirk Wears White Sox' on the very same day that this one off gig was announced. I would consider myself to be quite an Ants fan, although I have only seen them/him twice in span of 32 years.

Brighton Centre 1981
Shepherds Bush Empire 1995

Hardly prolific on the gig front I'll willingly admit!!!. Although I did get a ticket for a fan-club only gig in London in '82 (his first since breaking up the Ants.... but I couldn't go.

My problem started early. I bought 'Kings Of The Wild Frontier' in 1980 and yes, 'Prince Charming' in 1981 (but in my defence I was only 12!). I realised back then that the 'Prince Charming' album wasn't up to much and of that time it was the B-sides of those post-'Kings' singles that were always as, if not more, appealing that the chart friendly A-sides. Little did I realise at 12 that Adam was revamping unreleased Ants songs that had been originally penned and demoed in 1978 ('Christian D'ior', 'Friends' and 'Beat My Guest'). This recycling continued after he had disbanded the band and headed 'solo' with Marco ('Red Scab' and 'Juanito The Bandito').

At the same time that I was buying 'Stand And Deliver', I was delving into the back catalogue (most of it courtesy of Les's market stall in Burgess Hill, when singles set you back the princely sum of 30p!). This is how I acquired the pre-'Kings' singles 'Cartrouble' and 'Zerox'). As per usual with the demise of a cash cow to the industry, such as Adam & The Ants, record companies past and present were keen to issue product as quickly as possible to milk the last pocket money out of a fickle teenage fanbase destined to move on to the next big thing withing weeks. I my case, this was reversed, as I started to look backwards.

A 12" single was release featuring Do It-era tracks and the very early tracks of 'Deutscher Girls' and 'Plastic Surgery' lifted from the soundtrack of Derek Jarman's utterly baffling film 'Jubilee' saw the light of day several years after they were first recorded.

This is not to forget the stunning 'Dirk Wears White Sox' album which to me didn't represent punk, I didn't really know what punk was at the time. It was/is a unique and quirky British album.

And there I left the Ants... and Adam for that matter for another 7 or 8 years. It was only when I went to University in Uxbridge that I was introduced to a goldmine of material very much in the same vein as the 'Dirk' material, only predating it and mostly unreleased (it was here that I found the originals of all of those old B-Sides!). The Madam Stan Demos, The Decca Demos along with a handful of 1978 live club dates.... manna from Heaven.

I surprise myself with the fact that I have yet to see Adam doing his stuff again in the last couple of years. Of this revival, he has been quite open about the fact that he wants to get back to that punk vibe, which means that 'Lou' (very topical right now) and the likes of 'Rubber Paople' now sit side by side in the set with 'Ant Music' and the afore mentioned 'Prince Charming'.

I trust that given the main set the 'other favourite songs' are in keeping..... 'Hamstead'!!

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Beverly Theatre Los Angeles 9th May 1983



Three years into running this site and to the best of my knowledge this is a first. The recording here is from the Beverly Theatre in Los Angeles, recorded on 9th May 1983. I think that this is the first time that this gig has been in circulation.

This gig, like the Whisky 1980 interview comes courtesy of David, a resident of Los Angeles, who also recorded this Feline gig. As a first master recording, the quality is very good. The quality is one thing, what is great for the enthusiast is that the band are on top form, none more so than Hugh who maintains a good rapport with the audience throughout. Quite clearly, for a major West Coast date, the turn out and the crowd reaction do not live up to the band's expectations, and Hugh chides the audience accordingly, 'Has anyone got superglue on their seats?'.

Perhaps come 1983, the US had fallen out of love with The Stranglers, if indeed they has ever fallen for the band in the first place! At the start of the first encore, seemingly in reaction to some flowers being thrown onto the stage, Hugh responds 'Urgh! Flowers, urgh! You should be ashamed of yourself, you sycophantic little school girl. My God!' The band clearly held the States in some disdain still, but clearly by 1983 (compared to the first foray in '78) much of the vehemence has evaporated.

Dave has a a few wobbles during 'Sewer', but that is part of the appeal of live stuff. This is an excellent addition to the archive and I would welcome your comments.

Many thanks of course to David from L.A. for giving his blessing to circulate his recording to a wider Stranglers audience.

Additional thanks go to Dom P for remastering the original files.

Cheers,

Adrian.


FLAC: http://we.tl/5wc4mfW0aJ

MP3: http://we.tl/6kWFtqheP4

Artwork: http://we.tl/cKynDctNkU

01. Intro (Aural Sculpture Manifesto)
02. Nuclear Device
03. Toiler On The Sea
04. Ships That Pass In The Night
05. Its A Small World
06. Just Like Nothing On Earth
07. Who Wants The World?
08. Never Say Goodbye
09. Baroque Bordello
10. Golden Brown
11. A Midnight Summer Dream
12. The European Female
13. Tramp
14. The Raven
15. No More Heroes
16. London Lady
17. Encore Break
18. Nubiles (Cocktail Version)
19. Down In The Sewer
20. Outro (Waltzinblack)


Saturday, 2 November 2013

The Jam Christmas Party Fulham Greyhound December 1980

 
Shane MacGowan & Bruce Foxton in a more sober moment (perhaps!)
London 1977
 
 
Here's a recording, originally from Dimeadozen (and for that reason retained in lossless format) and it's an interesting one at that. Recorded at The Fulham Greyhound pub in London at The Jam's annual private Christmas Party in December 1980, one can only assume that every one in the venue is caned!
 
By late 1980, The Jam were for sure one of the most daring and accomplished bands in the country, but there is little evidence of such proficiency to be found in this handful of numbers. True, Shane's vocals do little to raise the calibre of the entertainment much higher than a sixth-form Battle of the Bands night!
 
Poor old Dusty Springfield would be turning in her grave if she heard this treatment of  'I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself' and as for Rolf, well he's got more pressing things on his mind right now.
 
The band:
 
Shane MacGowen (Vocals)
Paul Weller (Keyboards)
Bruce Foxton (Bass on 'Heatwave')
Jeff Martin (Bass on 'Sun Arise' and 'I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself')
Rick Buckler (Drums)
Staveley of TheNips (Guitar)
The Dolly Mixtures (Backing Vocals on 'Heatwave')
 
 
01. Intro
02. Tuning Up
03. Heatwave
04. I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself
05. Sun Arise
06. Outro


Elvis Costello & The Attractions BBC Radio 1 Maida Vale Session 1994

 


Here's a great 5 track radio session for the Kevin Greening Show (possibly standing in for Simon Mayo at the time) recorded in the BBC's Maida Vale Studio in London on 20th April 1994 to coincide with the release of the back to form album 'Brutal Youth'.

FLAC: http://we.tl/GpcdV69Ry0

01. Interview
02. Sulky Girl
03. Interview
04. Rocking Horse Row
05. Interview
06. All The Rage
07. Interview
08. 13 Steps Lead Down
09. Radio Radio

Oxford Apollo 2nd November 1986



27 years ago tonight Dreamtime rolled into 'the city of dreaming spires', that's Oxford to you and I. This was one of my earlier bootleg acquisitions and was always notable tourwise for the inclusion of the resplendent 'La Folie'...... please give it one more outing! Good sound if a bit trebly. For some reason a delightful lass within earshot of the taper persists in screaching 'Get Yer Knickers Off!' throughout the evenings precedings. I hope she had her wish..... but I wonder who's knickers she wanted shed?

FLAC: http://we.tl/3ccrXAnpCn

MP3: http://we.tl/CZ24hYsMTv

Artwork: http://we.tl/LBHEfXtV1c

01. No More Heroes
02. Was It You?
03. Down In The Sewer
04. Nice In Nice
05. Punch And Judy
06. Souls
07. Always The Sun
08. La Folie
09. Strange Little Girl
10. Golden Brown
11. Nice 'N' Sleazy
12. Who Wants The World?

01. Big In America
02. Bring On The Nubiles
03. Shakin' Like A Leaf
04. Uptown
05. Tank
06. Toiler On The Sea
07. Spain
08. Hanging Around
09. London Lady


Friday, 1 November 2013

JJ and Dave Interview On Rodney On The Roq, Los Angeles 8th November 1980

 
JJ at the Wiskey A Go Go, November 1980

To coincide with the recent repost of the Whisky show, here's a rare radio interview that JJ and Dave did that was broadcast on the famous new wave programme, Rodney On The Roq. The programme is confirmed to have been aired on 8th November as reference is made to the band's appearances at The Whisky 'tonight and tomorrow night' and as this programme went out at the weekends, this pins the broadcast to the Saturday night (8th).

This was a Stranglers Special night, linked to the Whiskey residency, in which Stranglers material, along with tracks from Hugh's 'Nosferatu' and JJ's 'Euroman' were interspersed with interview clips with JJ and Dave. Hugh is not present as according to JJ 'he had a monologue with a whisky bottle' the previous night and Jet's whereabouts is also unaccounted for.

The topics under discussion are broad encompassing US politics ('George Bush to be in power by 1984'), Europe as well as Stranglers specifics in what was the most turbulent phase of their career (Hugh's visit to Pentonville, the pending Nice trial and the band's time in Queensland as hosted by Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen).

It makes for 40 minutes of good listening.

Needless to say, JJ does most of the talking......

Part 1: http://we.tl/jRfCJWXeym

Part 2: http://we.tl/k2AXhV6ogb

Whisky A Go Go Los Angeles 6th November 1980

JJ with hired bass
Whisky A Go Go
November 1980
 
I must say at the outset that whilst this says 6th, it is not an undiscovered recording. It is the very same recording that has been doing the rounds variably as either 7th or 8th November. This was part of a four night residency (6th-9th) at the famous Californian Club. The reason for the change of date is that I have been in discussion with a fan in Los Angeles who was present at the late show on the second night (7th) and was sadly thwarted in his attempt to capture the gig for posterity.
 
So, in his own words (thanks for the additional information David, always appreciated):
 
HERE'S WHAT I CAN TELL YOU...I HAVE LIVED IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA SINCE 1977. THE WHISKY A GO GO IS ABOUT 45 MINUTES WITHOUT TRAFFIC FROM MY HOUSE. IN THOSE DAYS MOST BANDS THAT CAME THRU TOWN AND PLAYED THE WHISKY...THE ROXY...THE STARWOOD....THERE WOULD BE AN EARLY SHOW AROUND 8:00 PM AND A LATE SHOW AT 11:00 PM. I WENT TO THE LATE SHOW ON 11-07-80. I USED TO HIDE MY TAPE DECK PRETTY GOOD IN THOSE DAYS BUT ON THIS NIGHT I GOT CAUGHT AND THEY WOULD NOT LET ME BRING IT IN. I WENT TO THE BACK DOOR AND PUT THE MIC UP AGAINST THE DOOR AND TRIED TO GET SOME SOUNDS BUT AFTER ABOUT 5 MINUTES A SECURITY GUARD SAID I COULD NOT STAND THERE. I PUT MY DECK BACK IN THE CAR AND WENT INSIDE AND SAW THE SHOW. I DONT REMEMBER A WHOLE LOT ABOUT IT IN ORDER OF THE SONGS THEY PLAYED...THE DISC I HAVE HAS THAT 5 MINUTES OUTSIDE THE DOOR AND THE THE REST OF THE DISC IS AN FM BROADCAST OF THE STRANGLERS INSIDE THE KROQ-FM
STUDIOS WITH RODNY ON THE ROQ WITH DISCUSSION AND MUSIC AND ASSORTED OTHER STUFF GOING ON IN THE STUDIO...SOME LIVE STRANGLERS FROM SOMEWHERE BUT IT'S ON THE NIGHT OF 11-07 OR 11-08-80...ANYWAY, WHATEVER DATE IT IS IT'S THE WEEKEND THE STRANGLERS WERE IN TOWN FOR THE 11-07 & 11-08-80 SHOWS. IM IN MY 50'S NOW...I SLOWED DOWN A LITTLE BIT BUT I STILL LOVE LIVE MUSIC...IT JUST DEPENDS ON THE BAND...IM SURE YOU KNOW WHAT IM TALKING ABOUT.
 

 
 
 
1. Toiler on the Sea
2. I Feel Like A Wog,
3. Duchess
4. Hanging Around,
5. Down In The Sewer
6. Who Wants The World,
7. Just Like Nothing on Earth
8. Threatened
9. Tank
10. Nuclear Device/Genetix
11. Dead Loss Angeles
12. The Raven