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.
03. Nice 'n' Sleazy
04. Outside Tokyo
05. Hey! (Rise of the Robots)
06. Sweden (All Quiet on the Eastern Front)
07. Toiler on the Sea
10. In the Shadows
11. Do You Wanna
12. Enough Time
13. (Get a) Grip (On Yourself)
14. Walk on By
15. Dead Ringer
16. Mercury Rising
17. I've Been Wild
18. Princess of the Streets
19. Always the Sun
20. A Soldier's Diary
21. Nuclear Device (The Wizard of Aus)
22. Thrown Away
24. I Feel Like a Wog
25. Something Better Change
27. Hanging Around
28. Go Buddy Go
29. Bass Solo
30. No More Heroes
For the past three years or thereabouts I have to admit to talking rather a lot about a project that I have been working on, a piecing together of my late Grandfathers’ military service between 1940 and 1946. For those friends and family who have been on the receiving end of my enthused and often one way discussions about Caen, Le Havre, Turnhout, The Island, Belsen and back again, the good news is that the end is in sight. Entitled ‘A Pithead Polar Bear From Brighton to Belsen 1940 – 1946’, the book, to be published as a physical copy initially, is in the late stages of editing and I hope to get it to the publishers in a matter of weeks.
For anyone interested I have set up a website with information about the book and my reasons for writing it.
Sadly, I do not have a recording of this gig. I say sadly since it was one of the most notable gigs of my year. This visit to the fair city of Bristol doubled up as the family holiday of the year, a stay-cation as the young ones like to say (but no cheaper for certain!). The timing was such that our Saturday night happened to coincide with The Dickies being in Bristol, playing at the marvelous Fleece venue in the centre of town.
Now, in The Dickies we have a band that Gunta and I have talked up to the kids for years (they are now 15 and 18 but had yet to see them). Of the very many gigs I have been to, The Dickies are the only one of maybe two bands I have ever seen (on very many occasions) that have never put in a lacklustre performance. So as far as Rudi and Ramona were concerned our reputations were somewhat on the line that night. It therefore came as a real blow to learn not 24 hours ahead of the gig that the band would be Lenoardless, as the singer had landed himself a stay in Luton Hospital. The band however, with Leonard's blessing, made the courageous decision to press ahead with the remaining dates. Courageous indeed as Mr Graves-Phillips is a front man with a presence, not to mention a veritable arsenal of props from inflatable dolls to puppet penis and balls arrangement (otherwise known as Stuart).
Guitarist Stan Lee was ambling around the venue when he arrived and immediately won valuable brownie points with the kids when, midway through a conversation about his singer's condition, his attention was drawn to his phone alerted to the presence of a nearby pokemon... I really don't get it but it went down well with the kids!
Come showtime, the band exhorted the willing audience to help them along and merch man Ian was first out of the blocks. Dressed as the main man in the 'Where's Wally?' books he did a great job. Thereafter the set ran pretty much as expected with a host of local heroes 'doing their bit for The Dickies'. Including a man who we thought had a passing resemblance to Bryan Ferry! The gig was a complete success as far as I am concerned and the kids were not disappointed either. Having seen them so many times now, it was a privilege to be present at something that was just that bit different and all the more memorable for that.
I had never before seen then play 'Breaking The Law', a truly dreadful song by Judas Priest, but plausible once given The Dickies make-over or perhaps I should say, going-over.
As I said, I have no audio of these Summer European dates, but here are a couple of recordings from New York, with Leonard back at the helm, steering the ship, in his own inimitable style. Over two nights the band treated the audiences to full renditions of their first to A&M albums, 'The Incredible Shrinking Dickies' and 'Dawn Of The Dickies'.
Blink and you would have missed it, but JJ appeared on BBC Radio 4 this morning on 'Broadcasting House', a weekly magazine programme hosted by Paddy O'Connell. The show was broadcast from Nice, to mark the passing of six months since an horrific terror attack scarred the city.
Here, JJ speaks briefly of his Anglo-French roots, that song and Brexit.
03. See Ya Later
04. Terminal Love
07. I'm a Believer
08. Cop Cars
09. You Can't Hurt a Memory
10. Punk Rock Girl
11. Livin' In The City
12. Soda Pressing
13. Tumble With Me
14. Contract Hustle
15. I Don't Care
16. Brickfield Nights
17. First Time
18. Sick On You
The Vibrators set will complete the contribution of the British punk bands on the bill. Many thanks to Lolive!
Ok, this one I haven't posted before in any form. Previously, the version in my collection was a radio broadcast of 14 tracks. This version received this week (many thanks to the original uploader and the person who kindly passed it on to me!). This version is I believe the gig in full , running to 17 tracks.
02. Shah Shah A Go Go
03. Toiler On The Sea
04. I Feel Like A Wog
06. Hanging Around
07. Baroque Bordello
08. Down In The Sewer
09. Who Wants The World?
10. Just Like Nothing On Earth
12. Bring on the Nubiles
14. Nuclear Device
16. Dead Loss Angeles
17. The Raven
One anomaly, I have always had this reported as taking place on 26th November. However, a quick cross reference contemporary listings would indicate that the Toronto gig took place on 25th, with the band on stage in Montreal on 26? Any ideas? Ava?
Today, I have renewed the subscription for one of the two We Transfer accounts that support the Aural Sculptors site. In order to ensure that the links to the files that are posted on the site remain live and accessible it is necessary to maintain two We Transfer accounts, meaning that the total running costs of the Aural Sculptors blog totals £210 per year.
We Transfer is not the cheapest file sharing service available, nor does it offer the greatest storage capacity (hence the practical need for two accounts), but it is a reliable platform that does meet the needs of the site. Having been bitten hard on the arse before in years gone by with disastrous reliance on both megaupload and Rapidshare, I am reluctant to move away from the current arrangements to a cheaper option.
Since the site was launched (the catharsis of the birth perhaps) in July 2011, the site has featured 900+ posts (most with associated music files) of which over 450 have been directly associated with The Stranglers, in keeping with the whole rationale of the site.
Those of us of a certain vintage will recall the day when bootlegs recordings were difficult to come by and a tape with a poorly photocopied pastel paper cover would set you back a fiver (the equivalent of 6 or so pints in the mid 80’s!). Now however, it is a doddle for people to obtain a good quality recording of a gig, perhaps the first one that they saw by a given band, I dunno. The point is that it is free, shared in good faith by fans for fans.
Aural Sculptors, with its 800,000+ hits to date is not a massive site but it has a reasonable presence in the hierarchy of Stranglers related websites and that is enough for me to keep it going.
Therefore, I would kindly point out that it is possible to make a small contribution towards the running costs of the site. A donation button is located on the right hand panel of the site. In return I will continue in my efforts to keep the site relevant and interesting to likeminded people such as the regular visitors to the site. Additionally, I will do my best to continue to accommodate requests for specific recordings and/or updates of dead links (as best as I can in the time available to me).
It just remains for me to say, again, a big thank to you for your continued support, to those who have donated, commented or shared with me something that you think will be of interest to others.