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, 17 September 2019

The Star Inn Guildford 31st January 2019

Well this was a proper event and one that I consider myself to be very privileged as a long standing fan of the band to have attended.

Way back when, the nascent and struggling Stranglers played their first public gig at The Star Inn in the centre of Guildford. Long an established stop on the Stranglers landmark pilgrimage, previous innkeepers have not always been as welcoming of visiting fans as the landlady was on this special occasion. I have heard tales of rat adorned punters being refused service as a result of an association with the band! ‘That band have brought enough trouble to this town!’. On this Thursday afternoon though the band were all benevolence rather than belligerence, but there was still a fight to be had.

Local developers had a acquired a nearby property with a view to a residential conversion. Unfortunately, there happened to be a long standing entertainment venue (established for more than 80 years) within earshot….. not on at all thought the developer. Legal actions were being taken with a view to forcing the closure of the venue as that was obviously the right course of action to take to ensure peace and quiet for new would be tenants. Music aficionados and the pub management begged to differ and mounted a campaign to ‘Save The Star’.

What could help perhaps was a name band with an association with the venue that would bring the media flocking to the inn doors to capture some high profile coverages of The Star’s plight. Enter The Stranglers and PRS. The unveiling of a commemorative plaque was the order of the day. I am sure that a plaque in their honour was a draw for the band….. it certainly drew Jet Black out of Wales, but the real meaning of the day was the fight to save yet another small, independent music venue from enforced closure on the whim of a self-serving property developer. As a brief aside, I heard on the radio only yesterday that the Liberal Democrats intent to address this issue in their manifesto whereby they would ensure that in such disputes the responsibility to provide noise reduction measures would lie with the developers rather than with the venue. A step in the right direction at least.

Anyway, back to The Star. It was an odd collection of fans and curious passers-by that congregated in the street outside of the pub. On seeing an ITN outside broadcast van parked a little way up the road, several fans fairly blanched with the knowledge that the white lies given to employers that morning risked being uncovered by an unwitting cameo on the evening news. Fancy a game of cat and mouse with a TV camera and a boom mike anyone?

Hostelry doors swung open at midday for prosecco and the run of the bar ahead of the scheduled unveiling at 1pm after which we trooped back inside for another couple of free ones before being summonsed to proceed to the back room for the musical part of the day’s event. Before Baz and JJ took to the stage, Jet said some word’s about the importance of The Star and many venues like it to aspiring musicians who like The Stranglers four decades before them were taking to a stage for the first time.

And here we have it, short but sweet, but rather different to the usual tour fare. Thanks to the taper and to Dom for the sound jiggery-pokery!




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