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

Thursday, 31 October 2019

Feelin' Alright With The Crew! - 999 Week (Or So ) Starts Here!

Right now, 999 are touring in the United States for the first time in a long while. I cannot over-emphasise how important this band have been to me over the years, not least in the early to mid-90’s when they successfully filled a large Stranglers shaped void in my life. Formed in December 1976, I first got to see them at The Richmond Hotel in Brighton in 1987 at the age of 18. By that time original bass player Jon Watson had departed and bass duties were carried out by Danny Palmer, whose tenure in the band was relatively short before he too was replaced by Lurker, Arturo Bassick. Some commentators labelled 999 as bandwagoners but that is rather unfair in my opinion. Vocalist and guitarist, Nick Cash under his real name of Keith Lucas had played lead guitar in Kilburn and the High Roads, with his former tutor, Ian Dury. The Kilburns played a curious high energy mix of jazz and blues spliced with a fair amount of music hall. There unique sound appealed to many young Londoners, with many a band who were soon to form the first wave of punk bands in the capital citing the Kilburns are an influence. Ian Dury had aspirations of bigger things and Kilburn and the High Roads played their final gig at Walthamstow Assembly Hall on 17th June 1976, supported by The Stranglers and Sex Pistols no less. So without a band and certainly well aware of the musical sea change that was then occurring in London Nick formed 48 Hours (a name inspired by The Clash – 999’s drummer, Pablo LaBritain, being a school friend of Joe Strummer, had played, albeit briefly, in the earliest incarnation of The Clash). And whilst we are on the subject of The Clash, over in West London a youngish man who went by the name of Woody Mellor was in a quandary. Should he leave his current R&B pub rock band the 101’ers and throw his lot in with a couple of rock ‘n’ roll chancers who would go on to be The Clash. I see certain parallels in Keith and Woody’s stories and yet The Clash would become, in some people’s eyes, the most important band to ever plug a guitar into an amp, whilst 999 were to be viewed as opportunists jumping on the bandwagon the new punk thing.

I would categorically say that 999 were firmly in the first wave of the punk rock movement. They played as early as April 1977 at the legendary Covent Garden punk dive, The Roxy, first as 48 hours and then as 999. The band’s first vinyl was released in the summer of ’77 (just 4 months behind The Clash!) and as with Buzzcocks it was on their own label ‘LaBritain Records’).

Very importantly for me at least, to the best of my knowledge, whilst their contemporaries crashed and burned, some once, others many times over, 999 have a continuous history right back to late ’76.

They maintained my belief in music when all things tuneful sounded bleak.

Thanks to Nick, Guy, Pablo, Jon, Ed, Danny Arturo and Stuart.... this week I will mostly be posting 999!

1 comment:

  1. They were great at the Catasauqua American Legion on Oct 25th