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

Sunday, 12 January 2020

Interview with The Adverts Sniffin' Glue Issue 7 (February 1977)

What is it-Interview.
Subject-New group called the ADVERTS.
Members present-                 TV Smith-lead vocals.
                                                Gaye Advert-bass.
                                                Howard -guitar.
Not present-                 Laurie Driver-drums.

Details-At the time of this chat the Adverts had only played 3 gigs-Support at the Roxy Club on 15th Jan and 19th Jan plus support to the Stranglers at the Royal College Of Art on 21st Jan. They sound like nothing else around at the moment. TV's songs are 'One Chord Wonders’, 'Newboys' , 'The Quickstep', 'On the Roof',  ‘New Day Dawning', 'We Who Wait', 'Bombsite Boy' and 'Bored Teenagers'. There's more but that’s what was played the first time I saw 'em. I was suprised when I saw 'em, they hit me hard.They played fast but it didn't mess 'em up. The strong songs came through, the message if you like, was seen. I couldn't take my eyes off Gaye at first but then I noticed that she was playing great bass lines. On guitar-Howard, Gaye reckons he looks like a very famous film monster. He doesn't play like one, he's good. His breaks are unusual. Laurie Driver is a drummer. A drummer – solid. TV Smith, the singer, is always unhappy but it makes some great music. His songs mean a lot to him, you can tell by the way he sings 'em. Really, the Adverts are like one thing and that thing is the Adverts:

TV: This band’s  got about 2 months history. Gaye’s been learning to play bass for about 6 months. We’ve had a guitarist for about 2 months and a drummer about  month.

MP: When did you think of first forming a band?

TV: I’ve been doing it since I was at school. I’ve always been doing me own stuff. I had a couple of school bands. None of us could play ‘cept in those times it used to be heavy make up and all that sort of stuff, you know in the lunch hours. Doing the maths lesson with glitter all over me face ‘cause I couldn’t get it all off. I did a year at college ‘cause I didn’t know what to do – and I had another band then. It weren’t really regular ‘cause this was in a village in the middle of Devon. The college was also in Devon so we got about 4 gigs in 4 months.

MP: How did you get up to London?

TV: We came up to get a band, it’s the only place anything’s happening. Devon’s great for learning to get bored. You’ve got to have something like a band or you go insane.

Gaye: The two of us were doing fine, you know, practicing in my parent’s house. You see we’ve known each other for two years. Yeah, we could practice but that’s as far as we could go.

TV: One day she said that she’d like to play bass, so we learnt.

Gaye: I don’t know why I decided on bass. There was loads of lead guitars for sale in Devon but hardly any basses. We spent ages trying to find a bass. It cost £35.

TV: Yeah, that’s the beginning of this band. That little poxy amplifier sitting in a bedroom with this and that (pointing at two cheap guitars) and thinking what great heights we’d reach.

Gaye: Yeah, I got that  amp and the Stooges’ first album for a tenner.


TV: My old band chucked me out. They wanted to do Jimi Hendrix numbers. We was doing my stuff which was a step back from what we do now. I’ve always been doing my own stuff, even when I was at school. So I haven’t had very good reactions to it most of the time. People can’t sing along to it ‘cause they don’t know what’s happening. It’s good that the Roxy’s there ‘cause we probably still wouldn’t have a chance to do it otherwise. I think the Roxy’s great. The fact that it gives people the chance to do a gig without even hearing ‘em. It means that anyone can have at least one try. I hope it don’t get closed down.

Gaye: Yeah, when we played the RCA the atmosphere wasn’t as good. To me, it was like rehearsing ‘cause we didn’t make any mistakes. I still prefer the Roxy.

TV: I hope nobody defines it ‘cause then people won’t think about it any more.

MP: What would you define your material as, where does it come from….. your attitude?

TV: I dunno, it’s not for me to say. It’s for the people who listen I suppose… I just do it. I DON’T THINK ABOUT WHAT I THINK. I sit down with the guitar and any ideas I’ve got…. No! It’s not even like that really, it could happen anyway.


Gaye: ‘ Cause I used to like the Stooges and the New York Dolls. Iggy’s been my hero for lots of years now. I’ve been an Iggy fanatic for about 4 years. Before I even got ‘Raw Power’ I used to borrow somebody else’s. I used to take the cover to bed with me and lay in bed with the cover on the pillow. Yeah I was into The Stooges down in Devon. Originally I was into Frank Zappa and things like that.

The first time I saw the Pistols last Spring they done an Iggy number and I saw ‘em every week after that. I thought it was amazing. I never believed that Johnny Rotten would be like us but he said he did. He’s a nice guy.

Before we moved up to London I thought up part of a song ‘cause I was in this horrible, revolting factory. They had this sign up on the wall saying about, ‘draw to your attention that we’ve got mice here and we have got rat inspectors….’ And I thought up this song. What was it? Yeah…. Look after all the rats and strangle all the fuckin’cats! That’s the first part. That’s the sort of thing I do, so I thought, I’d better shut my mouth. I’m better off just doing the bass lines.

TV: You’d wanna do an hour of Iggy Pop songs!

MP: What do you think of the audience at the moment?

TV: I think it’s in danger of becoming super cool. When we did that first gig, like from watching other bands before- if nobody walks out it probably means they like us. If they stand there it’s alright, I mean I don’t care what an audience does. If they like it, great, I don’t want them clapping after every number.


TV: A lot of bands started playing since the Pistols and started writing since them and that. Which is good but I’ve been writing a long time.

Gaye: Do you reckon our guitarist looks like Frankenstein?

(The interview was in TV and Gaye’s flat but now it is in Franke…..Howard’s flat).

TV: Subway Sect used to busk in Hammersmith subway, didn’t they, I did as well…

Howard: I got caught busking in Tottenham Court Road station. London Transport Police – ‘Would you mind moving along, next time we catch you we’ll have you!’

TV: I’d be singing ‘There’s a killer in ya subway…’ People didn’t give me much money.

Gaye: A policeman suggested that you got singin’ lessons, with the money you’d got, but he only got about 10p.

TV: Not only was he a policeman telling me to go away, he was a critical policeman. If you’re good – ‘Accompany me to the station and do a free concert for the lads’.


Howard: When you see people at the front, jumping and dancin’ along. You know, I don’t think about anything else. I don’t think about recording studios or big stages. I just like seeing people enjoying themselves and you actually find yourself playing to ‘em. What upsets me a bit is the spotlights and things, always being on stage. You can’t see people at the back, you know.

This band is a good band. TV would probably be playing this sort of music anyway. It just happens to have coincided with, what is, basically new music and new outlook for young people. There’s only certain chords you can play on a guitar and there’s only certain notes in a scale, right. I mean, the lyrics and yer feeling and the way you develop the music is what is new about it.

I think there’s a sort of elitism developing on the new wave scene. Although, that could be something that’s been generated by the press. The Pistols, the Clash, the Damned and now Generation X.


TV: I’m not aware of it, but so many people have said it to me that it’s starting to get into my brain.

Gaye:  TV used to have a band in Devon. He was exactly like that then. He used to be even ruder to the audience, he was really objectionable. Exactly the same as he is now.

TV: As far as I’m concerned I haven’t changed since I did it 2 years ago or when I did it in a school band even. I’m just gonna carry on, I don’t really care. I mean, people have to relate to something. People always go to the nearest thing, you know, just a thing in human nature. Like, people wanna call the scene “punk”, you know. They see me perform and they wanna say “it’s like Johnny Rotten”. There’s no need for it, who cares….

Gaye: Yeah, I’ve had somebody accusing me of copying the bassist of Talking Heads ‘cause I’m female. Just ‘cause I’m female!


TV: Who cares…. We haven’t really been giving you positive information really.

Howard: The first time you’ve had a negative interview.

TV: We’re Generation -, we are. I wouldn’t like to read this shit!

Interview by Mark P.

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