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, 4 August 2011

The World Must Prepare Itself to Herald the Advent of a New Sculpture - Enter Paul Roberts

One of the first indications that Hugh's replacement had been found appeared in the UK music press in November 1990, a mere three months after the departure. The article though, sadly, did not give much away!

Sounds 17th November 1990

Strangled may have broken the news first to the subscribers (I can't recall), but as far as the wider world was concerned the band maintained radio silence until January of the following year when one Paul Roberts was revealed to be the man with the task of filling Hugh Cornwell's very large monkey boots. Joining him, on guitar duties, was long term Stranglers associate (ex-Purple Helmets and ex-JJ's ill-fated Euroband).

Sounds 26th January 1991

First impressions were based only on a picture, so limited to...... long hair!? Now, dodgy barnets we knew and understood (see Hugh Cornwell in the late '80s and Dave Greenfield in... er.. 1974 to mid 2000s!!) but even so concerns were raised.

Still, the acid test would always be a live show and my first opportunity to see them was at The Old Trout in Windsor (the first live gig in the UK, but the third for the new line up, having played two nights in Athens a couple of days earlier). This warm up plan was no doubt in preparation for some of the flak that the band could receive on a UK stage (and it did come to some extent).

A quick look at the bootleg shows that at this point the band had already introduced 4 new songs into the set (including the single Heaven & Hell). On the night I was quite impressed, the versions of the old material were played with a sensitivity and there was none of the flamboyance that would become a feature of some of the shows that followed. Really though, I think that what I liked most about it was the lack of brass! This was back to basics stuff for the band.

At the time I was quoted in a magazine (could have been a fanzine) and said some encouraging things about the new line up. Unfortunately, I think that these were the last nice things I said about the band for another good many years!

That's the back of my pre-male pattern balding head second from the right.
The Old Trout, Windsor 25th February 1991

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