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

Friday 31 August 2012

20 From '80 (9) The Pretenders RivieraTheatre, Chicago 8th September 1980

Chrissie Hynde
The Pretenders

No band wants to be pigeon-holed and for sure The Pretenders were difficult to pin down style-wise. Ex-music journalist Chrissie spent 1976/1977 in the company of London's punk hierarchy so well understood the UK scene. All the while she wanted to step out with her own band and so The Pretenders came together and in doing so they brought to the stage a pretty unique fusion of UK punk with the strong Americana overtones (there that's put them in a box!).

In short the early Pretender's material was great. The first album is a classic. However, as has happened so many times before, the first line up fell apart when half the band succumbed to drugs.

This excellent sounding radio broadcast from Chicago features that first line up and is a great live representation of the first two albums from the band.

FLAC: On its way!



01. Precious (with brief dropout)
02. The Adulteress
03. Kid
04. Talk Of The Town
05. Space Invader
06. Cuban Slide
07. I Go To Sleep
08. Private Life
09. Brass In Pocket
10. The Wait
11. Stop Your Sobbing
12. Louie Louie
13. Bird Of Paradise
14. Tattooed Love Boys
15. Band Introductions
16. Up The Neck
17. Mystery Achievement
18. Whatcha Gonna Do About It

Martin Chambers - Drums
James Honeyman-Scott - Guitar
Chrissie Hynde - Vocals, Guitar
Pete Farndon - Bass

In London on this night:

U2 (who?)    Marquee Club
Essential Logic/Splodgenessabounds/War Dept.    Music Machine


20 From '80 (8) The Jam Park West Chicago 6th August 1980

What really needs to be said of The Jam in 1980? Whilst of the 'new wave' bands The Police were probably the biggest in the world with their brand of white reggae, there was no doubt that in the UK, The Jam ruled the roost. Take a look at the albums that they produced around these years and it should be no surprise that they were so big.

Mr Rotten had left the building, Messers Strummer and Jones had set their sights in the US, which kind of left Paul Weller as the new voice of the disaffected youth. 1980 Britain was a country that was feeling the first blows from a new political doctrine that was later to become known as Thatcherism. The Jam knew and understood their audience maybe better than any other band before or since. That understanding was articulated in Weller's peerless talent as a lyricist. Just listen to 'Saturday's Kids' or, from a couple of years later, 'That's Entertainment'... just brilliant stuff!

Whilst this recording is from one of their US tours, unlike The Police and The Clash, The Jam never broke the US audiences. At this time they were just too British sounding.... it was only in their last years that they nodded towards a US influence with the introduction of soulful brass.

This set, recorded for radio, is a dream, showcasing the band at the height of their powers.



1. Saturday’s Kids
2. Burning Sky
3. Thick As Thieves
4. It’s Too Bad
5. Going Underground
6. Mr Clean
7. Butterfly Collector
8. Private Hell
9. Little Boy Soldiers
10. Smithers-Jones
11. Dreams Of Children
12. To Be Someone
13. The Eton Rifles
14. Strange Town
15. When You’re Young
16. Down In A Tube Station At Midnight
17. Girl On The ‘Phone
18. All Mod Cons
19. David Watts
20. 'A’ Bomb In Wardour Street
21. Interview

Colston Hall Bristol 11th July 1980

Here's another short one (at the request of meAnie) from the 'Who Wants The World?' tour. This time from The Colston Hall in Bristol. Not great sounding but a nice to have if you were there.



1. Intro/Shah Shah A Go Go
2. Ice
3. Toiler On The Sea
4. Duchess
5. Hanging Around
6. Baroque Bordello
7. Waiting For The Meninblack
8. Down In The Sewer
9. Who Wants The World?
10. Thrown Away
11. Hallow To Our Men
12. Tank
13. Nuclear Device (cuts)

Thursday 30 August 2012

The Faith Band, The Golden Fleece Nottingham 22nd March 2002

Here's a gig with a bit of a tale. On this occasion under the banner of the Faith Band, Paul Roberts and Baz Warne played a low key gig in Nottingham. The gig was promoted by a friend Barry Spooner.

In his own words:
'A very special year for me not least of all because I had the pleasure and privilege of becoming a “promoter” for Paul Roberts & Baz Warne when they performed as the Faith Band in Nottingham on ‘The Peoples Acoustic Tour‘. This tour was an opportunity for fans to organise their own gigs. Myself and about another dozen or so fans jumped at the chance (maybe ‘jumped’ is not the correct word)!. To cut a long story short I joined forces with a Nottingham city centre based landlord to put on a free gig which basically showcased PR’s solo material and very successful it was too, even if I do say so myself. Fans came from all over the place and ‘The Golden Fleece’ rocked that night. But all of this didn’t happen without mucho blood, sweat & tears. I even went to a Hugh Cornwell book signing (’Song By Song’) armed with home made flyers to try and publicise our event. Hugh even autographed a flyer for one fan! Anyway, 3 months of sleepless nights paid off.' 




1. Chasing Rainbows
2. Fried
3. Here
4. Postcard
5. Can't Seem
6. Only Women Bleed
7. In Heaven She Walks
8. Grateful
9. Sinister

Thanks to Paul B for the recording and Barry S for the words and the photos.

Paul Roberts & Baz Warne
The Golden Fleece, Nottingham
22nd March 2002

Tuesday 28 August 2012

Hugh Cornwell Interview BBC Radio Derby 23rd August 2012

Here's a slightly longer interview with our Hugh from a BBC Radio Derby broadcast from last Thursday. Also features studio versions of 'Something Better Change' and the 'Totem & Taboo' single.


Hugh Cornwell Interview BBC Radio Stoke 24th August 2012

Here's a brief interview with Hugh from Friday afternoon's show on BBC Radio Stoke in which he discussed Totem and Taboo and his upcoming Manchester date.


Monday 27 August 2012

20 From '80 (7) Devo Orpheum Theater, Boston, 17th July 1980

Now for something truely left field. Devo were/are in many ways unique. Proponents of the Theory of Devolution, the band believe that the human race is devolving (Devolution, de-evolution, or backward evolution is the notion that a species can change into a more 'primative' form over time. Devolution presumes that there is a preferred hierarchy of structure and function, and that evolution must mean "progress" to "more advanced" organisms. This may include the idea that some modern species that have lost functions or complexity accordingly must be degenerate forms of their ancestors).

Here's their first UK TV appearence in which they explain themselves.

"We are the fluid in the punk enema bag"!
'So It Goes' Granada TV, UK 1978

Over the years they have certainly exercised a powerful influence over their fans. Take this pillock for example.....

A pillock sporting an Energy Dome

Here's a great quality radio broadcast from The Orpheum Theater in Boston. This set features their best material in my opinion.




1. Freedom Of Choice Theme/Whip It
2. Snowball
3. It's Not Right
4. Girl U Want
5. Planet Earth
6. S.I.B. (Swelling Itching Brain)
7. Secret Agent Man
8. Pink Pussycat
9. Blockhead
10. Satisfaction
11. Uncontrollable Urge
12. Mongoloid
13. Be Stiff
14. Gates Of Steel
15. Freedom Of Choice
16. Jocko Homo
17. Smart Patrol/Mr. DNA
18. Gut Feeling/Slap Your Mammy
19. Come Back Jonee
Mark Mothersbaugh
July 1980

20 From '80 (6) The Undertones Iring Plaza, New York, 18th June 1980

Fergal Sharkey
The Undertones

Ah, The Undertones, an affable five piece from Derry, arguably Ireland's finest musical export. In stark contrast to musical contemporaries Stiff Little Fingers who's material very much focused on 'The Troubles', The Undertones wrote about anything but! The first two albums are perfectly summed up by one song 'More Songs About Chocolate And Girls'!

What teenager could fail to identify with this band in their parkas and school jumpers. They were extremely self-effacing at a time when bands had a tendency to take themselves a little too seriously (The Clash, PiL, Dexys... the list is a long one). 'I wanna, wanna be a male model' howled Fergal on the first album... the irony being that later in the decade he did become a male model... t'was a funny decade indeed! Let's not forget the The Undertones in this period delivered some of the best pop punk singles that have ever been made and importantly gave us one of the best lines ever with 'his mother bought him a synthesizer, got The Human League into advise her'... genius!

So here's one that appeared on Dime some time ago (thanks to the original uploader (butterfield).


Artwork is included in each download file.

'My Perfect Cousin'
The Undertones
Top Of The Pops April 1980

Another Milestone Reached

Many thanks for your support over the past 13 months... long may it continue.



Summercase Festival Barcelona 19th July 2008

Baz, Dave and Rat
Summercase Festival, Parc Del Forum, Barcelona
19th July 2008

Here's a great sounding recording that has cropped up on Dime just today. Many thanks to the original uploader (renaud). This is the full festival set.



1. Intro
2. 5 Minutes
3. (Get A) Grip (On Yourself)
4. Always The Sun
5. Peaches
6. Strange Little Girl
7. Golden Brown
8. Walk On By
9. Spectre Of Love
10. All Day And All Of The Night
11. Something Better Change
12. Duchess
13. No More Heroes

'Golden Brown'
Summercase Festival, Barcelona
19th July 2008

Saturday 25 August 2012

20 From '80 (5) Adam & The Ants Electric Ballroom Camden 22nd May 1980

In 1979 and 1980, Camden's Electric Ballroom was a regular haunt of the rapidly evolving Ants. Taking on board the advice of Malcolm Mclaren in exchange for his band, Adam had by this point adopted the Burundi style drum sound (achieved by the fact that the band had two drummers) that was to be a trademark of the Ants' sound in what was shortly to become their most successful commercial period. Recorded in the same month that the breakthrough 'Kings Of The Wild Frontier' album was released, as part of the 'Ants Invasion' tour, the set drew on material from that album, but earlier singles and the brilliant 'Dirk Wears White Sox'.

So this recording is from a time when Adam (and his band) were on the threshold of pop stardom and very different world of Royal Command Performances and Multi-Coloured Swap Shop.

I thought they were great in this period. It is interesting to note that in his current shows (sadly without Marco), the set fully recognises the early pre-Kings material.



Artwork is included in each folder.

1.  Intro
2.  (You're So) Physical
3.  Kings Of The Wild Frontier
4.  Ants Invasion
5.  Beat My Guest
6.  Cleopatra
7.  Picasso
8.  Kick
9.  Fall In
10. Killer In The Home
11. Press Darlings
12. Cartrouble
13. Table Talk
14. Zerox
15. Fat Fun
16. A.N.T.S.
17. Plastic Surgery

Adam & The Antz

Le Palace Paris 13th November 1979

Here's one at the request of MeAnie from gay Paris. The Stranglers have always had a special relationship with their sizable French fanbase going back many years. Much of the best available live material was recorded in France interestingly. This one does not qualify as one of those, but it is quite listenable nontheless.


01.The Raven/Dead Loss Angeles
03.Baroque Bordello
06.Hugh speaks of the Chorus TV show
07.Shah Shah A Gogo /Ice
08.Down In The Sewer
09.Hanging Around
10.Bring on the Nubiles
11.Nuclear Device
14.Toiler On The Sea
15.Jean-Jacques Burnel interview

'Down In The Sewer'
Empire Paris
12th November 1979

Friday 24 August 2012

20 From '80 (4) Rainbow Theatre 3rd April 1980

The Stranglers Receive Helping Hands
Rainbow Theatre April 1980
(l-r JJ, Phil Daniels, John Ellis, Jet)
Photo credit and copyright Virginia Turbett Photography

This was one of the first Stranglers bootlegs that I acquired many years ago.

This incomplete recording is from the first of two nights that the band played as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of this legendary London venue. At this time Hugh was held at Her Majesty's pleasure at H.M.P. Pentonville, just down the road. He was serving a 3 month prison sentence for drug offences.

Although incomplete, the sound is very good for its age. It is certainly the 3rd rather than the 4th April. The second night featuring the full set, is best captured on the 'And Then There Were Three' Italian bootleg CD as well as on the officially released 'The Stranglers And Friends Live In Concert CD.

For certain, these two gigs were unique events (if indeed you can describe two gigs as being unique!?) in the history of the band. The guests appearing in support of Hugh's predicament and the severity of his sentence. With all due respect to those individuals in some instances they gave those songs a bloody good kicking..... bur I guess rehearsal time was minimal! That said, of course I would have given my right arm to have been there!!


1. Toiler On The Sea
2. The Raven
3. Shah Shah A Go Go
4. Ice
5. Dead Loss Angeles
6. Nice 'N' Sleazy
7. Bring On The Nubiles
8. Peaches
9. Bear Cage
10. Duchess
11. No More Heroes
12. 5 Minutes
13. Something Better Change
14. Down In The Sewer

'Master & Servant'
JJ looks on at Ian Dury
Rainbow Theatre April 1980
Photo credit and copyright Virginia Turbett Photography

Also playing tonight in the capital:

Slaughter & The Dogs/Cockney Rejects/Crisis/Manufactured Romance   Electric Ballroom

20 From '80 (3) 999 Keystone Berkley CA KALX Radio Broadcast

Here's a personal favourite of mine. I give you 999. Dismissed by some as bandwagon jumpers, members of 999 were loaded with proto-punk credentials. Rather than adopting a musical style to fit what was already happening, I believe that they merely evolved into the scene that they themselves had a hand in shaping (not unlike The Stranglers in that respect).

Nick Cash, a.k.a. Keith Lucas, had studied under Ian Dury at Canterbury Art College and joined Ian in Kilburn and the Highroads, a band that were massively influential to what became the London punk scene of 1976. One of the earliest Stranglers gigs was as support, along with the Pistols,  to the Kilburns as they played their last gig at Walthamstow Assembly Hall on 17th June 1976. Moreover, 999's drummer Pablo Labritain, a friend of Joe Strummer, played briefly in an early version of The Clash.

Kilburn & The High Roads
Mumble Rumble & The Cocktail Rock
Hope & Anchor 1975

999 also have a long association with The Stranglers providing tour support across Europe in 1978. The 'new' member, Arturo Bassick, was one of the first regular followers of the band and appears in the 'Grip' video. In his post-Lurkers band, Pinpoint, he supported The Stranglers when they appeared at The Red Cow in September 1978.

999 later supported The Stranglers at Fontwell Park in 1993. At that time JJ suggested that someone interview the band for a feature in Strangled. I did the interview at The Swan pub in Fulham before a gig . Somewhere I have the full transcript which I will put on these pages as soon as I find it.

With songs such as Nasty, Nasty, Emergency and Homicide, it is beyond doubt that they were a significant player in the late '70s scene.

This radio broadcast from their extensive 1980 US tour draws heavily on the 'Biggest Prize In Sport' album of the previous year.






Brent Cross/I'm Alive
999 at Irving Plaza, New York
15th April 1980
Also palying this night in the UK:
Squeeze/Wreckless Eric   Top Rank, Sheffield

Thursday 23 August 2012

Place Du Palais Brussels 12th August 2012

Here's a recent one, fresh from Dime (thanks go to the original uploader, totem13) and uploaded here in the original lossless format only.

From the Brussels Summer Festival we have a solid shortened festival set from the band.



01. Introduction
02. 5 Minutes
03. Burning Up Time
04. Sometimes
05. Hey! Rise Of The Robots
06. Hanging Aound
07. Time Was Once On My Side
08. Golden Brown
09. Always The Sun
10. Boom Boom
11. Peaches
12. Walk On By
13. Lost Control
14. Duchess
15. All Day And All Of The Night
16. No More Heroes

Wednesday 22 August 2012

The Meet Factory Prague 20th April 2012

Here's a great sounding full set gig from the wonderful city of Prague. Thanks to the original uploader and for the heads up on the Burning Up Time Forum by regular to these pages, Meanie.... cheers!




26. TANK

Tuesday 21 August 2012

Donation Update

To date I have recouped 80% of the Rapidshare subscription that covers the running costs of this site for the next 2 years.

I intend to remove the PayPal button by the end of this month. So, if you do wish to contribute something it will only be possible until then.

But remember to form an orderly queue.... no pushing at the back!!

Green Day Shepherds Bush Empire 23rd August 2012

Today, I got lucky. I am not a big fan of Green Day, but my son certainly is. To be honest, I didn't even realise that they were playing in London until this morning. Tickets were due to go on sale today at noon for Thursday's gig and I didn't think that I would have a hope in hell of getting anything.

At 12 o'clock, I was sitting in a conference meeting with my boss. I told him that he would have to cover me in the meeting until I had tried to get hold of these tickets.... he's good like that! To my great surprise I was successful in getting my hands on two standing tickets for the face value of £49.50 plus fees. That made my eyes smart! My son of course is delighted and I was soon persuaded to relinquish my ticket to his girlfriend.

So in short, I am £102 pounds down on the day and since the tickets are booked in my name, I have to be there to present my credit card to collect them and to cap it all I have been invited to accompany my wife to Westfield shopping centre whilst they are at the gig. The things we do as parents!!

What did annoy me though was the speed with which tickets appeared on Viagogo for a minimum of £300 each! (a colleague, and a fan herself, who was unsuccessful in getting tickets mentioned that she had seen tickets offered at £425 a piece!). Now that is touting at the highest level, and if the Panorama expose on such resale sites is accurate, this is a scam that is being perpetrated by the ticketing agencies themselves. It's really disgusting and needs to be sorted out! It's at times like this that I am glad that the bands that I tend to go and see are no longer the hottest ticket in town.

Here's hoping that Rudi and his friend fully enjoy their golden tickets.

20 From '80 (2) Gary Numan State Theater Providence 21st February 1980

No Guilty pleasure here I assure you. I'll happily nail my flag to the post and declare that I was .... a 'Numanoid'!

Loathed by the serious music press, snubbed by the BBC and yet still capable of rising phoenix-like from the dampened embers of a career in decline.... that's Gary Numan. Sound familiar?

Love him or loathe him, Gary Numan was pretty much their from the outset of punk.Tubeway Army were a gigging outfit by late '77. Moreover, I recall reading that when pressed for his opinion on early punk, one John Lydon declared his respect for the music of X-Ray Spex, The Adverts and.... Tubeway Army. In addition, I was once told by someone close to the band that at one point Pete Shelley nearly jacked in Buzzcocks in an attempt to join Tubeway Army. In short, they had some form.

Whilst Gary Numan did not invent electronic music (there is a queue of candidates in front of him with a more legitimate claim to that honour (Ultravox, Roxy Music, Kraftwerk.... a host of Krautrock bands etc etc)) never before had a synthesiser been used with such power. With the 1979 breakthrough single 'Are Friends Electric?' it was immediately apparent that this was something very different that this pallid Londoner was offering.

To listen to 'Replicas' and 'The Pleasure Principle', the two consecutive 1979 number 1 albums from Tubeway Army and Gary Numan respectively, is to be propelled instantly back to the early '80s, so much so that I can smell the oil filled radiator that I had in my bedroom at that time!

Material from the above mentioned albums is unsurprisingly heavily represented in this set.




5. ME
15. CARS

Also on stage tonight were:

The Slits/Raincoats/This Heat   Electric Ballroom, London
The Selecter/The Bodysnatchers/Holly & The Italians   Tifanny's, Glasgow

Saturday 18 August 2012

20 from '80 (1) Blondie Hammersmith Odeon 12th January 1980

So first up from 1980, here's a show from Blondie, who at this point were at the pinnacle of their success. By 1980 the band's 60's tinged pop that they played the stage of CBGBs had largely been replaced by a sound that fused the new wave with disco (contemporary with the nascent punk scene in New York). Such hits are represented here; 'Atomic', Sunday Girl' and 'Heart of Glass'. I suppose that the fact that Debbie Harry was easy on the eye didn't hold them back either. But there was more to Blondie than cheekbones and fishnets. The musicians behind Debbie were all highly accomplished by this time, perhaps none more so than sometime Hugh collaborator, Clem Burke on drums.

Clem Burke with Hugh

The enduring quality of this band was evidenced in 1999 when they scored another UK hit with the excellent 'Maria' some 20 years after their first commercial peak.

'Maria' by Blondie
Top of the Pops, 1999

Presented in FLAC format (thanks to the original Dime uploader)

01  Dreaming
02  Slow Motion
03  Shayia
04  Union City Blues
05  The Hardest Part
06  Atomic
07  Living in the Real World
08  Denis
09  Picture This
10  Die young, Stay Pretty
11  Accidents Never Happen
12  Love Victim

01  Heart of Glass
02  Eat to the Beat
03  Hangin on the Telephone
04  Louie, Louie
05  I feel Love *
06  Heroes ** (excluded as this has an official release)
07  I Feel Good ***
08  Sunday Girl
09  Pretty Baby
10  One Way or Another

*  (Donna Summer cover)
**  (Bowie cover)
***  (James Brown cover)

Artwork is included in the download folder.

Also playing on this Saturday night were:

Killing Joke at Erics, Liverpool
UB40 at The Hope & Anchor, London

1980's A Brand New Age....

In periodic London meet ups with a couple of fellow Stranglers nerds, music is a fixed agenda item for debate and general procrastination (an art that we have almost mastered). In such pinot inspired ramblings we invariably reach the same conclusion that, for each of us, 1979 was the point in time that music in the UK peaked, with the variety and quality of music being released, if equalled, has never been surpassed.

It is with this in mind that I intend to look at some of the other sounds that influenced me and many others of my age and a few years older. However, as the title of this post suggests, it is not to 1979, but to 1980 that I want to concentrate on first.

If you don't mind, here I'll indulge in a bit of personal history (bypass if you wish!).

In March 1980, I turned 11. It was in this year that I bought my first vinyl (parental purchases on my behalf of 'Whispering Grass' by Windsor Davies and Don Estelle and Abba's 'Greatest Hits Volume 1' do not count!). For the record (excuse the pun), the first single that I bought in WH Smiths in Burgess Hill, Sussex' was The Vapors' 'Turning Japanese' (quite a credible start to anyone's collection I think), but then I made a severe error of judgement. I was accompanied on this trip by my next door neighbour, who had also bought the same single.... and so it was that in an attempt to maximise our meagre resources I agreed to exchange my copy for something else (unfortunately not by the Pistols, that came later). In my 'wisdom' I made the exchange for...... 'Kool In The Kaftan' by B.A. Robertson?! It must have been the fold-out sleeve that clinched the deal (for sure it wasn't the music!)

Being new to buying music and without the guiding hand of an older sibling (I am an only child), all of the musical mistakes that I have made were of my own making and I reluctantly stand by them. Let's move on.

In 1980 I started secondary school, which gave me a great deal of exposure to the diversity of musical genres that were popular at that time. Unlike now, almost every kid in class claimed allegiance to one or other youth movement (in the school all of the following was represented, punk, mod, 2 tone, pop, futurist and metal (old style and NWOBHM)). In 1980 I was aligning myself with the electronic scene (Gary Numan principally) although I was also buying Madness, Dexy's, Adam and the Ants etc.

Lewes Old Grammar School, East Sussex, early '80s

In the next few weeks, I plan to up load 20 recordings from 1980, that I think show how good the UK music scene was in 1980. Where possible I have added a footnote detailing some important gigs played in the UK in the same week.

Leicester University 23rd January 1982

Here's one at the request of Meanie. Reasonable sounding recording of the time (with a couple of brief dropouts). This is from the second leg of the La Folie Tour, with a good representation of songs from their most underated album.



NEW LINK Artwork:

1. Intro
2. Down in the Sewer
3. Just Like Nothing On Earth
4. Second Coming
5. Non Stop
6. The Man They Love to Hate
7. Who Wants the World
8. Baroque Bordello
9. Golden Brown
10. How to Find True love and Happiness in the Present Day
11. Thrown Away
12. Tank
13. Let Me Introduce You to the Family
14. Tramp
15. The Raven

Tuesday 7 August 2012

Ruts DC - Rebellion Festival.. West One (Shine On Me)

I'll leave you with this.... classic stuff from Ruts DC and a taster for the dates to come. This is really good. Please try to see them if you can!!

'West One (Shine On Me)'
Rebellion Festival, Blackpool
August 2012

A Brief Interlude....

Tomorrow I have a couple of days away on business, followed by a short family holiday, so there will be no more posts for a week or so, but I have plenty of things lined up for you lovely people.



A Few Words On Merchandising

The advertising on the official site of a 35 year anniversary commemorative CD presentation which places Rattus and Giants side by side provoked some strong opinions amongst fans on the unofficial Burning Up Time Forum. See for yourselves, but I think that it’s fair to say that the product itself and the cost has not been particularly well received.
Over the course of the band’s career, they have in the main maintained a high standard of quality control over the merchandise that has been offered for sale on tours or through S.I.S. etc (drumstick pens and beer mats aside!). Generally too, they have been spot on with the visual aspects of the band. Not bad when you consider that The Stranglers are one of the few successful bands to come out of the first wave of UK punk that were not ex-art school.
The band through their merchandising have unleashed upon us a veritable menagerie of beasts from rats to ravens, panthers to spiders with the odd alien agent thrown in for good measure. Many of these classic designs in their original forms have been unavailable for many years and so I would suggest that an excellent way to mark 35 successful years in this horrible music business would be to re-issue some of those designs as they are best known to the fans.
As fans, we are now broader and heavier than perhaps we once were and replacements are long overdue!
So can we have
1)  The Rat (in green)
2)  The Raven (in red)
3)  The Meninblack
4)  Feline
Merchandising is a very important aspect of the industry, but with the companies that produce such material can I think, if not sufficiently scrutinised, fail to make the connection between the products and the intended audience (buyers).
Here’s a good example, interestingly taken from this month’s ‘Mojo’, magazine.
Any takers for a ‘Motorhead’ beach ball……

Who sanctioned that!? Can you imagine Lemmy cavorting across the sands in his speedo’s in pursuit of such an item? Why produce such a thing at the expense of something that the fans would really want to own!

There I have said my piece.

P.S. If you can’t sort out the shirts, a CD of the Nashville in ’76 will do!

A Portrait of The Artist As A Middle Aged Man - HAC Puts Pencil To Paper

'Mojo' magazine, a respected UK music monthly has a regular 'Self Portrait' feature in which a brief interview is accompanied by... yes you've guessed it, a self portrait. September's issue features one Hugh Cornwell.

Saturday 4 August 2012

Hugh Cornwell La Java Paris 27th November 2010

Here's a specific request from jjr4 (thanks again!!).

A good sounding set from Hugh including the whole of Rattus. I haven't had much time to listen to this, but I had to smile when some French scamp shouted 'Where's Jean-Jacques?' How Hugh must have laughed!



1. Intro To Set 1
2. Nice ‘N’ Sleazy
3. Going To The City
4. Duchess
5. Rain On The River
6. No Mercy
7. Black Hair Black Eyes Black Suit
8. Golden Brown
9. Beat Of My Heart
10. Always The Sun
11. No More Heroes

1. Intro To Set 2
2. Sometimes
3. Goodbye Toulouse
4. London Lady
5. Princess Of The Streets
6. Hanging Around
7. Peaches
8. Grip
9. Ugly
10. Down In The Sewer

JJ Burnel and Rick Wakeman on Punk (Classic Rock Magazine)

JJ Burnel and Rick Wakeman slug it out

Now here's two unlikely bed fellows!

In a recent issue of the UK based 'Classic Rock' magazine, all attention was turned to 1977, in this another Jubilee year. And so it was that our hero and anti-hero came face to face to discuss the music scene of '77 from the perspective of the punk and prog, the two genres that these two musicians were so prominent in.

Unfortunately, I don't have the article (a transcript would be welcome), but it's a good excuse to share this great photo!

UPDATE: Here's the Transcript (thanks to Josh)

"Let me ask you a question. What's this all about?'' Stranglers bassist JJ Burnel, looking about as healthy as a 60 year old can, is leaning forward in his chair and enquiring with some intent as to why he's sitting next to the rather less buff, 63 year old former Yes keyboard player and all round prog overlord Rick Wakeman.

Allow us to explain. As part of Classic Rock's celebration of all things 1977, we decided yo bring together two men from opposite ends of the musical spectrum to find out what things were really like on the frontline all those years ago. In 1977 Wakeman had spent six months in Queen's Mountain Studios in Montreux working on Yes's Going For the One album. In stark contrast, The Stranglers were preparing to release not one but two albums, six months apart: Rattus and No More Heroes. For Yes it marked the end of their imperial phase, For The Stranglers, it was the beginning of theirs.

Surprisingly, given the fences that divided them back then, when the 2 meet, they greet like old friends. It turns out this is because they are old friends, their paths having crossed several times over the years. ''1977, then,'' booms Wakeman, settling back into his chair. "I'm not certain either of us will remember that far back..."

For JJ, 1977 would have been the start of an adventure, whereas Rick had, to put it bluntly, been round the block a few times.

RW: (Laughing) Thank you.
JJ: Well, for me it was the start. It was the 1st time we'd released and album. We felt something was going on. A bit of a revolution. And with every revolution you chuck the baby out with the bath water. It was a Year Zero for many people, so anything that had gone before was automatically excluded. It was only years later that people actually started admitting to having anything before Year Zero.

How long did that take?
JJ: A long time. I do remember Captain Sensible at the time, without any irony, admitting he liked Abba; and when I saw the Sex Pistols playing old Monkees covers.There was a dichotomy between what people were doing and what they were claiming in the press. A lot of the bands claimed punk had nothing to do with drugs. I was like "What!?" We used to get called hippies for smoking dope. Because everyone was broke and tight, speed was the drug of choice because it was cheap.

What was 1977 like for you, Rick?
RW: In 1977 I'd just rejoined Yes and we were recording Going for the One in Switzerland, which took 6 months....
JJ: 6 months!! We recorded our 1st 2 albums in 10 days!!
RW: A lot of time was spent with Alan White going skiing, Steve Howe tuning his guitars, and trying to wake Chris Squire up. But Ahmet Ertegun came to us and said "I don't know how much longer I can keep funding records like this." We realised that this was the last bastion of prog rock as we knew it. We were aware of punk. I'd seem it coming a few years earlier when I saw The Tubes and took them to A&M, who signed them.
JJ: Oh really? We used to love The Tubes.
RW: We were aware that something was going on. And what happens when something new comes along is that it kills off what went before it, at least for a bit. When prog came along, it did away with the old beat and psychedelic groups, the way the beat groups had done away with the crooners before them.
JJ: When something new comes along, everyone wants to be a part of that peer group, to the extent that they'll deny their history. It's only when they've gained some confidence that they can start to admit where that history actually came from. Up until that point it's almost un PC to admit your influences. But you can tell that just by listening to the music. On our 1st album, the nearest thing we had to a prog rock song was Down In the Sewer. That was about 11 minutes long and it was a suite. Prog Rock, essentially, even if it was prog a la Beefheart & The Doors.

How did you get away with that?
JJ: A few people accused us of being hippies. But there was a lot of hypocrisy involved at the time. Like people claiming to be working class when they weren't. I remember Joe Strummer crying on my shoulder when we were the 1st band to support Patti Smith and the Ramones. He was in a R&B called the 101'ers and was going "Oh, I wish I had a band like yours." He used to live in the Notting Hill squats at the time. No-one knew his dad was a diplomat.

Was there a rivalry between the punk bands at the time?
JJ: Not at 1st. Not until success kicked in. I remember meeting Steve and Paul from the Sex Pistols when we supported Patti Smith in '76, and all Steve said to me was "We're going to be famous in 6 months time. I like your haircut!" Then a year later I remember having a punch up with them and Paul from the Clash at the old Dingwalls. That's when the rivalry seemed to start - when we started outselling everyone.

Did that kind of rivalry exist in Prog, Rick? Did you have any dust ups with ELP or Genesis?
RW: No, the press tried to stir things up, between myself and Keith Emerson especially. But we were great friends and we used to laugh about it all. We let it go on because it fuelled press.

But that rivalry did exist between prog bands and punk bands?
JJ: We used to laugh at things like Pink Floyd taking years to make an album. But we've just taken 2 years to make Giants. The creative process can take time, because you're not an assembly line. And you have a life outside of the band as well.

The two world did occasionally meet: Freddie Mercury bumping into Sid Vicious in the studio, members of Led Zep turning up to punk gigs...
JJ: I don't really recall fraternsing with any bands from the previous generation apart from Dr Feelgood. When I was a kid, I'd go and see bands like Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac and Black Cat Bones, who became Free, and I felt that kind of vibe in Dr Feelgood. Dave Greenfield was a prog rocker though. When I 1st met him he had platform boots on, his jacket had frills, and he had long hair and what we call a semi pro moustache. He introduced me to In the Land of Pink and Grey by Caravan. I did like that. I do remember John Anderson though. Is he still into elves?
RW: Jon had his own little world. When he doesn't like what's happening in the real one, he retreats into his own one. He's a big fan of yours though, JJ. We were touring together last year, driving around in the same car, and listening to all sorts of music. We played some Stranglers, and he said to me "You know, there's a few of their songs that Yes could've done." He was right. Certainly something like Golden Brown.
JJ: I'll tell you something about Golden Brown that I've never told anyone before. It actually developed out of a prog rock suite. We were recording La Folie, and Hugh and I were pissed off because we seemed to be writing all the songs. So we said to Jet and Dave: "Right, you 2 are going to write a song. We're off to the pub. Have it written when we get back." We fucked off to the pub all afternoon. Now with Dave being a prog rocker and Jet being a jazzer, when we got back they presented us with this six part piece of music. And we were like: "Fucking hell, we can't record this." We went: "Don't like that bit...don't like that...oh, wait a minute, we could do something with that." And the part we did like formed the basis for Golden Brown.

1977 has retrospectively been cast as the year of Punk, but the biggest selling albums of the year were Bat out of Hell and Rumours. Has there been a bit of rewriting of history?
RW: Well up until 1942 the Germans were winning WW2!
JJ: Have you seen these re-runs of TOTP from 1977 lately? What a load of shite! Its like Karaoke Central.

So 1977: was it fun?
JJ: It certainly was. I knew a year later that things were changing though. I had a bank account, and I went in and the teller was a young girl with green streaks in her hair. The great British assimilation had begun.
RW: It becomes mainstream.
JJ: Yes. It had become the norm. And nobody turns a blind eye.

Cheap TV Smith's Forgotten Band

In the late '80s/early '90s I spent much of my time pouring over chemistry text books and trying not to injure myself in the laboratories of Brunel University in Uxbridge. On a night either in 1989 or 1990 I was told that TV Smith was playing a gig down the road at The Angler's Retreat in West Drayton. I was familiar with The Adverts and their 'Crossing The Red Sea' album at that point, but realised that the chances of hearing any of that stuff was slim. Nevertheless, here was a bit of authentic British punk of a '77 vintage, so I was up for it.

TV was playing with his band Cheap on the night. It was low key but something clicked for me and I was bowled over by the sound and visual impact that the band and TV had on me (it is worth noting that TV is one for the high kick and it's fair to say that in comparison John Cooper Clarke has the pins of a rugby prop!).

This was the start of a period where Gunta and I saw Cheap as often as our resources would allow.

A typical night out with Cheap would run something like this. Enter a packed back room of a pub (looks promising), support band play an indie flavoured set to a receptive audience (this could be a good gig), support band pack up and take their gear and most of the audience with them out of the venue (large proportions of the audiences were invariably mates of the support bands and for whatever reason rarely stayed for the headline act). Cheap take to the stage to a handful of enthusiastic fans in a large empty room.... meanwhile Andy Peart continues to peddle his 'So What' fanzine with ever diminishing returns by the exit! And so it was at nearly every gig at which I saw them play, which was a real shame as they were very, very good.*

'That's me in the corner'
At The Bull & Gate, Kentish Town 1990

Here's a good example of a Cheap 'mosh pit'. Gunta and I offer our unconditional and uncoordinated support for the band at an AIDS awareness festival that took place at Fountains Mill in Uxbridge on 27th July 1990.

* They even got a 'Single of the Week' in UK music weekly 'Sounds' for the brilliant and unfortunately prophetic 'Third Term'. At the time there was some scurrilous talk of it being an inside job.... but I'm having none of it!

Flyer for 'Third Term'

Ok, so some music is in order. Here is a recording, again from Uxbridge, but one I was not at for some reason (although looking at the date, I was probably back in Sussex for Christmas). Thanks to the original uploader. I have retained this in MP3 format as per the download I have.

Uxbridge Football Club 22nd December 1990


01. Cheap
02. The Newshound
03. My String Will Snap
04. Luxury In Exile
05. Free World
06. Silicon Valley Holiday
07. Leisure Time
08. Ghosts
09. Buried By The Machine
10. Ready For The Axe To Drop
11. New Ways Are Best
12. 3rd Term
Playing that night as well were The Price, local lads playing music in much the same vein as Tim and Cheap. Leigh Heggarty from The Price is still very busy, working with a number of other bands and musicians (including TV  Smith), but most importantly right now (at least in my opinion) Ruts DC. Please take a look at Leigh's 'World of Guitars' blog and wonder at the lengths he will go to to avoid getting a normal job!


01. Between The Lines
02. Was It You
03. Audacity
04. Getting Us Nowhere
05. Close The Curtains
06. Standing In Your Way
07. Jodie
08. Too Many People
09. What About Love
10. Shattered Life
11. Changing Places
12. This One
13. You Say You Don't Love Me [Buzzcocks]
14. Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow [Shirelles]

As a footnote, it was at a Price reunion gig at the same 'Angler's Retreat' pub in 2008/9? that I was reacquainted with some old friends from my time in the Uxbridge/Hayes area... and happily, this time around we have been better at staying in touch...... The Price, bringing people together through punk rock!

The Price
The Angler's Retreat, West Drayton late '80s

Whisky A Go Go Los Angeles 8th November 1980

Hugh Cornwell
Whisky A Go Go, Los Angeles
November 1980

Here's one from the Autumn of 1980 requested by Meanie. This was one of a four night stint at the famous Whisky A Go Go club on Los Angeles' Sunset Strip. Note the hired equipment. This was two weeks after the bands equipment was stolen in New York.

JJ giving it some
Whisky A Go Go, Los Angeles
November 1980

Hugh struggles to keep his hands on the frets
Whisky A Go Go, Los Angeles
November 1980
JJ takes off!
Whisky A Go Go, Los Angeles
November 1980
'Milk, sugar, loaf, tea bags....'
Hugh Cornwell
Whisky A Go Go, Los Angeles
November 1980

FLAC: Recording removed. Will be replaced once a good copy is available. Apologies.

MP3: Recording removed. Will be replaced once a good copy is available. Apologies.


1. Toiler on the Sea
2. I Feel Like A Wog,
3. Duchess
4. Hanging Around,
5. Down In The Sewer
6. Who Wants The World,
7. Just Like Nothing on Earth
8. Threatened
9. Tank
10.  Nuclear Device/Genetix
11. Dead Loss Angeles
12. The Raven

JJ Burnel
Whisky A Go Go, Los Angeles
November 1980