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 31 March 2013

Fairytale Of New York..... Shall We Shan't We?.... Ah To Hell With It!

In the last few years we have got very used to an annual sojourn in northern Europe after UK dates courtesy of the Wonky Bus. Sadly, arrangements are different this year, but for many, the appetite for The Stranglers live remains unsated at this point in time.

.... Well there's always America! Gunta and I have struggled over this one since the dates were announced a few weeks ago and even prior to that when all we had was rumours of Stateside dates.

There is of course a lot to consider.

The cost (that's a big one)......
The distance.....
....... etc etc

Luckily, I have the opportunity to get cheaper flights by virtue of a lot of air miles that have been racked up over several years. The childcare arrangements mean that only one gig is feasible here, a shame for sure, but undeniable.

The clincher was the date, 3rd June, meaning that we would still be in New York on 4th June, which happens to be our wedding anniversary. It's not the big one, 19 years, but with a bit of licence, we can do this thing in advance of the 20th anniversary. That's our excuse and we are sticking to it!

So hotel is booked, a pod hotel near to Grand Central Station (where the reviews say that the minuscule size of the room and the glass door to the bathroom mean that to stay in such a place with anyone with whom you have lived with for less than 20 years would be considered to be rather forward!). Flights are in the bag too.

Gunta & Adrian
4th June 1994

Happy Easter 2013!!

Easter egg hunt considered a success. I know that Rudi is too old for such childish schemes, but hey if there is a prospect of copious quantities of chocolate at the end of it he'll humour his sister and go along with it!

Saturday 30 March 2013

Virgin Megastore, Glasgow 17th May 1995

Here's a little companion recording for the earlier post. Again an in-store promotion for the 'About Time' release, this time in Glasgow. Sound is not quite as good, but it is a nice piece nonetheless.


01. Introduction
02. Golden Brown
03. Golden Boy
04. Still Life
05. Paradise Row
06. Lies & Deception
07. Face
08. Sinister

Tower Records, Picadilly London 15th May 1995

Here's one I received recently amongst as collection of tapes (thanks Paul N!). This was an in-store promotional appearance in Tower Records in Picadilly, London to mark the release of the 'About Time' album. I was at this and if I remember correctly the band played in the basement of the shop. I also recall that band were getting heckled a little bit, which I think you can hear on this good quality recording... at least you can hear Paul's repostes.


01. Introduction
02. Golden Brown
03. Golden Boy
04. Still Life
05. Paradise Row
06. Lies & Deception
07. Face

Please note that there is a small error in the disc information which incorrectly states the appearance to have taken place on 17th rather than 15th May. I misread the tape insert, sorry.

Wednesday 27 March 2013

Happy Birthday Rudi!!

Rudi Andrews
27th March 2013

Where on Earth does the time go. Today Rudi turns 15!

I won't embarrass him in case he reads this. But I'm glad to say that he is thrilled with his new acquisition of a Fender CB-100 CE Acoustic/Electric Bass.

This latest addition to the musical menagerie represents yet one step further towards the transition from teenager's bedroom to music shop!

Still, his interest in music is showing no signs of being on the wain and that's a good thing. Mind you it was always in there from early on.

As punk laureate, Mr Charles Harper Esq. of Tooting would put it......
'Born A Rocker, Die A Rocker'
Happy Birthday, young man!

Love, Mum, Dad & Ramona xxx

Tuesday 26 March 2013

Tubeway Army - Are 'Friends' Electric? TOPPOP Dutch TV July 1979

Tubeway Army
7th July 1979

Just an aside here, but related to my 1979 thread. The people responsible for the TV program TOPPOP, essentially a Duch version of our own Top Of The Pops, have started putting high quality material from their archives on to YouTube. What a good idea.....

Here's something close to my heart from my Year Zero!

Saturday 23 March 2013

Hugh Cornwell Live at WFMU on Diane's Kamikaze Fun Machine 26th October 2010

Clem Burke, Hugh Cornwell and Steve Lawrence
Live at WFMU on Diane's Kamikaze Fun Machine, October 2010
Here's a little gem that I stumbled across this morning on the net (here).
From the site, here's the blurb:

Diane is ecstatic to welcome the legendary Hugh Cornwell to the Fun Machine. Front man for the Stranglers for years, he's currently touring with his all star band featuring drummer Clem Burke (Blondie, Romantics) and bassist Steve Fishman (James White and the Blacks). They'll be playing a few live numbers in the studio and then Diane will speak about music with the punk icon! His latest release is a double CD called "New Songs for King Kong," on the Invisible Hands Music label. On this tour, Hugh played 2 sets -- a mix of his solo work and Stranglers songs, followed by a performance of "Rattus Norvegicus IV", the Stranglers first album in its entirety.

Engineer: Ben Burger, Techs: Ricky Joseph, David Mambach
01. Goodbye Toulouse
02. Rain On The River
03. Beat Of My Heart
04. Down In The Sewer

20 From '83(2) The Dickies Winnipeg Canada 15th December 1983

Now I know that I have a tendency to bleat on about how wonderful I think The Dickies are and that they are the only band that I have seen many times over not to have done a dud gig.... but it's all true.

Moreover, to see a man well advanced into his 50's, sporting bright orange trousers, leaping in to the crowd as he did at Camden's Underworld a few years ago in defence of Stuart, his puppet penis still warms the heart!

I remember getting this recording way back in the '80's from a lovely guy called Ali Mayhew from High Heaton in Newcastle, if memory serves, who I was in contact with for a couple of years through the pages of Strangled.

So, here's a great soundboard recording of said Dickies.



01. Nights In White Satin
02. You Drive Me Ape (You Big Gorilla)
03. Pretty Please Me
04. The Sound of Silence
05. Poodle Party (Doggy Doo)
06. Solitary Confinement
07. (I'm Stuck in a Pagoda With) Tricia Toyota
08. Leonard Speaks
09. If Stuart Could Talk
10. Fan Mail
11. She's A Hunchback
12. Bach Solo
13. Curb Job
14. Manny, Moe & Jack
15. Gigantor
16. Paranoid (Power Cuts Out)
17. Paranoid
18. The Eve Of Destruction
19. Banana Splits

Tuesday 19 March 2013

Stiff Little Fingers Covering 'Staring At The Rude Boys' On The Current 'Up A Gear' Tour

SLF have maintained the tradition of covering something unexpected in their live set. This time it is none other than The Ruts' 'Staring At The Rude Boys' that gets a fingerfied (could be a word!) treatment.

Great stuff indeed!

20 From '83 The Clash - Out Of Control Demos

The Clash in 1984

In the introductory post to this new themed thread, I mentioned the demise of The Clash after Mick Jones was fired. However, The Clash were soon to regroup around the core of Joe Strummer and Paul Simenon with Nick Sheppard (guitar), Vince White (guitar) and Pete Howerd (drums) completing the line up.

The demos featured here formed the basis of what was to become the 'Cut The Crap' album. It is fair to say that history does not look down very kindly upon this album, but I still maintain that in the single 'This Is England' the band had one of their finest moments. Discuss.

So here then are the 'Out Of Control Demos'. Originally sourced from Thanks to Dave Sez also.


Artwork: In the download file.

Additional details are included in the download file.

01. We Are The Clash
02. In The Pouring Rain
03. Glue Zombie
04. Jericho/Ammunition
05. National Powder
06. Are You Ready For War?
07. Galleani
08. This Is England
09. Rock'n'Roll City
10. The Dictator
11. Out Of Control
12. Sex Mad War
13. Backwoods Drive
14. Three Card Trick

A Focus On 1983

The Women's Peace Camp
Greenham Common 1983

Once again, in order to maintain a bit of variety and colour (other than black) to this site I am going to focus on another year and make available some choice live/demo recordings of the day.

So, by spinning the wheel, this time I have come up with..... 1983. A big year for The Stranglers for sure, but funnily enough I seem to recall less about 1983 than I do about 1979! I do know that I turned 14 I 1983 and was in the 3rd year (in old money) at school.

By this point in my early life, I was certainly part of the record buying public with my colletion growing as fast as my meagre funds would permit. I was also going to a few gigs at this time, mostly of the electronic variety (OMD and Gary Numan), but it would also have been around this time that I started to get interested in punk... The Stranglers were already well on my horizon and my mate Adam introduced me to The Damned, PiL and Crass. However, I was still absorbing what was happening in the world of popular music via the pages of Smash Hits rather that through Sounds or NME.

Even at 14 it became clear to me that the music in the charts was stagnating . Much of the music of the day had become very safe.... with the possible exception of Frankie Goes To Hollywood (and I didn't like them either!!). Celebration of wealth and success was becoming the norm in music foretelling the disgrace that was the 'yuppie' era that hit us a couple of years later. Some of the leading lights of the early '80's disappeared from the scene. Paul Weller had recently disbanded The Jam in oredr to sing about coffee shops on the Champs Elysee whilst The Clash just imploded. Other bands who had been so potent in the '79-'81 period either grasped the commercial carrot (Dexy's?) or simply lost their way (Blondie?).

Nevertheless, as safe and bland as it appeared at the time, looking back on 1983 from this distance, there was some great stuff out there and thinking about it of course that was always going to be so. The political situation at the time polarised people's opinions to a huge extent (in 1983 you could tell left wing politicians from their right wing counterparts). Let's face it their was a lot of shit happening..... the Falklands conflict was still a fresh in our minds..... the cold war brought Cuise missiles to our shores (I urge you to watch 'Threads', a documentary style film filmed in 1983 about a nuclear strike on the city of Sheffield, it's truely terrifying).... and the Miner's Strike was just a few months away. In short there was still plenty to rage against.

See what you think.

Saturday 16 March 2013

We Were Down The Pub a Couple of Night's Ago, Remember?

''Ere Ruffy, did I ever tell you about the time I covered Sensible in 'orse shit?'
'Course you did Segs.'

3 Men And Black Liverpool 12th February 2003

3 Men & Black
(L-R: Nick Welsh, Pauline Black, Jake Burns, JJ Burnel)

Rock 'n' Roll is a funny business and this was a rather funny idea. The musicians above whilst contemporaries represented two of the biggest musical scenes of the late '70s, namely 2 Tone and punk. This was indeed the reasoning behind the creation of 3 Men & Black, a project with a fluid line up anchored around The Selecter's Pauline Black that played together between 2001 and 2007. The line up above was the first incarnation of this little collective, later versions would include members of The Jam, The Beat, The Specials and even The Bay City Rollers!

JJ's involvement I presume came of the back of the 'Songs and Stories' stuff that he was doing in 2000, the 3 Men & Black project has a similar feel.

So here is a recording from Liverpool (anyone recall the venue) from 2003. many thanks to Meanie for this recording.


01. Quark, Strangeness & Charm
02. Alternative Ulster
03. Three Minute Hero
04. Skin Deep
05. She Grew Up
06. Carry Go "Bring Come"
07. Sinking Again
08. Dagenham Dave
09. Armagideon Time / Racist Friend
10. Un Jour Parfait Theme
11. Jellyfish
12. Missing Words

01. Harp
02. Where I Live
03. Redemption Song
04. Nobody's Hero
05. Something Better Change
06. On My Radio
07. Wasted Life
08. Too Much Pressure
09. Silver Lining
10. Go Buddy Go

Oxford O2 Academy 17th March 2010

Here's a slightly premature anniversary gig (no opportunity to post tomorrow you see) from the tour that promoted the 'Decades Apart' compilation. Not bad sounding.



01. Intro
02. Time To Die
03. Go Buddy Go
04. (Get A) Grip (On Yourself)
05. Curfew
06. Norfolk Coast
07. Skin Deep
08. Always The Sun
09. Strange Little Girl
10. Golden Brown
11. Walk On By
12. Retro Rockets
13. Genetix

01. Nice 'N' Sleazy
02. Peaches
03. Lost Control
04. Spectre Of Love
05. Down In The Sewer
06. Encore Break
07. Nuclear Device
08. Duchess
09. Encore Break
10. 5 Minutes
11. Something Better Change
12. Encore Break
13. Hanging Around
14. No More Heroes

Friday 15 March 2013

Two Well Known Fans Take The Drop March 2013

L to R: Paul Bibby (White wine), Paul Cooklin (Yet more white wine), Baz Warne (Guitar), Dave Greenfield (Keyboards)
'Pissing When You Can't Whistle' Slang. To go to the gallows.
Here's a photo I was sent today that raised a smile!
Don't worry, rather than being evidence of yet another line up change within The Stranglers, the photo actually shows two very tired 'road warriors' on tour with the band. If you look carefully, you can see a trickle of Pinot Grigio exiting Paul Cooklin's left ear.
Actually, if truth be known, this picture was taken en route to Edinburgh, some 24 hours before The Stranglers set foot onto the stage for the first night of the tour....... so maybe they're just getting on a bit!

20 From '79 (20) The Ruts Paradiso Amsterdam 7th December 1979

There' not much I need to say abot this one... sadly incomplete, but of great quality nevertheless.

The Ruts make a fitting end to this 1979 thread. As you can see below, as Ruts DC they are doing dates right now (see below) and from my point of view they are as vital as they were at the time of this recording from a rebroadcast radio show.



01. Jah War
02. Babylon's Burning

In London town this night:

Bauhaus/The Urge                                 101 Club, London
Talking Heads/OMD/U2                       Electric Ballroom, London (see ealier OMD post)
Patrick Fitzgerald/Au Pairs/Mistakes    London Poly

20 From '79 (19) The Human League Milan 28th May 1979

Here's a short set from The Human League when they were an entirely different band to the electro-pop version (albeit a very good one) that had the hits.

Emerging from their home town of Sheffield in the immediate aftermath of punk, The Human League were one of the first British band to start tinkering with (or perhaps that should be building)electronics. The DIY ethic of punk was still there though.

The fact that on this European tour The League were supporting none other that 'The Godfather of Punk' himself, Iggy Pop is further evidence of the extent of the musical melting pot that existed after and because of punk.

The Human League went on to cover 'Nightclubbing', an Iggy track co-written with David Bowie.


01. Introducing
02. Almost Medieval
03. Circus Of Death
04. The Path Of Least Resistance
05. Austerity
06. You've Lost That Loving Feeling
07. Being Boiled
08. Zero As A Limit

Wednesday 13 March 2013

The Stranglers Shirt From The Mysterious East

On our recent foray north of the border, it came to our attention that there was something of a proliferation of the T-shirt pictured above. I'm sure that you would agree that it is a rather fetching piece of cloth inspired by the Raven era releases.

So my question is.... apart from being Scottish (sadly, I do not qualify here, despite my family name), how does one get one's grubby little hands on such an item?

Tuesday 12 March 2013

Two Severns Clash! Ruts DC At The Fleece Bristol 9th March 2013

Regular visitors to these pages will be familiar with my documented frustrations in getting to see Ruts DC in the Capital. So it was with a two week gap between my scheduled Stranglers gigs and a string of Ruts DC dates to choose from I had to go somewhere and Bristol was looking good.

Not only was Bristol far enough away from the London Borough of Islington to be jinx-free, the gig at The Fleece would be my first opportunity to see these chaps play a full set as headliners in the kind of venue that I love.... capacity about 350 to 400.

And....and.... things were set to get even better as Andy Peart, my travelling companion for the trip, had arranged an interview with the band which will feature in the pages of a future issue of the excellent Vive Le Rock magazine.

Arriving in Bristol (for the first time in my case) at around five, we made our way to the salubrious Grand Hotel. When asked upon check-in what brought us to the city for the evening, Andy replied 'To see a band', 'Oh, would that be Fleetwood Mac?' the young girl on the desk enquired. We walked away without causing a scene. I mean, I know that neither of us have much chance of getting up a mohican.... but Fleetwood Mac! And it wasn't even the real one, but a tribute act (Rumours of Fleetwood Mac were playing at The Colston Hall that night).

A quick beer then in the hotel room, or a cup of tea if you go by the name of Peart, before setting off in the direction of the venue in time for six.

Walking in to The Fleece, we found the whole band on stage soundchecking. Now I love a soundcheck. Being a pen pusher and not a musician, I like the way a soundcheck comes together, culminating in a full run through of a song or two... almost your own private mini gig. And when one of those songs happens to be 'No Time To Kill', Adrian's a happy lad indeed!

Next up we follow Ruffy up into the eves of the building where the band's dressing room is situated. For a little peace and quiet, the four of us decamp to a room beyond the dressing room . Andy checks that the red light is aglow on the cassette recorder (he's old school and digital is some way off yet) and takes up position opposite Ruffy, both being astride an old wooden bench. Meanwhile, Segs and I face each other in matching wicker rocking chairs and thus seated prepare to talk about the Punk Wars! Well, I leave the talking to the other three as I am not the interviewer and I steel myself the best I can to keep the 101 questions that I have held in behind my front teeth.

As the tapes rolled however, it was evident that there was actually no cause for interruption (and if truth be told, little opportunity as these two London geezers can really talk, especially Segs, who at one stage was chastised by Ruffy and told to let the interviewer speak!).

I will not divulge the content of the interview.... don't be tightwads and buy the magazine! What I will say is that I felt privileged to sit back.... gently rocking.... listening as these two blokes spoke so candidly about both Ruts DC and The Ruts for well over an hour. What was especially noteworthy about the interview was the absolute respect and affection that they maintained for Malcolm (and Foxy of course).... the pain they still felt about Malcolm's early death..... their disdain for the music industry .... and perhaps most importantly of all, the passion and enthusiasm they have for what they are doing today.

As an aside, part way through the interview Auntie Pus emerged from the dressing room en route to the nearest pub.

With the interview complete, there was time for a couple of photos for the blog before departing in search of food and water (well maybe not pure water).

Returning to the venue at 9.30, we planned to be in time to see the second support of the night 'Criminal Mind', who turned out to be a good punk/ska band who set the tone for the night and the evening's main event.

Taking up position by the merch stand offered another couple of photo opportunities.

Ruts DC guitarist Leigh Heggarty ('Who is filling no man's shoes!') and Andy Peart
The Fleece, Bristol 9th March 2013

Andy and Me

On time at 10.30, Segs, Ruffy, Molara, Leigh and Seamus appeared from stage right and took up position. Now, I am crap with remembering running orders, suffice to say that everything that you would expect to see in the set was present and correct, with a considered mix of Ruts DC material from the aforementioned 'Animal Now' through to the new, about to be released 'Rhythm Collision Vol. 2' via 'Rhythm Collision Vol. 1'. Oh yeah and there were Ruts songs aplenty!

Segs and Molara
The Fleece, Bristol
9th March 2013

So, here's some highlights from me:

'No Time To Kill'
'Mighty Soldier'
'Smiling Culture/SUS'
'Staring At The Rude Boys'
'It Was Cold'
'West One'

'Staring At The Rude Boys'
The Fleece, Bristol 9th March 2013

'It Was Cold'
The Fleece, Bristol 9th March 2013

Trust me, I really am no sycophant, but this set was pretty near perfect for me. It represented a real celebration of the 35 year roller coaster musical journey that Segs and Ruffy had spoken about a couple of hours earlier and in 'Smiling Culture/SUS', the circle was closed, one song spanning over 30 years..... same theme..... no change.

So all that remains for me to do at this stage is to thank Ruts DC for such a memorable day and Andy P for his organisation skills and company over the course of the weekend.

Next up, London in May and with luck  a few gigs further afield in 2013.

Saturday 9 March 2013

Newcastle City Hall 26th October 1986

Here's a recording from when the Dreamtour hit the Toon. At the request of Paul. I hope you enjoy it.



01. No More Heroes
02. Was It You?
03. Down In The Sewer
04. Nice In Nice
05. Punch And Judy
06. Souls
07. Always The Sun
08. La Folie
09. Strange Little Girl
10. Nice "N" Sleazy
11. Who Wants The World
12. Baroque Bordello
13. Bring On The Nubiles
14. Shakin' Like A Leaf
15. Uptown
16. Tank
17. Toiler On The Sea
18. Spain
19. Peaches
20. London Lady