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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday, 29 September 2013
Hi, here's a recent session recorded for Marc Riley's BBC 6 Music radio show on 19th September. Gary's new album 'Splinter - Stories From A Broken Mind' is out in the middle of October and the usual promotional rounds of TV and Radio stations is in full gear.
These days I must admit that I struggle somewhat with Numan's industrial sound as I go back to a much earlier period in his career, but I will no doubt buy the album (I did like the 'Dead Son Rising' album).
02. Love Hurt Bleed
06. Down In The Park
Here's one from the second European leg of the mammouth Feline Tour. Artwork kindly provided by MeAnIe.
MP3 (only available format): http://we.tl/98tspLBi4a
02. Nuclear Device
03. Toiler On The Sea
04. Ships That Pass In The Night
05. It's A Small World
06. No More Heroes
07. Who Wants The World
08. Never Say Goodbye
09. Golden Brown
10. Midnight Summer Dream
11. European Female
12. Thrown Away
16. London Lady
17. Down In The Sewer
Saturday, 28 September 2013
So to the main event of the Berlin trip. Ruts DC were playing at the famous SO36 club in the Kreuzberg district of Berlin. Heading out to the gig in the early evening we were conscious of the fact that the guidebooks seemed to indicate that this part of town was a little iffy and perhaps to be avoided at night. From what we saw, I dunno what all the fuss was about, I thought it was if anything rather bohemian and not unlike our own Camden Town. We missed the sound check (having fallen asleep in our hotel room after searching for some bedding (of a type particularly favoured in Germany as my wife told me). I know very punk rock indeed!
Whilst waiting for word from the Leigh (Guitarist of Ruts DC - he'll like that) that the band were back in the area, we ate lightly and drank heavily in a nearby bar. By this point I had switched to the old touring staple of Pinot Grigiot (you simply need to wee less and so miss less of the gig!). Eventually Leigh calls and we rendevous in a pub just across the road from the venue for a beer and a chat. Leigh gave us the news that tonight was bound to be a bit different as keyboard and melodica maestro, Seamus, was not doing the German dates so some changes were necessary.
Adrian & Gunta at the Entrance to the SO36 Club
18th September 2013
So in the venue, skin duely stamped and with beer in hand I took in the venue. I was expecting a real dive, but it was no such thing, the place is great! On this occasion we broke with tradition and watched an unknown support band called The Tips from a place called Neuss (where apparently nothing EVER happens... that was the opinion of other Germans we were talking to, not us. Actually make that Germans that Gunta was talking to..... I just smiled sweetly). Their music was of the American ska punk variety which is fine if a little done to death, but their bass player was very good. Anyway, they were a worthy support act for Ruts DC.
Without ceremony, Ruts DC took to the stage and we're out of the blocks. Now I know that Segs had some misgivings about these dates as a result of the poor reception that the band received in some of their earliest dates. Like many, the German punks found it hard to accept the band without Malcolm, only more so! To my eyes, there were no such problems and no hostility, only smiling faces (we met some really great people at the front on the night) in a venue with a healthy volume of punters stretching out to the back of the venue. At least a turnout of 400.
The absense of Seamus was countered by extra effort from the Fab 4, with additional work for Molara in particular. The band pulled it off, no doubt about that. The night was a great success as evidenced by the enthusiasm of the audience to talk to the band post gig.
'Something That I Said'
SO36 Club, Berlin
18th September 2013
For more on the band's Teutonic adventure take a look at Leigh's account, here.
As always, thanks to Leigh, Segs, Ruffy and Molara for their hospitality and another great night out!
Punters at The Flamin' Groovies/Ramones/Stranglers gig of 4th July
(Fron The Ramones Museum, Berlin)
As part of the display covering The Ramones first visit to these shores in the summer of '76 was the above photograph that I had not seen before.
This was the weekend in which the rivalries between the prime movers and shakers of the burgeoning London punk scene boiled over in the heat of that sweltering summer (unfortunately at the time I was probably jumping through a garden sprinkler aged 7 and a half!). The Pistols, The Clash and The Stranglers came to blows after The Ramones played their second date the following night (5th) just down the road at Dingwalls.
Remnants of the Berlin Wall
The post title represented the beginning and the end of my Grandfather's grasp of the German language. As a child I was fascinated when he told stories of his war time experiences of which this line was a part. Landing in Normandy a couple of weeks after D-Day, his unit fought their way through France and into Holland (where a close encounter with a shell cost him his hearing and ended his active service). At the end of the war, he was involved in the liberation of Belsen camp and was involved in the administration and eventual destruction of the site (I may post on that soon). But, it was as the Germans were being pushed back towards Germany in the Autumn of 1944 that he picked up this phrase as spoken to the Allies by German POWs. It simply means 'You want to go to Berlin? You must be mad my friend!'. Thankfully, journeying to Berlin in 2013 is not such a daunting prospect. This was in fact our third visit to the city, so I feel that I know it quite well.
In town to see Ruts DC (a separate post I think), we planned to take advantage of the time before and after the gig to see some more of the sights and well... bars of Berlin. The history of Berlin has as you can imagine some very dark periods indeed and like most cities much of that history is best seen by foot and so this is how we set out from our hotel (much to the dismay of Gunta since the weather was pretty appalling).
The first site was Neue Synagoge, which quite frankly has about the darkest of the histories that I mentioned. You can read the story of this building here. There cannot be many buildings that have absorbed in to its bricks and mortar the sheer evil and senselessness of the period of the Third Reich. The fact that a posse of police stand guard over the building is evidence that even now this building is so much more that a place of religious devotion.
Nueue Synagoge, Berlin
Plaque detailing the buildings turbulent history
Into the administrative district and there is more of Berlin's dark past on show. On Wilhelmstrasse sits the imposing building that was the Reich Aviation Ministry. One of the few major buildings to emerge unscathed from the flame and smoke of Bomber Commands Battle of Berlin campaign of Winter '43-'44, this is a prime example of Nazi architecture. Diplomats of the day summoned to the Ministry were expected to feel intimidated by such a building. Even now, 70+ years after the events of the second world war, the place is still chilling. That the strategic decisions that resulted in such horrific periods of the air war in Britain (the Battle of Britain, the Blitz and the bombing of Coventry) were devised and agreed upon within these walls is horrible.
The former Reich Aviation Ministry
Still in the Government zone there is the site of the Fuhrer Bunker under the Chancellery. Nearby are what are proported to be the only remnants of the bunker that remain above ground.
Concrete sections that once protected the Fuhrer Bunker beneath the Chancellery
(with a section of the Berlin wall in the background)
The site of the bunker is marked, with a sign that includes a plan and a potted history of the events that took place there in April and May 1945 when the Red Army were entering Berlin. The site forms a car park that serves a new residential development (not sure that I would want to live there!)
Site of the Fuhrer Bunker, Berlin
A poignant reminder of the fact that the beliefs and attitudes held by the National Socialists in the 1930's still resonate with some can be seen just around the corner of the bunker.
On the bright side, our day was not just spent wallowing through the landmarks of former oppressive regimes.... there was the Ramones Museum. We had been here on our last visit, but since then the kids have grown and at least one new T-shirt was required.
If you find yourself in Berlin and happen to like the Ramones, it's a must. The staff are really welcoming and they sell local beer!
Display dedicated to London's first encounter with the creatures known as The Ramones
Our dear daughter was gutted to learn that two days before we were in the museum Gary Numan called in. Her favourite album is 'The Pleasure Principle', a choice that Dad is very comfortable with. I made a note that I would get her an autograph at some point soon!
Ramones Museum, Berlin
16th September 2013
As Da Brudders sang 'I Was Born To Die In Berlin'. I can think of far less desirable cities in which to peg out!
Thursday, 26 September 2013
From what I can gather from information obtained from Rapidshare, whilst the existing data (504 files representing 84 GB of data ) remain available, the existing links are no longer functional!! For this reason, it seems that of the Rapidshare account is no longer the best option for this site (if indeed in this sensitive file sharing climate a long term option exists at all).
I will try to accommodate as many email requests for specific existing gigs as I can, but please be patient, I am quite a busy man.
I have today signed up for a years access to We Transfer. This site will permanently retain new data (provided that they are paid of course), but on the downside, at the moment the facility is limited to 50 GB (i.e. less than has been uploaded to date :( )
Having gone through the Megasearch debarcle in the early days of the site (when much less data was lost that is possible now) I am understandably a bit downhearted about the whole enterprise at the moment. With luck, We Transfer may increase their capacity, I don't know.... We shall see how it goes for now.
I will keep you updated.
Thanks as always for your encouragement and support.
Yours, pissed off,
So we have The Raven. Many argue it to be the finest moment in a fine career. For me it's second only to Rattus, but that is a worthy silver for sure!
You'll be aware of the aforementioned albums birthday this month and to mark this milestone on the site, here's a recording at the tail end of the year from the band's second visit to Japan in a 12 month period.
01. Five Minutes
02. Shah Shah A Go Go
04. Down In The Sewer
05. Hanging Around
06. The Raven
07. Dead Loss Angeles
09. Baroque Bordello
12. Burning Up Time
13. Bring On The Nubiles
14. Nuclear Device
17. Toiler On The Sea
Sunday, 22 September 2013
Hi everyone, it seems that once again there have been some changes to how Rapidshare is operating and this has resulted in the many links on this site not working. From the information available on the new Rapidshare site help pages, it is not clear to me right now what I need to do in order to once again allow access to these download links through the blog (all I know right now is that the data still exists).
I have contacted the support department, but is anyone else is also using Rapidshare and has sussed out the solution, please email me.
Saturday, 21 September 2013
Ruts DC playing a gig on Friday 13th. Was this to be a portent of another cancellation? Was an inbound weather system heavy with frogs encroaching on Berkshire air space ready to drop its amphibian load over an unsuspecting Reading? Seemingly not as an initial pass of the venue on the way to get food indicated that all systems were go. Well perhaps it wasn't all systems go for everyone. As we entered the club, we passed a couple of downcast musicians struggling out of the venue with their amps into the early evening rain (which was plentiful at this stage). Apparently only two of the support act showed up ..... I imagine they may have split by Saturday lunchtime!
Tonight was scheduled to be an early set with Ruts DC due on stage at 8.45. All fine by me. This was my sixth time of seeing the revamped band, so their approach to the set is quite familiar. Clearly, a lot of thought goes into putting the set together. This is out of necessity as the bands material spans 30 plus years and runs the full gamut of the punk/reggae/dub spectrum from the early roar of 'Back Biter' to the reflective and sophisticated 'Technology'. With this wealth of material it if they get the wrong running order they run the risk of losing the audience early on. Happily, in my experience this fate has yet to befall them. The band ease the audience in with 'Whatever We Do' and 'Fools' before serving up the first of the nights Ruts songs..... 'It Was Cold'. Everyone gets exactly what they want.
'Something That I Said'
'Love In Vain'
It is clear now that Ruts DC are becoming tighter as they rack up more and more gigs. The band now exude a confidence that was not nearly so evident 18 months ago. Of course there is the rock solid rhythm section that underpins it all, but its as much Leigh's guitar work that adds a gloss to the whole affair.
And so Ruts DC deliver another great night's entertainment! Now it is onwards and upwards, with a busy couple of months ahead, with a mix of headlining gigs followed by a major national tour with their old muckers The Damned. What will be interesting is how they position the set for such a support slot. Obviously, this pairing demands that the classics of '79 are present and correct, but Ruts DC make no bones about it, they are moving on as a band that are moving with the times. No Ruts tribute band are they! As such, what they choose to play from the new album will be all important.
But before The Damned, for me there is the matter of Berlin to attend to.
As Leonard Cohen meant to say.....
'First we take Reading and then we take Berlin'.
'Dope For Guns'
'In A Rut'
Thursday, 12 September 2013
Sunday, 8 September 2013
Following on from the preceding Coventry post, here's a short set from Neville and his band when supporting The Beat.
FLAC: On its way!
02. Man At C&A
03. Little Bitch
04. Simmer Down
05. Sammy Dead
06. A Message To You Rudy
07. Call Me Names
09. Guns Of Navarone
10. It Doesn't Make It Alright
11. Rat Race
12. Do The Dog
13. On My Radio
14. Pressure Drop
15. Monkey Man
16. Ghost Town
17. Nite Klub
Rudi, Neville & Ramona
2 Tone Village, Coventry
As I mentioned in an earlier post, an 80th birthday party in Tamworth took us back to Coventry as a base for a couple of nights. We were staying in the recently opened Premier Inn in what was once The Butts Technical College. This took Gunta on something of a nostalgia trip as she studied here for a while back in the early '80s.
The Butts Technical College
(now a Premier Inn!)
The old parts of the college are stunning, I took this photo of one of the leaded windows bearing the date '1935' and some of the stained glass motifs representing the various faculties that the Butts was built to serve.
Given that the Butts is on a junction with Albany Road, whilst the rest of the family were getting their act together on the Saturday morning, I went off Albany Road way to get a photo of 2 Tone HQ (better known as 51 Albany Road to the postman).
I got a couple of funny looks, but I am sure that the neighbours have seen it all before and realise that this is not in fact the most cased property in Coventry!
Pete Chambers and Lynval unveiling the 2 Tone Trail plaque at 51 Albany Road
On the way out to Tamworth on Saturday lunchtime we called into the new location of The 2 Tone Village on Walsgrave Road.
Whilst not finished yet, we were kindly given a tour of the work in progress and it is very impressive. With an great intimate venue downstairs, the upstairs is given over to the museum, focused on 2 Tone, but encompassing all of Coventry's post war contribution to popular music from Vince Hill to King and The Enemy.
Stopping at the Cafe, a familiar figure was finishing breakfast before journeying south to a festival in Swanage.
That family and friends of those most intimately involved with the 2 Tone movement are working extremely hard to get this gem of a place fully functioning, surely even in these austere times in which we find ourselves, this project deserves some central funding from the municipal authorities that run the city. Looking at the Coventry City Council website, The Larkin Trail is featured, but where is the 2 Tone Trail? The Specials get the briefest of mentions.......
So here's a plug from me.
Saturday, 7 September 2013
I was sitting in front of the TV a week or so ago having my tea and watching the local news (BBC Look East - where nothing ever happens!) and my attention was immediately caught, when on cutting back to the studio after one news item, the screen was filled with the Crass logo!!
What followed was a brief piece on Steve Ignorant, now a lifeboat man operating out of Sea Palling on the wonderful North Norfolk coast.
An expanded version of the article can be found here.
Thursday, 5 September 2013
20 From '83 (10) The Stranglers Colston Hall Bristol 31st January 1983 (BBC West TV Broadcast - Audio Only)
This has cropped up on Youtube in recent days (I think it may be a re-edit of a DVD I did a couple of years ago, but there I could be wrong).
This is just another frustrating reminder of the pro-filmed footage that is, as I write this, degrading in regional TV studio basements, unloved and unviewed. What a waste.
The surviving members of The Clash have been very high profile recently promoting the lavish retrospective called 'Sound System' (which includes unseen footage). Whilst I do not want to compare the two bands, in interviews that I have read, they spoke much about safeguarding their legacy by dragging this material out of the vaults.
The Stranglers legacy surely warrants similar attention.
03. London Lady
04. Midnight Summer Dream
05. No More Heroes
06. Who Wants The World?
Tuesday, 3 September 2013
Attila The Stockbroker (right) with fellow ranting poet Seething Wells (Stephen Wells)
Here's part of my earliest exposure to punk (or ranting verse if you wish). Around 1983 I became aware of the Newtown Neurotics and through them the guy on the right. In his ranting poetry, thorny subjects of the day were addressed such as football, the Russian threat to our society, decomposing pets and let's not forget politics (and plenty of it, from Thatcher to the SDLP via Albania!).
Here's the John Peel Session that he did back in 1983 which covers at least some of the above ground!
01. England Are Back
02. Holiday In Albania
03. Burn It Down
04. Eros Products
05. A Very Silly Eastern European Propaganda Station
06. Where You Goin' With That Flounder?
Sunday, 1 September 2013
I need not say too much about Killng Joke to this audience. One of the most original and enduring bands to emerge from punk and big Stranglers fans to boot.
I give you a 1983 set (from the time of the 'Fire Dances' album) by the mighty Joke!
01. Fall Of Because
04. Song And Dance
05. Lust Almighty
06. Sun Goes Down
07. Feast Of Blaze
11. Empire Song
15. We Have Joy
16. The Pandys Are Coming
17. The Gathering
Killing Joke Perform 'Eighties'
The Tube (UK TV) 1983
Mick Jones: 'It was Bernie's idea'
I spotted this in the Evening Standard a couple of weeks back. Soho will statge a pop-up exhibition of Clash memorabilia and stage clothing to coincide with the release of their remastered box set 'Sound System'. A question arose on the Burning Up Time forum whether something similar could be done for the Stranglers.
I think not, if any of their stage clothes survived (which is doubtful), they should probably be burned in the interest of public health and hygene!
Dave Greenfield: 'Mmm, I wonder what time Oxfam opens?'
Here's something I picked up in my first few months of owning a proper computer with internet access. Napster was up and running at the time and amongst all of the illegal copyright protected stuff were some obscure gems.
Amongst those gems was this short recording from an internet radio station that JJ did sometime in 2001 or possibly late 2000. I think it likely that the timing of this session coincided with the 'Alone and Acoustic' tour of late 2000.
In my first month of internet access I do remember that I managed to rack up a £250 phone bill as it was a dial up connection at that time..... all music downloads.... honest!
01. In The End
02. Norfolk Coast
03. Skin Deep
04. Fred And Georges (Source Unknown)