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 24 July 2014

Buzzcocks The Last Night At The Electric Circus Manchester 2nd October 1977

Here's one from the archives of Dave Sez. In the autumn of 1977, The Electric Circus in Manchester closed it's doors. The venue, which as well as boasting the vilest wallpaper ever produced, played host to all of the major British punk bands of '76/'77 (and some American ones as well).

The final two gigs on 1st and 2nd October 1977 were recorded and a cuts from the bands that played over the two nights were released on a 10" album that went by the name of 'Short Circuit'. The album documents nicely the Manchester punk scene, featuring as it does, Buzzcocks, The Fall, The Drones, the mighty John Copper Clarke and a nascent Joy Division. Of the Buzzcocks set, 'Times Up' was featured. Here now is the full set from the closing night (2nd).

Thanks also to the original uploader.



01. Fast Cars
02. Fiction Romance
03. Boredom
04. Sixteen
05. You Tear Me Up
06. Orgasm Addict
07. Moving Away From The Pulsebeat
08. Love Battery
09. Time's Up

Wilko Johnson and Roger Daltry BBC Radio 2 30th June 2014

Wilko Johnson & Roger Daltry
Royal Albert Hall, London
26th March 2014

Here is a little gem of a recording from a recent Radio 2 show hosted by Paul Jones, featuring tracks from a Wilko solo set, followed by a set from the Teenage Cancer Trust concert at the Royal Albert Hall, when Wilko shared the stage with Roger Daltry.


Shepherds Bush Empire
25th February 2014

01. Paul Jones Intro
02. All Right
03. Barbed Wire Blues
04. The More I Give
05. Dr. Dupree
06. When I'm Gone
07. Roxette

08. Roger Daltrey Interview

Royal Albert Hall
26th March 2014

09. Going Back Home
10. I Keep It To Myself
11. Keep On Loving You
12. Sneakin' Suspicion
13. All Through The City

Destination Borneo

Rudi Andrews
24th July 2014

It seems like an age in the planning, but finally the day arrived when our intrepid 'little' explorer headed off to Borneo for a month. His mum almost made it back to the car before losing it!

Just to say once more a very big thank you to all those people who generously contributed to his cause!

Tuesday 15 July 2014

The Jam Palais D'Hiver Lyon 30th April 1982

Here's a late career gig from Lyon in 1982. To my ears it showcases the wide stylistic diversity that The Jam squeezed into their five years as a prominent act.

I will dig something out from the 'Setting Sons' period over the weekend, but The Jam in any period stand up well!



01. The Eton Rifles
02. Running On The Spot
03. The Great Depression
04. Happy Together
05. Pretty Green
06. Just Who Is The Five O'clock Hero
07. Ghosts
08. In The Crowd
09. A Town Called Malice
10. The Dreams Of Children
11. That's Entertainment
12. Tales From The Riverbank
13. Precious
14. Move On Up
15. David Watts
16. Boy About Town
17. Private Hell
18. Trans Global Express
19. Circus
20. Pity Poor Alfie/Fever
21. Funeral Pyre
22. The Butterfly Collector

23. The Gift

Setting Sons 35th Anniversary Dates (From The Jam)

Mmmmm, picked this flyer up a while back and I am undecided about whether to take the trip to Cambridge or not. The decision would be much easier if Rick were still in the ranks, but with just Bruce I don't know.

Last week, whilst on our St Albans and Reading travels, Owen and I ran through this album a couple of times. We both are in agreement that it is incredible, a brilliantly crafted album from a band at the peak of their creativity.

Now in a Jam mood, a later boot from the band will be posted shortly.

Sunday 13 July 2014

O2 Academy Birmingham 22nd March 2014

Here's a great recording from Birmingham, courtesy of Wegga (cheers). I think that this is a really fantastic document of a very successful tour for the band.



01 Intro
02 London Lady
03 No More Heroes
04 Coup de Grace
05 Was It You?
06 Threatened
07 Summat Outanowt
08 Peasant In The Big Shitty
09 Still Life
10 Peaches
11 Midnight Summer Dream
12 Golden Brown
13 Always The Sun
14 Genetix
15 Thrown Away
16 Never To Look Back
17 Nuclear Device (The Wizard of Aus)
18 Skin Deep
19 Time To Die
20 Lowlands
21 Valley Of The Birds
22 Nice 'N' Sleazy
23 Walk On By
24 Freedom Is Insane 
25 Duchess
26 5 Minutes
27 Hanging Around
28 Norfolk Coast
29 All Day and All of the Night
30 Something Better Change
31 Tank

Saturday 12 July 2014

Restored Link - National Stadium Dublin 1989

By request, the restored link can be found here.

Ah Bum!......... Tommy Ramone Succumbs to Cancer at 62

Just picked up on this. Tommy Ramone, the last surviving founder member of the band has lost his fight to bile duct cancer at has died in in a New York hospice at the age of 62.

'Blitzkreig Bop'
The Rainbow, London
31st December 1977

All Roads Lead To Roman St Albans

For those folk who were starting to experience the pains of withdrawal after the Ruby dates, those kindly Stranger chaps organised a mini-tour across the land to provide those in need a booster.

For me, this gig nearly didn't come off. Family illness meant that Gunta and the kids could not come which left me with logistical issue of making my way across county to the lovely town of St Albans. There is a bus service from Harlow to St Albans, but better still I cadged a lift with a work colleague (thanks Diane!) and so got to a pub near the venue in good time to sell the spares, after which I could relax and wait for showtime.

The Alban Arena was larger than I expected, but a good venue, perhaps more used to staging 'Jack and the Beanstalk' and the likes of Derek Acorah than such gnarly old punks like The Stranglers.

At nine prompt, the band were on with 'Toiler on the Sea' as opener thundering through the P.A. Happily, the set was rejigged, with 'Time Was Once On My Side' well received early on and 'Death And Night And Blood' bringing in a bit of menace mid-set. The biggest thrill for me was to hear 'Go Buddy Go' in the encore.... surely a contender for an opener next time around.

JJ, once again, was on the receiving end of a beer shower as someone behind us launched a pint in his direction. He made a joke of it on stage as he laboured on hands and knees mopping the stage, but he was not at all happy about the incident. When he came down to challenge the miscreant, someone suggested that it was a bloke standing next to me that was responsible. This person looked quite taken aback when JJ said 'Was it you old man!'. In fairness accused and accuser were probably of a similar age!

'Who spilled their beer?'

I was pleased to get back briefly afterwards and the atmosphere in the dressing room was relaxed. We spoke to Baz for a few minutes about the virtues of the 'Profanisurus' - high brow indeed.

Anyway, a recording of the evening has appeared on Dime and the uploader is happy for it to be shared here. Thanks to cra4269 and also to Big Andy for the photos for the artwork.



01. Intro
02. Toiler On The Sea
03. (Get A) Grip (On Yourself)
04. Skin Deep
05. Time Was Once On My Side
06. Nice 'N' Sleazy
07. Peaches
08. Relentless
09. Duchess
10. The Raven
11. Golden Brown
12. (Angie's Photo Call)
13. Always The Sun
14. Freedom Is Insane

01. Death And Night And Blood (Yukio)
02. Nuclear Device
03. Walk On By
04. Hanging Around
05. (Jean-Jaques Burnel's Beer Break)
06. Curfew
07. Norfolk Coast
08. 5 Minutes
09. Something Better Change
10. Tank
11. Go Buddy Go

12. No More Heroes

Sunday 6 July 2014

A Rare 1977 Interview with JJ Burnel

Here's a pretty rare early interview that JJ did with an unknown fanzine that was included in a 1977 book that compiled fanzine writings on each of the first wave of punk bands.

In this short interview, JJ speaks of The Sex Pistols, the origins of The Stranglers and shares his disdain for the treatment the band received when touring with Patti Smith.

Interview with Jean Jacques by Peekay.

Do you resent the Pistols for the reputation that they’ve given to the New Wave?

“No, I don’t resent them for the reputation that they’ve got. I just question their honesty and sincerity. The thing is, if you’re going to get involved in politics, which I am personally into, then you’ve got to be specific about your standpoint and you’ve got to live the part, you can’t be half hearted about it.”

“I’m not too hot on their music myself. I like the production of “Anarchy”, though. I also don’t like the way they pay lip-service to the American east coast bands like The Stooges and The New York Dolls; I don’t rate that scene much. I don’t think it’s valid.”

“The Pistols call Led Zeppelin boring old farts, but they (Zep) haven’t been going as long as The Stooges, who were ten years back. Your statement’s gotta be true without flaws. There’s been a lot of hype about how they don’t smoke dope; they do, I can tell you they do. It’s crazy ‘cos people will always find the truth out in the end, they will see the hype for what it is. People will see through attempts at being sincere. The publicity that the Pistols have got themselves is worth a lot of records.”

How did you meet the other guys in the band?

“It’s a long story. I was living in Guilford at the time, doing a van driving job. I was coming back from karate one night, in Kingston, and I met this American greaser. He happened to be lead singer for a group called Johnny Sox, which comprised of this American drummer and an English guitarist. The Americans were draft-dodgers who came over from Sweden. The English bloke was a bio-chemist. A lab assistant. The Swede was just some guy from Sweden. Hugh was the English guitarist. A few weeks later I met Hugh in a pub. He was getting out of his head and was moaning about the fact that everyone had left him and gone back to Sweden. So Hugh was by himself and he met this drummer called Jet Black who was a real freak, he had peroxide blonde hair and these really weird flannel drainpipes that came three inches above his ankle.”

“At the time he was in charge of this Off-licence shop. By the time he met up with Hugh and I, ‘cos by then we were already thinking about two and three minute songs, Jet was letting drink and the business mix. He was getting pretty drunk. One day the bailiff/people from the brewery came around and chucked him out. He was more concerned with us than with the shop. Then Hugh and I dyed our hair green and red, just for the hell of it. Then we met up with Dave Greenfield. We had previously auditioned for a keyboard player, but they were all on ego trips, doing solos a la Rick Wakeman and all that shit. Dave was just right. He was psychedelic like us, experimenting with cosmic matters, man (laugh, laugh).

What were your influences? Did you listen to The Doors a lot?

“I reckon that they were about the only rock band I ever listened to, there wasn’t much else.”

What sort of trouble, if any, have you had at London gigs?

“Well, we got banned at Dingwalls and we were told that they received 53 letters of complaint. That night in particular we were over the top. We smashed the support band’s equipment up. Their gear was brand new this, brand new that. They were all guys with long hair, playing new synthesizers and new gibsons. We had only a 200 watt P.A. In those days we used to spit at the audience quite a bit, this was about a year ago. The thing is, just because you’re not known, people don’t want to even listen to you. They don’t believe you’ve got anything to say, unless you’ve gone through the normal hype channels.”

What was the tour with Patti Smith like?

“Out of five gigs with her, she only let us have one soundcheck, subsequently we only had one good gig. She was two hours late for the Birmingham concert, so we walked off stage after three numbers. I had one hastle with her, I went up to complain about the sound situation. I said “Look, you better have your soundcheck , ‘cause we’re gonna have ours.” She said “Oh no you’re not. The people don’t come to see you, they come to see me.” That’s fair enough but I just didn’t rate the attitude. I thought it was anything but a street-level attitude. I don’t like many of the other American new-wave bands, though. To me the American scene is pretty irrelevant. British journalists have got this terrible disease of paying lip-service to the Americans. . They think that everything British has got to be second rate. The American writers think the other way. It’s a disappointment, objectively speaking, because our bands can so often outplay the Americans and we’ve got much more energy and drive.”

What is that lyric on London Ladies (sic) about a plastic straw that everybody’s asking about?

“That’s PLASTIC’S REAL WHEN YOU’RE REAL SICK. (Oh shit, I wasn’t supposed to give that away). A lot of people ask that  question and I usually tell them where to put it as well. It’s about the time a year ago when lots of so-called new wavers were wearing plastic and that to me is pretty sick because plastic symbolises the whole industrial mess because industry is totally fuel orientated, that’s the crux of a lot of our problems – oil. The word plastic has come to mean many different things like: ‘unreal’. Like if I started wearing plastic, I’d feel like I was real sick.”

Saturday 5 July 2014

Talk Sport Interview (JJ And Paul) 17th February 2004

An interview conducted in the promotional run up to the Norfolk Coast tour with JJ and Paul. Broadcast on Talk Sport Radio on 17th February 2004.


Tuesday 1 July 2014

O2 Academy Oxford 17th March 2014

One from the UK Ruby tour, this time from Oxford.

Thanks to the original taper heymjm and to Andy Miller for the photos. Cheers.



01 Intro
02 London Lady
03 No More Heroes
04 Coup de Grace
05 Was It You?
06 Threatened
07 Summat Outanowt
08 Peasant In The Big Shitty
09 Still Life
10 Peaches
11 Midnight Summer Dream
12 Golden Brown
13 Thrown Away
14 Never To Look Back
15 Nuclear Device (The Wizard of Aus)
16 Skin Deep
17 Time To Die
18 Lowlands
19 Valley Of The Birds
20 Nice 'N' Sleazy
21 Walk On By
22 Freedom Is Insane
23 Duchess
24 5 Minutes
25 Hanging Around
26 Encore Break
27 Norfolk Coast
28 Something Better Change
29 All Day and All of the Night
30 Encore Break
31 Tank
32 Thank You Very Much

D-Day And The Normandy Breakout

My Grandfather
James Kitchener Heath
5th Battalion South Staffordshire Regiment

26th June saw the 70th anniversary of the day my Grandfather landing on Gold Beach in Normandy as part of the 59 (Staffordshire) Division, a follow-up formation that that reached France in the wake f the main invasion force. On a second site, as I have mentioned previously, I am attempting to piece together his wartime activities (which is proving to be no mean feat - he could hardly be described as prolific in terms of documenting what he did during his years in the army).

Thus far I have put together what I know of his home service activities and training within 59th. Tonight and over the next week or so, I will start on the period of his active service in Normandy which included:

  • Operation Charnwood
  • The Battle of Noyers
  • Fighting around the Orne Bridgehead and
  • Closure of the 'Falaise Pocket'

After these actions, heavy loses to the 59th and other units of the 21st Army Group meant that the 59th was disbanded as soldiers were drafted in to reinforce older, more established formations. My Grandfather thus found himself after the Battle for Normandy in the 11th Battalion of the Royal Scots Fusiliers with which he saw further action in across France, Belgium and Holland.

Please take a look if you get the inclination.

Insignia of 59 (Staffordshire) Division

Hugh Cornwell Interview From 'In The Mex', Radio Reverb, 11th March 2011

Thanks once again are due to MeAnIe for this one, previously posted on the Burning Up Times Forum, but now resurrected for your listening pleasure.

I'll leave the description down to MeAnIe himself:

'While trolling through old posts recently I found a post about an interview that Hugh did for Reverb Radio back in 2011, being one of those people who doesn't like to miss out on anything, and finding that the link was dead (several links were dead, including the one from Hugh's own website), I set about tracking the interview down, let's face it, when you read that Hugh was 'upbeat' and 'complimentary about The Stranglers' then that's more than enough ammunition to want to hear it. So I did the google thing, dead links, emailed the radio station, who after a few days suggested that I contact Paul Mex. So, then I googled Paul, turns out he's been around a long time and he's done a bit of everything, musician, composer, producer and is in the throws of a musical  comeback himself. *point of nerdy interest for fans, he also worked with Ugly As Sin, some of us oldies remember them supporting The Stranglers a hundred years ago.
Paul, who interviewed Hugh on this occasion was incredibly helpful, shared a few anecdotes and even tracked down the interview for me. I really enjoyed corresponding with him.

Out of the kindness of his heart, Paul has made a link available to the interview (here)

Here also is a link to Paul's site and new album (here).