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 adrianandrews1@sky.com.


Sunday, 31 May 2020

Adam And The Ants The Factory Manchester 21st July 1979


This is the best  sounding recording that I have heard of the early Ants. The first four tracks are very muddy, but something happens at the point where they launch into 'Family of Noise' and the sound quality improves ten-fold to give the listener a near perfect recording from the Zerox tour.

WAV: https://we.tl/t-2RLQKSmDxr

Artwork: https://we.tl/t-VHi8nt2AXo




01. Cartrouble
02. Animals And Men
03. Nine Plan Failed
04. The Day I Met God
05. Family Of Noise
06. Cleopatra
07. Never Trust A Man (With Egg On His Face)
08. The Idea
09. Digital Tenderness
10. Tabletalk
11. Catholic Day
12. Kick
13. Zerox
14. Red Scab
15. Lady
16. Hamstead
17. Press Darlings


Thursday, 28 May 2020

Adam And The Ants Brighton Centre 28th December 1981


I was three months shy of my 13th birthday when Adam and the Ants came back to Brighton. Actually, I was offered a ticket to see The Police two weeks before, they were currently embarked on their 'Ghost In The Machine' tour. It would have been good, I had most of their singles and I liked them, but my sights were fixed on the Ants in that last week of December. My uncle, at that time a taxi driver in Brighton, sacrificed a few fares in order to queue in line for tickets on the day the box office opened for sale (these were of course the days where you had to go to the venue in advance to get physical tickets!). He was successful and on the evening of 28th December, myself and two school mates excitedly prepared ourselves for our first proper gig.

I well recall the 'Ant Disco' pumped out over the PA to warm the audience up, the choices of the band members..... Roxy Music's 'Pyjamarama' and 'Virginia Plain', along with the Pistol's 'Anarchy in the UK' etc etc. The support act were some manner of dance troupe that were frankly lost on us three, we were only interested in the main event!

This recording of the first night in Brighton on the 28th is not as clear as the Birmingham Odeon recording I posted the other day, but it is a full set recording. That set drew heavily on the 'Kings' album and 'Prince Charming' of course. For some reason, 'Dirk Wears White Sox' was seriously under represented on this tour with the exception of 'Cartrouble'. This was a big disappointment for me, since whilst 'Kings of the Wild Frontier' was, and indeed continues to be, a great album, 'Dirk' for me was the one. As for 'Prince Charming', can anyone really stand up and claim, hand on heart, that it is a great album?

Inclusions and omissions in this set, now looking back at it from a distance of almost 40 years, come as a great surprise. What was the rationale for excluding 'Stand and Deliver' from the set, arguably the best known of the band's hits. All the more baffling when the throwaway pantomime piece 'Ant Rap' was played not once but twice (presumably by virtue of the fact that it was at the time the current latest single from the band, and, unbeknown to most, their last). A.N.T.S. also got in there, a 'Flexipop' magazine freebie of little merit.

Since 1980, Adam had seen fit to put out B-sides of re-recorded songs that harked back to the unsigned early Ants and this represented some of their best material for me. 'Christian D'ior' and 'Physical' were great in that respect but there could have been more for an already discerning and critical 12 year old!

FLAC: https://we.tl/t-p378tIiGmD

Artwork: https://we.tl/t-fCKlSNfKsS

01. The Magnificent Five
02. Picasso Visita El Planeta De Los Simios
03. Five Guns West
04. That Voodoo
05. S.E.X.
06. Scorpios
07. Antmusic
08. Don't Be Square (Be There)
09. Ant Rap
10. Prince Charming
11. The Human Beings

01. Ants Invasion
02. Killer In The Home
03. Dog Eat Dog
04. Jolly Roger
05. Los Rancheros
06. Cartrouble
07. Christian D'or
08. A.N.T.S.
09. Kings Of The Wild Frontier
10. Ant Rap (Reprise)
11. Physical (You're So)

Wednesday, 27 May 2020

20 From '82 (7) The Clash Sun Plaza Hall Tokyo 1 February, 1982


Here is a much circulated recording from The Clash on tour in Japan in February 1982. Originally circulating as the 'White Riot' bootleg LP in the 1980's, this version has been cleaned up and sounds pretty good to my ears. I do not subscribe to 'the only band that mattered' philosophy that surrounds The Clash. But I will admit that they were a great bang among many. Cheers to Dom P!

FLAC: https://we.tl/t-9bqhmxoX0f

01. London Calling
02. Safe European Home
03. (White Man) In Hammersmith Palais
04. Brand New Cadillac
05. Charlie Don't Surf
06. Clampdown
07. This Is Radio Clash
08. Armagideon Time
09. Jimmy Jazz
10 Tommy Gun
11. Fujiyama Mama (Pearl Harbour introduced by Topper)
12. Police On My Back
13. White Riot

Monday, 25 May 2020

20 From '82 (6) Adam And The Ants Birmingham Odeon 18th Janurary 1982


As I have mentioned on numerous occasions since establishing this site, Adam And the Ants was my first gig in December 1981. For sure they were no longer at their best, the real danger in the band had been replaced by pantomime dramatics by the time of 'The Prince Charming Review'. That said I was 12 years old and it was a proper gig... and even then my highlights of the show were 'Physical' and 'Cartrouble', missing here in Birmingham but played in Brighton.


I was recently sent this gig from the tour and it is great quality, well worthy of a listen.

MP3 (as received): Recording appears to be a rip of the Drury Lane video release and as officially released material I have removed it from the site. Sorry about that.

01. Picasso Visita El Planeta De Los Simios
02. Five Guns West
03. That Voodoo
04. S.E.X.
05. Scorpios
06. Antmusic
07. Don't Be Square (Be There)
08. Prince Charming
09. The Human Beings
10. Ants Invasion
11. Killer in the Home
12. Mowhok
13. Dog Eat Dog
14. Jolly Roger
15. Los Rancheros
16. Christian D'or
17. Kings of the Wild Frontier
18. Ant Rap
19. Physical (You're So)

Saturday, 23 May 2020

Country Club Reseda California 8th May 1983


What a wonderful surprise to momentarily lift this everlasting lockdown endurance challenge that we are all doing our level best to deal with. A hitherto 'lost' recording from the US Feline dates! Great sounding with Hugh on top form in terms of audience engagement with his piss taking of the Los Angeles punk scene of the privileged! Dave also gets a nice mention just prior to the opening to Nubiles. Thanks a million to the original Dime poster!

Enjoy!

FLAC: https://we.tl/t-gZHjuVNgH4

Artwork: https://we.tl/t-5ptLrBpwsi

01. Intro
02. Nuclear Device
03. Toiler On The Sea
04. Ships That Pass In The Night
05. It’s A Small World
06. Just Like Nothing On Earth
07. Who Wants The World?
08. Never Say Goodbye
09. Baroque Bordello
10. Golden Brown
11. Midnight Summer Dream
12. The European Female
13. Tramp
14. The Raven
15. No More Heroes
16. London Lady
17. Talk
18. Bring On The Nubiles

Debbie Harry's Tiger Bomb Beacon Theatre New York 16th December 1987


Tiger Bomb as I understand was musical project with the aim of raising money for worthy causes. In 1987, New York was in the grip of the AIDS/HIV crisis and this short gig held at the Beacon Theatre in December 1987 was aimed at fund raising for treatment programmes.

Debbie picked an eclectic set for the evening, opening with The Damned's 'New Rose', before running through 'Danger' from The Selecter, 'Liar Liar', by '69's garage outfit, The Castaways and 'Institutionalised' by Suicidal Tendancies!

Squeezing in a couple of songs by a little known group by the name of Blondie, the set closed with a trio of Ramones' songs with which she was ably assisted by her friend Joey!

Would I liked to have been at that one!

Here's how the New York Times reported on the gig on 19th December 1987:

'Debbie Harry and Chris Stein, the singer and guitarist who were the creative heart of Blondie, have not been seen much since that band's breakup in the early 1980's. Miss Harry made a recent solo album that included a modest songwriting contribution from Mr. Stein, but there were no live performances. The rest of Blondie, which was the most commercially successful band to emerge from New York's late-70's punk-rock subculture, has scattered since the breakup.

Wednesday night at the Beacon Theater, Debbie Harry's Tiger Bomb, with Mr. Stein on guitar, made its debut as part of a benefit concert for the AIDS Treatment Project. There were other impressive performances. William S. Burroughs gave a sharp, wry reading. Philip Glass contributed a piano solo. Laurie Anderson put in an appearance. John Giorno, whose Giorno Poetry Systems organized the benefit, opened the evening declaiming over the tight, urgent snarl of his electric band. But Tiger Bomb was the evening's hit.

Miss Harry paid homage to Blondie's roots in punk rock and in older forms of New York rock-and-roll through her choice of material. She followed ''Liar, Liar,'' a pop-rock oldie, with a song originally recorded by the band Suicidal Tendencies. Blondie's hit, ''Rapture,'' preceded a song by the Fast. Miss Harry sang everything splendidly, her voice sounding rich and full, backed by an intense, storming quartet. Mr. Stein was in terrific form, playing slashing, incisive guitar, while Tommy Price kicked the music along with his drums. At the end of the set, Miss Harry brought out Joey Ramone for some gritty vocal duets.

The performance was a delightful reminder that Miss Harry's absence from performing has been depriving us of a major talent. And the hard, stripped-down sound of the band, which seemed to be the perfect setting for her distinctive vocals, was a reminder that whatever its commercial aspirations and successes, Blondie belonged to the New York punk-rock tradition. One can only hope the performance will prove to be the first of many and that Miss Harry and Mr. Stein will someday make records as raw and energizing as the live sounds of Tiger Bomb.'

FLAC: https://we.tl/t-S7T65XgqxJ

Artwork: https://we.tl/t-t5c6oMabKt


01.  John Waters Intro
02.  New Rose
03.  Danger
04.  Liar Liar
05.  Institutionalized
06.  In The Flesh
07.  Rapture
08.  Comic Books
09.  The Attack Of The Giant Ants
10.  Go Lil' Camaro Go
11.  Loudmouth
12.  Havana Affair
13.  John Waters Equipment Change Announcement

20 From '82 (5) The Cure Hugenottenhalle Neu Isenburg 21st May 1982



Here is an excellent soundboard recording of The Cure in Germany in May 1982, on the European leg of the 'Pornography' tour. I appreciate their importance, but if I am honest they do not shake my foundations, although some of their singles are brilliant. I took my daughter Mo to see them in Munich a few years ago. She loved it.....



FLAC: https://we.tl/t-Q19ARKibTt


01. The Figurehead
02. M
03. The Drowning Man
04. A Short Term Effect
05. Cold
06. Charlotte Sometimes
07. At Night
08. Three Imaginary Boys
09. Primary
10. Siamese Twins
11. Splintered In Her Head
12. One Hundred Years
13. Pornography
14. The Hanging Garden
15. 10:15 Saturday Night



20 From '82 (4) Angelic Upstarts Island Houston Texas 11th June 1982


Hey, I wonder what an early '80's Texan audience made of Mensi! Never compromising, always committed, the Upstarts have released some great material over the years. Inspired on seeing The Clash at Newcastle University in 1977, Mensi's passion for the punk spirit took him out of the colliery and into the pages of the music press.

Mensi sets out his and the band's table out here in this early Sounds interview from 1978.

I first saw them late on at the Marquee Club in London's Charing Cross Road in 1989. If the late '70's through to the early '80's represented the pinnacle of far-right violence, for overtly left wing political bands, such as the Upstarts, the threat of trouble carried right through to the end of the decade. At the Marquee that night, Anti-Fascist Action were present, searching punters for weapons and checking for indications of undesirable political affiliations, the reason being that threats had been received that suggested that the gig was going to be smashed up by nazi thugs.

Supporting that night was long-serving ranting poet, Attila the Stockbroker (in addition to Blaggers ITA) who mentioned the '89 gig in his 'Morning Post' column in 2015 as part of a piece on the Marquee Club.

'I did a show with my good mate John Otway there in the early ’80s and remember a tension-filled and storming night in 1989 when I supported Sunderland’s legendary Angelic Upstarts.

The previous year they had been attacked by fascists at a punk festival at the Astoria in London and the gig closed down, with the fascists vowing that the Upstarts would never play London again.

Anti Fascist Action laid down the gauntlet at one of the capital’s most high-profile venues, the fascists didn’t show and the gig was fantastic and a truly memorable night'.

The gig went on for a long time, with Mensi refusing to leave the stage.... I believe that he was having a good time! The Marquee management eventually pulled the plug on the band in order to bring the evening to a close.

FLAC: https://we.tl/t-BJa5ZIVNOn

Artwork: https://we.tl/t-8eHBIL3eWG

01. I'm An Upstart
02. I Ain't Never 'Ad Nothing
03. Guns For The Afghan Rebels
04. Mr Politician
05. I Stand Accused
06. I Understand
07. Two Million Voices
08. We Gotta Get Out Of This Place
09. Shotgun Solution
10. Police Opression
11. You're Nicked
12. I Won't Pay For Liberty
13. Leave Me Alone
14. Teenage Warning
15. Kids On The Street
16. White Riot
17. The Murder Of Liddle Towers

20 From '82 (3) Jamaica Music Festival Montego Bay Jamaica 26th November 1982


It is no secret that I like to mix up punk and ska. 2 Tone to me is every bit as important as punk when it comes to music with a message. TRB and The Clash could stand on a stage under a Rock Against Racism banner and tell a converted audience that the British Movement and The National Front were the scourge of Britain and must be resisted which was true then and is true now in terms of their modern day Alt-Right equivalents today. I cannot knock that but it was the musicians in those great 2 Tone bands (and here I am talking of The Specials, The Selecter and The Beat) that were really on the front line. These were the people who were taking their message of Peace, Love and Unity out into the towns and cities of Britain in 1979 and 1980 just when racial tensions at street level were at their worst. How did those bands cope when a small but not insignificant proportion of the audience at every gig were affiliated with one of another far right organisation? How do you stand on stage and perform in front of elements of the crowd who are chanting 'Seig Heil!'. How does a band keep going when that element wants to beat up the black folk in the band for being black and the white folk in the band for having the audacity to be on stage with the black folk? I know each of those mixed race 2 Tone bands have some horrendous stories of those times, but in the end I think that they won through and who can deny the power of their lyrics when it came to breaking down race prejudice in the minds of young and impressionable 'fans'.

'I've never been one for the punch-up
But look I really hate those nazis
A certain something starts to wind me up
How could I hate them oh so violently

When two swords slashing at each other
Only sharpen one another
And in the long run even he's your brudda'
Said even though that cunt's a nazi'

'Two Swords (The Beat)'

Some would have the expletive as 'kid' but that's not what I hear and in this context, the expletive is fine.

Being of a certain age, 'pop stars', 'rock stars', call them what you will, have a habit of dying and that has happened with an alarming frequency over the past few years, culminating for me in the last weeks with the loss of Florien Schneider and of course Dave. But the loss of Rankin' Roger early from cancer was a hammer blow. He was such a genuine guy, a real performer and man of the people.

The Beat were really something of a treasure. So well respected (They supported The Police, REM, The Clash.... when these were the biggest bands in the world) and yet they were so down to earth, happy to play small town halls to an appreciative audience.

For all this talk of facing down the National Front in the Top Ranks of the UK, I don't suppose at this particular gig there was much racist shit going on.

Enjoy one of Britain's greatest bands.

FLAC: https://we.tl/t-c8AfSi6ESA

Artwork: https://we.tl/t-vsYb4p5OH9

01. Introduction
02. Hands Off...She's Mine
03. Big Shot
04. Doors Of Your Heart
05. Save It For Later
06. Too Nice To Talk To
07. I Confess
08. Spar Wid Me
09. Ranking Full Stop/Mirror In The Bathroom

10. Tears Of A Clown


Friday, 22 May 2020

20 From '82(2) Kim Wilde Colston Hall Bristol 5th October 1982


Ha Ha! Here's a test, who will download this one.... Steve Chattaway would, but I think he already has it! As mentioned earlier I saw her on this tour at the Dome in Brighton three weeks after this opening gig in Bristol. It was my third gig and as I recall was good. Hey, I was 13 years old and standing at the front of the stage not six feet away from Kim Wilde who was in a sweaty camisole top at the time!

As I also said, her record label at the time, RAK, did all that they could in an attempt to mould her and the band into a British Blondie, a tall order and a rather unfair pressure to place on the shoulders of a 21 year old new comer perhaps.

Parallel lines by chance?


FLAC: https://we.tl/t-R44EEw2HTz

Artwork: https://we.tl/t-GJuAk35T2x

01. Intro
02. Chequered Love
03. Water On Glass
04. Tuning In Tuning On
05. Our Town
06. Everything We Know
07. Take Me Tonight
08. Words Fell Down
09. Just A Feeling
10. When The Boys Are Happy
11. View From A Bridge (Tape cuts end added fade out)
12. Child Come Away
13. Watching For Shapes
14. You'll Never Be So Wrong
15. Boys
16. 2-6-5-8-0
17. Falling Over
18. Cambodia
19. Kids In America (Tape cuts end added fade out)

The gig was a success judging from this in depth local review!


20 From '82(1) Poole Arts Centre 31st January 1982


Ok then, let's get this thing started off. Here are The Stranglers with a gig from the second leg of the 'La Folie' tour. I have said it before. 'la Folie' has to be their most underrated album and this set is great for the fan of that period! And Dave does 'Genetix'! What's not to love?

FLAC: https://we.tl/t-vjDudmeRIj

Artwork: https://we.tl/t-aY3ZjKJUD0

01. Down In The Sewer
02. Just Like Nothing On Earth
03. Second Coming
04. Non-Stop
05. The Man They Love To Hate
06. Who Wants The World?
07. Baroque Bordello
08. Golden Brown
09. How To Find True Love And Happiness In The Present Day
10. Duchess
11. Tank
12. Let Me Introduce You To The Family
13. Tramp
14. The Raven
15. Nuclear Device
16. Genetix

Thursday, 21 May 2020

1982 - The Times They Are A' Changing


The photograph above is one of the most recognisable images in the UK in the year 1982. It depicts Royal Marines of 40 Commando advancing on the town of Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands in May 1982. A British task force had been sent down to the distant South Atlantic British Overseas Territory of the Falkland Islands to take back sovereignty after the Argentinian military junta of General Galtieri sent an invasion force to occupy the long disputed islands.

The purpose of mentioning the conflict here is not to discuss the rights and wrongs of the conflict, you can find that elsewhere on the internet. The point of its inclusion on something as trivial as a music website is merely illustrative of the fact that over the summer months of 1982, the year in which I entered my teenage years, these tiny islands (and also the equally small South Georgia) were thrust into people's consciousness in a way that hasn't been repeated since, not in the then continued coverage of the British involvement in Northern Ireland, nor in Kosovo, Iraq or Afghanistan. It really was a big deal in such a young man's life. I vividly remember the news reports informing a shocked nation of the sinking on British ships, the Sheffield, Coventry and Sir Galahad and the terrible braying of the Sun, reporting the sinking of the Argentine General Belgrano.


These were big events for me and I believe affected me deeply, influencing my outlook on life and my politics in the crucial 5 years leading up to my first General Election of 1987.

That then is a very heavy introduction to my view on 1982. A year in which the momentous and tragic events occurring in a freezing ocean 8,000 miles away were counterbalanced by so much that was banal and throwaway here in the UK.

It is funny to think that someone who only bought his first pocket money single in 1980 already had concerns about the direction in which music was taking as early as 1982! Certainly I was listening avidly to music at the time and certainly music that was in the charts..... after all I was 13 years old, but when I latched onto a band I looked backwards into their back-catalogue. I had seen Adam and the Ants (my first gig) in 1981, but knew then that it was pantomime and had concluded that 'Dirk Wears White Sox' was where it was at. In 1982 I saw Kim Wilde at the Dome in Brighton (her first tour) but knew full well from the youth discos that my mate and I could get into in '79/'80 (by virtue of the fact that his Dad was the local 'celebrity' Mid-Sussex DJ) that Blondie was the real thing. A boy out of time perhaps.

A saving grace for the young music fan at this time was the fact that musical tribes in the school setting were still such a big thing. Starting secondary school in the Autumn of 1980, I stepped into a world of punks, mods, metal fans, Numanoids, 2-Tone fans.... it was all there and it remained at least that way for another couple of years.... with the emergence of the occasional new tribe such as the casuals in their ripped Farrah's and their Tacchini track suit tops! In such an environment, exposure to other people's musical preferences, be it on a tape recorder on the back seat of the school bus or on a brief go on someone's Sony Walkman, when they first appeared, had an influence. For example, in the same year, 1982, I bought Gary Numan's 'I Assassin' album as well as buying a copy of 'Iron Maiden's 'Number of The Beast' album..... how does that work!

Never mind the slogan 'Home Taping is Killing Music'.... for those people with serious disposable income issues (and in this I would include all but the most privileged 13 year olds) home taping meant the greatest opportunity to broaden our musical horizons! C90 cassettes, although expensive, were far cheaper than albums, cheaper still if they were obtained by dubious means... and we had a classmate who would nick tapes to order from the music outlet's of Eastbourne on Saturday afternoons! So to take home an album that was doing the classroom rounds, in order to badly record it, was pretty much a weekly occurrence. For the record (no pun intended) my recording set up at this time comprised connecting my alarm clock/cassette radio to my Dad's Pye Black Box turntable.... the results were never good! Laugh though you may, this was a considerable technological improvement on my first recording in early 1979 of the Blockheads' 'Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick' and 'There Ain't Half Been Some Clever Bastards' recorded on a mono cassette player with a microphone attachment held up to to one of the speakers of my mate's parents' gramophone. The Blockheads never sounded so distant and dull!

But, as I mentioned there was such a mix of styles, so that for every AC/DC album I heard there was a punk album, 'We Are The League' or 'Combat Rock' that would lead me towards all of the bands that I still listen to nearly 40 years later.... that is not to say that I have anything against AC/DC.

Many of my favourite bands, now defunct, were still going in 1982, but I did not get to see them, which irks me but again whilst I had seen Adam and the Ants, Toyah and Kim Wilde by 1982, those acts were a different proposition to The Jam and The Clash who also rolled into Brighton that year. Bigger boy bands with a more intimidating following.  Actually, The Clash played at the Brighton Centre on their 'Combat Rock' tour exactly a month after I saw Toyah there. Now, The Clash or Toyah, The Clash or Toyah? I know... but there's bugger all that I can do about that now.

No doubt there were great bands playing great material, but they were rarely cropping up on Top of The Pops and the slot that The Tube had when first broadcast in '82 always clashed with something that my Dad wanted to see. I guess that this is one of the reasons that there are a handful of albums released by bands in the period '82-'85 that mean so much to me, simply because they stood out among so much dross.

My recollection of 1982 involves, dreadful clothing, and me in some fine examples of it.... I remember meeting school friends in Brighton for the and I was wearing some newly acquired Chinese slippers. By the end of the day I was nearly crippled, with no sole to speak of they were about the most uncomfortable footwear I have ever encountered (and I have broken in a great many pairs of DMs!). I owned several pairs of Sta-press trousers in various colours and as I recall I had button down shirts to match. There is nothing wrong with a buttoned collar shirt, I wear them now, but my versions cane with a gold tie pin and chain through the collar that I wore without bothering with the tie! Fashion crime figures hit a a 20th Century high come 1982. In 1981 when The Specials split, the Fun Boy Three quickly rose from the chequered ashes. In 1982 the threesome were pictured in New York in outlandish garb. Terry, Neville and Lynval, not 12 months previously, had been three blokes with the nattiest tailoring in whole of the UK, but as the calendar rolled over into 1982... BANG! It looked like someone had been on the wacky and found a dressing up box!

Fun Boy Three in New York, 1982
(note the Chinese slippers that Neville is sporting, possibly my inspiration to follow in his (painful) footsteps))

Neville looks like a fitness instructor, Lyn looks vaguely normal (provided that you avert your eyes from his moccasin-ed feet and Terry.... oh Terry, what have you done. You look like the famed Anerican frontiersmen, Lewis and Clark rolled into one.... well I suppose, when in America.....

The real Lewis and Clark.... about as far removed from Coventry as you can get

However, whilst I joke about the poor fashion sense that prevailed. there is a serious side to this (such as the earlier mentioned Falklands conflict, which claimed the lives of 255 British servicemen and an estimated 650 Argentine lives). Margaret Thatcher's new brand of economics was changing the face of British heavy industries and with it the areas most closely associated with them, primarily in the Midlands and the North of England. In this period the rate of unemployment spiked, with the highest numbers reported since the Great Depression of the early 1930's (however as I write this over two months into the COVID-19 lockdown crisis, I think we are due to see a formidable spike in the coming months too). In the first three years of the Thatcher administration, musicians spearheaded a creative backlash of protest, none more so that the three blokes pictured above who recorded 'Ghost Town' that reached Number 1 in the charts in the Summer of '81, just as race riots exploded in the towns and cities of Britain. By 1982, it seemed clear that the major music labels had wrestled back control and restored the kind of status quo that had existed in the days immediately prior to punk. Mainstream music and musicians largely rolled over and took what was coming.

There was one notable protest song of 1982 (against the Falklands campaign), the Elvis Costello penned 'Shipbuilding' released by Robert Wyatt. The song is a lament, but has all of the steely power of the gnarliest of punk protest songs. If you do not know it, look it up on Wikipedia and Spotify. Costello himself described the lyrics as his best ever writing.

By this point of the post you could be forgiven for thinking that this is an excuse for me to foist on you a proper load of musical crap that was my 1982. But I would not do that. There were diamonds in the rough, it is just that those diamonds were beyond my 13 year old grasp at the time!

Trust me....

Adrian in 1982.... hardly Clash fit!





Sunday, 17 May 2020

Punk Lives #3


Issue 3...... here!

20 From '77(20) Chelsea John Peel Session 21st June 1977



Now here's a bad with a bit of history. Chelsea were one of the bands there at the dawn of '77 punk. A band whose first line up fractured to give rise to another name band of the time.... Generation X. Chelsea are a very good band actually and still periodically playing today. Here's the session that they did for John Peel back in the Summer of 1977.

On drums for this session was Carey Fortune, one time Stranglers' roadie.

For the best of Chelsea, I would urge you to sniff out their 1982 album 'Evacuate'.

WAV: https://we.tl/t-zO5tQvv611

01. No Admission
02. High Rise Living
03. Right To Work
04. Pretty Vacant
05. Blind Date

Ninkasi Lyon France 23rd November 2017


Here's the second installment of the weekend's collaboration, thanks again to all involved. Here's the band in Lyon and the punters for sure got a treat on this night with the inclusion of N'emmenes Pas Harry in the set!

Here's the background from Chatts99 himself:

The usual group of us decided to head over to France, via Geneva, to catch the first 3 dates of the November French tour, Annemasse, Lyon and Paris. There was a gig between Lyon and Paris but I cant remember if it actually took place. I know it was an almost impossible venue to get to for us as
we like our late nights and comfy travel.

So, this is night 2 in Lyon. Beacause of the logistics of the travelling we decided to stay here for an extra night before going on to Paris, a correct decision as the City surprised us and we thoroughly enjoyed the extra day exploring a little and drinking more.

I don't remember too much of the gig itself apart from it being very warm inside but the setlist was different enough from the previous night that it makes sense to upload these together, as far as I am aware the rest of the dates virtually follow this setlist with maybe GBG and ADAAOTN rotating in the encore.

So here it is. I have had an original file set on my FLAC player since the show and my fellow travellers have the same file set and I had traded it with one or two fellow tapers. This is not only a serious upgrade of an already very nice recording. But as the work has been done on the raw WAV file this is to be viewed as a completely different version.

Notes directly from Shadow23 on his work are as follows.
"Loaded file into Adobe Audition and rack up a bunch of effects to add more life and sparkle. I used a 20 band EQ to boost the keys and guitars at one end and the mid bass at the other, along with some stereo expansion and light multiband compression to even things out"

He has previously told me that this is basically saved on his PC as the "Chatts99" setting.

A couple of pics are included and I believe another fellow Stranglers fan, DIME member Adriana will be adding some artwork as well.

This needs to be played often and loud. It had brought back some great memories of another great trip with the best friends. With the passing of Dave Greenfield the future is unknown, but the music remains and yes this isn't the Band of the 77-82 musical perfection, it doesn't have Hugh Cornwell
at his sarcastic and quick witted best. BUT it is the band that even just over the last 6 years, since I have been recording them, have given me so much to remember.

FLAC: https://we.tl/t-3WIDQCq8Sj

Artwork: https://we.tl/t-DKSPxjbiPb

Alternative artwork (sleeve): https://we.tl/t-fSLtUSOPh7

01. Intro-Toiler On The Sea
02. Was It You?
03. Sometimes
04. (Get A) Grip (On Yourself)
05. 15 Steps
06. Nice 'N' Sleazy
07. Midnight Summer Dream -European Female
08. Always The Sun
09. N'emmenes Pas Harry
10. Golden Brown
11. Bear Cage

01. Walk On By
02. Relentless
03. Peaches
04. Norfolk Coast
05. Hanging Around
06. 5 Minutes
07. Tank
10. Encore- All Day & All Of The Night
11. Go Buddy Go
12. No More Heroes


A Fan's Reflection on the Loss of Dave Greenfield


Thanks to Les for the great looking tribute

As I write this on the evening of 15th May it is approaching two weeks since the Stranglers community first learned of the passing of our very own Dave Greenfield. At this time it is a fair bet that many fan's of the band would be primarily concerned with the health and well being of their parents and indeed themselves.... being folk of a certain age. If I am honest, if I had concerns for the band, in my head it was Jet that was the most at risk as an elderly diabetic with a long history of respiratory issues. Dave's own health issues did not even cross my mind. I was not aware that he has a heart condition, the reason for his recent period in hospital, but as a lifelong smoker, I was aware that he suffered from COPD, a high risk condition as far as this dread virus is concerned.

Gunta and I were having a beer on the patio, doing our best to dissect yet another spectacularly uneventful isolation day when our daughter Mo emerged in tears with the unbelievable news that Dave had died. Disbelief was followed by the horrendous confirmation that came from a text from Owen with the just posted text on the official website. I called him and just said 'Fuck!'. 

The following days were spent looking out for all of the obituaries and tributes that flooded in from fellow musicians and other notables. Nice words, 'a unique character, 'a true British eccentric',  a musical maverick', 'the sound of The Stranglers'.... blah, blah, blah. That is not to say that the words were not genuine or appreciated as a fan of his talents. It just didn't seem real.

The news moved on quickly. The death toll from COVID-19 is relentless and Dave's time in the media spotlight passed. Indeed for any music fan the coming days just got worse. The death of Florian Schneider (a founding member of Kraftwerk)  was announced two days later (another body blow for this fan!), whilst others have also died recently, Millie Small, Phil May..... Little Richard. 2016 all over again!

I was very happy to be asked to put some graphics together for a Dave Greenfield In Memoriam page for the official sites, featuring images from his first tentative steps onto the pro-musician stage in various Brighton Dance Bands to the last tour with The Stranglers.


The impact of this horrible disease has been more far reaching that any one can possibly have conceived just a mater of weeks ago! No pubs, no gigs, no holidays and that is just from my perspective, I am lucky enough to be able to work from home so I am in a far better position than many who may visit this site. 

The tour, the 'final UK tour' was looking ever more likely to be cancelled and that was terrible in our household..... a light at the end of the tunnel already under threat of being extinguished even in late April! OK worst case, a deferred tour in 2021.

BANG! BBC reports: 'Dave Greenfield: The Stranglers keyboard player dies at 71'. Just another headline on the Corporation's website, but a veritable sledgehammer for 'The Family in Black'.

Now, please at this point do not get me wrong. There are many people far more affected in this event than me, most notably Pam Greenfield, the band and Dave's wider family but I am just sharing some personal thoughts. 

I always thought that I was late to the party and it is true, they had already reached the peak of their commercial success (all bar a brief resurgence) by the time I started parting with pocket money for their records. It was late in 1981, at the age of 12, that I bought 'Golden Brown' (along with OMD's 'Architecture & Morality') in W.H. Smiths in Burgess Hill, West Sussex. Taken with that single, I purchased 'Strange Little Girl' and 'European Female', followed by the '77-'82 Greatest Hits album. That album was a revelation in the sense that, despite my tender years, so many of the songs were familiar to me.... from where I do not know, since I was (and still am!) an only child and my parents only listened to Radio 2 in the 1970's. As such I knew 'Mull of Kintyre', 'Carrie Doesn't Live Here Anymore'.... etc etc.and nothing of punk and new wave.

I missed the band on the 'Feline' tour.... waving mates off who had bunked off the last lesson of the school day to go to see the band in Brighton.

Aural Sculpture in Brighton on 4th March 1985 was my live induction. 

That was 16 days shy of my 16th birthday. My birthday present was a biker jacket which my parents gave me in advance given the fact that I was going to see The Stranglers. I remember I had no band shirt at the time and instead was wearing one of those  rising sun T shirts that carried Japanese script that you hoped stated something profound but in all probability just said something along the lines of 'I'm A Knob... Please Kick Me!' I got this impression after wearing the shirt in London and being the centre of attention for sniggering, not to mention pointing, Japanese tourists.

As many gigs as I could afford followed. Friendships were formed, many of which endure  to this day, as a collection of fans devoted a significant part of their lives (and income to the band).

And that has become the norm for me since that day in late '81.... nearly 40 years... and I still consider myself to be a late comer compared to many mates.

And this is what I am struggling with.

We came to terms with the idea of ' The Final UK Tour'. Good God, that would be an emotional event, but a chance for an almighty celebration of all that the band mean to us.... and vice versa. We have now lost that opportunity and so if my thoughts account for anything we all feel a bit in limbo. And of course it cannot be helped for fan and band alike!

I am bereft, but it is not me alone, my daughter, Mo (despite my best advice, fell hook, line and sinker for the band), having turned 18 and with that marvelous feeling of parental independence bought tickets for 9 or 10 of the gigs.... leaving me in the shade with just 6!



The bit that hits me now like a sledgehammer is that the patterns in our social lives that have in part been lead by the activities of the band have come to an end. 

I need not describe the pleasure shared by so many of us of walking into a pub, in whichever town or city the band were appearing, with confidence of encountering a familiar face. 

Off the top of my some highlights of the last 39 years include:

  • Brighton Centre 1985: JJ Burnel 'I don't want your fucking shoe!' - well placed shoe launched at the Gallic one from the audience'
  • Reading Festival 1987
  • The Purple Helmets Astoria April 1988 - met some folks that have endured
  • The Purple Helmets June 1988 - met my 'Minister for War and Finance' xxx
  • The Stranglers at Livingston Forum June 1989 - a mad gig (Hugh Cornwell 'Now this is what I call a gig!')
  • The Stranglers at Brixton 1990 - end of an era
  • Guildfest 2006 - sunburn and smiles 'I've got my band back!'
  • France April 2007 - drunken people watching in Paris with Paul Cooklin
  • Lessines x 2 - not an highlight, rather an experience.
  • New York  2013
  • Gijon 2014 - tiny venue, best I can remember
  • The Nashville - Documentary  prep meeting with Stranglers luminaries
  • The Star Guildford - Plaque unveiling.
  • Caerphilly Castle 2019 - punk meets history.


Please accept my apologies for spelling mistakes I have been n the house for 10 weeks now and am only functioning on a superficial level.... I have also taken on board alcohol.

Stay safe.

Adrian.



  


Saturday, 16 May 2020

Chateau Rouge Annemasse France 22nd November 2017


OK this one is a bit of a joint effort.... with minimal effort on my part!

This is Chatts99's work which is always of great quality, throw in a bit of audio wizardry from DomP and you have something rather special.

Here's the story in Chatts' own words:

'The usual group of us decided to head over to France, via Geneva, to catch the first 3 dates of the November French tour, Annemasse, Lyon and Paris. There was a gig between Lyon and Paris but I cant remember if it actually took place. I know it was an almost impossible venue to get to for us as
we like our late nights and comfy travel.

So this is night 1 in Annemasse, almost a suburb of Geneva, right on the border hence travelling via Geneva airport. As typical first nights go, this had it all. Band on great/relaxed form, a bit of rustiness, some good banter even though I don't understand much of the French JJ uses. AND as you will see more when I upload Lyon a slight uniqueness to the setlist.

I haven't been deliberately sitting on this, it had just fallen off the radar, until fellow Stranglers Fan, DIME member and Remaster magician Shadow23, made a comment on a recent Stranglers upload.

So here it is. I have had an original file set on my FLAC player since the show and my fellow travellers have the same file set and I had traded it with one or two fellow tapers. This is not only a serious upgrade of an already very nice recording. But as the work has been done on the raw WAV file this is to be viewed as a completely different version.

Notes directly from Shadow23 on his work are as follows. "Loaded file into Adobe Audition and rack up a bunch of effects to add more life and sparkle. I used a 20 band EQ to boost the keys and guitars at one end and the mid bass at the other, along with some stereo expansion and light multiband compression to even things out"

He has previously told me that this is basically saved on his PC as the "Chatts99" setting.

A couple of pics are included and I believe another fellow Stranglers fan, DIME member Adriana will be adding some artwork as well.

This needs to be played often and loud. It had brought back some great memories of another great trip with the best friends. With the passing of Dave Greenfield the future is unknown, but the music remains and yes this isn't the Band of the 77-82 musical perfection, it doesn't have Hugh Cornwell
at his sarcastic and quick witted best. BUT it is the band that even just over the last 6 years, since I have been recording them, have given me so much to remember.

FLAC: https://we.tl/t-kB9dQX0wQ5

Artwork: https://we.tl/t-NqbW6ADx6L

01. Intro-Toiler On The Sea
02. Was It You?
03. Sometimes
04. Grip
05. 15 Steps
06. Nice'n' Sleazy
07. Midnight Summer Dream-European Female
08. Always The Sun
09. Strange Little Gitrl
10. Golden Brown
11. Bear Cage

01. Who Wants The World?
02. Walk On By
03. Dagenham Dave
04. Relentless
05. Peaches
06. Norfolk Coast
07. Hanging Around
08. 5 Minutes
09. Down In The Sewer
10. Encore-Go Buddy Go
11. No More Heroes

The Palais Theatre Melbourne Australia 15th May 1985


Missed the birthday by a few hours.... never mind. Here are the band on their first return to Australia since their ill-fated visit in 1979.Some variations to the usual Sculpture set and the inclusion of Nuclear Device, for obvious reasons.

This recording also includes the (then) complete Chronicles of Vladimir - just to wind the crowd up that bit more. 'Viva Vlad!' and 'Vladimir And The Pearl' were to complete our Russian friend's adventures across the globe.

FLAC: https://we.tl/t-7FNib8tUks

Artwork: https://we.tl/t-H8iUA5zBWy

01. Vladimir & Olga
02. Vladimir & Sergei
03. Vladimir & The Beast
04. Vladimir Goes To Havana
05. Aural Sculpture Manifesto
06. Something Better Change
07. Dead Ringer
08. No Mercy
09. Souls
10. Nice 'N' Sleazy
11. Skin Deep
12. Let Me Down Easy
13. Midnight Summer Dream
14. Golden Brown
15. Strange Little Girl
16. Peaches
17. Shakin' Like A Leaf
18. Death And Night And Blood
19. Threatened
20. Punch & Judy
21. Hanging Around
22. I Feel Like A Wog
23. Down In The Sewer
24. Nubiles (Cocktail Version)
25. Nuclear Device
26. Toiler On The Sea

Friday, 15 May 2020

Ruts DC The Opera House Rebellion Festival 3rd August 2019


In these dark and dangerous times that we are living through right now, many musicians with no venues to play are being resourceful and turning the cameras on themselves. Ruts DC are no exception. They have been hosting weekly episodes of 'Ruts TV' that have thus far featured a mix of Ruts and Ruts DC archive footage along with a bit of chat about the plans for the band as well as how their solitary days are being filled.

In this weeks installment Segs rued the fact that under different circumstances the band would have been winding up their first acoustic tour (now rescheduled to take place in August...... which may or may not prove to be the case sadly). He also mentioned the occasion last year when they played another acoustic set in the rather magnificent Opera House at The Rebellion Festival, which is uploaded for you good people here. Cheers Chatts99.

Thanks also goes to the Ruts chaps for their heartfelt tribute to the man with a massive swelling organ, Mr Greenfield!

FLAC: https://we.tl/t-GGGJd1UNqh

Artwork: https://we.tl/t-dEWbteAonn

01. Tuning
02. Something That I Said
03. West One (Shine On Me)
04. Soft City Lights
05. Music Must Destroy
06. Walk Or Run
07. Golden Boy
08. Psychic Attack
09. Staring At The Rudeboys
10. In A Rut
11. Babylon’s Burning

Wednesday, 13 May 2020

‘Fly straight with perfection’ - Dave Greenfield Artwork

Dave Greenfield (29/03/49 - 03/05/20)
30cm x 40cm linoprint
Black on grey artcard

Live Review of The Stranglers at The Roundhouse London 16th/17th April 1977 - Record Mirror 23rd April 1977


A very brief 'review' of the band's appearance at The Roundhouse that says very little other than it's gonna get big for them. The photo is new to me though.

20 From '77(19) The Roundhouse London 17th April 1977


Here's a nice sounding recording for it's age and I'm sure you'd agree (maybe with the exception of Cherry Vanilla!). This was a second billing with The Jam that months, the pairing having played Leeds Polytechnic on 1st April.

FLAC: https://we.tl/t-1J6kCOdwjo

Artwork: https://we.tl/t-GQqlz2vZWd

01. Dagenham Dave
02. School Mam
03. Peasant In The Big Shitty
04. Straighten Out
05. No More Heroes
06. Peaches
07. I Feel Like A Wog
08. Hanging Around
09. Ugly
10. London Lady
11. Down In The Sewer
12. (Get A) Grip (On Yourself)
13. Something Better Change

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Sitting Pretty With The Purple Helmets Central London Polytechnic 15th March 1988


Something of Dave now and a bootleg cassette that caused quite a stir at the time. A recording of The Purple Helmets at Central London Polytechnic back in March 1988. I won't regurgitate the background to the Helmets here. Search the site under the band's name and its all there. Good drunken fun and for many, myself included, the first opportunity to see members of The Stranglers at close quarters in small, and in some cases, iconic venues.

FLAC: https://we.tl/t-izmUB5HDsi

01. Don’t Bring Me Down
02. We Gotta Get Out Of This Place
03. Baby Please Don’t Go
04. I Can’t Explain
05. Whatcha Gonna Do About It
06. Keep On Running
07. All Day And All Of The Night
08. Louie Louie
09. Tobacco Road
10. Walking The Dog
11. I Saw Her Standing There
12. I Wanna Be Your Man


20 From '77(18) Alternative TV John Peel Session 5th December 1977

Mark Perry ('Mark P' back in the day) with Alternative TV

The man who brought punk to the 'masses' through the inky xeroxed pages of 'Sniffin' Glue' swapped the pen for a microphone as his chosen means of communication in late 1977, the baton being neatly handed over when the band's first release 'Love Lies Limp' was included with the last issue of Sniffin' Glue. Alternative TV, or ATV, were really different, sounding world's apart from some of the blue print punk produced by bands that were inspired by London'd first wave. Through the independent record labels, 'Step Forward' and 'Deptford Fun City' he went on to assist a diverse roster of bands such as Chelsea, Sham 69, The Police and Squeeze early on.

Alternative TV continued with into the mid-80's before calling it a day. Later, they reformed for Festival and small venue gigs and I was lucky enough to see them a few times. At that time their set heavily revolved around the brilliant debut 'The Image Has Cracked' album although they have since recorded new material. I recall seeing them at The Square in Harlow. Mark addressed the audience that totaled not more than 20 people with a smile and the words 'Punk's not dead eh?'. They went on to do a brilliant set. So here's to Mark P a real original punk both in print and on stage.


WAV: https://we.tl/t-6ZoXigSnJD

01. Action Time & Vision
02. Still Life
03. Love Lies Limp
04. Life After Life


Sunday, 10 May 2020

Punk Lives Issue #2


Sorry folks, forgot about this thread that I started. Here's issue 2 and Beki!

Here!

RESTORED LINK - Ruts DC Playhouse Nite Club Greenside Theatre Edinburgh 6th May 1981


 Restored link can be found here.

'Life After Malcolm' Ruts DC Interview Sounds 1st November 1980

LIFE AFTER MALCOLM



In the beginning there were four Ruts. Now there are only three. The rest, as they say, is history. A sad sordid and unnecessary history in part, and you’ll already know it. But this feature isn’t intended as a propaganda against the heroin addiction with which the band’s singer Malcolm Owen killed himself nor is it in memory of late great punk. For out of the ashes of the Ruts have risen Ruts DC and I think you’ll be impressed by them. A lot.

It’s not easy to turn around and pick up the pieces after losing such a dynamic frontman as Malcolm. It’s a bit like losing your eyesight and learning to read all over again. So it was devastating to witness the band’s astonishing control and capability a few nights ago when faced with the Hammersmith Odeon, The Skids’ three thousand strong audience and only a five minute soundcheck. They simply grabbed the auditorium and ripped it apart.

A link to part of this gig can be located here.

For forty wildly bouncing, swinging minutes, you wouldn’t have even known that the Skids existed. Ruts DC proved them that they are by no means finished and emerged the next evening for our appointed interview looking dazed but exultant.

As drummer, Dave Ruffy explained; “It’s the first proper gig that we’ve done. I mean you can’t really count anything like the Herne Hill Half Moon next to the Hammersmith Odeon and…. I couldn’t believe it; I’ve never seen a support band or a guest band go down so well there.”


Taking a step back in time, last summer was probably the worst that the band has ever known. Apart from their singer’s ever-present drug problem, his voice was continually on the borders of non-existence as old throat problems reared their collective head. The band was more or less inactive. It didn’t make life easy.

Bassist and major vocalist Vince Segs who, along with the other Ruts, is now taking precautionary singing lessons to prevent any similar infection laying waste to his vocal chords, reckons that all the hassles snowballed together to culminate in the final tragedy’ “It’s as if Malcolm spent his career developing his voice and messing his throat up.”


Ruffy: “Apart from the drugs, which everyone knows about, he always had real trouble with his throat. It meant that we couldn’t work a lot of the time and it was, I suppose, very frustrating for everyone concerned.”

Segs: “I think that’s one of the reasons why he turned back to smack. Between being on tour and writing songs and being ill and doing his throat in – everyone wanted to hear the Ruts but we couldn’t do a thing about it. There was so much pressure.”

The band began to drift in opposite directions. Ruffy, Segs and guitarist Paul Fox ‘escaped’ by backing the old ska singer Laurel Aitken. Possibly the best ever Ruts single, ‘West One (Shine On Me)’, was released but it failed to astound anyone with its chart progress, partly because Malcolm had just died and the band were unable to record a Top of the Pops session without him and partly, I suspect, because it was such an unexpected change to their previous straightforward reggae/punk.
The Damned stepped in and took the Fox/Segs/Ruffy trio on tour with them as a support and they began to find their feet again, reassess their potential and write some new songs. Which brings us to the present day…

The birth of Ruts DC – the those that haven’t clicked onto the meaning of the new name, DC stands for Da Capo which is Latin for ‘a new beginning’ – oddly coincides with the release of ‘Grin And Bear It’. A new band but an album full of old material. Knowing Virgin’s past reputation for cashing in death, the move is suspicious. Whay real excuse can the band have, remember that this isn’t a Ruts DC album or a contractual album. “As far as Virgin are concerned, we’ve, we’ve only done one album so far (‘The Crack’) and we’re due to start on a second one soon.”

Fox: “What really happened is we didn’t have a full album’s worth of material with Malcolm on it so we collected some songs, some recorded, some live, and put them out. In fact ‘Grin And Bear It’ is something we wanted to put together and release – in a way it is in memory of Malcolm – and, as you know, Virgin do like to do this sort of thing.”


But surely a Ruts fan would already have everything that’s on it apart from the odd track? Isn’t it a bit of a con?

Segs: “They won’t have the live version of ‘Babylon’s Burning’. They won’t have the Peel Session recording of ‘Demolition Dancing’.  The album is intended for those who want to buy it.”

Ruffy: “Also, we wanted to release ‘Love In Vain’ again because it’s a great song and it’s as if no-one ever really heard it as the flip-side of ‘Starring At The Rude Boys’. Whatever, the album isn’t an all out assault on the charts. It’s just there if you want it.”

‘Grin’ is presently at number 28 in the album charts. Pulling together the oldest and the newest of the old Ruts’ writings, it will if anything, act as a cross over stage for the band. It might also help to demolish further the idea that The Ruts were, and always will be an old-fashioned ‘real punk’ band and assist them in their strong and desirable development.

Like The Clash, the Ruts were always capable of playing reggae with a more sensitive and accurate touch than many of their contemporaries and, like The Clash, Ruts DC have directed their song writing along a wider, more reggae-minded, more atmospheric and more complex direction with superiot results to their older compositions.

A fine example is ‘Different View’ which springs abrasively round loud guitar hooks and stands as a bright contender for next single. Like The Clash, Ruts DC need to release themselves from the four-beat punk label and encourage their fans to accept changes and move with the times.
Ruffy: “At the moment, people expect to hear the old set but we’re honestly trying to change over to our new stuff now.”

Segs: “Last night” (at Hammersmith) “I think we made a huge step towards getting rid of labelling. At the start of the gig, I wondered what would happen ‘cos looking out at the audience it seemed only to comprise of Skids fans and it was a bit quiet and restrained through the first songs. But, I think the breakthrough came with ‘Love In Vain’. All those people dancing and clapping and singing along to what is a fairly slow song. And it’d not as if we had to use any Police tactics like ‘come on everybody, and ‘clap along to this one’. I hate all that.”

The gig boded well for the future, a future which is jam packed with activity. The band start work soon on a new album, breaking before Christmas for some British dates., short excursions to Amsterdam, Paris and New York and returning to finish the album after that.

Fox: “A lot of people seem to think that even having to step inside a rehearsal studio is a dreadful burden and have this impression that we’re made to write songs by the record company exactly when they’re wanted and all that. Virgin work for us! We don’t work for Virgin. We actually enjoy writing songs and doing gigs and we produce records for Virgin in our own time, not at a specified date.”
Segs: “yeah, strange as it may seem, we actually enjoy being Ruts DC! It’s not a great trial. I don’t like the idea of the music business at all but I like being in the band. I suppose we all like to be, er, creative!”

Ironically, the line up of three might end up as a line up of four again as the band are using the services of Garry barnacle – present on both albums – as a sax and keyboards additional musician. Although he left the interview to go and play in Croydon for ‘”an Earth, Wind and Fire type funk band”, the general difference he makes to the sound is deep and emotional.

“Why,” asks Segs “when you could be earning a fortune as a session musician in Japan, do you keep playing for these three cunts?”

Garry just smiled. He fits in with the chemistry of Ruts DC. He is part of their underlying devotion to having a good time and playing great music. It’s a band attitude that leaves little time for anything other than gigs, records and beer – at the same time a single-minded opinion that keeps them battling along with not a lot of money and quite a few debts. They have even less time for the pop press side of the music business and, whilst offering their services as singles reviewers, the told me as much.
Segs: “Before I was involved in a band, I used to read reviews and laugh at them and enjoy them, but when you become a musician, you see how unfair a lot of the comments are. Some band that has struggled for ages to make a single has it cut to pieces in a one line review.”

Garry: “I just don’t know why the press has so many people writing for it who obviously hate music. It’s a pure waste of time.”

Four against one. The musician’s angle isn’t an easy one to fight so we graciously declined and an hour later saw Segs, Dave, and myself in a Covent Garden exhibition of paintings by John Howard, the man who painted the cover of ‘The Crack’.

Ruts DC in an art exhibition, I hear you ask. Stranger things have happened.....


The Ruts (Playing As The Bottles At The Moonlight Club, West Hampstead ) - Gig Review Record Mirror 19th November 1980

This is a review that took me by surprise. A secret gig with with the new four piece; Segs, Ruffy, Paul and Garry Barnacle).


Malcolm Owen of The Ruts Dead at 24

The optimism that accompanied Malcolm's declared determination to kick his heroin habit with the help of family, friends and fellow Ruts was shattered when he was found dead in the bath in his parents home in Hayes on 14th July 1980.

Record Mirror 19th July 1980

Later Malcolm's story was the subject of an article on the teenage, magazine style television programme '16 Up broadcast in January 1981.




The Ruts Hit The Rocks in 1980

It was my good lockdown fortune recently to discover some scanned copies of Record Mirror, a now defunct publication that was for many years one of a quartet of weekly music papers that kept British music lovers abreast of all that needed to be known.

These music papers chronicled the music related highs and lows that were such a big part of many teenagers lives. The story of Malcolm Owen, charismatic frontman of The Ruts, certainly filled the bill of a low during the spring and summer months of 1980.

The band had been through a tumultuous 1979, during which a series of blistering singes had catapulted the band into the punk big league. High profile gigs (some now of legend) supporting The Damned, followed by their own headline dates boded extremely well for the band. However, the euphoria felt by The Ruts in that closing year of the decade was short lived. It was just months into the new decade that trouble hit the quartet. Malcolm had succumbed to the fatal escapist opportunities offered by heroin. The habit made him withdraw from the company of his fellow Ruts, even whilst on tour, dates being cancelled in the end as the drug use exacerbated perennial throat problems.... a disaster for any lead singer. The capacity for the band to function in a way that allowed them to capitalise on the success of the previous 12 months work was seriously stalled.

Eventually Malcolm, openly spoke about his drug dependence (a very open secret at this point in time), coming clean (no pun intended) about his own personal  problems. This article appeared in the 31st May 1980 issue of Record Mirror. In it Malcolm acknowledges the problems associated with that particular drug and its potential to ruin many other young people's lives. If anything the tone is positive and the journalist talks within the piece of new music from the band.