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 31 August 2023

The Vapors Opera House Blackpool 4th August 2023


The Vapors had the task of playing before the the human force of nature that is in the form of Henry Rollins and they did OK. 'Turning Japanese' was the first single that I bought with my own money (before I exchanged in for B.A. Robertson's 'Kool In The Kaftan' of all things as my next door neighbour purchased 'TJ' at the same time and I thought that we were missing a trick as we could tape each others records.... but remember 'Home Taping Is Killing Music' so don't do it kids.... unless you are 11!

Straddling mod and punk genres at the time of the '79 mod-revival they were/are a solid band!



Wednesday 30 August 2023

Spizzenergi Opera House Blackpool 4th August 2023


Spizzenergi, a band who famously changed there name on a near annual basis, be it Spizzenergi, Athletico Spizz 80, Spizz Oil, The Spizzles..... are still gigging regularly and were gracing the Opera House stage at Rebellion and, apparently frontman Spizz is well known to circulate at gatherings where his band play, but how would we know this new wave gent.... oh hang on....

Many thanks to Peter for this one!



Monday 28 August 2023

The Ramonas Empress Ballroom Blackpool 4th August 2023


Now here's a fine band which unfortunately I missed this year (well, they did come on at 12.50 in the morning!). I did see them a few years ago supporting The Skids I think it was and they were great and really great girls as well when we chatted at the merch stand. It is good that they have made a great effort not to be shackled by the Ramones association as they are so much more than a plain old tribute band. Take a listen to some of their solo material, it's really good stuff!

Thanks to Chatts for the share.



01. Intro/Durango 95
02. Lobotomy
03. Psycho Therapy
04. Blitzkrieg Bop
05. Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment
06. Havana Affair
07. Glad To See You Go
08. Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue
09. We Want The Airwaves
10. Rockaway Beach
11. Bonzo Goes To Bitburg
12. Loser
13. Consumed
14. Filth
15. So Called This, So Called That
16. Rock ‘N’ Roll High School
17. I Wanna Be Sedated
18. The KKK Took My Baby Away
19. Commando
20. Sheena Is A Punk Rocker
21. Let’s Dance
22. Pet Cemetery
23. Endless Vacation
24. We’re A Happy Family
25. Chinese Rocks
26. Beat On The Brat
27. Pinhead

Steve Drewett The Hare Harlow 27th August 2023


This gig popped up on a social media feed couple of weeks ago and I promised myself that I would go along. Pre-gig, there was something of a discussion on the merits of lunchtime gigs... and the fact that on a Sunday lunch time it was possible to get a fix of punk rock and still be back home in time for the Antiques Roadshow... old punks never die, but they do slow up a bit!

This set of Songs and Stories was ideally placed in the schedule since on 5th September the film 'Kick Out', The Story Of The Newtown Neurotics finally gets its premiere. The original timelines for the film, like so much else was royally scuppered by COVID-19 such that the launch that was to take place at The Red Lion Ballroom, Leytonstone, if I remember correctly, was cancelled. Flick through the calendar some 3 years and the band have managed to get a much more prestigious venue for the occasion, the 100 Club no less.

As Steve explained in his introduction, making a documentary (or should that be rockumentary!) is no small feat. A band with a career as long as that of the Newtown Neurotics will have interacted with thousands of people from different periods of the band's existence, all with a story to tell. So the art in putting something like this together lies in the sorting process, what to keep in and what to leave on the cutting room floor. Another challenge brings in our 'friend' COVID again. Since the aborted launch, the band released another album of new material, their first for 34 years! So, to release the film in the form that it was back in 2020 would do the band a disservice. As an aside, The Stranglers will have the same problem if and when the lawyers finally get to a settlement that will allow it to see the light of day... only changes there are somewhat bigger than the release of a new album. Anyway, back to The Hare. This lunchtime gig gave Steve the opportunity to relate stuff that didn't make it into the film as well as adventures beyond the Newtown Neurotics.

Steve related the band's modest beginnings, starting with gig at Standon Village Hall, somewhat less iconic than the 100 Club. He went on to detail origins to 'Kick Out The Tories' were revealed to have started life as a dreadful Christmas kind of jingle thrown together for a Christmas Eve gig at the Triad Centre in Bishops Stortford (which was located just a 5 minute walk from my front door)... dreadful it may have been, but it was punk rock! Surprisingly it was also divulged that the song, the band's anthem if they can be considered to have one, was intended to be a one off song penned for the purposes of a TUC gig. Whilst it is regrettable that the song has had a direct relevance for the biggest chunk of the band's career, I am glad that the song wasn't cast aside after that one gig!

Flyer courtesy of Steve Drewett.

(and apologies for the camera orientation)

One of the highlights of the Neurotics' pre-1988 (the year the band split... before they reformed!) was undoubtedly a tour of East Germany with Attila The Stockbroker and Billy Bragg, a kind of socialist revue package for the DDR! It was here that the band played to their biggest audience (estimated to be in the order of 8,000 with a further few thousand outside having been unable to get in) at Berlin's Palace of the Republic, a venue more prestigious than Standon Village Hall and the 100 Club!

Palace of the Republic

After stories of touring behind the wall, things became rather more personal as Steve recounted his inspiration for writing 'This Fragile Life', one of the band's finest songs. There was an old lady who resided in the Potter Street area of Harlow, a woman down on her luck and struggling to subsist. She would regularly take a bus to a job that involved collecting potatoes (surely quite a laborious task for one not so young). After some time, the lady was found dead and alone in her house having succumbed to hyperthermia (as has been the fate of many elderly people here in the UK during this current cost of living crisis that we are enduring). The memory was clearly still raw, even after the passage of forty years or more as the writer became rather choked. That such a situation can and does exist in the UK, the 5th biggest economy in the world let us not forget, is a disgrace.

As I recall, the first set would up with 'Living With Unemployment', a reworking of The Members' 'Solitary Confinement' for 1980's jobseekers everywhere. It was interesting to learn the late Nicky Tesco's take on Steve's efforts... 'Why don't they write their own fucking material!' JC Carroll on the other hand loved it.

'Living With Unemployment'

Also in the first set was the rarely played 'If Only', a track that appeared on the reflective 'Is Your Washroom Breeding Bolsheviks?' album. I almost saw this many moon's ago in my first week at Brunel University when Steve played a solo gig at Uxbridge Labour Club in 1988. However, being a group of students completely lacking a sense of direction or an ounce of common sense for that matter we failed to find the venue and spent a fruitless evening traipsing the damp autumnal streets of Uxbridge... 'Does anyone know where the gig is?' we should have asked!

Punk poet Cherry B returned to the stage at the end of the interval for another couple of poems before Steve continued his musical journey. 

Cherry B
(didn't get the title but it's a poem about Nigel Farage)

Unfortunately, we had to leave shortly into the second set so we missed tales of North Korea and Brazil. There was only time for one more song, 'Thinking About You' from the short lived 'The Indestructible Beat, the band that Steve formed after the Neurotics. I did get to see them once though at a Cable Street Beat benefit in Camden.

So, all in all a great way to spend an Sunday afternoon and an excellent taster for the 'Kick Out' film premier next week.

JJ and Baz Interview on Junkyard PBS FM Melbourne 3rd January 2013


Here's a recording of a promotional radio interview featuring JJ and Baz on one of their fairly frequent forays down under. A 30 minute potted history of the band (with album tracks removed). Nothing sensational apart from some candid comments from Baz about Paul's departure, here but a nice listen.



The Corporation Sheffield 7th October 2006 (DVD)


I guess I am not alone in having a pile of poorly labelled CD and DVD discs that I have been meaning to sort for years now. Many are duplicates, some not. Dipping into the pile, I came across this DVD recording of the band in Sheffield from back in 2006. Unfortunately, I have no idea where this came from so I have no one that I can credit for this one, which is a shame because it is really nicely authored! Thanks anyway, whoever you may be.

DVD disc image:


Thursday 24 August 2023

TV Smith And Paranoid Visions Replay Cheap Pavilion 4th August 2023


Of the four opportunities to see ex-Adverts frontman, TV Smith, over the weekend, this was my must see set. In fact it was probably my number one must see set of the entire weekend! I have written about Cheap on these pages in the past. Like the Explorers, they were a short lived band that existed between The Adverts and Tim's long solo career. Once again, like the Explorers, only one album surfaced, postumously in the case of Cheap. With the exception of 'Third Term' (which surely to God cannot happen next year!), the songs in Cheap's set are so painfully relevant today that it is hard to imagine that nearly three and a half decades have raced by since TV penned them! In those intervening years the world has got warmer, wetter and madder. Oligarchs still live out their life of 'Luxury In Exile' and when some people need the income from more than one job to subsist, for sure someone stole their leisure time!

TV Smith and Paranoid Visions

Cheap's songs saw the emergence of themes that continue to this day in Tim's solo material songwriting, 'them and us', 'the have's and have nots', 'the 99%'. Society is unfair and TV Smith holds a mirror up to it and calls it out. Consider the lunacy of two of the richest men on the planet challenging each other to a cage fight whilst millions forego meals just so that their children can eat, how pathetic, no not pathetic, just obscene. As a post on social media put it recently 'Whatever happened to the kind of philanthropist that built libraries rather than space ships?'

'My String Will Snap'

However, it wasn't just about the music. It is the fact that nights were spent in the back rooms of pubs, The Anglers Retreat in West Drayton, The Bull and Gate in Kentish Town or The Square in Harlow where I hooked up with a crowd from the Uxbridge area that I am still friends with to this day.

For the occasion Tim resurrected the look of the day to a tee, top hat with scarf band, blazer and umbrella (of course!). He even sported a hand printed 'heart' Cheap t shirt and there can't be many of those still around. The band behind the replay were Dublin's Paranoid Visions who played the songs brilliantly. The sight of TV wielding that umbrella propelled me back to the Anglers Retreat all those years ago and I was twenty again.... at least in mind if not body! I hope that he and the band enjoyed the experience as much as I did.

Sincere thanks to Peter for sharing this one!



Tuesday 22 August 2023

Up Yer Tower! Rebellion 2023 - Day 2


The Del Strangefish Inexperience
Empress Ballroom

Day Two

Day two dawns and it is out of the blocks early for a 12.45 start, meaning time for one livener before entering the Gardens for a set by The Del Strangefish Inexperience. Del is of course Del Greening of Peter & The Test Tube Babies (in)fame. I don’t know much about the band but I am guessing that it is something of a vehicle for Del who now has entered the literary circle of punk musicians turned writers. I suppose if you are showing your face up there on the literary stage it makes good sense to have something to put up on the musical stage too. Keep the profile up whilst the Test Tubes step back for a while.

Whatever the rationale for the Del Strangefish Inexperience, it suits me fine as it offers Del a chance to play Test Tube songs that can now be legitimately be described as obscurities. Opening with ‘Intensive Care’ (‘Watch him play one note so well!’), the set also included ‘Excuses’, another early one from the  ‘Loud, Blaring, Punk Rock’ album, and ‘Boozanza’ (‘Anyone remember Trapper?’ Del asked). From memory, ‘Banned From The Pubs’, ‘Blown Out Again’, and ‘My Unlucky day’ were also in the set.

Some ours were then spent wandering and taking in the atmosphere of the weekend before there was a musical parting of the ways in that The Vapors were playing in the Opera House whilst Subhumans and Neville Staple were on in the Empress Ballroom - Melksham punk and Coventry ska of course won the Day for me.

Empress Ballroom

The Subhumans were brilliant as indeed they always are.

They were followed onto the stage by Neville Staple. The last few times that I have seen them I have been very impressed, but the loss of Terry and with it the final demise of The Specials still smarts. Nevertheless, Nev, Sugary and band made a very good account of themselves.

Neville Staple From The Specials
Empress Ballroom

Somewhere in between whilst giving my battered ears half an hours respite I saw a few bits from Attila The Stockbroker who was doing his thing in the Spanish Hall.

Attila The Stockbroker
Spanish Hall

What followed was my highlight of the festival, missed by most, but given the original band's history, that situation seems right and proper. In the Pavilion was TV Smith and Paranoid Visions Replaying Cheap. I'll skip over them here as an extensive post and gig will follow. Make do with a photo for now!

TV Smith puckers up at the prospect of reviving 'Cheap'!

Then last but not least for a weary punk... Steve Ignorant's Crass set.

I follow a Crass Records Facebook page and I am always amazed at the stick that Steve comes in for on the page... Crass sell out, merch slave etc etc. He has the blessing of Penny and the band to go out and play Crass material. Crass are popular around the world, but not so many every got to see them. I was 15 and down in Sussex when they split in 1984 so my first Crass experience was at the 'Gathering of the 5000' in April 1987.... a night of chaos with a handful of Crass songs thrown in.

I don't think what Steve does with the band now is Crass by numbers or Karaoke Crass as some have suggested at all. Certainly when it comes to songs like Bata Motel' and 'Poison in a Pretty Pill' Carol's vocals are faultless. There is great love and respect of the original in what they are doing with this material. Fair play to them.

Steve Ignorant Band
Club Casbah

And so to bed with Carol Hodge's dulcet tones ringing in my bleeding ears!

Bauhaus Tiffany's Leeds 25th April 1982


Another request from an attendee of this appearance by Bauhaus at Tiffany's in Leeds. Personally I love Bauhaus... absurdly pretentious but with a hidden sense humour. Who would have given credit to the fact that 'Spy In The Cab' is about something as mundane as a lorry's tachograph!

Of that post punk/goth scene they stood a bat's wingspan apart from their competition.

Thanks to Edge from 101guitars for the download.

Sounds like there could have been a bit of an issue with heavy handed bouncers on the night.



01. Intro/Party of The First Part
02. Dark Entries
03. In The Flat Field
04. Silent Hedges
05. In Fear of Fear
06. Of Lillies and Remains
07. Rosegarden Funeral of Sores
08. The Three Shadows Part II
09. Terror Couple Kill Colonel
10. Spirit
11. Kick In The Eye
12. Hollow Hills
13. Stigmata Martyr
14. Hair of the Dog
15. Bela Lugosi's Dead

Mull Of Kintyre Music Festival 18th August 2007


Missed this one a few days ago in the same way that I miss people's birthdays these days... an age thing possibly...



The Warehouse Leeds 5th March 1991


The unveiling of Paul Roberts to Yorkshire folk in early 1991. This one is a request. Thanks to Malcolm for sharing and apologies Andrew, there seems to be an issue with you email and I keep getting delivery failures, but here it is.

MP3 (as received):

Artwork: Included in download folder.

01. No More Heroes
02. Threatened
03. Something Better Change
04. Sometimes
05. Never To Look Back
06. Someone Like You
07. Laughing At The Rain
08. Heaven Or Hell
09. Always The Sun
10. 96 Tears
11. Brain Box
12. I Feel Like A Wog
13. Uptown
14. Wet Afternoon
15. Mr Big
16. Hanging Around
17. Toiler On The Sea
18. Down In The Sewer
19. London Lady
20. All Day & All Of The Night
21. Tank
22. Duchess

Sunday 20 August 2023

Splodgenessabounds Pavilion Blackpool 3rd August 2023

No Rebellion would be complete without the presence of Max Splodge. This year as always Max earned his beer money with an appearance with Splodge as well as an acoustic turn in the Spanish Hall, not forgetting of course a daily, early afternoon bingo fix! There is something, dare I say it, charming about Splodgenessabounds. They were writing and performing their very English kitchen sink dramas when the likes of Half man Half Biscuit were still at school! Early classics such as 'I Fell In Love With A Female Plumber From Harlesden NW10' and the later torment of 'My Socks Gone Down My Shoe'. Great stuff. Long may Max continue to stagger through the venues of The Winter Gardens.

Many thanks to Peter's recording of the band's set in the Pavilion. Cheers!



01. Intro
02. Bloody Disgrace
03. Scrapyard
04. My Socks Gone To My Shoe
05. I Fell In Love With A Female Plumber From Harlendsen Nw10
06. Tough Shit Wilson
07. Go The Whole Hog
08. Answers On A Postcard
09. Mongolian Civil War
10. Mongols On The Street Of London
11. Having A Beer
12. Step Inside
13.Two Pints Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps

Monday 14 August 2023

UK Subs Empress Ballroom Blackpool 3rd August 2023


If Max Splodge is part of the Rebellion furniture then Charlie Harper is the fittings! As we regularly passed Charlie as he manned the UK Subs merch stall over the duration of the festival posing for selfies with young Japanese punks, the joke was 'Who hasn't had their photo taken with Charlie!'. But fair play to the man. He has fronted the Subs for no less than 46 years. During this time I don't think that the band have ever craved the big time. I get the impression that Charlie would be equally content whether the band are playing to thousands in a German arena or in the back room of a Stoke pub on a Tuesday night in January! If the audience in front of him are appreciative and perhaps prepared to buy a T shirt from the merch stand then all is good in Chuck's world!

Along with long term collaborator, Alvin Gibbs, the Subs' set focusses on their output from '79 to '81 (not so unusual for punk bands of some longevity). The current line up, that will hopefully see Charlie into a well deserved artistic retirement, are tight and will ensure that the band wind up with in appropriate style.

As an aside, I did look at the band's line ups on their Wiki page ( Possibly only The Fall could boast a longer list of 'also serveds'!

Thanks again to Peter for sharing. Cheers!



01. Intro
02. CID
03. I Live In A Car
04. Kicks
05. Emotional Blackmail
06. You Don’t Belong
07. Endangered Species
08. Rockers
09. Organized Crime
10. New York State Police
11. Bitter And Twisted
12. Fear Of Girls
13. Limo Life
14. Down On The Farm
15. Party In Paris
16. Tomorrow’s Girls
17. Warhead
18. Riot
19. Stranglehold
20. Disease
21. Encore Break
22. Keep On Running
23. Teenage

Sunday 13 August 2023

Penetration Empress Ballroom Blackpool 3rd August 2023

So, here then is the first of the Rebellion uploads from the wonderful Penetration who stepped in for an injured Damned at the eleventh hour. A great gig... and I am really looking forward to receiving my copy of Pauline's autobiography next month.

Many thanks to Peter for sharing this file. Much appreciated as always and great to see you over the weekend!



01. Intro
02. Reunion
03. Nostalgia
04. Danger Signs
05. Movement
06. Sea Song
07. Makes No Sense
08. Stone Heroes
09. Free Money
10. Come Into The Open
11. Don’t Dictate
12. Beat Goes On
13. Shout Above The Noise

Up Yer Tower! Rebellion 2023 - Day 1


August soon comes around and with it the initial disappointment of a number of high profile bands pulling out of the world's biggest punk rock festival. The Decendents, D.O.A. and then The Damned. Big hitters in the line-up one and all! It is fair to say that this year's line-up, even before the cancellations was somewhat weaker than last year. A notable absence (certainly for me) was 999. Nick Cash and his merryband of men are the only act to have played every festival since the inception of 'Holidays In The Sun' back in Morecombe in 1996. That is every year for a remarkable 27 years! Various reasons for their unexpected omission from the programme were discussed but that isn't a topic for the site.

Day One

Arriving in a sunny Blackpool in the early afternoon, I collected my wristband (in double quick time this year!) before making my way to the Brew Room where I had arranged to meet Mo, who had travelled up from Manchester for the day to meet the old man. Fish and chips and a bit of beachcombing followed in search of potential things that could be incorporated into art. Success was not forthcoming unless you count a partially skeletonised dogfish (I think that Damien Hirst got there first Mo!).

Family reunion over, my first foray into the Winter Gardens was for Menace. Never a favourite of mine I freely admit, but they did invite my mate, 'six-string for hire', Leigh Heggarty to the stage for the four songs that closed their set.


Next up for me were Sloppy Seconds, a delightfully named combo hailing from Indianapolis, Indiana. It was their first visit to these shores for 25 years, which just happened to be the last and only time that I had seen them. If you do not know of them, look them up, they are a great band of the Ramones mold. Their set was filled with classics such as 'Blackmail', 'Come Back Traci', 'Janie Is A Nazi' and 'You've Got A Great Body But Your Record Collection Sucks'.

Sloppy Seconds

Following them onto the Club Casbah stage were another band from my earlier punk years, the mighty Culture Shock, Dick Lucas's second band of three, and all three were putting in an appearance over the weekend. Just loved it!

Culture Shock

A few beers followed back in HQ (The Brew Room!) and notes exchanged concerning the bands seen thus far. 

As mentioned earlier, The Damned were a no show, Dave Vanian having hurt his back earlier in the week having got out of his coffin awkwardly at sundown. Luckily, their eleventh hour replacements were worthy '77 originals Penetration. Pauling announced from the stage that this was their first gig in a year and that they had put the show together with four days notice/rehearsals. Well Pauling I can say hand on heart that I couldn't tell, the band were great and the set was classic Penetration. Not surprisingly, this was my first encounter of the weekend with Drew and Gill.


Tired now, but the evening wasn't over by some margin. It was over to the Opera House for the second part of The Members set..... 'Working Girl', 'Solitary Confinement' and 'Sound Of The Suburbs' I recall. Thankfully, I missed 'The Model'. I love The Members, but a reggae version of such an electronic classic by Dusseldorf's Robotic Fab Four borders on the sacrilegious!

The Members

Last up for the day were Big Country. Again no disrespect to the late, great Stuart Adamson and his band, but whilst beloved of many Scottish friends, Big Country never drew my attention. Good band and all of that but just not for me. The fatigue that was kicking in at this point in the evening helped none either!

Big Country

Jamie Reid British Artist 1947-2023

Punk wasn't just about the music, when done well it was the full assault on the senses, sound, sights and certainly a few smells.

Whether punk grabbed you from the stage or in front of the stage, visuals were always at the forefront whether your talents lay with your eye for a good photograph (and there were many) or with a cutting board and a sharp blade. 

Jamie Reid has died at the age of 76. A collaborator in all that Sex Pistols did. The band's songs and delivery fueled a musical revolution but Reid's artwork sealed the deal. The very mention of 'God Save The Queen' immediately brings to mind images of the mad Jubilee of 1977 but so much of the outrage was triggered by that image of the glorious monarch with a safety pin through her nose! 

And just reflect on that artwork for 'Anarchy In The UK'. Not a bad way to launch your debut single. A visual salvo that set out the Pistol's stall without the need for a single musical note!

The style of Reid's art was such that it lent itself to a satirical assault on any institution from 1976 right through to the present day.


I loved the fact that the Guardian reported the passing of Reid on their front page, surely a deliberate attempt to wind up their competitors of the press on the right!