Brighton Magazine

The Brighton Magazine

Selected Brighton Magazine Article

Sunday 03 March 2013

The Stranglers Won’t Be Hanging Around When They Return To Brighton Dome

The Stranglers and Brighton go way back. My first sight of the then Guilford Stranglers was through a street facing window of the Alhambra; a venue long since gone the way of almost all worthy city noise halls.

They were rehearsing that day, heading somewhere but no-one knew just how far. The fact they went on to be the longest-surviving and most continuously successful band to have originated from the UK punk scene of the mid to late 1970s was neither here nor there.

Their last single, Retro Rockets, was a protest song that appeared on a career spanning collection named, Decades Apart. 

Retro Rockets was, says bassist JJ Burnel, 'about all the banal music, fronted by pretty – or what people consider to be pretty front people. It's about the state of music now.'

Indeed 'the state of music now' has changed immeasurably since the band release their single, (Get A) Grip (On Yourself), back in 1977. They came from a time when albums counted as a complete piece of art, not a collection of single track downloads.


Burnel continues that modern bands 'have nothing to say. They talk about nothing.' He also acknowledges that 'without the fans, we're nothing. We've grown up together, and there are new people coming all the time.' 

But the Stranglers reeled in their fans with a trilogy of albums that arrived in eighteen quick-fire months.

Rattus Norvegicus, No More Heroes & Black and White. From thereon-in the fanbase were on board and the band were able experiment and reinvent their sound until frontman Hugh Cornwell left in 1990.

Their progress from Cornwell's departure to the mid-naughties was chequered to say the least. But recently the band have seen their fortunes and perceived integrity rise as they have settled as a four-piece.

Burnel added that 'there's nothing worse than going through the motions. You might as well be a karaoke band, or a covers band. That"s no good.'

The band will soon be back in town to ply their diehard fans with material from their excellent new album, Giants. It"s a collection that belies a band that has been on the road for some thirty-eight years.

The album"s fresh, stripped down and fuelled with a new energy that"s been stoked by their newest member, Baz Warne.

Baz, who has been with the men-in-black for twelve years, has only come into his own since the departure of long-term singer, Paul Roberts.

The Stranglers are a band back at the top of their game, with something to say and, most importantly, four musicians who feel they still have something to prove.

The Stranglers play Brighton Dome on 14th March. For more info visit

by: Mike Cobley


Credit Raymond Briggs

Though born in London, Raymond Briggs - creator of illustrations as diverse as The Snowman and When The Wind Blows, who has died at the age of 88 - became a long-time resident of Sussex, and forged strong links with the University of Brighton.

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