Stran­glers: We’ve still got some­thing to say

Nuneaton Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE -

THE an­nual UK tour by The Stran­glers is upon us and they will be per­form­ing tracks from their ex­ten­sive and ac­claimed cat­a­logue in Birm­ing­ham.

Un­like many bands that have been go­ing for over 40 years, the Stran­glers still have two of the clas­sic line-up present in the form of bassist J J Bur­nel and key­board player Dave Green­field.

The lead gui­tarist is Baz Warne, who has been with them for 20 years, and the drum stool is the do­main of Jim McCauley, who stepped up to the mark af­ter orig­i­nal sticks­man Jet Black re­tired.

“Jet is still in­volved in the band,” JJ tells me. “And he is the band’s ar­chiv­ist. He has men­tored Jim and has given him his 100 per cent bless­ing.” The fans, too. have ac­cepted Jim. “The fans love Jim. He ac­tu­ally drums a bit harder than Jet. It was good to have an in­jec­tion of new blood as there is al­ways the pos­si­bil­ity of us go­ing a bit stale.”

Hap­pily, The Stran­glers can never be ac­cused of be­ing stale.

“We still have some­thing to say and are still work­ing on new ma­te­rial,” says JJ, who was re­cov­er­ing from a flight from Aus­tralia when we spoke, fol­low­ing a suc­cess­ful tour Down Un­der.

“It was fan­tas­tic,” he grins. “Our au­di­ences are get­ting big­ger, and they have re­alised that we’re not just a nos­tal­gia act. We are a hard work­ing band that al­ways gives their all.

“It was pretty in­tense though. We did seven shows and 12 flights in 15 days.”

The Stran­glers came to promi­nence in the late Seven­ties with hard-hit­ting rock songs like Peaches, Five Min­utes and No More He­roes and their im­age was of a gang of men­ac­ing mu­si­cians.

They had their big­gest hit with the con­tro­ver­sial Golden Brown which just missed get­ting to Num­ber One in the Eight­ies.

‘‘The spirit of the band doesn’t dis­ap­pear and we’re prob­a­bly bet­ter than ever,” JJ adds. “We’re older, but we have a lot more to of­fer – the proof be­ing that all the shows sell out.

“We’ve al­ways made the mu­sic that we want to. We’ve never been told what to do. Some have tried, but we tell them to ‘f*** off’.” And there are still am­bi­tions to be ful­filled. “I’d still like to play South Amer­ica. We booked tours there, but they al­ways got can­celled. Or even China, that’d be good. And we’re still seek­ing to make the per­fect record.

‘‘We are work­ing on the new al­bum – that’s the main thrust of the year – and there’s also a movie (hope­fully) next year as we’ve found loads of old footage.”

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