Last week we sent www.LyricLoungeReview.co.uk newcomer Tom Keane to catch up with The Stranglers as they head out on their UK tour, here’s the result – enjoy!
Thank you for the opportunity to interview you, it means a lot to me; I was brought up listening to your music, and a tremendous influence you have been. I hope that you’re all in good health; hopefully I will catch you in Nottingham in March on your up-and-coming tour.
You were the first band my Dad ever saw. His uncle was the gaffer at the University of Leeds’ Student Union, and from a very young age he’d take my Father to see bands like the Ramones and the Sex Pistols. You’ve very much shaped the way his musical tastes have developed, and as a consequence myself and my sister’s musical tastes. How has your audience evolved throughout the years? Is it the case that your original fans have passed your music to another generation?
A lot of our original fans have grown older with us. Some abandoned us after Hugh left. Then many returned after the release of Norfolk Coast and that trend has continued with Suite XVI and Giants. Furthermore one of the reasons so many younger people are coming to see us now is ,I suspect, yes, they have been influenced(or brainwashed ) by their parents but, equally, as a reaction to the X Factor generation where everyone is bland, safe, career minded, and outrage looks so staged. Our transgressions and misdemeanours of yesteryear now seem like credible badges of honour.
Last year you celebrated your fortieth anniversary as a band, which is an impressive feat. If someone were to tell you back in the 1970s that you’d still be writing and playing music, what would your response have been?
I wouldn’ t have believed them because we had no examples really of longevity in what was considered a transient occupation.
The Stranglers are a very prolific touring band; not just in the UK, but across Europe and America? Has this been the case throughout your career?
We enjoy playing. We are always thrilled to see each other when it comes to rehearsing together and ,after all, we are musicians in the privileged position of having places to play! It’s quite a buzz to be paid to do your thing all over the world and to have, in the course of all that met some great people and experienced some amazing moments.
When The Stranglers are on tour, are their particular towns or cities that you enjoy returning to?
Yes, of course but for differing reasons. Sometimes the venue stands out or the people we are involved with or the food in a particular place .
The line-up has changed throughout the years, though the core members of the band remain. Would you say that a band as an organism needs to evolve, or at least augment, in order to keep a healthy focus?
Absolutely and that’s what has occurred with us. After all, it’s easy to get stale or complacent and comfortable whch is the enemy of creativity.
Hugh Cornwell quite famously departed the band back in 1990. Since then you’ve gone from strength to strength, released seven albums, recorded live sets at the Hammersmith Apollo, and toured the world. A longer period of time has eclipsed since Cornwell’s departure than 1974-1990. In the present with a greater incite to the past, after the dust has settled, and perhaps some of the words between you have subsided, what is your relationship like?
Having had such an illustrious history as a band, and many of those years touring years, who would you say was your favourite acts on the circuit alongside you?
Acts? Now that’s an interesting word.
Rock music and punk music in particular seem to live in a cyclical motion; Every generation discovers the music in their own way, which can’t be said for other genres. Does that have something to do with the longevity of bands like The Stranglers?
I have not thought about this before. Damn you for planting a seed in my head!
I’ve asked a lot of questions about the past, but what does the future have in store for the Stranglers?
Ah good question. Don’t know!