Express & Star

The Stranglers talk ahead of Birmingham show

Punk icons The Stranglers are back on the road following the sell-out success of last year’s Black and White Tour.

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The Stranglers head to Birmingham

They are taking their Classic Collection around the UK, to coincide with the planned re-release of the entire Stranglers studio album catalogue from 1977-82.

Fans can look forward to a slew of greatest hits when the band headline Birmingham’s O2 Academy on Saturday, Match 17. It’s a show that The Stranglers are also looking forward to.

Bassist Jean-Jacques Burnel says: “We’ve had some amazing times in the Black Country and Birmingham and around and about. We always have a great time when we’re on the road and it’s always sold out when we play in Brum. Our drummer, Jim, lives in that neck of the woods.

“We’ve got a very loyal audience but there’s also a sense of renewal of the audience. People who’ve grown up with us and remember times past are still there.

“They remember the problems of us being a young punk band. It seems to be that for some reason a lot of teenagers are also starting to check us out over the past 10 years. You know, with the last three albums, people have really picked up on us again.

The Stranglers head to Birmingham

“Also, all the bad press that we had all those years ago seems to be a badge of honour because everything is so cynical and phoney these days. All the bad times are now a badge of honour. It’s funny. We were the threat to western civilisation and morality and now we’re seen as a healthy thing because the music scene is all so sterile.”

Drawing from an expansive and impressive catalogue that spans some 40 years, The Stranglers will enthral audiences with an exciting mix of material, all bearing the distinctive signature style of this most enduring of British bands; driving rhythms, anthemic melodies, quirky time signatures and occasional dark humour, held together by those trademark bass lines and swirling keyboards.

The Stranglers are riding high on the crest of a resurgent wave of popularity. They continue to out-rock many on the live circuit.

With record-breaking, sell-out shows and festival appearances throughout the UK and the rest of the world, public demand to hear and see the group has never been so high; true testament to their considerable musical talent and the enduring quality of their songs.

JJ says it’s been a struggle and they’re thrilled to be winning the war. “Well, we’ve been used to wars from day one. We didn’t have a ready-made audience in the very early days. Even when we were playing pubs we were having confrontations with the landlord calling the police to pull the plug.

No more heroes – The Stranglers are heading to Birmingham

“In the very early days, people were also getting offended by what we were playing. We had people try to get on stage and whack us. We had, once, an agent who booked us for one show. They booked us for a Young Conservatives night in Purley, in South London.

“We were dressed in rags and tatters and there were all these people in smoking jackets and suits and bow ties. It was evidently obvious that we weren’t going to get on with each other.”

Remarkably, the band are more popular than ever. And they have offers to tour the world. The band pick and choose what they want to do – turning down things that are too much bother.

“We have to decide whether we want to go somewhere. Every time we turn down the USA they double the offer. There are a few places we’re not too keen on going to. The Americans want you to queue up for the American embassy and be interrogated about why we want to go there. You can’t make a joke. So we don’t accept the offers.”