Quartet with attitude have Stranglehold on success

The Stranglers.
The Stranglers.
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They taped a journalist to a Parisian landmark, sang about heroin and have released more than 20 singles.

Now – more than 40 years since they formed – The Stranglers are playing a special gig at Sheffield as part of a wider UK tour.

Guitarist and singer Baz Warne, who joined the band in 2000, says: “It seems like only yesterday that I joined the band.

“And although I am a ‘new’ member, I am fully absorbed in The Stranglers’ history.”

And it is a rich history.

Originally called The Guildford Stranglers, the Surrey-based band embraced a number of musical genres, thanks to original line-up of blues fan Hugh Cornwell, jazz drummer Jet Black, classical guitarist and orchestra musician Jean-Jacques Burnel and organist David Greenfield.

And then there were the hits, including Peaches, Golden Brown – a song about heroin and a girl – Strange Little Girl and 96 Tears.

The band were derided by the press, but gave as good as they got.

Baz, aged 50, says: “There are so many stories about the Stranglers. They did kidnap a bloke who wrote a bad review and taped him to the Eiffel Tower.

“The band has mellowed a lot in age but they are still fired up and angry.”

It was the Press derision of the band that allowed the Stranglers to liberate themselves from musical categorisation.

And while Cornwell has long left the band, these principles fusing all manner of musical styles and influences, continues to keep the band fresh.

Baz says: “Jet is 76 now, it’s like playing with my dad, but he is still absolutely spot on.”

And Baz is still in love with his job as the band’s six-string man, not to mention vocals as well.

He says: “I can’t see my life in any other way now. I truly feel part of the band and love touring. We are constantly writing as a band but without the pressure of a record company. We get together regularly and start to deconstruct ideas and work on those.”

The band is 41 years old this year. And there is no sign of them stopping yet.

n The Stranglers play at the O2 Academy, Sheffield city centre, on Saturday.