Hear the the iconic hits of The Stranglers as Hugh Cornwell comes to Sheffield
and live on Freeview channel 276
Ahead of his return to the Steel City, Hugh Cornwell spoke to The Star about his Moments of Madness tour, which will see him performing at Sheffield's o2 Academy 2 on Sunday May 7, 2023
Accompanied by a full band, the shows will see Hugh perform two live sets: one part will be filled with solo songs, including cuts from his recent album ‘Moments of Madness’ and another featuring classic material from The Stranglers.
Following on from the critically acclaimed late-2022 release of his tenth solo LP, Hugh shared some insight into his recent overseas tours and also his excitement at returning to Sheffield later this week.
"Maybe I should explain why this show is taking place in Sheffield, it’s quite interesting. Last autumn we did the main UK tour for the promotion of this album, Moments of Madness, after it came out in November. When we got to Manchester, which was sold out, we had terrible problems with the venue and tried for hours and hours to fix this sound problem. We decided we couldn’t give a good enough show to the public, with a heavy heart we had to pull the gig.
"When you buy a ticket to a live show, you expect a certain standard.”
"So we decided to rearrange the show for the 6th May and my promoter said, ‘Why don’t you do a couple more? A couple of places that you weren’t able to get to in November.’ Sheffield immediately came to mind and I hadn’t done a show there in years, so we managed to get one booked in for the 7th May.”
It seemed as though fate kind of stepped in and led to Hugh returning to Sheffield, midway through the year.
Listen to the full interview with Hugh Cornwell on the Chris Talks Music podcast, you can sign up to receive all episodes of the podcast at: https://anchor.fm/chris-talks-music
As the leader of The Stranglers, Hugh Cornwell was the main songwriter of all the band’s most memorable songs across ten stellar albums: from “Golden Brown” to “Strange Little Girl” and from “Always The Sun” to “Peaches”, “No More Heroes” and “Nice ‘N’ Sleazy”. Widely regarded as the poet laureate of the punk era, Hugh Cornwell embarked on an illustrious solo career after releasing album ten with the band, and he has created a body of impressive solo albums to date.
“We’ll be bringing the exact same show as we were performing in November. We’ll be doing two sets and the first one is a selection of works from my solo albums, with a focus on my new album. We’ll be playing about half of the material from that. Then we will take a little break before returning and playing as many Stranglers songs as we can until we turn the lights on.”
Having bestowed upon his fans a comprehensive body of work that further consolidates his esteemed position as a unique songwriter and musician, his lyrics deep in musing and continual rumination continue to engage and delight.
Discussing the creative thought process behind Moments of Madness, Hugh explained that this time around it wasn’t so fraught a process as it has been on previous albums he’d worked on:
"It was so easy to create because it was familiar territory for us. We weren’t so cautious this time. Back in the day when I was in The Stranglers, we’d write all of the songs then they were rewritten in rehearsals, and then we’d go into a studio and record. It was a really boring process. It was painting by numbers, it was all locked down before we’d even got there. So it was a very dull and uninspiring, uncreative, uncreating, non-creative process.
“When I left the band and started doing my own solo records but I was with a producer. I spent a lot more time in the studio, just me and the producer. Then we’d bring people in to do various pieces, and when I stopped working with a producer I just had my engineer who worked with my on a few Stranglers albums. I used to prepare demos in the studio with him, send them to the producer and then we’d record them again. When we were doing Monster, I was sending these demos to my manager who said, ‘these are fantastic, I don’t think we need to record them again for the main reason that you can sometimes record an inferior version than the original one.’
"So he just said why don’t you try to finish these off as masters, I said ‘fine’, so we did and everyone loved it. This time around we did more of the same, what’s nice about it is that I love going in the studio with a half finished song, not all the lyrics are written, and not all of the music is decided.
"I go in with just half an idea and it’s amazing what happens when you just start experimenting with it. Sometimes you get accidents happening, you know? You come across things totally by chance, which makes you go ‘ooh what did you do there?’ And you end up with a bit of spontaneity a bit of creativity in the process, I like that and I hope it comes when you listen to the final product you know.”
In some ways it’s great when you can happen across something that simply clicks, a beautiful accident if you will. A perspective that Hugh also agreed with, which is always a pleasant surprise to know that the creator of such a body of work remains so amenable to breaking routine and methods in order to pursue another depth to their output.
Widely regarded as the poet laureate of the punk era, Hugh Cornwell embarked on an illustrious solo career after releasing album ten with the band, and he has created a body of impressive solo albums to date.
His tenth solo LP ‘Moments of Madness’ was released last year, and the record sees the artist continue his illustrious output by experimenting with musical genres as his enviable reputation as a wordsmith resounds across each song.
Hugh Cornwell will be performing at Sheffield’s o2 Academy 2 on Sunday May 7, 2023. You can get tickets to his show and the rest of his tour here: http://www.hughcornwell.com/