by Bill Pearis
After 35 years releasing records, what keeps you energized and motivated?The Stranglers came up through pub rock and punk and later embraced new wave, late-'80s keyboardy alt-rock, and what have you. Last year, 35 years into their career The Stranglers made Giants, their 17th album and probably best since Hugh Cornwell left the band in 1990. It's successful, I think, because original members JJ Burnel (vocals/bass), keyboardist Dave Greenfield, and 73-year-old drummer Jet Black, along with newish (10 years in) guitarist Baz Warne aren't trying to be anything but the grizzled vets they are. It's got a No More Heroes vibe, musically, and the album cover, above, is a classic. Giants is getting a belated North American release in May and you can stream the whole album below.
JJ Burnel: I have always wanted to perceive things as like a kid and try to avoid cynicism and world-weariness. I try to maintain some kind of naivety so I'm excited by new things. And also because I'm a karate teacher, I'm always learning from my students. I'm what they call a deshi [disciple] in Japan. That's a useful thing to have in your mind. We're all students. Wisdom is when you know you don't know much. We're born inquisitive and if you lose that, that's tragic. As long as we are all enthused about new things, life's rich in that way.
The Stranglers had quite a hell-raising reputation back in the day. Any regrets?
There were things you didn't get around to doing. And the things you did, there was a reason. We were fighting for our lives at the time. Then of course we had some success. All that came with a bit of unreality. We got corrupted and weren't so pleasant to be around for a while. But then hopefully you get a bit of humility and you're back on the right track as a person. If you get caught in that spiral indefinitely and you think the sun shines out of your arse, then you become somebody you really don't want to look at in the mirror. - [MOJO]
The Stranglers will be touring this spring, their first visit to the United States since 1997. Dates include a stop in NYC at Highline Ballroom on June 3 and tickets are on sale now. All tour dates are listed below...
The Stranglers - 2013 Tour Dates
March 22 Cambridge, Corn Exchange
March 23 Bristol, O2 Academy
March 25 Norwich, UEA
March 26 Salisbury, City Hall
March 28 Carlisle, Sands Centre
March 29 Newcastle, O2 Academy
March 30 Manchester, Academy
March 31 Croydon, Fairfield Halls
May 1 Roots & Roses, Lessines
May 30 Detroit, Majestic
May 31 Toronto, Danforth Music Hall
June 1 Montreal, Telus Theatre
June 3 New York City, Highline Ballroom
June 4 Boston, Brighton Music Hall
June 5 Philadelphia, Union Transfer
June 7 Chicago, Cobra Lounge
June 9 Ink n Iron, Long Beach, CA
August 25 Galtres festival, York
August 30 Weyfest, Tilford, Surrey