Published: 19/02/2014 12:57 - Updated: 20/02/2014 10:14

The Stranglers: From the Albert Hall to The Ironworks

The Stranglers
The Stranglers.


WITH a 40 year unbroken record, Jean-Jacques Burnel reckons The Stranglers are "the last band standing" from the punk era.

The reason they have lasted so long is quite simple.

"It's pretty obvious that we love playing, and also it's a symbiotic relationship. People come to see us, they expect something and everyone gets something from it," he said.

Last year the band's iconic status was cemented by an invitation to perform at the BBC Proms.

"That is some kind of endorsement of what you're doing, isn't it?" he asked.

"The request came out of the blue and it was quite something, really. The Proms is still the world's biggest music festival – it's got a lot of kudos – and to be chosen from the myriad numbers of bands going to do that – from my point of view – is quite a big deal."

And in the year they celebrate their ruby anniversary, The Stranglers still have plenty to say.

"There have always been two songwriters in The Stranglers – myself and Hugh (Cornwall) at one point and now myself and Baz (Warne)," Burnel said.

There are times when we haven't had that because people have gone off on their own and it hasn't worked that well. It's better as a collaborative effort and then we offer it to the others, they dump it. That's why our royalties have always been shared evenly. Which means we can avoid one of the pitfalls of collaboration which is where someone gets the royalties or there's more focus on them than others and it leads to resentment. I've seen people get very bitter and old friends falling out. We're lucky, but that stuff is down to the chemistry of individuals.

"I'm a bit more open to opening up about emotions than I was, but there is still so much to write about. And also, as we get older, apparently we get grumpier and more opinionated, so you can write about that as well."


* The Stranglers, supported by Nine Below Zero, are at The Ironworks on Thursday 27th February.

For more from Jean-Jacques Burnel see this week's Highland News and Inverness Courier.

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