Stranglers get set for latest tour

Band show no sign of letting up after 35 years on the road

THIRTY-SIX years after forming punk legends The Stranglers are showing no sign of fatigue with their latest tour kicking-off next month – a year after their last.

The Black and Blue tour will see the band play 17 dates throughout March before heading back to the studio to finish their 17th album, flying off to Europe for a series of acoustic gigs and preparing for next year’s world tour to promote the album.

“We’re a live band; you live for that hour and a half in the evening and that’s where you get fulfilled. It’s just a fix that you need after a while,” Jean-Jaques Burnel, Karate enthusiast and the band’s bass player, said.

But with no album to promote JJ suggests this is as good a time as any to catch the band.

“This is just for the crack; there are no commercial pressures so we will try out some new stuff before we record it, which is how we use to do it, as well as stuff we haven’t played for 20 years.”

Playing the same tracks for 30 years must be testing for anyone.

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“Sometimes you don’t want to play certain songs because you’re fed up with them. Peaches was a hit years back and used in adverts a lot so we didn’t play it for about 13 years,” he said.

“We are not a cabaret band; if you start going through the motions then you really are lost. You have to play your music with some love and affection.”

JJ said the band’s continuing success is partly down to a new generation of fans discovering them through the internet and festivals which has had a knock-on effect on the last two albums, Norfolk Coast and Suite XVI.

“They have been the best received ever which for a bunch of old gits like us … and at festivals, the older guys with the balding heads are being pushed out of the mosh-pit by younger fitter men,” he said.

Supporting the band on the tour will be JJ’s old friend Wilko Johnson, formerly of Dr Feelgood.

“Wilco and I used to live together in the 70s and all kind of colourful people would turn up there; Lemmy would turn up at 4 in the morning completely off his skull and the Sex Pistols and Clash would all turn up after gigs.”

But those heady days seem over with JJ spending his spare time teaching Karate (he recently got his black belt sixth dan in Japan!) or driving his motorbike around the streets of London.

But with two tours to rehearse for and an album to record the 58-year-old will need his energy.

*The Stranglers play the Hammersmith Apollo on Friday, March 17. Tickets �25 from or 0844 811 0051