I keep in mind being 13 years previous and listening to The Stranglers for the primary time. ‘(Get a) Grip (On Your self)‘. Punk had began to kick in and I used to be turning into conscious of it. My speedy response to this was to try to hear extra by this band I’d simply heard with the menacing title. The Stranglers. Then they introduced out ‘Peaches‘ with a toned down model getting airplay. My pocket cash went on that 45, from Brees Information on Chestnut Avenue in Oadby. It was near Christmas and my Christmas current was the Rattus album on vinyl. In these days, vinyl was a factor to behold. I stared on the nice images on the sleeve and the within sleeve. I wished to be on this band. The album itself. Each track, incredible, fascinating, aggressive. The 4 actual characters on the images. I’d discovered my good band.
Skip to 2 years later. I used to be vastly into punk and shopping for every kind of obscure bands. My document accumulating had began in earnest. The Stranglers had been nonetheless my favourites, together with The Conflict. There was additionally The Damned, The Ramones, The Undertones, The Skids, Buzzcocks and numerous others. Plus bands who solely launched possibly one EP.
It was 1979. I used to be 15. That may be a yr that produced a few of my favorite and finest albums of all time: London Calling, Rust By no means Sleeps. Machine Gun Etiquette, and so on and so on.
And, in fact, The Raven.
It was a troublesome time. I had spent plenty of the time having to get between my mother and father preventing. Going residence and issues could be gone to the bailiffs. It affected my sleep and my nerves. My schoolwork had gone to pot and I didn’t at all times flip up. Having to fend off a 6.4′ 18 stone Jail Officer each night time isn’t one thing you brag to your mates about. They by no means knew.
My dad was a pleasant man, however demons received him and he drank. It’s from him I get my love of music. Thanks Dad.
Even he had admitted a begrudging prefer to a few of MY MUSIC although, particularly The Stranglers.
At 15, I used to be lastly allowed to go to concert events, however not all. We couldn’t afford it. I needed to fastidiously decide and select. My first had been The Police at De Montfort Corridor in September, however THIS, this was the biggie. The Stranglers on the large, crumbling Granby Halls.
I’ll always remember October 21st 1979. The primary time I received to see my heroes. All wearing black with the massive raven backdrop with the lit up eye. The thrill I received at first seeing them is simply indescribable. There they had been in entrance of me, enjoying ‘5 Minutes‘.
Plenty of The Raven album was performed dwell that night time. It was a really keyboard, synth led album. It nonetheless sounds recent to at the present time. Songs like ‘Shah Shah a Go Go‘, ‘Baroque Bordello‘ and the good title monitor, actually chopping the air.
The gangly, awkward provocative Hugh on guitar, sneering on the viewers, The powerhouse karate kicking JJ, my favorite bass participant bar none. Dave’s swirling mountain of keyboards and synths from which every kind of momentous noises emanated. The cumbersome and nicely constructed drumming God, Jet Black. It was the times of preventing within the audiences. It was kicking off a bit and I needed to hold my wits about me. I used to be solely 15, however my top made me look older. The scent of scorching canine, beer, sweat, low cost 70s aftershave.
But it surely was THE NIGHT of 1979, I received to see the band many occasions afterwards. Even getting my Raven tour programme signed, years later. The Stranglers remained my favorite band till the late 80’s, together with The Conflict, till Neil Younger took over and finally my present two favourites, XTC and My Morning Jacket.
Dave Greenfield was 1 / 4 a part of the magic of that band, however a giant a part of its sound. He was not a limelight hogger. He was a studious and discovered human being. He was into prog, had lengthy hair and a moustache, however was accepted by the punk and new wave scene. That’s how cool Dave was.
I had the pleasure of assembly him, with out realizing him personally, however like many individuals his passing SEEMS private. They had been MY band and now he’s gone.
It’s unhappy to suppose from a egocentric perspective I’ll by no means get to see them once more. Or my dream of seeing the unique band again collectively won’t ever occur.
However I DID see them. Many occasions.
(Major picture by Paul Reno Pictures).