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IN THE Stranglers' 44 years, they've incited a riot, fought with punk rivals, tied up journalists and taken heroin.

It all seems a long way away from the current music scene, where a social media spat can become headline news.

Jean-Jacques Burnel founded The Stranglers (originally the Guildford Stranglers) alongside Jet Black, Dave Greenfield and Hugh Cornwell - who left in 1990.

They arrived in the boom of the British pub rock scene, jostling, snarling and at times exchanging punches with the Sex Pistols and The Clash.

And as the genre's bubble subsided and bands around them split, The Stranglers stayed firm.

They head off around the UK this month with three Scottish gigs and have little intention of slowing down - although drummer Jet has now officially retired at the age of 79.

JJ, who turned 66 last week, said: "There aren't many 80-year-old drummers out there, he did everything he was supposed to do in rock and roll. We did call him The Hoover."

It really was sex, drugs and rock'n'roll for the band and modern acts seem tame in comparison.

JJ said: "Everyone wants to be successful now, they play safe, there aren't many innovators, people taking risks."

"They're talking about careers now. When we started, you were lucky if you lasted two or three years. Everything is more businesslike and showbizzy."

They are working on a follow-up to 2012's Giants, the band's best and most acclaimed album since the mid-80s.

But, being a band of pensioners, they often discuss mortality.

JJ said: "We talk about one day The Stranglers will no longer be, and it would have been 40 years over of our lives - and that's a weird concept but you have to be realistic.

"But unless I die in a motorcycle accident or someone in the band dies, we will carry on until we bore the pants off each other."

They split everything equally. Success and failure felt the same to all.

And success certainly seems the word for their recent renaissance.

Their UK tour, which this year includes stops in Glasgow, Inverness and Kilmarnock, still attracts new faces. Changed days from when the band felt everyone was out to get them.

JJ said: "We p***** off so many people, having punch-ups with people, irritating journalists.

"We polarised opinion so much that the press were supporting The Clash and the Sex Pistols. They did have nicer clothes than we did but that's about all.

"We were classed as the bad boys but we had the last laugh, and we're still laughing." ? The band play Glasgow O2 Academy on March 8, Inverness Ironworks on March 9 and Kilmarnock Grand Hall on March 10.



ROCK ON The Stranglers will keep gigging till they get bored

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 2, 2018
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