Interview: The Stranglers front man Baz Warne on the band’s 17th studio album and their forthcoming world tour

By Dean Wilkins

English punk-rockers The Stranglers are heading to Manchester Academy in March as they embark on their latest tour.

The Stranglers have a music career that spans five decades, which is pretty much as long as the coarsely melodic Rattus Norvegicus could charge through one’s ears on repeat.

They’re an unequivocally humble quartet in the 21st Century, as adolescent antics of old have subsided to make way for depth and discovery.

The Guildford based four-piece are the longest surviving and most successful band to have originated from the 1970s British-punk era. They bombarded the mainstream charts with Peaches, No More Heroes and crowd favourite Golden Brown. More recently they have announced their 17th studio album release, Giants and will embark on a world tour starting this March.

MM caught up with lead singer and axe-man Baz Warne:

First off, how’s Jet Black? It’s great to know he’ll be a part of the tour.

Jet’s fine and fighting fit. Saw him a couple of weeks ago as we were putting the finishing touches to the album and he’s in great form and looking forward to the tour as much as always.

It’s good to see you playing Manchester again, which is your favourite city venue to play in? Why?

Well Manchester is always a great one, but there are a few others which always lift the skirt too… Glasgow always sticks out in my mind and if we’re talking abroad, Paris and Milan always go off. Any Aussie gig too, always a good time.

Is there something about touring that you just can’t resist? After four decades of performing in front of audiences it must feel very different from when you guys were being booed off stage?

Well as I’ve only been in the band for 12 years I haven’t experienced much of the booing that they used to face. I have been booed with my other band many years ago and no matter how much of a brave face you put on it, and try to brazen it out, it still rankles. I don’t care who you are, you wouldn’t be human if it didn’t.

But touring is in the blood, it sounds clichéd but it is very true, as most clichés are, it’s why you join a band in the 1st place and the rush is as great as ever.

What does it mean to you as musicians to be considered one of the greatest punk bands in history?

It’s nice to know that all the work hasn’t been in vain. Making your mark is all you can ever do.

Do you regret not moving into rock n roll?

Regret? Not for 1 minute, why should I? It’s given me a fantastic living: to travel and meet and connect with people all over the world and to do what I truly love, to create and perform. It has it’s down sides too of course, like anything does, and there have been prices to pay, but overall I love it as much as I ever did. We all do.

What’s your favourite Mancunian hotspot?

Oh I don’t get out into the cities too much anymore when we’re touring – it’s usually too hectic for that so I don’t really know. The last time I was in Manchester on a day off I got taken to a pub which used to be a public toilet under the street right in the town centre. That was funky, different and quirky. I enjoyed that.

Are you guys still playing and producing albums in dedication to your fans from over the years? Are you interested, or bothered, about further connecting with the generation of today?

We‘ve just spent over two years on the latest one Giants which is out in March, is that dedicated enough for you? It’s our 17th studio album.

The last thing we want is to go down the sad old nostalgia route. There’ll always be an element of the past with a band with such a long career, but you’ve got to keep looking forward too, always.

The age ranges at our shows confirm that we’re making new young fans all the time. In recent years we’ve played Glastonbury, V Festivals, T in the Park, Oxygen, Isle of Wight and had great shows…

Which is your favourite track to play live and why?

Love playing them all. Walk on By will probably always be a favourite though I suppose…

What can we expect from your upcoming gigs?

The unexpected.

Where will you go from here? Are you working on any new material or collaborations at the moment? Perhaps some well earned rest? Or even retirement?

You’re a cheeky one [laughs]. No retirement or rest on the horizon no, not while we’ve still got something to say. We’ve got an album to promote and a world tour to promote it so we’ll be busy for a while yet.

If you can’t wait until March 24, check out The Stranglers in action below:

Image courtesy of Dena Flows, with thanks

Related Articles