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Down In The Sewer

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2 hours ago, Barking Spiders said:

nooooooo!!!!! please dont sully the name of one of the greatest UK rock n roll  bands with that association!

Bit late to get upset about that. JJ Burnel:

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When something new comes along, everyone wants to be a part of that peer group, to the extent that they’ll deny their history. It’s only when they’ve gained some confidence that they can start to admit where that history actually came from. Up until that point it’s almost politically incorrect to admit your influences. But you can tell by just listening to the music. On our first album, the nearest thing we had to a prog rock song was this four-part piece called Down In The Sewer. That was about 11 minutes long and it was a suite. Prog rock, essentially, even if it was prog à la Beefheart and The Doors.

Worth reading the whole article too - I'd love to have heard the 6-part prog rock suite that Golden Brown (that one that alternates between 12/8 and 13/8) came from.

https://www.loudersound.com/features/rick-wakeman-meets-jean-jacques-burnel

Also always felt very strongly that JJ might have had the occasional sneaky listen to Chris Squire, to end up with such an upfront, technically dynamic & attacking style. Have the same suspicion about my other big bass influence from that era, Bruce Foxton.

I sort of think, @Barking Spiders, it would be good if we could raise our discourse above the playground rivalries of 1977. I play bass because of JJ Burnel - I probably would never have picked up the instrument if I hadn't heard Peaches. I play guitar, and was motivated to compose music because of Stuart Adamson, whose band The Skids (as you probably know) got their big break when JJ invited them to support The Stranglers at the Battersea show mentioned upthread. I'm (broadly speaking) a prog rocker but the punk era is a huge part of my DNA. It shouldn't upset anyone to understand where music comes from.

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3 hours ago, Bassassin said:

Bit late to get upset about that. JJ Burnel:

Worth reading the whole article too - I'd love to have heard the 6-part prog rock suite that Golden Brown (that one that alternates between 12/8 and 13/8) came from.

https://www.loudersound.com/features/rick-wakeman-meets-jean-jacques-burnel

Also always felt very strongly that JJ might have had the occasional sneaky listen to Chris Squire, to end up with such an upfront, technically dynamic & attacking style. Have the same suspicion about my other big bass influence from that era, Bruce Foxton.

I sort of think, @Barking Spiders, it would be good if we could raise our discourse above the playground rivalries of 1977. I play bass because of JJ Burnel - I probably would never have picked up the instrument if I hadn't heard Peaches. I play guitar, and was motivated to compose music because of Stuart Adamson, whose band The Skids (as you probably know) got their big break when JJ invited them to support The Stranglers at the Battersea show mentioned upthread. I'm (broadly speaking) a prog rocker but the punk era is a huge part of my DNA. It shouldn't upset anyone to understand where music comes from.

You raise a really interesting point (and thanks for sharing the article) about Foxton. I loved his bass playing and my mates often told me I was trying to be like him. All except this one friend who said my style was more like Chris Squire's than any other bass player. What confused me is I didn't listen to Yes, didn't know anything about him. However BF and JJB influenced me hugely so it makes perfect sense that I was channelling him through them.

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(still have never heard Yes beyond the odd single maybe? Did they do something with someone else once? I don't know. But I'd be happy to take a recommendation from someone.)

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1 hour ago, stewblack said:

All except this one friend who said my style was more like Chris Squire's than any other bass player. What confused me is I didn't listen to Yes, didn't know anything about him. However BF and JJB influenced me hugely so it makes perfect sense that I was channelling him through them.

I've had that too, despite Squire/Yes not being a direct influence on either my playing or composition. My "gateway drug" into prog was Rush - I suppose being into punk & metal meant I was drawn to the harder end of the genre. Took me a good few years to realise the second-hand influences I was getting from the players I was listening to.

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7 hours ago, Bassassin said:

Bit late to get upset about that. JJ Burnel:

Worth reading the whole article too - I'd love to have heard the 6-part prog rock suite that Golden Brown (that one that alternates between 12/8 and 13/8) came from.

https://www.loudersound.com/features/rick-wakeman-meets-jean-jacques-burnel

Also always felt very strongly that JJ might have had the occasional sneaky listen to Chris Squire, to end up with such an upfront, technically dynamic & attacking style. Have the same suspicion about my other big bass influence from that era, Bruce Foxton.

I sort of think, @Barking Spiders, it would be good if we could raise our discourse above the playground rivalries of 1977. I play bass because of JJ Burnel - I probably would never have picked up the instrument if I hadn't heard Peaches. I play guitar, and was motivated to compose music because of Stuart Adamson, whose band The Skids (as you probably know) got their big break when JJ invited them to support The Stranglers at the Battersea show mentioned upthread. I'm (broadly speaking) a prog rocker but the punk era is a huge part of my DNA. It shouldn't upset anyone to understand where music comes from.

I remember JJB saying in an interview that he thought Chris Squire was A “fantastic” bass player. He’s not wrong (Chris is my favourite player).

Also interesting that Chris himself, despite having been such an influence on so many who came after, has openly admitted that he himself was hugely influenced by Entwistle’s sound at the time.

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2 hours ago, Bassassin said:

I've had that too, despite Squire/Yes not being a direct influence on either my playing or composition. My "gateway drug" into prog was Rush - I suppose being into punk & metal meant I was drawn to the harder end of the genre. Took me a good few years to realise the second-hand influences I was getting from the players I was listening to.

I too was initially influenced by others; Lemmy, JJB, Geddy, Geezer, Glenn & Rog, Mike Rutherford, Leigh “Leroy” Gorman. I only really discovered Chris after reading that he was a famous Ric user in a book I bought, a few years in. I went out and bought Classic Yes and it all made sense. Although he has been a huge influence, in reality my style was pretty much established before I ever discovered him. He just dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s.

I came to Entwistle very late too, mid ‘80s probably. I’d been playing a few years by then. 

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10 hours ago, Barking Spiders said:

Nowt about wizards, mountain elves and albums with titles like Tales of Delirium from the Halls of the Topographic  Salads.

To be fair, they did have a record called The Gospel According to the Meninblack, which was a concept album about ancient astronauts...

10 hours ago, Barking Spiders said:

I also don't see much of a Doors connection other than some of the keyboard sounds.

Ironically, while Hugh and JJ were both Doors fans, Dave Greenfield had never heard them. 

10 hours ago, Barking Spiders said:

IMO a lot of their more mellow tunes are great with cracking singles like Always The Sun, Skin Deep and No Mercy.

Agreed! Always the Sun is a personal favourite. 

 

On 14/07/2019 at 09:54, kevin_lindsay said:

 The first two albums had some some fantastic tracks on them (as well as some real clangers!!). 

I don't know if we're talking about the same tracks, but I echo the sentiment. They could be quite inconsistent even within the same album, which isn't usually how I feel about bands I like, but for my money you could stick half of Rattus together with half of No More Heroes and make a better album in the process. Also, to me some of their best stuff were singles, even B-sides (like Straighten Out). They also have some very good songs that, I have to admit, make me a bit uncomfortable (like Sometimes).

My favourite Stranglers LP is The Raven, though. And if anyone thought Down in the Sewers was prog, have a listen to this one, where Hugh is in a different meter from the rest of the band: 

 

Edited by ZilchWoolham
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8 hours ago, Bassassin said:

I sort of think, @Barking Spiders, it would be good if we could raise our discourse above the playground rivalries of 1977. I play bass because of JJ Burnel - I probably would never have picked up the instrument if I hadn't heard Peaches. I play guitar, and was motivated to compose music because of Stuart Adamson, whose band The Skids (as you probably know) got their big break when JJ invited them to support The Stranglers at the Battersea show mentioned upthread. I'm (broadly speaking) a prog rocker but the punk era is a huge part of my DNA. It shouldn't upset anyone to understand where music comes from.

I tend to feel a bit uneasy whenever punks talk about prog, and prog rockers talk about punk, seeing how among my favourite bands there's one group which invariably is described as prog rock (Jethro Tull), and one which invariably is described as punk (Buzzcocks) ( with good enough reason, although to my ears, neither are the best examples of their respective genres). Not the most usual combination of bands, I'm sure, but there are a lot of music lovers who dabble in seemingly contrasting genres. 

Edited by ZilchWoolham

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39 minutes ago, ZilchWoolham said:

To be fair, they did have a record called The Gospel According to the Meninblack, which was a concept album about ancient astronauts...

Ironically, while Hugh and JJ were both Doors fans, Dave Greenfield had never heard them. 

Agreed! Always the Sun is a personal favourite. 

 

I don't know if we're talking about the same tracks, but I echo the sentiment. They could be quite inconsistent even within the same album, which isn't usually how I feel about bands I like, but for my money you could stick half of Rattus together with half of No More Heroes and make a better album in the process. Also, to me some of their best stuff were singles, even B-sides (like Straighten Out). They also have some very good songs that, I have to admit, make me a bit uncomfortable (like Sometimes).

My favourite Stranglers LP is The Raven, though. And if anyone thought Down in the Sewers was prog, have a listen to this one, where Hugh is in a different meter from the rest of the band: 

 

Yeah, Hugh's guitar work on that album is superb and BB is a great example.  Great band, the first five albums were so creative.  

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1 hour ago, 4000 said:

Also interesting that Chris himself, despite having been such an influence on so many who came after, has openly admitted that he himself was hugely influenced by Entwistle’s sound at the time.

1 hour ago, 4000 said:

I came to Entwistle very late too, mid ‘80s probably. I’d been playing a few years by then. 

Interesting that The 'Oo were the first band I really got into - went to see Tommy at the local flea pit with some mates, and that was that. That was a good year or two before it even occurred to me to play an instrument, and when I did, Entwistle's playing seemed so incomprehensibly complex that I didn't even try to learn any Who stuff!

38 minutes ago, ZilchWoolham said:

I don't know if we're talking about the same tracks, but I echo the sentiment. They could be quite inconsistent even within the same album, which isn't usually how I feel about bands I like, but for my money you could stick half of Rattus together with half of No More Heroes and make a better album in the process. Also, to me some of their best stuff were singles, even B-sides (like Straighten Out). They also have some very good songs that, I have to admit, make me a bit uncomfortable (like Sometimes).

I'm sure I remember reading that the first two albums, which were released just a few months apart, were pretty much the entire set they'd been gigging for the preceding couple of years.

Back then I didn't think that deeply about the lyrics but I was still conscious that they were often pretty grim - and from the perspective of 2019 the likes of School Mam, London Lady, Ugly, Bring On The Nubiles, Princess Of The Streets etc are often downright horrific! I think the really dodgy stuff is confined to the first two albums though.

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9 minutes ago, Bassassin said:

Back then I didn't think that deeply about the lyrics but I was still conscious that they were often pretty grim - and from the perspective of 2019 the likes of School Mam, London Lady, Ugly, Bring On The Nubiles, Princess Of The Streets etc are often downright horrific! I think the really dodgy stuff is confined to the first two albums though.

You hit the nail on the head. Taken alone, some of those lyrics are tolerable, but together they do paint a bit of a rough picture. It's hard to claim the sexism charges of the time were unwarranted, although I do think purging their records from the Rough Trade shelves might have been a bit much... 

And indeed, there was definitely a tonal shift, lyrically, from B&W onwards. For a rather stark contrast to the early provocation there's JJ's European Female from the Feline album.

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On 13/07/2019 at 07:18, bazzbass said:

yeah they were awesome in that timespan.

sadly I never saw them live.

Despite getting into them late (La Folie tour) by about 85 the two bands I had seen most were the Stranglers and Hawkwind.

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From Hawkwind to the Stranglers is a very familiar progression :)

Haven't heard anything by either since 1981, but still.

I think Black And White is the better album, but The Raven is my personal favourite.

 

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1 hour ago, ZilchWoolham said:

I tend to feel a bit uneasy whenever punks talk about prog, and prog rockers talk about punk, seeing how among my favourite bands there's one group which invariably is described as prog rock (Jethro Tull), and one which invariably is described as punk (Buzzcocks) ( with good enough reason, although to my ears, neither are the best examples of their respective genres). Not the most usual combination of bands, I'm sure, but there are a lot of music lovers who dabble in seemingly contrasting genres. 

I’m a prog rock fan through and through, but there are loads of punk/new wave bands I love too; the Stranglers, the Damned, early Jam, Buzzcocks, Siouxsie, all sorts of stuff. Never understood why they (or any other genres for that matter) should be mutually exclusive. 

Have to say I never got The Clash though. Gimme The Damned any day. 😉

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9 hours ago, Bassassin said:

Also always felt very strongly that JJ might have had the occasional sneaky listen to Chris Squire, to end up with such an upfront, technically dynamic & attacking style. Have the same suspicion about my other big bass influence from that era, Bruce Foxton.

 

People forget that the punks are up listening to other types of music! Johnny Rotten got into trouble for admitting he was a big fan of Hawkwind.

3 minutes ago, alyctes said:

From Hawkwind to the Stranglers is a very familiar progression :)

Haven't heard anything by either since 1981, but still.

I think Black And White is the better album, but The Raven is my personal favourite.

Still a big fan of Hawkwind, seeing them on my birthday in November :-)

 

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21 hours ago, Bassassin said:

Bit late to get upset about that. JJ Burnel:

Worth reading the whole article too - I'd love to have heard the 6-part prog rock suite that Golden Brown (that one that alternates between 12/8 and 13/8) came from.

https://www.loudersound.com/features/rick-wakeman-meets-jean-jacques-burnel

Also always felt very strongly that JJ might have had the occasional sneaky listen to Chris Squire, to end up with such an upfront, technically dynamic & attacking style. Have the same suspicion about my other big bass influence from that era, Bruce Foxton.

I sort of think, @Barking Spiders, it would be good if we could raise our discourse above the playground rivalries of 1977. I play bass because of JJ Burnel - I probably would never have picked up the instrument if I hadn't heard Peaches. I play guitar, and was motivated to compose music because of Stuart Adamson, whose band The Skids (as you probably know) got their big break when JJ invited them to support The Stranglers at the Battersea show mentioned upthread. I'm (broadly speaking) a prog rocker but the punk era is a huge part of my DNA. It shouldn't upset anyone to understand where music comes from.

In 1977 I literally did spend a lot of  time in playgrounds, still being at mixed infants so at the time I was more into playing footie than getting into arguments with other 7 year olds about the merits of 11/28 time signatures vs 2 chords. So, my comments are all in hindsight. I got into The Stranglers 6 years later when nicking  albums off my older siblings. 

Edited by Barking Spiders

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13 hours ago, Bassassin said:

Interesting that The 'Oo were the first band I really got into - went to see Tommy at the local flea pit with some mates, and that was that. That was a good year or two before it even occurred to me to play an instrument, and when I did, Entwistle's playing seemed so incomprehensibly complex that I didn't even try to learn any Who stuff!

I'm sure I remember reading that the first two albums, which were released just a few months apart, were pretty much the entire set they'd been gigging for the preceding couple of years.

Back then I didn't think that deeply about the lyrics but I was still conscious that they were often pretty grim - and from the perspective of 2019 the likes of School Mam, London Lady, Ugly, Bring On The Nubiles, Princess Of The Streets etc are often downright horrific! I think the really dodgy stuff is confined to the first two albums though.

 

13 hours ago, ZilchWoolham said:

You hit the nail on the head. Taken alone, some of those lyrics are tolerable, but together they do paint a bit of a rough picture. It's hard to claim the sexism charges of the time were unwarranted, although I do think purging their records from the Rough Trade shelves might have been a bit much... 

And indeed, there was definitely a tonal shift, lyrically, from B&W onwards. For a rather stark contrast to the early provocation there's JJ's European Female from the Feline album.

Our last guitarist refused to do Peaches because of the lyrics, I just thought they were just about some bloke walking along the beach thinking what most blokes do when they're walking along a crowded beach if we're being honest, and not being all PC. A lot has changed since 1977

I much preferred Rattus to No More Heroes, the story goes they were both recorded at the same time, the best tracks going on Rattus, when it was a success they quickly released the rest with No More Heroes and Something Better Change added

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1 hour ago, Barking Spiders said:

In 1977 I literally did spend a lot of  time in playgrounds, still being at mixed infants so at the time I was more into playing footie than getting into arguments with other 7 year olds about the merits of 11/28 time signatures vs 2 chords. So, my comments are all in hindsight. I got into The Stranglers 6 years later when nicking  albums off my older siblings. 

I'm really talking about the attitudes and the language, rather than the timeframe.

I know it's complicated. :)

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21 hours ago, stewblack said:

(still have never heard Yes beyond the odd single maybe? Did they do something with someone else once? I don't know. But I'd be happy to take a recommendation from someone.)

Close to the Edge or The Yes Album for starters. 

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17 hours ago, ZilchWoolham said:

To be fair, they did have a record called The Gospel According to the Meninblack, which was a concept album about ancient astronauts...

Ironically, while Hugh and JJ were both Doors fans, Dave Greenfield had never heard them. 

Agreed! Always the Sun is a personal favourite. 

 

I don't know if we're talking about the same tracks, but I echo the sentiment. They could be quite inconsistent even within the same album, which isn't usually how I feel about bands I like, but for my money you could stick half of Rattus together with half of No More Heroes and make a better album in the process. Also, to me some of their best stuff were singles, even B-sides (like Straighten Out). They also have some very good songs that, I have to admit, make me a bit uncomfortable (like Sometimes).

My favourite Stranglers LP is The Raven, though. And if anyone thought Down in the Sewers was prog, have a listen to this one, where Hugh is in a different meter from the rest of the band: 

 

The Raven is undoubtedly their magnum opus. The MIB and La Folie both had their moments, but it was pretty much all over for me once Jet started using drum machines.

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On 13/07/2019 at 22:24, Roger2611 said:

I respectfully disagree, many of the punk pioneers were very competent musicians and song writers, it almost like Sid Vicious was punk in many peoples eyes, yes there were many bands who lacked even the most basic skills but on the flip side punk also brought us some very talented musicians and song writers who still hold their own today, some 40 years later 

+1 I've often thought Pete Shelley's best songs could have been a hit regardless of which decade/musical era he'd written them in.

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This thread has inspired a bit of uncharacteristic nostalgia so I've been listening to a few old Strangs tracks. That closing instrumental section of Dagenham Dave (2;10 onwards) is 100% prog as f*ck! B|

 

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Back in the days when there were quite rigidly-defined partitions between music styles and their fans, a pal of mine was a full-on mohican'd punk, and I was a biker metal fan. We thought we were being very daring when we agreed to each go with the other to a gig of a band on the other side of the tracks. I took him to Motorhead, he took me to The Stranglers.

The crowd for both gigs was exactly the same people... 🙂

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1 hour ago, Bassassin said:

This thread has inspired a bit of uncharacteristic nostalgia so I've been listening to a few old Strangs tracks. That closing instrumental section of Dagenham Dave (2;10 onwards) is 100% prog as f*ck! B|

 

Yeah, to be honest it could almost be Yes!

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