Stranglers punk superstar to rock Clitheroe
The menacing voice of Hugh Cornwell, represented for many, their introduction to the punk rock explosion of the 1970s.
As singer and songwriter with the Stranglers, the man in black penned the buzz-saw hits of No More Heroes and Five Minutes, and the hypnotic pop hum of Golden Brown.
Thankfully, Cornwell is a man who never stands still.
His latest solo album, Monster, features ten tracks written about some of the most remarkable, and indeed famous, people of the 20th century, both heroes and villains.
There’s a feature film on the back-burner too and a science-fiction novel in the offing.
While the Stranglers are a distant memory for Cornwell, he left them behind nearly thirty years ago, society has changed beyond recognition since the feral days of punk and protest shook music’s foundations.
“I look at the younger generation and there’s not an ounce of rebellion in any of them,” said Cornwell, who brings his solo tour to The Grand, Clitheroe, next month.
“It has been bred out of them.
“Times are different, of course, and living conditions are much better and that’s very good.
“But it has become a throwaway society, and if they don’t like what is happening the kids just retreat into a safe environment.
“People are getting busier and lazier.”
Cornwell split from the men in black the day after they played a sell-out show at the Alexandra Palace in London.
“I’m intensely proud of what we did with The Stranglers, but I love the artistic freedom of working alone and testing my limitations,” he said.
“It is good for the soul and I find that process very uplifting.”
He adds: “At the end of my time in the Stranglers I’d had enough.
“We were in a band together, but our lives had become separate.
“I don’t have any contact with any of them.” (Stranglers).
Cornwell singles out Golden Brown as his most enjoyable Stranglers tune.
“I love Golden Brown – it took me ten minutes to write.
“However, I don’t find the writing process easy.
“It feels natural, sure, and sometimes I’ll revisit an idea that has lay dormant for many years.
“Then, suddenly, it sparks into life and I’ve got a new song.”
Incredibly, Cornwell celebrates his 70th birthday next year but he insists age is a state of mind.
“I feel great, very positive, and maybe my music can be a little panacea to take people away from all the chaos that is going on all around the world.”
He joked: “I’m Doctor Rock, providing a spoonful of medicine for our modern ailments.”
For the Grand date Cornwell will play an opening set featuring songs from Monster and other solo tracks and then round off proceedings with a set of Stranglers’ favourites.
“I’m being very brave,” he added.
“We’ll be able to give a good hour to the Stranglers stuff.
“But it’s the first time I’ve done a whole set of the solo songs.”
Hugh Cornwell, Electric Monster Tour, Clitheroe Grand, Saturday, November 10. 01200 421599 or www.thegrandvenue.co.uk