Ever had an ear worm? Not the invertebrate kind, but the piece of music that just goes round in your head and you can’t get rid of it? I’ve had one for the past couple of days, or rather, I’ve had a selection, all from The Stranglers.
While listening to a couple of tracks with Dee the other day, I apparently became very animated and passionate about the music. Maybe it’s because I insisted on playing (Get A) Grip (On Yourself) pretty loud, or because I was singing along to it, but I think what clinched it was the fact that I really love the following lines:
Stranger from another planet, welcome to our hole
Just strap on your guitar, and we’ll play some rock and roll
It’s hard to believe that any beings would travel the vast distances across space and time to visit us (sorry, but my logical, rational mind takes over sometimes), and a) they would have a guitar where they were from and b) they’d know how to play it! But if you suspend that belief for a bit isn’t it a wonderful thought? Music makes the world go round, all cultures have it, so why not extra terrestrials too?
As well as the lyrics, I think The Stranglers have been as successful and are as good because their keyboard sound is so very distinctive and leading edge. I’d go as far as to say that Dave Greenfield (the keyboard player) was one of the first experimental synthesiser players, pushing the boundaries with weird sounds and effects (just listen to Waltzinblack for example).
In tandem with the revolutionary keyboard sound and riffs, JJ Burnel’s bass playing is majestic. He has a gritty, dirty, full sound that is just awesome, and on the likes of Walk on By and Mercury Rising it just sets my hairs on end. I’ve tried a number of times to recreate the sound, but without the same bass, valve amps etc it’s practically impossible. Here’s JJ in action, the image has been copied from shukerguitars.co.uk.
Anyhow, if you want to give yourself earworms that’ll stick for days, check out the tracks named above, rejoice in the lyrics, and figure out some suitable songs to play for when that guitar weilding alien arrives!