Hugh Cornwell says he will be “ram Stranglers down their throats” when he brings his Monster tour to Australia in May.
“I’m bringing a bass player and a drummer with me,” Hugh tells Noise11.com. “It will be the classic rock and roll setup. No keyboards. We are going to play about half the new album Monster and solo songs. Then we’ll have a cup of tea and then I’m going to come back out again and ram Stranglers down their throats. It’s going to be like those geese in France that they make the foie gras out of. We are going to ram it down their throats until they can’t take it anymore”.
Half of a recent Cornwell shows featured 13 Stranglers tracks. Hugh has a workaround for the 80s tracks without a keyboard player. “Sometimes the keyboards are being sung by the backing vocals,” he says. “It makes me more inventive. I have one bass, one guitar, one drummer but three voices. You can create a lot of things with that”.
Hugh says he discovered the keyboard fix by listening to early Who songs. “The Who were equally as important as The Beatles and The Stones,” he says. “They have that guitar, bass and drums set-up. The early stuff of The Who used the backing voices as another instrument. If you listen to the old Who stuff it is very clever, the arrangements of the backing vocals. It is an added instrument. It’s a technique I use when I play the Stranglers stuff”.
His other favourite band is The Kinks. “The Kinks were just up the road from where I was born, a couple of miles from where I was brought up,” Hugh says. “They were local heroes. They were just as important. Great songwriting. Ray Davies was a great songwriter, what a body of work he had”.
One of his first music heroes was Cliff Richard. “I was mad on Cliff Richard when he first started because when he first started he was a Rock and Roll boy with a leather jacket on. When he started I bought all of his songs, all his early singles. They were real rockers”.
The entire early 70s UK pop and rock scene escaped him. “I had been living in Sweden when The Stranglers formed when David Bowie started,” he said. “I was out of the picture then. So when I came back and started The Stranglers I was doing it in a vacuum. I didn’t know what was going on there because I had been away for three years”.
That whole Black Sabbath/metal era UK scene went straight past him. “I lost interest with Black Sabbath. I was more excited with what was coming out of America by then. I added the Velvet Underground and The Doors to my interests. That Heavy Metal stuff didn’t get me but I thought Led Zeppelin were great. I didn’t have much time for the others”.
Here is a recent Hugh Cornwell UK setlist:
Pure Evel (from Monster, 2018)
Leave Me Alone (from Hi Fi, 2000)
I Want One of Those (from Totem and Taboo, 2013)
Monster (from Monster, 2018)
Stuck in Daily Mail Land (from Totem and Taboo, 2013)
Getting Involved (from Wolf, 1988)
The Most Beautiful Girl In Hollywood (from Monster, 2018)
The Prison’s Going Down (from Hi Fi, 2000)
Bilko (from Monster, 2018)
Black Hair Black Eyes Black Suit (from Guilty, 1997)
Mothra (from Solo, 1999)
Duce Coochie Man (from Monster, 2018)
Peaches (from The Stranglers, Rattus Norvegicus, 1977)
Duchess (from The Stranglers, The Raven, 1977)
Strange Little Girl (from The Stranglers, The Collection 1977-1982, 1982)
Hanging Around (from The Stranglers, Rattus Norvegicus, 1977)
Golden Brown (from The Stranglers, La Folie, 1982)
Skin Deep (from The Stranglers, Skin Deep, 1984)
Sweden (All Quiet on the Eastern Front) (from The Stranglers, Black and White, 1977)
Tank (from The Stranglers, Black and White, 1977)
5 Minutes (single, 1977)
(Get a) Grip (On Yourself) (from The Stranglers, Rattus Norvegicus, 1977)
Always the Sun (from The Stranglers, Dreamtime, 1986)
Thrown Away (from The Stranglers, The Gospel According to Meninblack, 1981)
No More Heroes (from The Stranglers, No More Heroes, 1977)
Hugh Cornwell dates
Wednesday 1 May Christchurch – Foundry
Thursday 2 May Wellington – San Fran Bath House
Friday 3 May Auckland – Powerstation
Saturday 4 May Brisbane – Triffid
Sunday 5 May Adelaide – Gov
Wednesday 8 May Canberra – Basement
Thursday 9 May Sydney – Manning Bar
Friday 10 May Melbourne – Max Watts
Saturday 11 May Perth – Rosemount