Live Dates

2017
FRANCE
22 November Chateau Rouge, Annemasse Tickets
23 November Ninkasi, Lyon Tickets
25 November La Cigale, Paris Tickets
27 November Le Tetris, Le Havre Tickets
28 November La Carenne, Brest Tickets
29 November Stereolux, Nantes Tickets
30 November Yves Renault, Tours Tickets
2 December Krakatoa, Bordeaux Tickets
3 December Maison de la Musique, Blaye Tickets
2018
NEW ZEALAND
2 February Town Hall, Auckland Tickets
3 February Opera House, Wellington Tickets
AUSTRALIA
6 February Forum, Melbourne Tickets
7 February Tivoli, Brisbane Tickets
8 February Enmore Theatre, Sydney Tickets
10 February Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide Tickets
12 February Astor Theatre, Perth Tickets
UK
6 March O2 Academy, Liverpool Tickets
8 March O2 Academy, Glasgow Tickets
9 March Ironworks, Inverness Tickets
10 March Grand Hall, Kilmarnock Tickets
12 March Rock City, Nottingham Tickets
13 March Guildhall, Portsmouth Tickets
15 March O2 Academy, Bristol Tickets
16 March Tramshed, Cardiff Tickets
17 March O2 Academy, Birmingham Tickets
19 March Nick Rayns LCR, Norwich Tickets
20 March Cliffs Pavilion, Southend Tickets
22 March O2 Academy, Leeds Tickets
23 March Engine Shed, Lincoln Tickets
24 March O2 Academy, Brixton Tickets
26 March GLive, Guildford Tickets
27 March Hexagon, Reading Tickets
29 March O2 Academy, Newcastle Tickets
30 March Corn Exchange, Cambridge Tickets
31 March O2 Apollo, Manchester Tickets

Features

500 not out...

During a chat with Baz late last year, he asked about how many gigs he’d played with the band and that he thought he was nearing a milestone total. Unbeknownst to him, the comment was noted and his gig tally duly calculated. Amazingly, since he joined The Stranglers back in 2000, he has played a huge number of gigs and Birmingham on the Feel It Live tour would mark a biggie…

Birmingham O2 on 16th March saw you play your 500th gig with The Stranglers. Did it feel like a major landmark for you or simply another gig?

You treat each gig just like any other and as if it’s your last…obviously some are deemed to be more ‘important’ than others sometimes, by other people I hasten to add… Other times something has happened in your life or whatever and maybe you drift a little and lose concentration, but not often… I think, in general terms, you never forget how lucky you are to be doing something you genuinely love and that gives a lot of pleasure to people…we all love it as much as we ever did.

JJ presented you with a commemorative award to mark the occasion. Is it me or were you genuinely touched by this gesture?

Yeah of course I was… I had no idea they were going to do it and it was a lovely gesture…you don’t tend to think of The Stranglers as being sentimental or that way inclined, and for the most part we’re not, so it was a touching moment…

Baz's award plaque

Watch the Birmingham presentation video here
 
Back in 2000, you made your live debut with the band at a trio of troops only gigs in Kosovo but you actually made your first public appearance at the Schwung festival in Belgium on 27th May. Was it a nerve wracking experience?

Not ‘nerve wracking’ as such because I’ve never really been nervous at all about playing. I’ve always just wanted to get on and do it…but I knew that at this one there’d be much scrutiny given what Stranglers fans are like, and I wasn’t wrong…the stage was huge and there were at least 50 British fans at the side (including your good self if I’m not mistaken) so it was a test yeah…but with me it’s always been a bit ‘fuck you, look what I can do’ anyway, and that’s always served me well…and I’m still here…

You appeared with the band as a five piece with Paul on vocals for around 200 of those gigs.  How do you remember that whole period?

A lot of it was a learning curve, getting to know people and their ways and temperaments, and just trying to make sense of it all whilst touring and taking those first tentative steps to writing a song and daring to present it to them for possible use… I was actually probably more nervous about that than I ever was about gigging with them… The first song I wrote was Dutch Moon after about ten weeks of being in the band and I vividly remember giving them all tapes and waiting to see what they thought…that was a bit scary…turned out alright though…
 
How did the onstage dynamic alter once the band reverted back to a four piece at the Summer Buzz festival in Weston in June 2006?

Everything  just evened out…and things were a lot calmer…and, despite the odd moment, have been ever since…
 
2012 was a busy year promoting Giants across the UK & Europe and a packed summer schedule, although the majority of dates were played with either Ian or Jim standing in for Jet. How does having one of the stand-ins change the band’s performance?

It doesn’t really…Ian and Jim are obviously a lot younger and so the energy levels are often higher but we just get on with it you know? It’s what we all do…
 
Thinking back across those 500+ gigs, are any especially memorable or enjoyable and why?

Glastonbury 2010 was a biggie…80,000 turned out to see us on a beautiful English summers day and we absolutely nailed it… The first time we played in the north east and Glasgow. Hyde Park when we showed the Police a thing or two…there are quite a few… T in the Park when 30,000 soaked people sang Always the Sun, Paris Olympia last year, most of the Aussie gigs we’ve done over three tours, two Japanese tours…loads…

That Glastonbury debut!

And any that you wished you hadn’t played?

Yeah the very next gig after Glastonbury in Poland two days later…an age to get there and about 1,000 very miserable looking bikers…what an anti climax…
 
Do you have any favourite places that you’ve visited with the band?

I love Australia…I’d live there in a heartbeat.
 
There was the possibility of some gigs in South America last year which sadly failed to materialise as it would have been virgin territory for the band. Are there any other countries that you’d like to visit in the future?

Well, we’re finally visiting the United States which is my first visit there to play since I was there with the Toy Dolls way back in 1984 aged 19, so I’m looking forward to that…I know it’s not virgin territory for the band but it’s been nearly 20 years so it feels like starting again almost anyway…

Audience responses and fan feedback for this year’s Feel It Live tour have been amazing. It must be inspiring that you have such a loyal fan base?

It most definitely is…Stranglers fans are in turns loyal, sweet, infuriating and almost all friendly… They’re great and turn up all over the world to surprise and follow us… It’s amazing to look down into a seething mass of people in Tokyo and see a friendly face…very inspiring…and when we tour the UK they’re respectful and always interesting to talk to…love ‘em…they’re the reason we’re here after all…

Feel It Live-Guildford 2013

How has Jet been during this mammoth tour?

I think he’s really enjoyed this tour…obviously it’s no secret that he’s well on in years now and we have to keep a very close eye on him, but he’s an adored figure and he couldn’t live with himself being the total old pro trooper he is if he didn’t give it all he’s got when he’s got it…

Every time we’ve played without him in the past he’s never physically been there but, on this tour, he’s had to watch a younger man take the stool behind the drums to make the show work and that can’t have been easy for him…it’s his band after all…but the reception he gets when he climbs up to his kit makes your heart sing…and I know how much it means to him…he loves it…and everybody loves him…and, in this business, you can’t ask for more than that can you? Trust me…he’ll go until he can’t anymore…that I know…

One of the highlights of the Feel It Live set was the return of the Midnight Summer Dream/European Female segue after a long absence. Can we expect to see other segues in the future like Baroque Bordello/Ice or Nuclear Device/Genetix?

Probably not…or very likely…who can tell?

Oxford soundcheck

The Feel It Live setlist was again a real career spanning mixture and you tinkered with it throughout the tour altering the set, adding songs and even giving rare live airings to tracks like A Soldier’s Diary and Bitching. Does this keep it fresh and exciting for you to play?

It has to be as interesting for us as for the fans… I can’t imagine ever going through the motions just for a few quid and to keep some people’s faces straight…what would be the point of that?

We mess with it for our own entertainment and hopefully people will like it…they seem to most of the time… 
 
As you’ve just mentioned, the band make their first visit to the States during your tenure in May/June plus a pair of rare Canadian dates. Are you excited about your upcoming visit Stateside?

Oh yeah…where else can you get a 5lb bacon and swiss cheese dirtburger topped with peanut butter, sauerkraut and dancing girls at four in the morning…? Fucking crazy weird place…looking forward to it immensely…
 
Are you up for the next 500? 

Oh I’d love to think we could do that many again…we’d be very, very, very old men by then…even me!

Congratulations and thanks to Baz for taking the time to be interviewed on a precious day off during the gruelling tour schedule. Here’s to many more gigs as a Strangler…

Baz backstage with his award

 

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