Picking a soundtrack for the nearly 5 hour trip from Figueres to Toulouse I of course plumped for The Stranglers… Just because of Goodbye Toulouse really.
The Stranglers were one of the first bands that I really really got into a big way and kinda collected everything they ever did. Today however I only seem to have an odd Greatest Hits compilation. But my god, I had forgotten ( or maybe never really realised) how influential they have been on me.
First up the obvious one: the bass. Listening to Jean-Jacques Burnel’s roaring, snarling aggressive basslines it’s no wonder that’s what I chose to play. Also, almost everything that has really grabbed me since includes significant bass guitar work.
Possibly more surprising is the poetic influence. I still use a choppy, divergent and sometimes atonal style when writing…. Listening back to early Stranglers I can hear where I got it.
Lastly of course is the rhetoric and personal politics of it. A good few years ago Marc Pienaar and I had in-depth conversation about how our total immersion and belief on an entire canon of 80’s post-punk, alternative rock effectively programmed us with an idiosyncratic, idealistic and highly individual world view that, as more mature adults, may no longer serve us.
Again, re-listening, can totally hear those thoughts all over again… And can feel the emotional tug despite the fact that my total conviction has evaporated.
The power of music is actually beyond belief. So much so that sometimes it’s a good idea to check back in and re-evaluate.