Baz Warne, singer and guitarist with The Stranglers, talks to The Gazette
- 17:30, 25 FEB 2016
Baz Warne of The Stranglers in concert
When The Stranglers’ menacing, boundary-pushing, maybe even groundbreaking album Black and White first snarled and barged its way into the shops, a young Baz Warne couldn’t wait to hop on the bus to his local North-east record store and buy a copy.
Now, as frontman of one of the UK’s most enduring and unwaning bands, he’s preparing to play his part as the Men in Black’s celebrate arguably their most important album by playing in from start to finish on their annual March tour.
Wearsider Baz is the Johnny Come Lately to The Stranglers – he’s only been in the band for 16 years (although take it from someone who’s been watching and listening to the band since the 1970s that he’s exactly the right man for the job).
But he can’t wait to hit the road for a tour, which includes the 02 Academy in Newcastle on Wednesday, March 9, to perform a collection of songs which had a profound effect on him as he grew up against a backdrop of a rapidly changing musical landscape in which the punk scene showed marked signs of losing its way.
Though The Stranglers had the attitude and the anger, The Stranglers always stood a little to the side of their punk rock peers. Black and White, however, took them into a new, darker, direction.
“It was probably the first post-punk album,” reflects Baz during a gap between rehearsal sessions.
“Rattus Norvegicus and No More Heroes (The Stranglers’ first two albums) were recorded in one session but Black and White went into a different direction.
“It proved to be a seminal moment and it’s regarded as one of the greatest albums of its time.
“I was 14 when it was released. I jumped on a bus with my mate when it came out and went out and bought it. That pointed me back to the first two albums.
“Punk was dying on its arse at the time – everyone looked like Sid Vicious, with leather jackets and spiky hair. It was time for a change and they stepped away from that. There’s some absolutely great music on the album too.”
And the mood of the album has been reflected in the rehearsal rooms.
“We’ve just finished two weeks of the most intense rehearsals I’ve ever done,” admitted Baz. “It sounded menacing, nasty and dark.”https://get-latest.convrse.media/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.gazettelive.co.uk%2Fwhats-on%2Fmusic-nightlife-news%2Fits-black-white-stranglers-ready-10949786&cre=bottom&cip=17&view=web
It needed to be intense though, with some songs having rarely or never been performed live before.
“Enough Time has never been played live,” said Baz, “and there’s, a good reason for that!
“When you look at it from a musical point of view, you see that it doesn’t make any sense! JJ (Jean Jacques Burnel, the band’s bassist) has a vivid memory of sitting down with the engineer, the producer and and editing machine, slicing the tape up with a razor blade!”
After starting the set with Black and White, The Stranglers will then continue the set with a collection of songs from the rest of their vast repertoire – “a game of two halves” as Baz describes it.
Support comes from The Alarm.