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Re: OT: Stranglers (was: Prog Rock in 5 minutes ;-)
At 10:53 PM -0800 11/30/09, Mark Hamburg wrote:
>On Nov 30, 2009, at 10:43 PM, Mech wrote:
>> I was big into prog rock during the first
>>couple of years of high-school (until I
>>discovered punk -- seemingly the anti-thesis of
>The Stranglers: Prog or punk?
Holy cheese! Either you're psychic, Mark, or I'm
once again forgetting which stories I've told
here on LD (loop de loop, eh?).
But whatever the circumstance, it does turn out
that it was The Stranglers that ushered me into
Punk in the first place. As a teenage Prog
keyboardist wannabe, I'd spent the past couple of
years dissecting the playing of artists like
Wakeman and Emerson (don't be impressed; I sucked
then, and I still do), when a friend of mine
introduced me to an advance single of The
Strangler's "Nice & Sleazy", from Black & White.
If you've not heard it before, the break section
features a keyboard solo that sounds like Dave
Greenfield is literally strangling a synthesizer
to death (brilliant!!!).
It just happened to be that moment I had an
epiphany: music could be just as potent (or more
even) by focusing solely on the raw emotion
behind the playing, rather than the technical
skill and placement of every
hemi-semi-demi-quaver. I started shotgunning my
ELP records right after that, and haven't really
looked back since.
Now, as to whether The Stranglers are actually Prog or Punk....
First, it does seem that the established Music
Critics [sic] do generally consider their debut
album, Rattus Norvegicus, to have the distinction
of being the first actual LP released from the UK
Punk scene (it supposedly pre-dated The Damned's
debut by a couple of weeks and Sex Pistol's Never
Mind The Bollocks by several months). That said,
all the individual members of The Stranglers were
accomplished musicians long before they became
associated with Punk, and I think the fact that
they could actually pull out some chops when they
wished caused them to be viewed with some
skepticism by many in the scene at the time. In
true Punk fashion, I really don't think they gave
a f*ck, though, and could actually play well if
it was called for within the song.
IMNSHO, I'd say that their first 3 albums --
Rattus Norvegicus, No More Heroes, and Black &
White -- should certainly be considered Punk.
However, the demise (ne้ suicide) of Punk and the
birth of Post-Punk created a very open and
"anything goes" environment in the music scene
for a number of years. Their subsequent albums
were thus free of ideological constraints, since
the very movement had shot itself in the head.
Like other musicians of the time -- PIL,
Sandinista-era Clash, or the US post-punk scenes,
for example -- their work from that point scoped
out in many different directions, doubtlessly
dovetailing into Prog Rock as well (<*cough*>
So, I guess a better answer the the question
would be, "depends on which album you're talking
"beyond this window, night is shuddering and the earth grinds to a halt
beyond this window, something unknown is watching you and me...."