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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*> 
Meninblack <*cough*><*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...."