Saturday, April 13, 2013

Feel It Live round up

JJ @ Manchester (Warren Meadows)

As I sit here with my crutches by my side, I suddenly find myself with a bit of enforced time to reflect on our latest tour.


I must explain that, immediately the tour was over, I had an appointment to reconstruct my ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) which I tore last August whilst training. It is just a reflection of how busy the Stranglers were last year that this was the first opportunity that I had to have the operation and recover in time for more action on the Stranglers front.

So, apologies to anyone who thought that I wasn’t jumping as high or as frequently as usual. Like Steve of the Finchleys!

A successful tour. Even more people came to see the Stranglers this year than last, according to SJM-our promoters. and bearing in mind that overall the numbers on tours throughout the UK this year are 10% down on last year. In anyone’s book, that was a success.

We even managed to play in a few places like Carlisle and Salisbury that we haven’t played in for ages. I remember last time in Carlisle some bloke threw a pint of beer over me, which elicited what I imagine he expected, only for the police to come looking for me at the end of the concert following a complaint from said miscreant! I left through one door, they entered through another! Keystone cops!

Even the last gig in Croydon, which we thought would be a bit of an anti-climax since it was added to the itinerary after the Roundhouse sold out so quickly, and was after what has become our traditional last nighter in Manchester AND is a seated venue, turned out to be a great night. So many familiar faces. Quite a few people came to several of the shows, all over the country. I suspect there are some very understanding spouses all over the UK. 
Feel It Live-photo Dave Sims (Baby Dave)
This tour we managed to change the set more times than usual. This in part due to the fact that we had to learn and rehearse two sets, one for just Jim alone, in case or when Jet didn’t participate, and one including Jet. And only Jet can play Genetix. It was already decided beforehand which gigs Jet would be able to make and which were just logistically impossible for him to do. Some stages just couldn’t handle two drum kits on at the same time. Our road crew who can probably play the instruments better than any of the band found it to be the best tour that they had been on. And these guys don’t only work with the Stranglers.

Graeme Rennie in WA (Nichola R)

However, all good things have their counterpoint and the first of these was the news that an old friend and fan of the band had finally succumbed to his cancer. Graeme Rennie died on March 9th. Graeme had met Nichola Still, who had been helping out with SIS many years before, through the Stranglers (In fact I’ve since learnt that quite a few couplings are on account of The Stranglers). Graeme was a Scot and Nichola was from the south coast. They had decided to emigrate to Perth in western Australia and were living the dream. Theirs was most definitely a love match. They had even bought their tickets to come and see the Stranglers in Sydney and Melbourne in December when we were playing there with Blondie. That would have been a five hour flight but, sadly. due to his illness they had to cancel...

At the beginning of the tour it was announced in France that someone that I had known years previously had passed away. Some of you may remember Taxi Girl. They supported us on, I think the second La Folie tour . And had made quite an impression. I had actually produced their first and only album 'Seppuku' and had had to bring Jet in to do the drumming on the album following the death of their drummer at the age 19 just weeks before going into the studio. Daniel Darc had since the demise of Taxi Girl forged a considerable reputation as a poet and recording artist. Our paths had crossed a few times in the intervening years and his loss will be keenly felt.

As many of you also know, my dear friend Wilko Johnson, who was my flatmate in 1977 and was a mainstay of the original Dr Feelgood, had also announced just before the tour started that he would be embarking on his last tour after being diagnosed with non operable cancer.

Good news and bad news. The only connection is that both fill me with wonderful sweet memories.
 
JJB/13th April 2013

47 comments:

  1. Thanks for the post and the fabulous tour JJ.
    Sorry for the losses!
    Wishing you a speedy recovery :)

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  2. There is a definite feeling of melancholy in this review. It feels as though time is pressing down! Inevitable, I suppose.

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  3. May I take the opportunity to wish you a speedy recovery JJ and share your sentiments on the loss of friends who will always remain in your heart and memory. Jet you rock big guy, Dave there is no other and Baz get your rocks off x Thank you Strangley boys for another awesome tour! The fansinblack shared some amazing times together. My Facebook pages were filled with gig pictures every morning, and those gigs that we couldn't attend we lived through the familyinblack sharing their videos, pictures and running commentarys of their journeys to the gigs. Time was once on our side but when fanisinblack are watching our MIB's we are all punky teens in the mosh pit again! Thank you guys we love adore you and will always come and support you x Bella with the red beret and baldy man Francesco - Big love to our familyinblack xx

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  4. Great gig in Glasgow the band are on form just as much as i've seen them at any point over the past 30 years.The first Stranglers gig i went to was The La Folie Tour at the Playhouse in Edinburgh back in 81 if my memory serves me right.I believe Taxi Girl were the support act that night.Sad news about Wilko and the passing of your friends.Memories live forever......Louis

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  5. Sign of time catching us all up and it seems to kick you harder between the legs every year that passes!! It takes your family, your friends and just as bad that young exuberance that lets you stay at the front of a Stranglers gig all night and not stand still!!! Oh to be back in those days like 1977 a?? Tour was a blinder and you guys are legends!!
    Let your body heal JJ as we need those high jumps back!!

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  6. Get well soon JJ.

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  7. Matt Safari BrignallApril 13, 2013 at 1:09 PM

    A great tour,and thank's for coming to little old Salisbury.It was a great night,and even people who had been slagging the band in recent years came up to me and said fantastic.Hope you are jumping high soon and maybe the band produce one last album (hopefully with jet)bashing the skins.

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  8. Thanks for sharing both your highs and lows... Can't wait to see you and the band when you hit Montreal in June....it's been awhile...

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  9. Bittersweet blog. very sorry to hear about Daniel Darc, saw them at Bath Pavilion. Think 'Seppuku' is an underated classic. Great drumming by Jet. Wilko is going out in a blaze of glory, such an exciting performer (would loved to have seen a project with JJ... though Norman Watt-Roy is no slouch). Yes, the Family-in black...how true....Jamie

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  10. Thank you for your memories about Daniel Darc and Taxi Girl! I feel sorry too for Wilko's disease announcement.

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  11. Just for the record, some of us were horrified to see you jump AT ALL given the gammy leg! A speedy recovery is wished for...

    What else can I say? Fab tour - best set list EVER, tons of fun (although I still think it should've been called the Cool As Fuck tour, cos The Stranglers just are). Again, I consider myself well looked after, and am truly grateful - thanks, all.

    Sorry to hear of the sad losses - I managed to see Wilko a couple of times on his farewell tour, and it just brought home to me how much I'm gonna miss him. Relentless bloody time, eh?

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  12. Caught you this time at the Roundhouse and you almost hit the altitudes you were reaching when I saw you in the Top Hat in Dublin in 1978! No wonder your ligaments are shot!

    Sorry to hear of your losses and Wilko is of particular interest here in Southend. I hope his remaining time with us is painless.

    Get well soon Mr B.

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  13. JJ - Make sure you keep doing your physio. or else it will bite you on the arse and touring will become more difficult!

    Good luck with your op.

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  14. Amazing gig , sorry for the loss and bad news bout Wilco, but life goes on, Norwich gig was superb x

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  15. really enjoyed the newcastle gig with bazs dad in the balcony, everyone seemed to be having a ball in the band and the crowd and it was daves birthday after all , even if he didnt say how old , good to see jet make an appearance he is held in such high esteem by the faithfull not just as the drummer but the god father of the band. hope you guys are all well and you soon get over your op, looking forward to more festivals being announced , hopefully something up north, thats not manchester by the way thats newcastle.

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  16. Saw you at Manchester and then had to come to see you in Croydon as Manchester was so good. Fantastic gigs, great set - the best band ever! I finally got to meet you which was wonderful for me as you have been my greatest musical influence. I wish you a speedy recovery and many more happy memories. Hope you enjoyed the chocolates... :)

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  17. " I remember last time in Carlisle some bloke threw a pint of beer over me "

    I was there, if I remember correctly you hardly played a note before he threw it..

    This time around with Baz was way ahead of Pauls antics,great set.

    Come back soon...
    You guys are "The Best".

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  18. Get better soon JJ. A great tour the band are still awesome loved Down in the sewer at Carlisle. Alas the deaths of people you know are sad but like you say no one can take awy your memories. Best wishes regards Fonz

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  19. well said great tour

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  20. Poignant...unfortunately the older we get the more people we lose along the way.Look after yourself...take care of your health...physical and mental...without them you will struggle...get off the fags, it's about quality of life in your twilight years...cut back on the bevvy before it cuts back on you.I have watched a loved one gasping like a fish due to emphysema because of cigs...horrible way to die...think I'm lecturing a certain Mr Dave Greenfield here if he is still puffing away. We want our Stranglers onstage when they are octogenarians...even if JJ requires a zimmer to give a high kick. Saw them in Glasgow, Carlisle and Newcastle...what can I say, if you were there you witnessed the vibe, the energy...brill gigs...all of them. Thanks for the gentlemanly kiss after the Newcastle gig JJ...sorry about the Greggs cheese n' onion pastie that I had scoffed beforehand! Looking forward to next year's gigs and all the guys healthy and ready to blow us all away again.

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  21. Have purchased VIP Tix for Detroit along with 6 other buddies. Can't wait!! Will Jet make any States side shows?

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  22. Rest up and heal fast JJ. Had the pleasure of getting to both The Roundhouse and Croydon. You were moving damn well, no complaints!! Glad you unexpectedly enjoyed that last gig. We certainly Felt it Live in our special girl places!! Easiest mosh pit since Sligo - met you outside the lift. No Greggs pasty :)

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  23. If you need any advice on your anterior cruciate ligament I am in the medical trade. Good luck with your recovery.

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  24. Cheers to you JJ ,Dave,Baz, Jet and Jim plus all the crew for what has been one of the best tours for years ,managed to do 4 shows Guildford,London,Oxford and Croydon and all were great however last night in Croydon was the pick of the ones i saw considering it being a seated venue as you stated in you blog, get that leg sorted and rest up and look forward to the next chapter in the Stranglers story.Best wishes Andy

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  25. Followed from afar and loved every minute of it, thanks to all of you who shared your experiences and to 'The Boys' thanks for 39 years hard labour and for reminding us all that old punks never die....they only smell that way! Speedy recovery JJ, we'll see you all back in Aus, wearing frocks, soon I hope.

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  26. hi jj hope you get well soon and so sorry of your loses,i have been a loyal fan since i was 13 and now im 50 next year and the stranglers are 40 how time flys thanks for all your music and great luck for the future .mikeinblack x

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    1. 50 also nxt year how time flys,when you havent got yr eye on it ,didnt go to feel it as work was more important but still nice to read was a success,damm 1st time not gone..sadly in 25 yrs. Always manchester .

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  27. JJ, get some well deserved rest during April. I have watched hours of live footage on youtube on the recent tour, and we are all excited about the return to Canada. I have my VIP tickets for Toronto, and my wife is bring a camera. Can't wait! Hope to get a great picture with the band and use it as my Christmas card.

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  28. Thank you JJ for the mention of Graeme in your Blog. Love to you and a speedy recovery from your recent op. Nichola x

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  29. Cheers for the Liverpool gig, blinding night out =)

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  30. Can I say you also dedicated Always the sun to my late husband during your Newcastle gig. Stephen Nattrass was a massive Stranglers fan he had planned next year for his 50th birthday to attend all UK Stranglers gigs as he did as a teenager. he sadly very unexpectedly passed away whilst in Fort Lauderdale on 3/02/13 R.I.P.

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  31. Was at the glasgow gig again this year, FANTASTIC! Was at wilko's last gig at the abc (Glasgow) what an experience. Get well soon jj and hope to see you all next year.

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  32. Thank for a great tour and the many happy memories which I shall treasure especially the lovehearts which I threw in Croydon. Looking forward to seeing you back doing your kicks and jumps at galtres in August. A speedy recovery

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  33. As you said, wonderfull sweet memories; enough to last a lifetime, and beyond. Life plays dirty tricks on us all, I'm sure we can all identify with your losses.
    Hope your knee mends well, you were moving around like a good'un at Cambridge!
    Thanks for giving me wonderful sweet memories, I'll treasure them always

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  34. loved the fact that at the three gigs i got to the set list was slightly different each night been going since '79 and honestly think that the sheer pleasure and enjoyment both on and off stage is better now than its ever been

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  35. I'm sorry for the recent demises.

    These days I watch your wonderful videos collection from 1983 to 2012.

    I particularly love the clips for "All roads leed to Rome", "Nice in Nice" and "Retro rockets".

    Sunday I read "Seven days in Nice" by Jet.

    I'm in a Stranglers' mood!

    I wish you a quick recovery for the operation. Take care!

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  36. This is the first year in ages I could not get to see the band - and it has really pissed me off. I recently moved to Exmouth, close to Exeter - and they didnt play there. So I wish you well JJ - and hope you get the south west in your sights for next year

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  37. Fantastic gig at the Fairfield Hall Croydon. Brilliant venue I just loved the OAP usherettes what did they make of the the Stranglophile invasion?!An awesome rendition of Tank and you are right Jet is the only one that can do Genetix!Come back to Croydon soon!

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  38. ....As far as "Understanding spouses" are concerned I stood next to a lovely couple at Carlisle and Newcastle, Russel and Vicki from Aberdeen. They told me it was either The Stranglers UK tour or a wedding....too right...just jump a broom and be done with it!

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  39. Went to Birmingham gig, best setlist for years. Sound was fantastic and band really tight. Loved Baz's rendition of 'Nearly the Sun'. Thanks for yet another great night. Keep it up gents. Andy

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  40. Congratulations to the band for the Proms gig, keep on breaking new ground and forging new paths...have seen Wilko perform many times...the bloke is a legend and he is taking a very courageous stance being to be cut down by the bastard cancer.

    Hope the surgery goes well and follow the rehab programme properly!

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  41. Finally now a chance to deck you JJ after since only have one leg in action at the mo.
    You kindly kicked me in the head during a gig in Newcastle years ago after some dick directed a mouthful of gob at you and I got the kick!
    Great gig at Newcastle and hope for many more outings to see the Lads perform.Speedy recovery from the op.

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    1. i was there and you deserved it mate

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  42. A rather reflective and in part, sad post. I missed you all this year (at sweaty Oxford). But I do wish you all well.

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  43. we were shouting for Jet at the Bristol gig and, as expected were very loud as he appeared. We however do appreciate Jim and his amazing talent. I hope he knows that Stranglers fans welcome him with open arms. Without him the band may have a real problem.

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  44. Another great show at The Roundhouse,I thought you were slightly less mobile than usual,hope for speedy recovery.Just like to add thought on Wilko.Saw him at Camden gig,boy can he play!!! And what a character,I wish him well.

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  45. Fascinating blog that resonated on a number of levels. Returned recently to UK from Perth, W.A. after my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer - being back in UK hence gave me first chance to see the band for almost a decade - Croydon show was fantastic - especially with my initial reservations with the venue! But it was a cathartic moment taking me back to Canterbury Odean 1981 and my first Stranglers gig.....and allowed a momentary emotional release. Thanks guys and speedy recovery with that there leg!

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