What the Stranglers haven’t achieved in music isn’t worth achieving.
Icons of the British rock scene for the last four decades, they’ve sold 40 million records and played the biggest venues worldwide.
They are still going strong, coming to Preston’s 53 Degrees at the start of next month. And frontman Jean-Jacques Burnel (or JJ as he prefers to be known) is looking forward to it, not least because he has fond memories of the last time he was in the area.
“It’s near Blackpool right?” he said. “That’s great, because we played the Grand Theatre a few years ago and it was wonderful. It was an amazing venue, beautiful, and we had a great time there.
“I don’t remember too much about the actual gig because it was quite a long time ago now, but I do remember myself and one or two of our crew enjoyed some of the nightlife afterwards.”
Hailing from Guildford and originally starting life as the slightly less sexier Guildford Stranglers, the band hit the big time with Golden Brown and with hits like No More Heroes, Peaches, Always The Sun and Skin Deep.
Describing the band, the music critic Dave Thompson wrote: “From bad-mannered yobs to purveyors of supreme pop delicacies, the group was responsible for music that may have been ugly and might have been crude – but it was never, ever boring.”
Very true. And according to JJ, now aged 62, he has no plans of changing his or the band’s ways.
“I just love what I do and I feel fortunate to do it,” he said. “We never had a plan. We deliberately set out to do everything wrong and yet here we are more than 40 years on and we’re still going strong. If people suddenly stopped coming to see us I might reconsider and pack it all in, but that doesn’t seem to be happening.
“We played Glastonbury for the first time recently and had a bigger audience than U2. And we played the Albert Hall with the BBC orchestra last year, which was quite a big deal because it is such an illustrious iconic venue.”
JJ proclaims himself to be “indifferent” to X-Factor and to most of today’s music.
“It just doesn’t grab me,” he said. “They have nothing to say. It seems to be about making things rhyme and as far as I’m concerned it’s all pretty naff. There is so much happening in the world they could comment on but they don’t bother. I don’t get that.”
The Stranglers are at 53 Degrees on Sunday July 6 and are promising plenty of hits from the back catalogue.
Tickets to see these bona fide legends (with support from The 45s) are £23 from www.53degrees.net