QuoteTwo Ukrainian brothers turned cannoneers fire German-made howitzers in the Donbas frontline.
Quote"We've had a few 'ends of careers' actually," he laughs. "We've been banned from a few countries and been arrested in a few countries – Australia amongst them."
"Which I now wear a badge of honour – everything's so sterile and safe these days. People are too afraid of f*cking up their careers. Bollocks to that."
Having emerged as a band in the late 70s on the wave of punk rock, The Stranglers were known for their experimentation across a large variety of musical styles, including art rock, gothic rock, pop and new wave.
With his time in a producing role for bands such as ARB, Taxi Girl, Lizard and more, JJ Burnel refined his ear for diverse musicality: "I used to love producing because it gave me a chance to learn new stuff in the studio."
"It's like osmosis. You pick stuff up and you bring it to life. I would learn a new way of singing, a new way of recording the drums, a lick here, a lick there, a new sound or keyboard."
It's this evolution that is at the core of The Stranglers' ethos: "it would be pathetic if me, now, at my age was trying to be my 24-year-old self, or – I won't mention any names – men with very long hair in Lycra who are still trying to be Metal Gods with their beer bellies."
"Make your own mistakes – humility is probably the most important thing to learn. It's as simple as that. Your success is not based on you. It's based on a hell of a lot of networks and help."
"Sometimes you evolve and you fall flat on your face. And other times you try something new and it works. That's what it should be about."
QuoteMost former punks end up touring the nostalgia circuit or cropping up at conventions. Not Christopher John Millar, aka Rat Scabies. When Scabies hit middle age, the legendary drummer with the Damned began to hunt for the Holy Grail. 'We all started off criticising government and I've ended up looking for pixies,' explains Scabies.
In 2005, the music journalist Christopher Dawes wrote a rollicking account of a trip he took with Scabies to the epicentre of it all, Rennes-le-Château, a tiny village atop a rock overlooking the River Aude in the Languedoc. Rat Scabies and the Holy Grail has taken its place as a minor gonzo classic. Dawes lived across the road from Scabies in Brentford and gradually got drawn into a world of odd theories and strange coincidences. 'I knew he'd be hooked and anyway this kind of yarn made me sound interesting,' Scabies tells me.