Hugh Cornwell: '˜We're gonna do The Stranglers till they put the lights up'

HUGH Cornwell caused a stir in 1990 when he left the band he had co-founded, The Stranglers.
Hugh CornwellHugh Cornwell
Hugh Cornwell

Since then he has forged a successful solo career and released some excellent albums such as Hooverdam.

He has now just released a brand new album, entitled Monster, which he is taking out on the road.

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“The album started out with a song about my mother, who passed away a few years ago. She had never had a song written about her and then I thought that there were other people who haven’t had a song written about them,” says Cornwell.

For example?

“Evel Knievel for one, remember him? And there’s a jazz musician called Mose Allison, he was so good they called him ‘the musician’s musician’. And it just went on from there.”

The album has not been out long, is he proud of it?

Cornwell laughs. “No, I hate it. No, you don’t put two years of work into something and not like it. It’s much better than Hooverdam. It’s more complete.”

Many people have said that it’s the best album Cornwell has done in years.

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“Well,” he says, “that’s not for me to say, but there’s been quite a few good reviews already.”

But he won’t be playing the whole album on the tour.

“No, I’m not going to play it all, maybe about half of it, mixed in with some songs from my solo career.

“That’s the first half. The show is going to be in two halves – and all electric. I’ve done a lot of acoustic shows in the last few years, but not this tour.”

Cornwell has a new band behind him.

“I’ve got a drummer who has worked with me in the past, and a bassist. Funnily enough, they are both from Guildford (where The Stranglers were formed), who would have thought I’d have a band from Guildford?” he quips.

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“These guys sing like angels and we’ve done a few shows opening for Wilko Johnson.”

So we know about the first half of the show, what about the second?

“We’re gonna do The Stranglers till they put the lights up. We’re gonna ram The Stranglers down your throat.”

Cornwell says he’ll be playing all the big hits by the band: No More Heroes, Peaches, Nice And Sleazy and of course Golden Brown.

Cornwell takes up the story.

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“Just like the show, the album is also in two parts, as there is a second disc of Stranglers songs done acoustically.

“Some of the songs, like No More Heroes, work really well, but certainly not all – and there’ll be no acoustic songs on this tour.”

And Cornwell is looking forward to getting out on tour again.

“Absolutely,” he enthuses, “it’s gonna be great.”

Hugh Cornwell and his band play at Fibbers, York on Saturday November 17.