<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/1028731116/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0">
6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Surrey Life today click here

Jean-Jacques Burnel on The Stranglers’ latest tour, the Guildford scene and his influences

PUBLISHED: 10:03 24 April 2018 | UPDATED: 10:33 24 April 2018

The Stranglers live in 2016 - JJ Burnel is left of the picture (Photo by Warren Meadows)

The Stranglers live in 2016 - JJ Burnel is left of the picture (Photo by Warren Meadows)

Archant

Bassist and songwriter Jean-Jacques Burnel is a founder member of the band once known as The Guildford Stranglers. He speaks to Duncan Hall

Why is this called The Definitive Tour?

Everyone has been asking if this is the last Stranglers tour – over my dead body! It’s the tour which defines us, how we want to be defined.


Has it been tough to tour without Jet Black [The Stranglers’ original drummer] behind you?

Jet has been there since the beginning – but he always had health issues. Over the years it has got worse and worse – five or six years ago he had to be rushed to hospital before a soundcheck. He is a good deal older than the rest of us, and he’s been a very naughty rock and roll boy. We used to call him The Hoover…


Wasn’t Jet the person who brought the band together?

He did and he kept us together. He supported us until he was completely broke. We drank his off licence [The Jackpot in Guildford] dry and he had to move into a squat! We travelled around in his ice cream van for three or four years – he’s an integral part of our story and still is. The off licence was at the bottom of Farnham Road near the bus station. Now it’s just offices. Our first ever gig was at The Star at the bottom of High Street.


What was the Guildford scene like at that time?

For us the scene was dead. We were desperately trying to get support slots at the university but they weren’t open to us. The salesmen at the local music shop used to look down their noses at us and laugh at our dirty jeans and torn leather jackets. We didn’t have the credible equipment that semi-pros used to have – but we were on a mission. We were filmed at the University of Surrey for a TV series Rock Goes to College, but that was in 1978 when we were famous and successful. After two numbers we smashed our gear up [the band was protesting over their fans not being allocated tickets. The show became notorious and was never broadcast]. We had built up a lot of resentment towards various people around Guildford. I went to school in Guildford so had a huge attachment there – my parents had a restaurant in Godalming. 


Were there any musicians who influenced you at the time?

Godalming was where I had my rock education – there was a pub in the high street [The Angel], which should have a blue plaque on it. Bands like Free and Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac played there regularly. They hosted the Gin Mill Blues Club. As a 15-year-old, I wasn’t really allowed in the pub, but they sneaked me in. I used to go there every Sunday seeing all these bands. 


What music do you listen to?

We are in the middle of recording and writing a new album so I’m listening to that more than anything else at the moment. When I get tired of listening to our new stuff, I play some Erik Satie or Astor Piazzolla, the inventor of the modern tango. On Giants [The Stranglers’ last album] we did a metal tango inspired by him.


What was the last film you saw?

I don’t go to cinemas at all any more because the last time I went I had a punch-up with people eating crisps. There was a whole family sat right behind me – I really wanted to listen to the movie and they were munching away.


What book are you reading at the moment?

I’ve just finished Conn Iggulden’s books about the War of the Roses – they are historical novels, and he’s really done his research. It’s been a real education. I love historical novels – you learn lots of things from being entertained. 


More…

What celebrities love about Surrey - Over the years, some of Surrey’s best known personalities have revealed what they most love about our county to Surrey Life. Here, we compile their favourite restaurants, shops, views, places to visit

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Surrey visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Surrey staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Surrey account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Surrey Life

Friday, May 18, 2018

This month we launch our annual photography competition, sponsored by Portmore Dental. The winners will be featured in our 2019 Beautiful Surrey calendar. Here are some inspirational shots submitted over the last month, alongside details of this year’s prizes and how to enter

Read more
Friday, May 18, 2018

We round up 10 of the most beautiful photos of Surrey shared on Instagram this week…

Read more
Thursday, May 17, 2018

This edition of Surrey Life features all the local ingredients to make this month special

Read more
Thursday, May 17, 2018

As well as viewing all the new and vibrant show content first, there’s plenty to do at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show Preview Evening on Monday 2 July from 5pm to 10.30pm.

Read more
Thursday, May 17, 2018

We are offering one lucky winner the chance to win a pair of tickets to see Fanfare and Fireworks with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra at Hampton Court Palace

Read more
Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Whilst watching the high (or ‘low’ depending upon your perspective) lights of yet another Donald Trump press conference, my mind skipped back to when I was around five or six years old and my favourite toy was Action Man.

Read more
Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Grab your morning papers and head to one of these great Surrey eateries for breakfast

Read more
Tuesday, May 15, 2018

A lot of work goes into making the Surrey Hills AONB an enjoyable place for visitors to enjoy. We speak to six people who live and breathe the hills as part of their working lives

Read more
Monday, May 14, 2018

As this extraordinary piece of protected countryside celebrates 60 years since being designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, we look at the Surrey Hills through the ages

Read more
Monday, May 14, 2018

Here we take a look around our county at some of Surrey's very best coffee shops

Read more
Monday, May 14, 2018

One of the biggest foodie events in the Surrey calendar is back for 2018! Voting is open and this year’s event will take place at G Live, Guildford on Thursday 13 September 2018

Read more
Monday, May 14, 2018

Great things to do in Surrey this weekend: art exhibitions, walks, concerts, theatre, places to visit and other events and ideas.

Read more
Thursday, May 10, 2018

It’s the wedding season and that means one thing – a new outfit. Janet Reeder picks out the dresses and accessories with the wow factor

Read more
Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Move over Frankie Dettori, this Derby Day a new Frankie is set to be the talk of Epsom town. She’s glamorous, intelligent and loves a day out at Bocketts Farm; Lauren Stone meets Frankie Bridge – member of girl band The Saturdays, presenter, Strictly Come Dancing tar and this year’s Investec Derby Day ambassador

Read more
 
Great British Holidays advert link

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Surrey's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area



Property Search