Autobiography by the singer and creative force of 70s rock group The Stranglers.
Hugh Cornwell was born in 1949. He attended Bristol University to study Biochemistry and went on to work as a laboratory assistant at Lund University in Sweden, from where he soon returned to pursue his music career.
He was one of the founding members of The Stranglers, releasing hits such as ‘Golden Brown’, ‘Skin Deep’ and ‘No More Heroes’. He is accredited by many for having introduced the dark and subversive undertones that made the band such a huge success and so influential to contemporary and modern rock and punk music alike.
He left The Strangler in 1990, attempting to form several bands before returning to his solo career in 1993 with the release of his third solo album. He has continued to release hugely successful albums and make numerous high-profile appearances to the present day.
I pick the journalist up, blindfold him and drive him out to the house. He has a camera with him so he can take some photos of Kai. The interview goes well. Kai has the Im a misunderstood criminal, and although I rob banks, I dont mean to harm anybody, and I warned the guard beforehand angle down and pictures are taken of him and the journalist together, throwing all the money around like in a food fight. Afterwards, I reblindfold the journalist and drive him home. The following Sunday the interview is all over the front page of the national newspaper and theyve used the picture of Kai throwing the money up in the air like a kid playing in the snow. Its an exclusive interview with Swedens No.1 Most Wanted Criminal and it sells truckloads. The journalists career is made overnight and we go into the music shop the following week and sign the papers for the bands PA system.
ON THE END OF THE STRANGLERS
We had been continuously working together for sixteen years by the time that I left, and I remember a moment when that passage of time became a realisation. We had returned to play a secret gig at the 100 Club in Oxford Street prior to a tour, having last played there some seven or eight years previously. I was there in the afternoon while Jet was setting his drums up. I caught him laughing to himself and asked him why. He was sitting on his drum stool and had recalled the last gig there, all those years before. He remembered taking off his watch and finding a space in a brick wall beside him in which to put it. He had then forgotten about the watch until now, when he had checked the spot. Not only was the watch there, but it was still going. Passage of time is barely perceptible unless you can see that something has changed. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
This was one book I was really looking forward to reading this year.
Unfortunately I was left wondering who Hugh Cornwell really was.
And this was his autobiography!
As leader of outrageous former punk protagonists The Stranglers, Hugh was a formidable front man. A stream of quirky hit songs gave the one time most despised band in the world a successful career above and beyond fellow new wavers long-since fallen by the wayside. For me. The Stranglers were the best band in the world - and Hugh's atonal vocals chords were responsible for the hits Peaches, the anthemic No More Heroes and the snarling Nice 'n' Sleazy, as well as anodyne Golden Brown, which reached Number 2 in the UK charts in 1982.
Sixteen years on, (with three years shaved off in the back jacket inner) after a total of ten hit studio albums and over twenty hit singles, Hugh left the band in 1990. It followed a lacklustre live performance that I was (un)fortunate enough to witness at Alexandra Palace in North London. Like Hugh, I had also sussed something was not right on the night. While The Stranglers plodded on sans Hugh, Mr. Cornwell has quietly pursued a lower league solo career. But fourteen years on, evidence of the bitter acrimony existing between the two camps is well documented to this day.
Hugh is a gifted and creative artist. He was always sharp and acerbic, and although he was no hard man, he provided the threatening, the brooding jagged edge to The Stranglers menace. His famed onstage quips were omnipresent from the late 70s until the mid 80s. In my huge Stranglers collection I have a multitude of live recordings smattered with his dry humour and bad jokes.Read more ›
As I read on, this was clearly the case with this book, which follows a rambling structure, jumping about all over the place before finally dribbling to a halt in its closing pages with a series of Hugh's musing and fragmented memories on this, that & the other. As I read through Hugh's (or perhaps I should call him High) interminable boasts of drug taking excess, his constant name dropping and numerous star struck anecdotes (whilst at the same time claiming to eschew celebrity) and his damning with faint praise of his fellow Stranglers - effectively dismissing them as a bunch of underachievers who without his 'genius' would have been nowhere, my opinion of Hugh gradually shrank.
His sense of pompous self importance grows as you read on, with him expressing mock surprise that the rest of the Stranglers carried on after he left and more or less said "close the door after you then" when he told them. A less self centred personality would have seen that they were relieved to have seen the back of him.Read more ›