Dave Greenfield (the Stranglers)

Dave Greenfield, English Keyboard player with Punk Rock band The Stranglers) Was born 29 March 1949. The Stranglers  comprise of Hugh Cornwell, JeanJacques Burnel, Jet Black and Dave Greenfield. Scoring some 23 UK top 40 singles and 17 UK top 40 albums to date in a career spanning four decades, the Stranglers began life as the Guildford Stranglers on 11 September 1974 in Guildford, Surrey, they originally built a following within the mid-1970s pub rock scene. While their aggressive, no-nonsense playing and idiosyncratic approach put them at the forefront of the 1970’s punk scene, they rarely followed any single musical genre and the group went on to explore a variety of musical styles, from New Wave,art rock and gothic rock through the sophisticated pop of some of their 1980s output.They had major mainstream success with their single “Golden Brown”. Their other hits include “No More Heroes”, “Peaches”, “Always the Sun” and “Skin Deep”.

The Stranglers’ early sound was driven by Jean-Jacques Burnel’s melodic bass, and Dave Greenfield’s keyboards. Their early music was also characterised by the growling vocals and sometimes misanthropic lyrics of both Jean-Jacques Burnel and Hugh Cornwell. The group was originally called The Guildford Stranglers,and operated out of The Jackpot, a Guildford off-licence despite the name, none of the band came from Guildford. Hugh Cornwell was a blues musician prior to forming the band and had briefly been a bandmate of Richard Thompson, Burnel had been a classical guitarist who had performed with symphony orchestras,Jet Black was a jazz drummer, and Dave Greenfield had played at military bases in Germany. Their early influences included pre-punk psychedelic rock bands such as The Doors and The Music Machine. From 1976 the Stranglers became associated with the burgeoning punk rock movement. However the British musical press viewed the band with suspicion on account of their age and musical virtuosity and the intellectual bent of some of their lyrics. The band’s early albums, Rattus Norvegicus, No More Heroes and Black and White, all released within a period of 13 months, were highly successful with the record-buying public and singles such as “Peaches”, “Something Better Change” and “No More Heroes” became instant punk classics. Meanwhile, the band received a mixed reception from some critics because of their apparent sexist and racist innuendo. However,such criticism was oblivious to the satire and irony in the band’s music, writing: “the Stranglers themselves revelled in an almost Monty Python-esque grasp of absurdity (and, in particular, the absurdities of modern ‘men’s talk’).”

these albums went on to build a strong fan-following, In the later half of the 1970s, The Stranglers toured Japan twice, joining the alternative music scene of Tokyo, which was evolving from the punk sound of Kyoto based band 村八分 (Ostracism), whose music influence spread to Tokyo in 1971. The Stranglers were the only foreign band to take part in a landmark scene focussed around S-KEN Studio in Roppongi, and The Loft venues in Shinjuku and Shimokitazawa from 1977 to 1979 and got to know bands such as Friction and, Red Lizard, who they invited back to London, where the band became known as Lizard. In 1979, while still in Japan, Burnel also became close friends with the co-founder and drummer for ARB. At the end of 1983, ARB’s bassist was imprisoned, leaving the band with a problem for their forthcoming tour. Burnel took time out from The Stranglers to fly out to Japan at short notice and join ARB to cover the tour,including appearing at the ‘All Japan Rock Festival’ at Hibaya park, Burnel toured with ARB for 5 weeks and played on two studio tracks, “Yellow Blood” and “Fight it Out”, both of which appeared on the RCA Victor ARB album “Yellow Blood”.

In 1979, one of the Stranglers’ two managers advised them to break up as he felt that the band had lost direction, but this idea was dismissed and they parted company. Meanwhile Burnel released an experimental solo album Euroman Cometh backed by a small UK tour and Cornwell recorded the album Nosferatu in collaboration with Robert Williams. Later that year the Stranglers released The Raven, which heralded a transition towards a more melodic and complex sound which appealed more to the album- than the singles market. The songs on The Raven deal with subjects like a Viking’s lonely voyage, heroin addiction, genetic engineering, contemporary political events in Iran and Australia and extraterrestrial visitors, “The Meninblack”. The Raven saw a definite transition in the band’s sound. The Raven spawned one top 20 single, “Duchess”, with “Nuclear Device” reaching No.36 and the EP “Don’t Bring Harry” followed by “Bear Cage”, backed with “Shah Shah a Go Go”

The Stranglers’ next album The Gospel According to the Meninblack, a concept album exploring religion and the supposed connection between religious phenomena and extraterrestrial visitors. It was preceded by a single “Who Wants the World”. The Gospel According to The Meninblack was very different from their earlier work and alienated many fans. The track “Two sunspots wasplaced on The Gospel According to the Meninblack. the Stranglers followed up with La Folie (1981) which was another concept album, this time exploring the subject of love it featured the songs , “Let Me Introduce You to the Family”, and “Golden Brown” an evocative waltz-time ballad, with an extra beat in the fourth bar. Cornwell said the lyrics were “about heroin and also about a girl. Shortly afterwards the Stranglers released a greatest hits collection, The Collection 1977–1982 which ncluded the new single “Strange Little Girl”,in 1983 the Stranglers released Feline, which included the UK No. 9 hit “European Female”. The album was another change in musical direction, this time influenced by European music

1984 saw the release of Aural Sculpture which feature the three-piece horn-section which was retained in all their subsequent albums and live performances until Hugh Cornwell’s departure in 1990. Their 1986 album, Dreamtime, dealt with environmental concerns and featured the song”Always the Sun. The Stranglers’ final album with Cornwell, 10,  featured a cover of The Kinks’ “All Day and All of the Night” and another ’60s cover, “96 Tears” and, the follow-up singles”Sweet Smell of Success”  and”Man of the Earth”. In August 1990, founding member Hugh Cornwell left the band to pursue a solo career due to an increasingly acrimonious relationship with his fellow band-members, particularly Burnel. The remaining members recruited John Ellis, who had had a long-standing association with the band And had worked with Burnel and Greenfield in their side-project Purple Helmets, and been added to the Stranglers’ line-up as a touring guitarist a short time before Cornwell’s departure. This line-up recorded four albums: Stranglers in the Night (1992), About Time (1995), Written in Red (1997) and Coup de Grace (1998)

The Stranglers achieved something of a critical and popular renaissance in 2004 with the acclaimed Norfolk Coast album and a subsequent sell-out tour, together with their first Top-40 hit “Big Thing Coming”. In 2005, Coast to Coast: Live on Tour was released. On their sellout UK tour they were supported by “Goldblade”. In May 2006, Roberts left the band, leaving Burnel, Black, Greenfield and Warne, with the lead vocals shared between Warne and Burnel. Suite XVI, the follow-up album to Norfolk Coast, was released in September 2006 (the title is a pun on “Sweet 16” and also a reference to the fact that it was the band’s sixteenth studio album) and continued the band’s resurgence. It Features sounds from the band’s heavier punk roots,  country and western Johnny Cash pastiche/homage “I Hate You”

On 4 November 2007, the band (with Black) played a sell-out gig at the Roundhouse in Camden, North London, marking the thirtieth anniversary of their headline run at the same venue in 1977. The set list was the same as the 1977 concert, with the addition of a couple of more recent songs as a final encore. The event is recorded on the DVD Rattus at the Roundhouse. In mid-2008, The Stranglers played various major festivals around Europe. Barnard again filled in for Black at several gigs while Black continued his recuperation. However, Black was back with the band for their UK tour later in the year. In 2008, Jean-Jacques Burnel has made comments in interviews which indicate that the band could be heading into semi-retirement after the completion of their European tour in 2009. He said: “Our drummer Jet Black is 70 now. It blows me away, the fact that he continues to play 90-minute sets. He’s been unwell a couple of times and his drum tech has stood in at a few festivals, but if he was permanently out, well, I don’t know what I’d do, actually. We could still record, but this is our last big tour, I think. I think all things have to come to an end at some point, although we’ll do one more album. I would love to think it will be the most beautiful album we’ve done.”In 2009 the band played at the biggest open-air festival in Europe (400,000 – 500,000 rock fans every year) – Przystanek Woodstock inPoland

The Stranglers continued their resurgence, in 2010 with an extensive 16 date UK tour, I ncluding a sold-out return to the Hammersmith Apollo in March. A new double CD compilation album, Decades Apart, containing at least one track from their sixteen studio albums and two new tracks, “Retro Rockets” and “I Don’t See the World Like You Do” was released in February. The download version of Decades Apart included an unreleased recording from 1978, “Wasting Time”, inspired by the band’s ‘Rock Goes To College’ experience earlier that year; this track, originally titled “Social Secs” was never released, and the music ended up being reversed and released as “Yellowcake UF6”, the B-side to “Nuclear Device” in 1979. They also played a number of festivals, including Weyfest and Glastonbury and T in the Park in the UK and Oxegen 2010 in Ireland, and concerts in Japan, Greece, Poland, Slovakia and Bulgaria.

In May 2010 The band released a new live album and DVD, recorded at the Hammersmith Apollo and in March 2011, the band completed another UK tour. Supported by Burnel’s long term friend, Wilko Johnson, & The Wilko Johnson band. In April, the band began touring Europe, with many gigs and major festivals lined up for the entire year. The band started work on Suite XVI. The subsequent album Giants was released in 2012, containing their first instrumental since “Waltzinblack” on The Gospel According to The Meninblack. The “deluxe” version consisted of a second disc containing tracks from the ‘Weekend in Black’ acoustic session in November 2011. In 2013 the band played a full UK tour. Several festivals were booked for 2013, including a session at the BBC Proms on 12 August. For the North America tour, Black is no longer touring with Macaulay playing the entire show. In September 2014 the band celebrates their  fortieth anniversary and their big Ruby tour throughout the UK (22 dates) and Europe (16 dates) started on February 27th

The Stranglers live Alexandra Palace 1990 http://youtu.be/l1MoR3j5M_I

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