Jet Black (The Syranglers)

imageJet Black, the English drummer and founder member of punk rock / new wave band The Stranglers was born 26 August 1938, Ilford, Essex. Initially Black was a successful businessman up until the mid-1970s, owning a fleet of ice cream vans, and an off-licence in Guildford, called ‘The Jackpot’.this establishment was the base for the early Stranglers. He was also the owner of one of the earliest home brewing equipment companies, at the time of a vogue in home brewing. He became a full-time professional musician in the mid-1970s and met Hugh Cornwell of band Johnny Sox after reading an advertisement in the Melody Maker magazine. Cornwell joined Black in The Stranglers in 1974.

The Stranglers are an English punk rock music group.Scoring some 23 UK top 40 singles and 17 UK top 40 albums to date in a career spanning four decades, the Stranglers are the longest-surviving and most “continuously successful” band to have originated in the UK punk scene of the mid to late 1970s. Beginning 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-compromise attitude identified them as one of the instigators of the UK punk rock scene that followed, their idiosyncratic approach 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, but also gave prominence to Dave Greenfield’s keyboards at a time when the instrument was seen as unfashionable. Their early music was also characterised by the growling vocals and sometimes misanthropic lyrics of both Jean-Jacques Burnel and Hugh Cornwell. Over time, their output gradually grew more refined and sophisticated. Summing up their contribution to popular music, critic Dave Thompson later wrote: “From bad-mannered yobs to purveyors of supreme pop delicacies, the group was responsible for music that may have been ugly and might have been crude – but it was never, ever boring.”

His style is usually simple and jazz-influenced, although “Duchess” and “Down in the Sewer” are examples of Stranglers songs that feature more frantic drumming. In the mid-1980s, Black elected to cease playing acoustic drums in the recording studio and used aSimmons kit triggered by pick-ups, most notably on the Feline and Aural Sculpture albums. Black is still currently drumming for The Stranglers, despite his advancing years. His name is frequently chanted by the crowd at concerts.Speaking ahead of their 2008/2009 tour, Stranglers bassist Jean-Jacques Burnel said: “None of us are getting any younger but our drummer, Jet Black, is 70 now so I don’t know how much longer he’s going to want to carry on. I mean, he was always a lot older than the rest of the band but I don’t think we’d carry on without him.”However, in October 2009, it was announced that the band (featuring Black) would embark on a 16-date tour in February and March 2010 and a full UK tour took place starting in March 2011.

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