The Raccoon means everything to us, but occasionally we do play away from home and write for other people, scandalous I know.
Here’s a piece I wrote for the Lincolnshire Echo on legendary punk band The Stranglers after I interviewed their frontman, Baz Warne.
The band, known for their timeless hits including Golden Brown and Peaches, are embarking on a UK tour.
Okay, so now I’ll remain faithful to The Raccoon, for the time being anyway.
Musical longevity is reserved for only the most determined, and it’s been forty long years since The Stranglers formed in 1973.
Back then there would have been few to predict that the band would still be tearing up stages around the world in 2013.
On the road: The Stranglers are heading to the Engine Shed in Lincoln
Baz Warne joined The Stranglers in 2000 when he took over guitar and vocal responsibilities from John Ellis, who himself had replaced founding member Hugh Cornwell after an acrimonious split.
Warne, who is currently rehearsing with the rest of the band in Bath, enthuses about the prospect of going on tour again.
“Some people prefer the recording process but nothing can beat playing on stage in front of a crowd.
“We’re getting ourselves ready and hammering our set list into shape.”
If there’s one thing that you get from operating as a band for such a long period of time, it’s an extensive back catalogue to pick from, and to say that they’re spoilt for choice is quite an understatement with a whole 17 albums to choose from.
The Stranglers have achieved enviable success over four decades with 24 top 40 singles.
Their repertoire of hits include the classics ‘Golden Brown’, ‘Peaches’, ‘No More Heroes’ and ‘Always The Sun’, to name just a few, and the evergreen popularity of these tracks ensure the band enjoy regular radio play.
However, Baz is keen to stress that band is always looking forwards, not backwards.
“We’re not just a nostalgic band, we still think we’ve got plenty to say,” he says.
“Relevance is very important, and we’re writing new songs, our last album Giants went down really well.”
So what is it like for a group of musical veterans to be on the road?
“We certainly don’t drink as much and we don’t stay up so late,” he explains.
“These days we’ve got to think about what we’re eating and there has to be some kind of a regime.”
In addition to an inexhaustible discography, The Stranglers also boast one of the most loyal fan bases in the music world.
“A lot come to around ten of our gigs and some even come to all of them. It’s great to see them in the pubs around the venue, there’s a really strong vibe.
“There are a lot of youngsters who come to our gigs, and that’s very rewarding.
“Our original fans have got their own families now and they bring them along with them.
“The kids can go home and watch our videos on YouTube, it’s so much more accessible nowadays.”
Warne is no stranger to Lincoln, and has ties with the city.
“I had a mate who lived here and I went out with a girl whose sister lived here, so I’ve been quite a few times,” he says.
“This is probably the fifth time we’ve played, I stayed in a hotel by the cathedral once and got some great photos,”
There have been rumours that this might be the last tour of the current line up, and with original drummer Jet Black clocking in at the grand old age of 74, that’s hardly surprising.
“With all the will in the world there’s no way you can cheat age, but who knows what will happen,” he says.
So exactly what can the Engine Shed expect from the upcoming gig?
“Expect the unexpected!” Warne says.
“We’ve got to keep ourselves happy, if we look enthusiastic then that rubs off on the crowd.”
Feel It ‘Live’ 2013: The Stranglers, at The Engine Shed, Lincoln, Friday, March 8. Visit http://www.engineshed.co.uk or call 0844 888 8766.