A Multitude of Sins: Golden Brown, The Stranglers and Strange Little Girls

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9780007190829: A Multitude of Sins: Golden Brown, The Stranglers and Strange Little Girls

Autobiography by the singer and creative force of 70s rock group The Stranglers.

This will be the first autobiography by any leading figure from the punk era and the first to be written by the author, drawing from his own unique and unforgettable experiences. Hugh was lead singer, guitarist and main songwriter with The Stranglers, and now brings his unique style, humour and insight to describe the story of his life.

The book begins with a chapter about Hugh's decision to leave The Stranglers in 1990, and explains, in full and frank detail, why this key moment in UK music history has never been fully explained. The book will also covers the heady days of early punk in London, described by someone who was at its epicentre, along with the Sex Pistols, the Clash and the Damned.

The life and times of the Stranglers, one of the most notorious and gifted rock groups of the 70s and 80s, are described in detail, including the drug busts, fights, prison terms and – in one case – the tying up of journalists. Throughout this time Hugh encountered a host of other extraordinary people, who are now household names: Malcolm McClaren, Joe Strummer, Kate Bush, Debbie Harry and Hazel O'Connor, to name a few, and he will recount the outrageous times he lived through with them.

His 'inside take' on the other members of the Stranglers will be of special interest to the huge fan base of the era, which enabled The Stranglers’ – Greatest Hits album to sell one million copies in the UK on its release in 1990, and which continues to be discovered by the younger music generation of today.

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About the Author:

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.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

ON THE FORMATION OF THE STRANGLERS
Jet Black, formerly Brian Duffy, walked into my life in a squat in Camden Town in answer to an ad that I had placed in Melody Maker. Jet was a bit more ‘mature’ than we had envisaged, but we identified with his energy and resolve immediately. He had a great sense of humour and everyone gelled with him. He suggested that we all decamp to Guildford to escape from the pressures of London, and help him run the off-licence and ice cream business he had, while we were working on the band.
Summer was coming on and the idea of getting out of London was very appealing to us. The off-licence was sited at the bottom of the Farnham Road, a stone’s throw from Guildford railway station and on a main roundabout, so there was plenty of passing trade, including Trevor McDonald who would regularly drop by for a bottle of wine to take home and swap pleasantries with Jet. The building itself was huge, with large, cobbled cellars where the ice cream freezers were stored plus parking space for a fleet of vans. As it was, there was only one state of the art ice cream wagon - complete with chimes - and a couple of beat-up grey minivans which Jet had picked up for £25 each from the local car auctions. Above the off-licence there were three floors of accommodation: a large sitting room and kitchen on the first floor, then two more floors of bedrooms, mostly empty. Constant traffic meant that there was a thick layer of grime on all the windows, which never got opened. I took a bedroom on the top floor and we had a room with a piano where we could work on the music.
ON HIS BRUSHES WITH THE LAW
"Hey, Kai, how do you fancy doing an interview with a newspaper while you’re on the run? I know a cool journo who would do it, and we could get him to help the band in return. We need a PA system for our gigs and he can guarantee the loan. I’ve already tried but they need someone Swedish to sign it."
"Sure, it would be a gas," he says, "Anything to help the band."

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 ‘I’m a misunderstood criminal, and although I rob banks, I don’t 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 they’ve used the picture of Kai throwing the money up in the air like a kid playing in the snow. It’s an exclusive interview with Sweden’s ‘No.1 Most Wanted Criminal’ and it sells truckloads. The journalist’s career is made overnight and we go into the music shop the following week and sign the papers for the band’s 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.

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