Simple Minds and The Stranglers have recorded a version of the latter’s debut 1977 single (Get A) Grip (On Yourself).
The track is available now as a digital download and will be released as a limited edition white vinyl 7” on November 6. The bands are embarking on a short UK arena tour in late November and early December (dates below). Tickets are on sale now.
“It was a pleasure meeting and working with the boys,’ says The Stranglers’ bassman Jean-Jacques Burnel. “They were well prepared and showed no fear. Plus, it was Jim’s birthday and he shared some cake with us.” On the new version of Grip, Simple Minds’ frontman Jim Kerr shares lead vocals with The Stranglers’ Baz Warne, while the band includes Simple Minds’ Charlie Burchill (guitar) and Mel Gaynor (drums), Strangler’s keyboard player Dave Greenfield and Burnel. Jim Kerr spoke to Classic Rock about his feelings for The Stranglers.
“Like most people I have my fair share of indelible memories, some that I even refer to as life changing events,” says Kerr. “Witnessing The Stranglers in full thrown ascendancy, at The City Halls, Glasgow, in 1977 would qualify as one of those events.
“The gig went ahead with the local fledgling Punk scene in full on attendance. A raucous night certainly ensued, and if memory serves I am sure that there was a mini - riot ( by Glasgow standards) when over excited punks rushed the stage, egged on by Jean-Jacques Burnel. Who else?
“The music itself was red hot and glorious, a soundtrack to our times no doubt.Yes, there was a strong whiff of violence, anger, rage etc surrounding the band and their stage presence. But let’s not kid ourselves, The Stranglers always had a sophistication and poetry that belonged more to the Doors than it had in common with say, The Clash/Pistols. In any case for Charlie and I, this was our first shot of punk live and we were instantly addicted.
“As for my claim that it was a life changing experience? It truly was. After all as much as we had been mesmerised years earlier by seeing Bowie/Reed/Ferry and others grace the Glasgow stage. They came across as being from another planet. We might have worshipped them, but we could never have imagined actually trying to emulate them. That was a bridge too far even to our then speed fuelled imaginations.
“Not so with the Stranglers however. Very much in line with the whole ethos of Punk Rock, they made us feel like rushing out the very next day and “seriously” starting our own bands. Which is pretty much what we did. In doing so we changed our lives… forever.
“For that alone, as well as their stunning music and fiery live sets, we will always be grateful to The Stranglers. They and others like them made it possible for Simple Minds to exist.”
Simple Minds/Stranglers Tour dates
Nov 26: O2 Arena, London
Nov 27: Leeds First Direct Arena
Nov 28: Glasgow The SSE Hydro
Dec 01: Aberdeen AECC