September the 11th means many things to many people and, whilst not wishing to belittle what it means, its significance possibly rings different memory-bells for The Stranglers. For it was in 1974 on that date, the band registered their name and 'opened for business'.
The Guildford group have, in four decades, sailed the choppy seas of punk-rock and controversy, surfed the foamy waves of mainstream success and, bar the departure of founding vocalist Hugh Cornwell in 1990, have kept their ranks in a ship-shape state. The Stranglers are an institution.
With the possibility of new material on the horizon (it will be six years since 2006's "Suite XVI"), the band still have an incredible back-catalogue to fall back on. Their first four albums, from "Rattus Norvegicus" to "The Raven", stand up as prime examples of stroppy Brit-wave, packed full of gems such as "Peaches", "Get a Grip", "Something Better Change", "No More Heroes" and "Duchess", whilst their poppier '80s period spawned more rewards with the huge harpsichord-friendly hymn, "Golden Brown" and "Strange Little Girl".
Despite the hits drying up, The Stranglers can still shift albums and tickets to some considerable degree, a situation that will become a little more frenetic now that messrs Warne, Greenfield, Burnel and Black have announced another UK tour.
First stop is Leeds on 1st March, followed by several large towns and cities, including a rare homecoming headlining show in Guildford on the 20th and the final show in Manchester on the 24th. Their London show will be at the historic Roundhouse venue on the 9th. Support on the tour comes in the shape of The Popes and Mike Marlin.
Tickets will go on sale this Friday, priced around £23 (£26 for London).