If you’re coming late to the party, this is a 37-part series on the first two volumes of the Living In Oblivion collection, which are available pretty much nowhere.
You know what punk rock needs more of? Saxophone.
Used to be, you could have a decent shot at hearing some saxophone in a punk song. I’m not talking about punk bands that are actually ska bands, I’m talking about actual punk bands.
The Stranglers, X-Ray Spex, Buzzcocks, New York Dolls? Modern Lovers and The Jam maybe? Even the odd Clash number. Saxophone. Nothing says angst like a woodwind instrument. (It is, too. Look it up.)
Honestly, I’m not sure what else to say about “(Get A) Grip (On Yourself),” except that it wins the award for most hilarious use of parentheses. The song’s another example of a late 70s inclusion that, while great, has no business here. Then again, the Stranglers were really men out of time so perhaps that makes sense. They came up through the pub-rock movement, and found themselves trying to adapt to the punk and New Wave scenes. They made a pretty good go of it until about 1984 when their career came down to a low simmer that’s pretty much stayed there. Like 999, they still tour throughout Europe.
I find it really interesting that no one ever rags on old punk bands that stay together long after the new material’s dried up. Classic rock bands get it all the time, but old punk bands never do. It’s seen as another sortie in the fight against…what, exactly? Welcome to the new nostalgia.
Moreover, The Stranglers were also accused of being misogynists, and Lotharios. This is even more proof that this band didn’t really cut its teeth in the 80s. You did not get to be known as a band of shag monkeys in the 80s if your video featured a drummer that looks like the bass player from Almost Famous. You had to look like Mötley Crüe to get away with that shit. That is to say, you had to look a lot like the women you were chasing.