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24 September 2014
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Paul Roberts
Gravel-voiced Paul Roberts from The Stranglers picked up the mic in 1990. Find out how it was for the new-wave punk on the block.

Were you a fan of The Stranglers?
Paul: Yes. I don't really know anyone who wasn't. If they weren't, they had a favourite song or loved a song that they didn't realise The Stranglers had done.

When did you first meet the other band members?
Paul: I met JJ in a little restaurant in Bayswater one night when I was promptly asked whether I could read. We did a few demos at his place and then I met Jet and I said, "Come on. Let's just get on and do it." Then I spent four out of five days with them at Jet's and that was it. My life was a changed place.

Other than your vocal abilities, what else do you think the band saw in you that would make you the perfect band frontman?
Paul: I probably didn't take any s***. They tried a few things on me; a bit of psychology. I guess I was fairly long in the tooth and I'd been around a bit. Maybe my cheek?

Do you think part of the success was because your sense of humour matched theirs?
Paul: It's probably because we didn't all go to art college and were all desperate to be popstars. There's a shared intellect and integrity with us all. We don't want to do anything that we wouldn't like ourselves. We're always writing about some observations in life, state the of planet, state of politics. It's not premeditated. I don't suffer fools very easily and I don't think the others do. In the past they were asked stupid questions like, 'Are you going to have a fight tonight?' and they'd just say, "Oh yeah, because that's what we're here for, man".

You've been with the band since 1990. Do you ever feel marginalised? Did the fans accept you at the time, was it instantaneous?
Paul: I don't think it can be. The best quote I've got is that it would probably be easier to replace Mick Jagger than Hugh Cornwell, who I have a lot of time and admiration for as a writer, guitar player and vocalist. I think we probably get up people's noses because we carry on. We just do very interesting things. We started travelling round the world doing very unusual gigs. We went to Bosnia very quietly as opposed to some artists, who shall remain nameless, who thought it was a great idea to have your picture taken in front of the ruins in Sarajevo. We like to do things that we enjoy, that are interesting and that maybe we can help people occasionally. I guess that kind of stuff never gets talked about. 'Stranglers In Help Shock!'

  Simply Red  
  "That's a bit supermarket, isn't it. I'm not making that many bottles. "  
  Robin Gibb  
  "There's been great moments both as a songwriter and as a performer."  
  Paul Roberts - The Stranglers  
  "We certainly weren't going to call ourselves The Bay City Rollers."  
  Lisa Stansfield  
  "I just thought, how many times do I have to sing this song?"  
  Soft Cell  
  "I think it's the only time that a banjo's been played in the Ministry of Sound."  
  "Agnetha said she liked it. If I met them I would curtsey."  
  "We really surprised lots of people by simply hanging in there."  
  Kim Wilde  
  "I used to be really jealous of Claire Grogan...I thought she was gorgeous."  
  "Failure was not an option, we were materialistic and greed was good."  
  Human League  
  "We did a US tour with Culture Club and Howard Jones...solely for the cash."  
  Altered Images  
  "Women were treated as a bit of a novelty in the music business in 1981."  
  Belle Stars  
  "The pop music lark just seems like a lifetime away now."  
  Steve Strange  
  "Look, you’re playing me like a bitchy queen and I’m not like that."  
  Five Star  
  "We all grew up wanting to be famous and we lived our dream..."  
  Phillip from Ruby Flipper  
  "At my age, I'd find it difficult to get my legs where they used to go..."  
  Glen Campbell  
  "I got to work with literally everyone in the business; Nat King Cole, Sinatra..."  
  David Gray  
  "Lots of tension in the camp. We're battling Gareth Gates for the No.1 spot"  
  Robert Palmer  
  "There's this homegenised force feeding of what is hip."  
  "I think George manipulated our relationship for publicity"  
  Tom Jones  
  "I'm pulling all my old jewellery out now and comparing my rings with Wyclef"  
  Ruth From Pan's People  
  "I could show you dozens of times I forgot the moves..."  
  Badly Drawn Boy  
  "Everybody has to do what everybody else does in order to have a hit single"  
  John Otway  
  "I think the music business is probably not happy with what we've done..."  
  Jimmy Cliff  
  "I look at someone like Ms Dynamite, I come away with a positive feeling."  
  Human League  
  "We wouldn't trust anyone that didn't wear eyeliner."  
  Status Quo  
  "I probably went about four or five years with a pair of stage jeans"  
  Gary Numan  
  "There are so many things in my past that you could make fun of."  
  McAlmont and Butler  
  "We were big enough to get over any-thing that may have been exchanged."  
  Primal Scream  
  "The producer at the time told us we'd never work again."  
  "I prefer miming, I prefer if we weren’t playing live."  

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