What to say about The Stranglers? I saw them everywhere. Even at Reading. We loved that band. The intro to Peaches still rings in my head. Whenever I hear it, I once again see myself with my friends at the Music Machine, and the whole crowd up and dancing.
Jean-Jacques Burnel, I met him later after I’d recorded J’Attends Les Marines, in French with The Electric Chairs. I was in the Queensgate Place squat when the phone rang. Someone wanted to speak to me.
- ‘Henry here’.
- ‘Is it you who sings J’Attends Les Marines?
- ‘I love that song! It’s Jean-Jacques Burnel, from The Stranglers, here.’
- ‘Yes, I know who you are’.
- ‘Do you fancy coming for a beer with me? I’m in London’.
- ‘Of course!’
That’s how we found ourselves in a pub, talking about everything and nothing, about music, the French language, about rock and psychedelism.
A few years later, when I was living in my house in Camberwell, a couple of girl friends came by to sleep with me. One was a bass player, well she was learning the bass, and the other was a driver. They wanted to go on tour, play in bands, be a part of that atmosphere. I’d already gone out with the bass player, but not yet with her friend, and the idea of having both of them in my bed would be quite something…
They had been spending some time in the studio with The Stranglers, who were working on their new album. The bass player was telling me about one of Jean-Jacques’ brand new bass riffs, a strange one, like a waltz with 3/4 bars and a 4/4 one. She played me the riff she had learnt: Golden Brown. What a guy, that Jean Jacques!
All that, that was our world. We knew that they were all our friends.