JJ Burnel : The John Robb interview : JJ on the upcoming ‘grown up’ album, Dave Greenfield and how to grow up creativelyIt’s been a tumultuous year for everybody and maybe even more so for one of the classic UK bands, The Stranglers.

The tragic death of brilliant keyboard player Dave Greenfield a year ago seemed to have marked the end of the group but they have emerged with an upcoming UK tour and brilliant new album, Dark Matters, which we have been the first to hear.

The album sees Dave Greenfield’s last ever contributions on 8 of the songs with varied trademark keyboard flurries that could well be some of the best work of his career. There is also plenty of the hallmark black belt bass, live drums giving a new feel and Baz Warne at his snarling and tuneful best and yet it traverses many different styles and is consistently their best for years sitting comfortably with older classics and is the modern era band’s best work – even better than the great comeback Norfolk Coast.


It’s a magnificent work and has a serious chance of going top five on its release in a few months. The album ranges from acoustic pieces to the dark post-punk prog to the curiously classic three-minute rushes that the band were also great at as well as a lyrically and melodically baroque sixties pop. There is so much in there that it is a world to get lost in.

In this interview, JJ talks about the album, gets emotional about the death of his close friend Dave, how Jet is still very much in the band orbit, how the new line up works, how they write songs and how this is finally their grown up album…



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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


  1. Brilliant interview John, really pleased to hear JJ’s thoughts and dead jealous you’ve had a preview of the new album!
    Cheers mate, thanks for this

  2. Another great interview – thank you John Very much looking forward to hearing the ‘multifaceted’ new album, and Mila the Swiss Shepherd dog is absolutely gorgeous

  3. Loved the tribute to Dave the greatest keyboard player can’t wait to hear the new album and see the greatest bad in the world the strangers in January 2022.

  4. Always such a pleasure to listen to your interviews. JJ just melts my heart every time – shame about the sex though!

  5. Super interview. JJ dug deep inside himself here, which is remarkable, telling us of the new album, and the loss of Dave. The Strangler strength is in abundance.
    John Robb is a lure on a fishing line. Exquisite interviewing technique. He makes it look so simple. Masterful.

  6. Very good, Mr Robb – good to see an intelligent and articulate journalist/cultural observer engage with this enigmatic figure in such a thoughtful way. Didn’t you just want to be able to give him a hug, though, when he was choking up about, Dave! Very intresting to see this vulnerable side of M Burnel. Long may your writing/interviewing continue and of course Long Live The MIB. “I’m not gonna cry…”


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