Legend has it the Stranglers started a fight with the Clash, took heroin for a year, exploited strippers on stage, and incited a riot in Nice. But the truth was often much worse
A fight with punk royalty
Jean-Jacques Burnel (bass): In 1976, we played with the Ramones. In those days, [Clash bassist] Paul Simonon had a nervous tic: he used to spit on the ground. He did this just as we came off stage at Dingwalls in London, so I thumped him and it all kicked off. We were thrown out by the bouncers and it continued in the courtyard. On one side were the Pistols, the Clash, the Ramones and a load of their journalist friends. On the other side was us, a few of our fans and me, nose to nose with Paul. Dave [Greenfield, Stranglers keyboards] had John Lydon up against the ice-cream van.
Jet Black (drums): It polarised opinion against us, but we’ve always been at our best with our backs against the wall.
Burnel: Contrary to what has been written, Hugh [Cornwell, Stranglers singer] and I never had punch-ups. There was one incident in Rome where he tried jumping in the air during Hanging Around and managed to get two inches off the ground. I said something afterwards and he threw a glass against the wall. I pushed him and he just went straight through a paper-thin wall. It was like a Tom and Jerry cartoon, with a silhouette in the wall in the shape of Hugh.