Sunderland’s very own Baz Warne will be hitting the Wearside stage this Christmas. Katy Wheeler caught up with The Stranglers frontman to find out more.
Stranglers frontman Baz Warne has swapped his three punk rocker bandmates for a fellow Mackem musician for a series of intimate gigs.
Though they’ve been friends for years, Baz and Dave Taggart, guitarist for the likes of Jimmy Nail and Belinda Carlise, haven’t performed as a duo since 2009.
Five years later, they’re pooling their musical talents for a series of December gigs in their home region, with dates at The Smugglers in Roker and The Black Horse in West Boldon.
“Me and Dave have been friends for a long time, I was best man at his wedding,” explained Baz. “We did this before I joined The Stranglers, to a lesser degree. Over the years it became like the Lindisfarne Christmas thing in Newcastle.
“Dave is a Sunderland lad through and through, but he lives in Brighton now so the last time we performed together in this capacity was in December 2009.
“There won’t be any Jimmy Nail or Belinda Carlisle tracks in the set, and probably not Stranglers either. We’re starting rehearsals next week when we’ll choose the songs but it will probably more be like Glen Campbell and Neil Young, stuff we grew up with.
“We’re looking forward to The Smugglers, which is always a great laugh. It’s a great venue, especially acoustically. What’s also good is that it has no passing pub trade because it’s out of the way, so people who come have come to see a gig.”
The Christmas gigs will round off a busy year for Baz, who in the spring embarked on a 40th anniversary tour with The Stranglers, before a 40-date European tour and a summer of high-profile festivals including T in the Park and the V Festivals.
With a career spanning four decades, The Stranglers are one of the most continuously successful bands to have emerged from the UK punk rock scene.
Their hits include Golden Brown, No More Heroes, Peaches and Always the Sun.
After a whirlwind summer, the band had to take a hiatus while Baz, who joined the band in 2000, underwent knee surgery. Now he’s back on his feet, they’re gearing up to hit the road again in March.
•Baz Warne and Dave Taggart play The Smugglers, Roker, on December 18 and The Black Horse in West Boldon on December 21.