Gig preview: Hugh Cornwell at The Carriageworks, Leeds

Hugh Cornwell
Hugh Cornwell
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TO have a successful career as singer and guitarist with a top band for 16 years is pretty good going, but to follow that with a 25-year solo career is outstanding, and Hugh Cornwell is celebrating the fact with an acoustic tour of the UK.

The ex-Stranglers frontman Says: “I like to take it in turns; I did an acoustic tour two years ago which went down well and last year I did one with my band.

“It keeps my interest up, and I filmed my last acoustic gig for a live DVD which will be available on the tour.”

Cornwell’s solo career started whilst he was still in the legendary band The Stranglers with the album ‘Wolf’ in 1988 and his last solo album ‘Hooverdam’ was arguably the best one.

Earlier this year, he released the first anthology of his solo work, ‘The Fall and Rise Of High Cornwell’, and apparently it has been well received.

“Yes, it’s been pretty good,” Cornwell says with hint of pride.

“Though I didn’t pick the songs, the record company picked them and went for the more melodic numbers. If I’d’ve picked them, it would have been darker and edgier.”

For this acoustic tour, Cornwell will be alone on stage.

“Well, I’ll be alone apart from my guitar,” he laughs.

And he will be celebrating all aspects of his career, as he explains.

“I’m going through all the albums I did with The Stranglers and my solo work looking for songs I can translate.

“I found a great track on the ‘Black and White’ album that I did with The Stranglers called ‘Somewhere Outside Tokyo’. I’m very pleased with it.”

Was it not a temptation to just go out and play the tracks from the anthology?

“It makes sense to go out and play most of it, but I’ll mix up Stranglers and solo songs. The ratio will be roughly 50/50.

“I’m aiming to do at least one song from each album. And since I’ve done ten with The Stranglers and seven solo, I’ve got a fair few to pick from; it’s nice to delve into the catalogue.”

Cornwell highlights another track.

“One that works very well in an acoustic setting is from my first solo album, ‘Wolf’. It’s called ‘Break of Dawn’ and it works great both with a band and solo.

“And of course I can’t avoid ‘Golden Brown’,” he says, referring to his former band’s biggest hit.

And as to what he is looking forward to most about the tour, he laughs and says: “The end, I think. It’s a lot of work doing 20-odd shows in a month, it’ll be a challenge.”

And what about after? “Oh well, life goes on. I’m halfway through a third novel and I’m hopefully going to do another album next tear as well as releasing one I did with John Cooper Clarke.”

Hugh Cornwell will be bringing his solo acoustic tour to The Carriageworks, Leeds on Wednesday November 4. Tickets are available from the Box Office on 0113 224 3801 and the usual agencies. Visit http://www.leeds.gov.uk/carriageworks/Pages/Event.aspx?s=4549