One of the most celebrated songwriters of his generation, Hugh Cornwell will release his new album ‘Monster’ through Sony Music on 5 October.
The album features 10 tracks written about some of the most remarkable, and indeed infamous, people of the 20th Century, both heroes and villains. Alongside these luminaries, he took inspiration initially from an extraordinary lady who swam every day in Hampstead ponds, his 98-year-old mother, Winifred. To locals, she was a hero who swam five or six times a day in all weathers, to Hugh’s family, she was the villain who kept them all in check. This juxtaposition started Hugh off on his creation of the album with the song La Grande Dame.
The album takes its name from the eponymous track Monster, Hugh’s love-letter to the genius model-maker and animator Ray Harryhausen who blazed a trail with films such as Jason & the Argonauts and Clash of the Titans, paving the way for Spielberg, Lucas et al to follow his lead.
Cornwell is, of course, no stranger to writing about illustrious and mythic characters, having penned The Stranglers’ evergreen 1977 hit, No More Heroes, with its references to Leon Trotsky, Lenin and Sancho Panza. Forty-one years later, the subjects he tackles on ‘Monster’ include everyone from music legends Lou Reed (on Mr. Leather) and Mose Allison (Mosin’), to ’70s stuntman Evel Knievel (Pure Evel), 1940s Hollywood star Hedy Lamarr (The Most Beautiful Girl In Hollywood), Sgt Bilko star Phil Silvers (Bilko), Italian dictator Benito Mussolini (Duce Coochie Man) and Zimbabwe ex-president Robert Mugabe (Robert).
“These are people who have defied categorisation,” he explains of his choices. “I’ve spent my whole life trying to defy categorisation. If someone wants to put me into some sort of a box, I'll do my best to defy it. You could call it being obstreperous, but it’s also got something to do with being drawn to people who are dichotomous.”
As a companion disc to the album, ‘Restoration’ is a collection of re-recorded acoustic versions Stranglers hits which Hugh has rediscovered over the years including favourites No More Heroes and Always the Sun alongside gems from the band’s catalogue including Outside Tokyo, Don’t Bring Harry and Let Me Down Easy.
Also, Hugh will be taking his band out on the road across the UK throughout November.
Monster Track List. All songs written, performed and produced by Cornwell.
La Grande Dame
The Most Beautiful Girl in Hollywood
Attack of the Major Sevens
Duce Coochie Man
Let Me Down Easy
Don’t Bring Harry
Ships That Pass In The Night
Never Say Goodbye
No More Heroes
Big in America
Always The Sun
UK Tour Dates.
Thurs 1 Nov - Southend Chinnerys
Fri 2 Nov – Stoke Sugarmill
Sat 3 Nov - Manchester Club Academy
Sun 4 Nov - Oxford Academy 2
Tues 6 Nov - Islington Academy
Weds 7 Nov - Bristol Fleece
Thurs 8 Nov - Chester Live Rooms
Fri 9 Nov - Kendal Brewery Arts
Sat 10 Nov - Clitheroe Grand
Sun 11 Nov - Stockton Georgian Theatre
Tues 13 Nov - Newcastle Cluny
Weds 14 Nov - Glasgow Oran Mor
Thurs 15 Nov - Dundee Beat Generator
Fri 16 Nov - Dumfries The Venue
Sat 17 Nov - York Fibbers
Sun 18 Nov - Brighton Concorde 2