Don’t ask Hugh Cornwell if he’s up for a Stranglers reunion. The singer-songwriter, who helped design the pop-punk template, is just fine by his lonesome, thanks so much.
Cornwell has enjoyed a very active solo career after leaving the seminal Stranglers in 1990 after he decided that the band hit an artistic wall.
“There was no other place to go with them,” Cornwell said during a telephone interview from Bathe, England. “But I had some ideas that I needed to realize.”
The prolific Cornwell proceeded to make13 albums over the last 20 years, including his latest, 2009’s ‘Hooverdam.’
“I’ve been inspired over the years,” Cornwell said. “I had a lot to say with ‘Hooverdam.’ Cornwell tips his cap to radical sci-fi writer Phillip K. Dick with the quirky ‘Phillip K. Ridiculous.’
“He was embraced by the indie rock community since he was an independent thinker,” Cornwell said. “It’s a good thing to think independently.”
Cornwell has always avoided trends and followed his gut and he continues to do so while making his latest album, ‘Totem and Taboo,’ which is named after the Sigmund Freud book. The disc, which will be produced by indie icon Steve Albini (Nirvana, Shellac), is expected to drop in 2012.
In the interim, Cornwell will preview tracks Sunday at the Record Collector. “We’ll record it in Chicago in November and it’s similar to ‘Hooverdam,” Cornwell said. “We’ll keep it simple since we’ll be working with him (Albini). He likes it that way. It’ll be dark, decadent and sound like old T-Rex. It’ll be a raw, live-sounding album. It’s something that I’m focusing on intently right now. It’s a good time for me now. I come back to the States every year and my fan base keeps building incrementally.”
So there’s no chance that Cornwell will get back with the Stranglers. The band never stopped touring since he left.
“They’re on their third singer (Baz Warne) now,” Cornwell said. “He’s starry-eyed right now since he’s playing the songs he grew up with but that’s their business. There’s no way I’ll ever be back with that band. We ran our course and if you want to see the Stranglers play the songs I sang with them, go ahead. I feel no connection with them. It wasn’t like I was old mates with anyone from that band. We just got together to make music.”
Cornwell did grow up with singer-songwriter Richard Thompson. “We’re still close,” Cornwell said. “He’s an old mate and he popped up to play with me at my show in Los Angeles last year. That was fun but I have no desire to be in a band of any sort. I like what I’ve been doing and I’ll continue with it.”