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The Stranglers hope absence made Detroiters' hearts grow fonder

@graffonmusic, Facebook.com/Gary Graff on Music

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What's kept the Stranglers from coming to these parts, and other areas around North America, for nearly 20 years.

"We've been in the rest of the world, mate," says bassist Jean-Jacques "J.J." Burnel, who co-founded the iconic British punk/New Wave group in 1974. "We've been allowing Detroit to get completely bankrupt before we come back." So it's the Stranglers fault? "Well, yeah, we get blamed for everything," Burnel says with a laugh. "that's OK. We can shoulder it."

The interim has, in fact, been eventful for the band, which co-founding guitarist Hugh Cornwall and, in Burnel's words, "lost a lot of confidence and kind of cast about for a few years." But the arrival of guitarist Baz Warne in 2000 helped juice the Stranglers back into activity, with three new albums -- including "Giants," which comes out May 28 here after being released last year overseas -- and a resolve to stay active as the group approaches its 40th anniversary next year.

"I rediscovered my muse, if you will," Burnel says. "I started being interested again, writing more and singing more. I think a whole new generation of people discovered us, and an older generation re-discovered us. It's just down to an awful lot of things which are never calculated.

"We were all hoping we would die before we get old, as the songs says -- and we did our best. But God decided to spare us for whatever reason, and here we find ourselves at a venerable age, re-energized and in demand. We're not complaining, believe me."

The Stranglers, Mike Marlin and Amy Gore perform Thursday, May 30, at the Magic Stick, 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 day of show. Call 313-833-9700 or visit www.majesticdetroit.com.

Web Site: www.majesticdetroit.com

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