Born: London, 21 February 1952
In addition to a lengthy career with The Stranglers (1974 to present), the volatile yet sensitive bassist J.J. Burnel has also occasionally made solo forays into the studio, always with intriguing results.
Smack-dab in between Stranglers albums No. 3 and No. 4, he released Euroman Cometh, an experimental electronic/rock album - hence drum machines, vocoders etc - built around the concept of a unified Europe free from the diseased influence of America. As he explains in the liner notes:
"The United States of Europe is a revolutionary concept that has been gradually gaining ground since the first two great wars which were focused on our continent. Four our own security and future we in Europe must learn to appreciate our fellow Europeans, After all we will now have the world's first ever international parliament, A Europe riddled with American values and Soviet subversion is a diseased sycophantic old whore: a Europe strong, united and independent is a child of the future."
Although Burnel played most of the music he was helped out by Peter Howells (The Drones), Brian James (ex-The Damned ), Lew Lewis (ex-Eddie & The Hot Rods) and Carey Fortune (ex-Chelsea). The record came in a very cool sleeve - a photo of Burnel dwarfed by the magnificent Pompidou Centre in Paris - and sold a hundred thousand copies, but the tour to promote it was not a success, with Burnel - and supports acts Blood Donor and Rapid Eye Movement - playing to a half-empty halls and some scornful reviews. (Record Mirror reviewer Ronnie Gurr described one show as "Euorman boreth something awful" had paid the penalty: some of Burnel's thug mates accosted him a few nights later and duffed him up, planning to "strip me bullock-naked and tie me to chair" live on stage, but he escaped.)
Girl From The Snow Country was the single that never should have been. In the aftermath of Euroman Cometh, JJ recorded demo versions of this song along with 'Waiting For The Trees To Grow', 'Gone Are Those Days' and 'Goebbels, Mosley, God and Ingrams'. United Artists pressed up copies of 'Girl' without Burnel's permission, and were only prevented from releasing it when he showed up at their offices one day, saw the boxes of singles ready to be shipped, and demanded they all be destroyed. Only a handful escaped, making it very rare indeed.
With The Stranglers on something of high with the release of a succession of (mostly) popular singles, Burnel's next release was a soundtrack recording with bandmate Dave Greenfield, Fire & Water (Ecoutez Vos Murs), which is full of very European sounding electronic music which will please anyone who liked the sound of The Stranglers in 1983 but found the music too mainstream and wanted something a bit more esoteric and atmospheric. Rain & Dole & Tea was taken from the record, a Phil Spector-ish song with Maggie "Moonlight Shadow' Reilly on vocals, which was absolutely nothing like the rest of the LP. (Greenfield also helped out on Burnel's second solo solo album, 'Un Jour Parfait', a collection of sensuous synthy songs sung mostly in French.)
In 2005 he recorded some music for Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo, an anime thing which interests me not one iota.
Singles / Albums
|Freddie Laker (Concorde & Eurobus) (7", 1979)||Euroman Cometh
|Girl From The Snow Country
(7", withdrawn, 1980)
|Fire & Water (Ecoutez Vos Murs) (LP, by D. Greenfield & J.J. Burnel, 1983)||Rain & Dole & Tea
(7", by D. Greenfield & J.J. Burnel, 1983)
|Goebbels, Mosley, God And Ingrams (7", 1988)|
Audio CD Greece CD 1994 (Audio): Week-End
So Young But So Cold : Underground French Music 1977 - 1983 France CD 2004 (Tigersushi): Euroman
Imagine No John Lennon Belgium CD 2005 (EPO): I Am The Walrus
A Man And A Machine France 2xCD 2009 (Le Maquis): Euroman
Electronic 80s UK 4xCD 2014 (Sony Music): Rain & Dole & Tea