HAVE you seen who’s supporting us in Preston?” said Stranglers’ guitarist and singer Baz Warne.

“It’s the Riot Girls Burlesque Show. That should be interesting.”

Never a band to shy away from controversy, The Stranglers have recruited The Riot Girls, who do striptease, fire-eating and bondage in their act.

After they have got the crowd warmed up, probably in more ways than one, the main event of the night will take to the stage.

The Stranglers are making a welcome return to the 53 Degrees in Preston and are really up for it.

As Baz explained: “Everybody’s upbeat and positive at the moment.

“Because of all our recent live shows we’ve got a lot of respect and that helps.”

The band have now been going for 35 years and were responsible for some of the great New Wave songs of the late '70s and '80s — Peaches, Duchess, No More Heroes and Golden Brown amongst them.

But the band, which consists of original members JJ Burnel on bass, Dave Greenfield on keyboards and the Grand Old Man — drummer Jet Black — don't just churn out the hits.

“You’ve got to do the hits,” Baz said. “There’s been huge interest in our stuff after the festivals we did last year.

“The tour is not really similar to what we did last year. We’ll do the hits of course, but we’re going to mix it up a bit.

“Not only does it give the regular concert goers something new, it also keeps us fresh as well.”

The set list hasn’t yet been decided, though.

“No,” Baz said, in his North East accent. “We’re getting together next week to decide what’s going in.”

After so long they have a set routine for preparing for gigs, as Baz explained.

“We get on the phone to decide what songs we’d like to do and it all goes in the pot.

"Then we get the CDs out and listen to them all to make a final list.”

The process continues with the actual rehearsals.

“We get together for three of four days to rehearse. We won’t be doing anything we haven’t played before, so it’ll be just a case of brushing up.”

Jet Black is 71 this year and has had a few health problems in recent years which have led to him having to miss the odd gig.

“He’ll be behind the drum kit this year better than ever. He’s really happy and healthy,” said Baz. “He’s even looking younger.”

You’d think that the band would rest on their laurels a bit now that they have proved themselves. But no, they are still making plans.

"We’ve got a few things sketched out for next year,” said Baz.

“We are hoping to do an album and tour, although I have to stress that they are only plans at the moment — there’s nothing definite.”

l The Stranglers will be at the 53 Degrees in Preston on Thursday, August 13. Call box office on 01772 893000.