He didn’t fear death
Because he knew death was on his rounds
But no one told him, I was waiting
With a glass at the bar
The new song and video for The Stranglers‘ And If You Should See Dave is a tear-jerker. A memorial to the band’s beloved longtime keyboardist Dave Greenfield, the song is an emotional encomium to the arpeggio-loving genius; the Rick Wakeman of punk. Greenfield tragically passed away from Covid-19 last year at 71.
“We wanted to create a feeling of space – after all, one of us was missing,” says JJ Brunel. “Dave was a bit of a petrol head, he loved fast cars. The only time we made a video with a car was when we were in L.A and with the help of a Hollywood cameraman and a Stranglers’ friend, Dave Stump, we drove around the city in a 1964 Ford Mustang. That was the video for All Roads Lead to Rome. It felt appropriate to use that west coast psychedelic feel of the music to convey the mystery of Dave.”
Although the song is beautiful, something admittedly feels off without Greenfield’s musical presence, it does not have the same vibe as the Stranglers we’ve known and loved for over four decades. As the band moves into their “new normal,” the song addresses this void and shift with the poignant line, “this is where your solo would go.” A Greenfield solo we will never hear…at least no longer in this dimension.
The video is a beautiful Easter egg hunt through the streets of Los Angeles, seeking out symbols of Stranglers trivia, inside jokes, and warm memories of their friend. It pays bittersweet, playful homage to their shared history, from the band’s earlier days performing at the Whisky-a-Go-Go to their last US performance with Greenfield at The Regent. There’s even a little Rattus Norvegicus (presumably fresh from the sewer). The woman driving the car, a beautiful version of a Ferryman figure, sees glimpses of Dave everywhere…down to a gentleman wearing a replica of Greenfield’s signature “trusty black bag.”
The Stranglers’ Dark Matters, their first album since 2012, will feature eight of Greenfield’s glorious swan songs before he headed off into that Great Beyond. The album will be released on 10 September.
Get a grip on yourself…and join in the beautiful send-off for ol’ Dave below: