Jet Black

Jet Black


Jet Black (born Brian John Duffy, 26 August 1938, Ilford, Essex) is an English drummer and one of the founder members of punk rock / new wave band The Stranglers.


Early years

Black was a successful businessman up until the mid-1970s, owning a fleet of ice cream vans, and an off-licence in Guildford, called 'The Jackpot'. This establishment was the base for the early Stranglers.

He became a full-time professional musician in the mid 1970s and applied to join the Hugh Cornwell-led band Johnny Sox after reading an advertisement in the Melody Maker magazine. Johnny Sox would later evolve into The Stranglers.

Later years

His style is usually simplistic and jazz-influenced, although "Duchess", and "Down in the Sewer", are examples of some of the frantic drumming songs The Stranglers have recorded.

In the mid 1980s, Black elected to cease playing acoustic drums in the recording studio and used a Simmons kit triggered by pick-ups, most notably on the Feline and Aural Sculpture albums.

Black is still currently drumming for The Stranglers, despite his advancing years.

Views on The Stranglers

He has said he is particularly fond of The Raven album because it was "the first time [The Stranglers] got major critical approval in the newspapers.

He wrote a short book, Much Ado About Nothing, which detailed the riots in France which were blamed on The Stranglers' presence in 1981.

Customised equipment

During a long career in music, Black, like many other drummers, became aware of certain practical limitations inherent in the basic kit design and set about addressing the issue in the form of the now patented 'Jet Black Power Bass Drum Pedal'. This has brought new freedoms of comfort and technical feasibility to drummers. The 'Jet Black Power Bass Drum Pedal' enables the bass drum to be placed anywhere and yet remain playable.


In March 2007, it was announced on The Stranglers' website that he was suffering from atrial fibrillation and consequently refrained from appearing with the band until he had recovered. He played a full Stranglers concert in early June and is now regularly playing with the band again, although he is unable to travel very long distances at present.

His temporary replacement was Ian Barnard, who is also his full-time drum tech.

In June 2008, he was absent from several Stranglers gigs. It was shortly thereafter announced that he was suffering from chest problems and was "not rushing back to work" on the advice of his doctor. This information was announced by Black himself on The Stranglers' website.

Honour campaign

In 2008, an online petition on the British Government website campaigning for him to be included in the next list of honours attracted 477 signatures and was mentioned in the national press.

Personal life

His second wife, Helena, left him following several arguments over the presence of The Stranglers rehearsing in their home during the early days of the band.

He has apparently had no contact with former Stranglers singer Hugh Cornwell since he left the band in 1990. According to Cornwell's 2004 autobiography, when he telephoned Black to announce his resignation, the latter's response was simply 'OK, fine.'

He is of Irish ancestry and currently lives in Tetbury, Gloucestershire.


  • The Great Rock Discography - 5th Edition - ISBN 1-84195-017-3
  • Guinness Rockopedia - ISBN 0-85112-072-5

External links

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