Ian and The Sulphate Strangler

3 Apr

The Sulphate Strangler

Ian backstage with Peter Rush – aka The Sulphate Strangler

Extract from Chapter 7: The Cake of Liberty

Spider was at Ian’s side at all times, ushering him up and down steps, on and off stage, adjusting his mircophone and keeping unwanted visitors at bay. If Ian began to fall during his set or his calliper became unhinged, Spider leapt into action, picking him back up or lending a strong arm, often to deafening cheers from the crowd. But there was another member of Ian’s backroom staff who Ian chillingly described as ‘The Sulphate Strangler. 4 men.’ Peter Rush was a native of Uxbridge, Middlesex, and was six foot six inches tall and muscular. But while Spider was into physical fitness, Rush, aka The Strangler, was a hopeless drug addict. He had been working as a roadie for Yes in 1976 when he turned up to see Ian Dury & The Kilburns playing at the Hope & Anchor. He spotted Spider, got chatting and offered to help him move a heavy piano from the venue’s basement. Spider instantly identified him as a potential asset and recommended that Ian add him to his security team. Fascinated by the power of the two as a team, Ian found their presence both reassuring and thrilling in equal measure.

Read much more about The Strangler and the tribute Ian penned to him in one of two brand new chapters of Sex & Drugs & Rock ‘n’ Roll from 3 May 2011.

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6 Responses to “Ian and The Sulphate Strangler”

  1. Nadia... aka StellaLush XxXxXXx x June 12, 2013 at 7:41 am #

    I met Strangler when I moved back to London in the mid 80’s.He was one of the sweetest, most loving, gentle giants I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. He loved Ian, and Ian’s family like they were his own, everytime he came up to Hampstead where I lived, he’d always want to check up on ‘Mrs. D’, Ians mum, just to make sure she was alright, or did she need anything, he was like that…very kind.., he could also down a bottle of vodka faster than anyone I’ve ever seen, totally, fucking, Extreme! I met Strang through friend’s of mine…mostly musicians, old and young, he loved being the one who opened the car door for you, he’d always make you feel like you were someone special, someone that needed protecting, walking you to the front of the line of whatever gig, or club you happened to be going to, and was always greeted by the bouncers with a respectful, “Ello Strangler…alright mate!” …He loved it, being the body gaurd, the ‘minder’ as he called it. I met many people through Strangler, I’m not gonna start name dropping…, but Pete, or (Strangler) as most people remember him, was one of a kind, 6ft. 7ins. tall, as much silver and turquoise as he could possibly wear, ears, neck, wrists, (I think he wore a silver razor blade now that I think of it), always the big guy, custom tailored, pink or maybe light blue and black ‘Teddy Boy’ style jacket’s with his black jeans…That’s how I remember him, he was my friend, he even became friend’s with my dad and 2 sisters. Last time I saw Ian was at Stranglers funeral…R.I.P. Pete and Ian. Your memory will live on forever!

    • Vivien's February 14, 2015 at 8:55 pm #

      I was Pete’s girlfriend for 3 years, at the time when he was a roadie for ian.he was not a hopeless addict at all? The strangler nickname was a joke that he said to someone in dingwalls? I was there, & I know? Yup, he wore turquoise jewellery because I did? Ian used him big time & loved all the hard man stuff? Pete wasn’t hard at all? He had chronic asthma & was homed schooled as a child, when well enough. The lies & the way Pete has been portrayed has been terrible. Ask spider? He will remember me…my name is vivien & would be happy for anyone to contact me & I will tell the truth about the so called stories from back in the day?

      • Vivien's February 14, 2015 at 9:26 pm #

        Also…he did wear a silver razor blade on a chain…& so did I? We also wore sword earrings? Matching. I still have all my jewellery that he bought me..I am now a 60 year old grandmother. I have photos of us from that time. I was very close to his sister, Jeanette & his mother & father. We visited Bournemouth often to stay with them. Pete was a lovely guy, but got lost in the rock n roll lifestyle & was used, very much so.anyhoo…thinking of him still on valentines day, after all these years? Ironic!

    • Vivien's February 15, 2015 at 5:25 pm #

      I am more than willing to chat to anyone about Pete? You will be surprised about what a I tell you about back in the day? No-one has ever tried to find me to help with writing their books? I was there & I know? Catch ya all….Vivien….my email vcprice@hotmail.co.UK. see ya there?

      • Richard Balls February 15, 2015 at 7:04 pm #

        Hi Vivien and thanks for getting in touch. I’m so pleased to hear more about Pete Rush, especially from someone who was so close to him. Have you seen the film starring Andy Serkis as Ian Dury and, if so, what did you think of it? Pete features prominently in it. What you say about how he has been portrayed over the years may well be right and although it may have been intended as a joke, his nickname didn’t help his reputation. For my biography about Ian, I spoke to more than 50 people and contacted others. If I’d had contact details for you I might have used them, although it was a book about the life of Ian, not Pete. You mention Spider and he contributed to that book and also more recently to my book about Stiff Records. I have always tried to speak to as many people as possible for my books to get first-hand witness accounts, as – like you – they were there. Thanks again for your post and I’ll make a note of your email address for any future projects that may arise. Richard

  2. Vivien's February 15, 2015 at 5:05 pm #

    I am more than willing to chat to anyone about Pete? You will be surprised about what a I tell you about back in the day? No-one has ever tried to find me to help with writing their books? I was there & I know? Catch ya all….Vivien….my email vcprice@hotmail.co.UK. see ya there?

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