THE WORLDS BEST EXISTING PUNKGROUP?
Cocksparrer have done one of the five best albums all time(Shooktroops) and they´re one of the best punkbands all the time. Colin have been so kind and answered my questions in april 2009.
Did you ever have a break in the group and if you had that which years was that?
-We've always seen ourselves as something more than a band. We've been mates for a long time and even when the band isn't playing, we still get together and go out for beers and go to West Ham. The families have all grown up together and the kids are all mates as well. We didn't do a lot between Shock Troops and playing The Astoria in 1992 but it's never been our full time job.
Please tell me a little about every member in the group, age, family, work, interests and something bad about everyone?
-How much time have you got? There's nothing bad to say about these guys. We all love our Mums and go to church on Sundays. We're all married except for Daryl and all of us work to put food on the table. Steve Bruce's daughter is our official photographer and my son and Burge's son are in a band together.
Have you heard that many times that it’s your voice who do much for your own sound? Comment about that?
-We've always thought that it's the sum of all the parts that makes Cock Sparrer work. There are better individual singers, guitarists and drummers out there but collectively we'll give anyone a run for their money. Personally I think that it's Micky's guitar work that gives Cock Sparrer a distinctive sound but when mashed in with everyone else's contribution it just comes out Cock Sparrer.
Is it more fun to play nowadys than it was in the beginning? What..s the difference?
-It's still a load of fun to be doing it now. I guess if it wasn't, we wouldn't bother. But we do miss doing the small clubs without the security barriers and with the punters right in your face. That's what we grew up on, that's where we learned how to do it. I guess when we turn up now there's a pretty good chance that the equipment will work and that's not something that we could guarantee back in 1977. The big difference now is that people know the songs and join in, whereas in the early days it was more often than not playing to 3 men and a dog.
Why did you do 2009 versions of Guilty as charged and Two Monkeys?
-A lot of people were saying that they couldn't get hold of the albums unless they paid a lot of money for them on Ebay and we want people to hear them. There are some good songs on these two albums. At the same time we always felt that they were under-produced,which was totally our fault cos we pissed the money given to us to record them up the wall. So this gave us a chance to get them re-mastered and add some of Daryl's rhythm guitar.
Punk, what does that mean to you, is it a lifestyle or only a word?
-To us it's a real state of mind thing. Originally it was there to empower kids to have a go. It didn't matter if you were any good, you still had the right to get up on stage and give it your best shot. Then the whole punk thing lost it's way when it became more about how you looked than what you thought. The dress style was always a component but it became the most important thing, which is bollocks. Those that didn't want to play in bands wrote fanzines, or poetry or created art without having anyone telling you couldn't do it. All the people that didn't want to wear safety pins went off to form Oi. It's great that through promoters like Darren Russell at Rebellion, young bands are being that chance again.
Can you be a punk when you come up in age? Which is the oldest punk you know?
-You can still be a punk at any age, you just don't have the parents to rebel against anymore! The best example of someone still living it is Charlie Harper of The UK Subs. A legend in his own leather jacket.
It was a long time since you came up with the name, but how did it become Cocksparrer?
-The name came fairly easily as I remember. We just wanted something that would associate us with where we came from.
Have you ever been in Sweden and played?
-No not yet but we've got an offer to come next year and we're gonna see if we can make that happen.
Have you heard any good Swedish bands?
-Sorry but no-one immediately springs to mind.
Godfathers of streetpunk do I call you, comment about that?
-We take that as a compliment, we've certainly been called a lot worse than that in our time. It will only be a period of time before we're called the Grandfathers of Oi!!
Is there any good bands in England right now?
-There are some great bands in the UK right now. Not only those that have been doing it for a while but also some new, young bands coming through. One of these is Middle Finger Salute who have played on our bill a few times and are off to do The Warped Tour this year. Good luck to 'em.
You write on your myspace site that you always will be the 5 in the group, what happens if someone will not go on?
-I don't think the band would be able to continue if one of us decided to call it a day. It goes back to what I said earlier about it being the formula that makes up Cock Sparrer. Even Daryl, who's only been with us for 17 years, has added so much to the band in terms of his playing and songwriting that if he decided to say no more, that would probably be it.
Your audience how does that look like?
-Pretty ugly ha ha. It's a great mix these days of people that have been with us from the beginning and young kids seeing us for the first time. It never fails to amaze me the distances that people travel to come to a Cock Sparrer gig. We'll always be extremely grateful for that.
Is there anyone that you miss on your concerts?
-No not really. Our group of mates is growing all the time and it's fantastic to see familiar faces wherever we play.
Do you play a lot nowadays or is it only on big festivals?
-This year and next year will be a bit different. We're trying to get out to as many places as we can. Ideally where we've never been before or at worst to towns we've not been to for a while. We're trying do a mix of both festivals and smaller gigs. Steve Bruce likened us to a vintage car the other day. Take it out of the garage for a run every so often but don't overdo it or you'll knacker it. Make sure it's regularly tuned up and serviced and you should get a few more years out of it.
How could you still have your spirit and do such as good albums as you did some year ago, what drives you?
-It's really down to Burge's songwriting. He's a phenomenal writer who occasionally comes up with real gems that have to be recorded. If the songs are there, we'll put out the albums.
How is it to live in England right now, politically I mean?
-Like the rest of the world we're financially fucked. Unemployments rising and companies are going bust. But we've been there before and got through it and will do so again.
Which is your most political song?
-I don't really understand the question. We write songs that are about our lives, things we've experienced and seen and people we've met along the way.
Does music and politics go hand in hand?
-If you write about life and not fiction then it must be involved somewhere.
Best political band or artist?
-I don't have one.
Please rank your five favouriterecords, five favouriteconcerts and five msot important things in life?
-The first Clash album, Ogdens Nut Gone Flake by The Small Faces, Humble Pie Rocking The Fillmore, Smash by The Offspring and The Ramones by The Ramones. Five best gigs? The Clash/Modettes at The Notre Dame Hall in London, AC/DC at The Marquee, The Who/The Specials in Hammersmith and the whole Small Faces tour that we did with them. Five most important things? My family, the band, West Ham United, my friends. One short I'm afraid.
First, last and most expensive record ever bought?
-First record was Led Zeppelin 2, last record was The Likes of Us by Argy Bargy (didn't buy it though) so the last records I bought were half a dozen 45rpm vinyls for Steve Bruce's new juke box. I don't collect records so I wouldn't pay a lot of money for one.
Most embarrassing record in your collection?
-A Little Roosters album
Where do you stand when we talk about mp3 and downloading? Here in Swedden it came a law this Wednesday that makes it easier for recordcompanies and so on to caught "the thieves"?
-It's just the natural progression of things as technology expands. There will always be room for niche items like vinyl and maybe one day CD's will become collectable. "Here We Stand" is being released in the USA in vinyl format with the CD as a giveaway, sign of the times.
How much does a band as Cocksparrer sell of your record?
-Enough to buy a few beers but not enough to retire on.
Doesn’t Captain Oi do a superb job?
-They're a fantastic record label run by really good people. Finally we've found somewhere to call home, that doesn't rip us of off and really looks after us.
Futureplans for the band?
-We're going to play in Texas for the first time in May then the Ruhrpott Rodeo in Germany, Oslo in August, Belgrade in September, Girona and Chicago in October and San Francisco and Amsterdam in November.
Futureplans for yourself?
-Just the above really. Hoping West Ham get into Europe next year.
-I don't have any words of wisdom, I'm not wise enough.
Something more to add?
-Thanks for the opportunity to say a few things and hopefully we'll get out to Sweden soon.
Colin - Cock Sparrer