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Interview

Cock Sparrer
18/06/2003



Please give a brief history of the band, including current line up.

Band formed at school many many years ago. We were drinking, going to football and generally having a go before the terms streetpunk was ever used. It was just a way of life for us. Punk came along and it seemed that there was finally hundreds like minded people with the same attitude. We never really fitted in though, we've always done things the way we wanted to and even punk ended up with its own set of rules - we just didnt buy it. Cant really do justice on the history bit here - Buy Will Murray a pint and a cigar and he'll sit you down and tell you a story.....

Line Up:Colin McFaull - Vocals / Mickey Beaufoy - Lead Guitar / Daryl Smith - Rhythm Guitar / Steve Burgess - Bass / Steve Bruce - Drums

This has been the longest and most consistent line up lasting 11 years now. It's guitarists that we get through - we had Garry Lamin in the early days doing all the Decca stuff, Chris Skepis joined doing Shock Troops, Shugg O'Neil did Runnin Riot with us, Daryls up for his MOT next!

Discography.

Always a hard one this!! See, we dont actually own any of the recordings. This means that they can be licensed by the owner to whoever they want. There is loads of stuff put out that we dont even know about. Thats not to say that we dont ever get paid for it, Link records for example own SHOCK TROOPS and they are one of the few companies that we actually receive money from. However they dont have to tell us who they are licensing stuff to, so something comes out on a label and the first we know about it is when a fan brings it along to a gig to be signed and we're like 'fuck - we didn't even know that existed'!! We've even had to buy our own records off the net - get that!! Albums are easier to trace but there are loads of our tracks on compilation cd's and we couldn't even begin to tell you whats out there. SHOCK TROOPS has been issued so many times, from memory you can get it on LINK, SLOGAN, STEP-1, KNOCK OUT, CAPTAIN OI!, TAANG and that doesnt even cover the original pressing!! Best leave the full answer to Oi the Historian for another day....

However if you had the following, it would pretty much cover all we have done.

Albums:
Shock Troops best on CD from Captain OI / Runnin' Riot in '84 best on CD from Captain OI / Guilty as Charged Bitzcore /
Two Monkeys Bitzcore

Live n Loud Step 1 ( you get the Business as well, cracking double CD)
Runnin Riot across the USA TKO (a real live album on sale at HITS)

The early Decca recordings were released as TRUE GRIT. These are now available as a new CD call Diamonds and Pearls on DSS records.

Singles:
Runnin Riot / We Love You / England Belongs to me / Runaway Johnny

There are loads of foreign releases like Spanish Runnin Riots etc, plus loads of bootlegs and compilations but to be honest its late i'm tired and the boys ain't got memories like they used to have now a bit of Old Timers has set in, so Oi Oi thats yer lot!

Cock Sparrer have ridden to be one of people's all time favourite oi/punk bands, how do you think you have got up there and is it justified? What bands would be in your top five?

Is it justified? Ask the fans - might never have been on Top of the Pops but we're Top of the Bill!!

There are loads of bands and we could have fought over this for ages but when it comes down to the ones that made a difference and actually started change and influenced others I suppose it has to be in no order;-

Ramones / Clash / Sex Pistols and er Cock Sparrer!

Love em or hate em you gotta give credit to some of the yank bands that have made it big, Rancid, Green Day, etc

There are bands that mean a lot to all of us. The New York Dolls for example were the band that made Steve Bruce want to be in a band. As soon as he saw their look, attitude etc he knew he wanted to be in band, there were no Sex Pistols at the time and they were the band that McLaren brought over - that was the reason for the famous Sparrer McLaren meeting.........

You are down for this years Holidays In The Sun festival and you played it a couple of years ago. Do you prefer doing festivals to smaller gigs? How has this come about?

The last HITS we did was England 2001. To finally play in our own country with no trouble was a real high for the band. Great gig, great atmosphere and well enjoyed by everyone. To have near on 4000 people singing every word and your families and mates watching you is blinding... gonna be hard to top it, should have called it a day then really!! Lets hope everyone sings a bit louder this year.... coz yer being recorded!! Darren been in contact with Daryl for a while and he had asked us to do the first HITS but we were reluctant as the last time we played the UK (London 1992) it kicked off... the time before that (Fulham 1983) it kicked off!! In fact it was kicking off more times than West Ham in a cup final. We had reformed ( as in got the band back together not attended an Alcoholics Anon meeting) and were doing gigs all over the world to people who really appreciated it but really we all wanted to do England again. Times had changed a bit and the HITS shows all went well. We did HITS Berlin and Spain before the last Morecambe. HITS is great, its got it's knockers (so has the bird in my local) but it is an event that brings everyone together for an almighty piss up with the music sometimes playing second to the social!! Thanks to Jennie and Darren for putting the hours of blood sweat n tears into it. Just think of how much vodka Darrens had to consume....

Big gigs are a buzz and it's always nice to have a good PA and try and put on a professional show for the punters but there is something special about a small gig... Some of our best times on the road have been playing in smaller clubs. The first tour we did of Europe in 1994 had some real punk rock venues, squats, underground sweat holes and school halls. We met everyone and many hours were spent drinking with the locals til the early hours! This is how it should be. Unfortunately you can be a victim of your own success a bit coz by the time word got around that we really had reformed and we really did do a tour, the next time we went the venues had to be bigger to cope with the demand. Its never as intimate when you play to a couple of thousand instead of a couple of hundred. But 6 years on and we got that adrenaline rush again as we sold out CBGB's New York in 2000, a legendary venue that had always been an ambition to play and it didnt disappoint.

What other bands have / do members play in? And what band is the best to play in?

No one apart from Daryl plays in any other bands, he's a punk rock prostitute! Currently serving in The Crack, Argy Bargy, Mistakes and a few others that he's keeping quiet about! He was last seen doing a Pop Idol audition tape coz he saw that fat twat Rick wotsit on it and thought he was in with a chance.... as far as past bands he's been in the Blood, Riffs, Nice and Easy, Hoopers and is always willing to help out mates in the studio like Deadline and the Business.As far as the others go.... we wont mention the Little Roosters!! The best band to play in is obviously Cock Sparrer - the money, the sex, the fame and glory....still dreaming 30 years on!!

If you were writing a review about Cock Sparrer, how would you describe the band?

Elderly, fat, only thing thats thin is the hair, pissed, but still the bollocks, tight as fuck and with tunes that make you whistle while you work... Hard as fuck, but thats the Viagra kicking in

What is the best and worst Cock Sparrer cover you have ever heard? And which band would you love to cover one of your songs and which song?

It is always an honour when a band cites you as an influence and covers one of your songs so it is not down to us to judge their interpretation of it, coz some are shit ha ha! Talking of shit covers the worst one has got to be Cock Sparrer doing We Love You. We all hate that fxxxing song and you'll never hear it again.

Oxymoron did a good version of A.U. and Roger Miret and the Disasters got England Belongs to Me out to a new crowd with their version which we liked. Its always a pleasure when a band like Agnostic Front cover one of your songs, they do Take em All, although its a bit more angry than our version!!

We would like anyone who sells thousands of records to cover a song and just wait for the royalties, knowing our luck we would still owe the publishers! It would be good for Chas n Dave to do one but we would insist on the original Dave. Pavorotti doing Runnin Riot would be a laugh as well.

Tell the readers five facts about the band / band members they will not know?

Well, without getting arrested or divorced or beaten up here's a few safe ones...

1. Colin (born 17/5/56) found out the other day that he is 5 days younger than Homer Simpson!! He was gutted coz he always thought that Homer was a fat balding old guy DOH!

2. No one in the band has a tattoo (yet)

3. We played the original legendary Marquee more times than The Who and were banned from there a record 3 times.

4. As well as all yer usual suspects in the punk scene we have also played with: Small Faces, Thin Lizzy. Motorhead, Slade, Heavy Metal Kids, Jam

5. We broke the record for the amount of alcohol consumed backstage at the Grosse Freiheit, Hamburg. This was especially pleasing as the previous long standing record holders were the notorious drink bingers Motorhead - bleedin lightweights!! That same night another record was broken, the Sparrer fans actually drunk the place dry!! There was not a drop of beer left and the club were going mad coz it was a German holiday the next day so it would be difficult to get any stock and they had Del Amitri playing - shame!!

Oh yeah Live and Loud aint Loud!!

Plans, gigs and releases planned for 2003.

Although we are filming this years HITS for a DVD with HIT SHOP Belgium. There will be loads of extras such as private footage, lyrics, pics, loads of other live footage etc so it should be the nuts... Captain Oi! will release the soundtrack so sing your little hearts out..

Any final comments?

No Comment


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