Listening to TVMALSV, I’m wondering how the fuck the world has survived the past two decades without Revolting Cocks (Or, at least anything resembling an “essential” lineup.) Remember them… the Industrial music collective of the heaviest beaters of Wax Trax Records, such as Al Jourgensen, Chris Connelly, Luc Van Acker, Richard 23, Bill Rieflin, and Paul Barker… which, also, at times, came to include Nivek Ogre and Tim Leary (in addition to about a billion others)… who wrote rivethead anthems, like “Beers, Steers & Queers,” and brilliantly covered confrontationally lame pop tunes like Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical” and Rod Stewart’s “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?”…? Yeah, there haven’t been too many (if any) bands like them before, during, or since. They were the perfect blend of obscene humor and violent social commentary… a “party band” for those whose lives resemble something found in a narrative published by Grove Press… Well, they’re sort of back together. Chris Connelly has enlisted the help of fellow Chicago musician Jason Novak of Acumen Nation, DJ? Acucrack, and Czar to revive the spirit and legacy of the Cocks twenty years on. They’re now called Cocksure and their debut album, TVMALSV, is set to drop on August 12th on Metropolis Records. TVMALSV is a nonconsensual sonic orgy: The dirtiest kind of dance music skull-fucking Punk, while Hip-Hop and Metal wank each other off over it… Dub made its way to the party too, but the last I saw, it was choked out and bleeding in a corner… But that’s just my take on it, here’s what they had to tell me.
Izzy Cihak: So I’m curious, what is it that inspired you to revive the legacy of Revolting Cocks, in a sense?
Chris Connelly: There has been a 20 year gap, and the “cocks” as it was back then, ended badly, in a blaze of drugs and terrible decisions. I always thought it could have been so much more, and I did not want to retread old territory. It was time to move on and do something new and (ir)relevant.
Izzy: I’m actually really interested in and digging this idea of reviving an old band, but with a new twist. How do you consider Cocksure to differ from RevCo most significantly?
Chris: I think Jason and I have taken certain musical and lyrical ideas and distilled them to make them more focused, stronger, more toxic and concentrated, definitely more contemporary,
Jason Novak: Well… the addition of choruses maybe? I know we both wanted to do something that paid homage to the past, yet moved into the future without grabbing on to contemporary sounds or styles. We wanted to keep the ugly live bass, the big crushing kicks and snares, and go from there.
Izzy: And how did the two of you, in particular, come together (I mean, there are a lot of obvious genre and geographic connections.)? And how would you characterize your process of working together?
Chris: I knew Jason through a mutual friend – the much, much missed Jamie Duffy who is no longer with us. Jamie basically put together the Revolting Cocks reunion in 2011, where myself, Luc, Paul, Duanne Buford, Richard 23 played a set at the WaxTrax Retrospectacle. We subsequently played two more times, and I asked Jason, who was instrumental in putting the last two times together, if he wanted to do something with me.
Jason: Chris asked me and I was all like… fiiiiiiiiine. No, I was honored… it’s cool. I have had a bunch of bands and projects and been stuck writing lyrics and singing, so my favorite thing about this process is that I get to whip up the tracks and then Chris completely adds a whole dimension or lyric cadence that I never even thought of. And after that, we might have teeny tiny little suggestions for the other, but in most cases we’re both saying, “Bravo, next track.”
Izzy: You’re about to release TVMALSV (Whose title I’m just now getting as I’m typing it out… quite a cool title at that.) What would you consider to be the album’s most significant influences, whether musical or otherwise?
Chris: [deep breath] Transvestite hookers, home-made amphetamines, D.U.I. arrests, 4 a.m. bars, botched plastic surgery, webcams, Skyped porn, shoplifting, carjacking, any old cybercrime, credit card fraud, Herculean drinking binges, you name it! The internet has opened up a whole Alladin’s cave of subject matter for the cocks…
Izzy: There would seem to be a lot of concepts outside the realm of music itself that inspired this batch of songs.
Chris: Ha Ha! “concepts” is a very nice word for it!
Jason: Chris is a great writer and had many dark and bedraggled personalities to tap into. Each track is almost a simultaneous condemnation and celebration of the same filthy act, you know?
Izzy: Do you have a particular favorite album track, one that you’re either most proud of or one that you think is just most fun to play? I love the whole album, but opener “Skeemy Gates” makes me want to fuck shit up more than any other track.
Chris: As it should, my friend! I think my favourites are “Guilt, Speed & Carbon” and “Silikon Suckaz.” They seem to embody everything I want from a life misspent… and “Guilt “ has a great ’77 punk mentality that I love.
Jason: “Skeemy” was literally the first track I built when we started this process, and it stayed as the introduction to the album the whole way through. We even wrote material for later releases and still put them out first, always aware “Skeemy” had to be the first track on this album. It’s… well, its fucking Cocks. And I still have a hard time saying it. I was a huge super fan of RC, you know? And now I see it as more of an attitude, a culture, a sound… trailer park industrial punk, and that’s been the goal to capture, not really the “band” per se. “Guilt, Speed & Carbon” I think is my fave on the record. Some sampled guitars, a fucking steamroller groove, and a perfect example of machine punk.
Izzy: I’m curious, because your music has always been pretty charmingly confrontational, to both the popular and a lot of subculture trends, are there any contemporary musicians doing things that you consider to be especially cool or inspiring?
Chris: I love Die Antwoord, I also love M.I.A., Tyler The Creator, Kendrick Lamar, Azaelia Banks. It’s hard to find stuff that has the power, the violence, and the wit that I crave though. However, as per the album title, I find tons of it on T.V. I am a dreadful TV addict.
Jason: I’m the grump in the corner that hates all that shit. However, I have every M.I.A. record; she is definitely legit and has great ideas. And I will say I’m happy Die Antwoord exists. We need some fucking danger in music today, some balls. I mean, can you even believe there is a term “pop punk” to describe a genre of music? Ridiculous oxymoron. I have an old turntable you can stack a few records on… I been grabbing the same Big Black, Boston, Oscar Petersen, Severed Heads, and My Bloody Valentine chunk and flipping it over for weeks now.
Izzy: And to approach that from the opposite perspective, I’m even more curious, what current musical trends do you find to be the most fucking pathetic, tedious, and obnoxious?
Chris: That’s a tough one, not because I think everything is so great, but mainly because I am so completely disgustingly self-involved, I don’t really pay much attention to anything…
Jason: I really find over-produced Youtube teen rock that kitchen sinks everything plain gross. You know, dubstep drops with deathcore growls that lead into 80’s synth leads and a half-time harmonized auto-tuned chorus… oh wait, then drop everything except the whiny singer coming through the telephone effect… then BAM! CRAB CRAWL, BRO!
Izzy: And looking back, do you have any particular favorite memories or moments from RevCo, the first time around? Are there any old tracks you’re anxious to revive… or just that you have especially fond feelings for?
Chris: I like lots of the old stuff, but find myself quite ambivalent about reviving it: retreading old ground is a bit of a bore, but sometimes it’s okay. You’d be surprised how much nostalgia I do not feel for those days, no fond feelings at all.
Jason: I was in the pit when they recorded You Goddamn Son of a Bitch … does that count?
Izzy: What’s next for Cocksure? You have a few upcoming dates, but can we expect a full-scale tour? (That would be fucking amazing.) Can we expect more new music in the near future?
Chris: No full-scale tour, unless you pay off my parole officer, who as I type this is sitting in a tan S.U.V. across the street from the bar where I am sitting. It’s 3 fucking p.m. and I am nursing — not pounding — nursing this Seagrams & 7up like it’s a goddam newborn. Bitches, fucking give me a break… but, I digress… One-off dates here and there, and yes, Jason and I will make more Cocksure. We are having a blast, and the parole board considers it “therapeutic” for me, whatever the fuck that means….
Izzy: And finally, since this is a Philadelphia-based publication, I have to ask your thoughts on the city. You’ve played here quite a handful of times with quite a number of different projects. Any favorite memories?
Chris: One of my best friends lives in Philly – the person pretty much responsible for keeping me from nose-diving my career many times in a row, to whom I owe pretty much everything… Apart from that, I think there’s a joint called the Cherry Street Café that’s a completely vegan Chinese restaurant (“Ah don’ eat meat, bitch!)
Jason: Don’t get to Philly as much as I would like. Let’s see… There is this great sushi place across from the Troc, and for some reason always end up eating Jim’s steak. I still want to play Kung Fu Necktie. My good, good mate, Aaron, lives there. And my favorite memory would have to be on tour with Cubanate in spring 1997… Their performance at the Troc remains an all time high!
*Cocksure will be in the general area for a September 24th gig with Front 242 at Irving Plaza, in NYC.