I’ve awoken to a cold England. Summer is over and my ‘coffee machine’ has detonated leaving my kitchen looking like an enema explosion. A shot in the arm is needed and for the sake of this feature, I’ll say it’s too early for a beer. I opt for music, and its power to induce nostalgic reverie. Paul Cook and the Chronicles are sitting pretty on my record player and, because I’m due to e-mail the man some questions, I feel a listen is warranted. They say contemplation of heartache is good for the soul… but Christ, Paul Cook claws your heart, battering it into a melancholic bloodied steak. He compels one’s eyes into a blinding weeping misery and I don’t even cry at funerals. Is he the tortured or the torturer? Yet, a resonating hope can be found in his tales of lost love and foolishness. Visceral and nuanced, even Radio 2 and XFM have been charmed by this frustrated soul. I e-mail the bastard to measure the man who’s left me in this troubled state.
What were the first records and most recent records you bought?
A Paul McCartney greatest hits double vinyl was the first, although I don’t think it had any songs from Ram or McCartney II on it so I’m not sure what was so great about it.
I don’t really buy records anymore because I’ve got a ‘bells and whistles’ Spotify account, but the most recent one I’ve been playing is Mature Themes by Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti.
Who are your influences?
Simon & Garfunkel, Big Star, Gram Parsons, Bruce Springsteen, The
Lemonheads, Elliot Smith
What are you most fond of singing/writing about? And has it changed since first writing?
Pretty much all my songs are about relationships, mainly with women but also issues with mates. It hasn’t really changed in my adult life because I still manage to fuck all those things up or have the same frustrations with people and neurosis about social situations.
What’s your/one of your favourite lyrics from a band/artist?
Bob Dylan’s lyrics in You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go always resonate with me, particularly the line “You’re gonna make me give myself a good talking to”, because it’s a cute line, but also clever and meaningful. It’s something I constantly feel like I need to do with myself. That whole songs seems to fit with my permanent status though – “Situations have ended bad, relationships have all been bad.”
What are your biggest vices?
Is getting yourself into impossibly miserable situations in which you can’t possibly win a vice?
What are you looking forward to most this year?
I’ve got some great gigs booked in for the rest of the year so I’m looking forward to those. I’m also looking to volume 3 already and what sort of direction it’ll take.
What do you want to convey in your music mostly?
Hope and heartache
Words: Simon Herriott