The Cooper Temple Clause at Lee's Palace (529 Bloor West), Saturday (March 13). $17.50 416-532-1598. Rating: NNNNN
ben gautrey of the cooper temple Clause is nursing a hangover in his New York hotel room. Oh, yeah. Buncha bleedin' drunks livin' that rock 'n' roll lifestyle. Part of the job, wot? "It just has to do with being British and being in a band with six best friends," Gautrey muses. "We started this band because we were best friends. It's just great to be able to travel with your friends and share your life."
Their first major North American tour, which brings the Britpop rockers to Toronto Saturday, starts in earnest for the Cooper Temple Clause as soon as they leave this hotel room.
"We're playing our first show in Washington, DC, tonight. We've been in New York doing promotions and DJing around town. We DJed at the Virgin megastore that Moby apparently played, so you can imagine we were over the moon when we found out we were going there."
"No. I'm not a fan of Moby."
It was a good time, though.
"I got to mix some Squarepusher with OutKast, so that was good, and we've been asked back to DJ some more in New York."
The Cooper Temple Clause's latest record, Kick Up The Fire And Let The Flames Break Loose, the American debut that's supposed to make a name for them this side of the Atlantic, is one of those schizophrenic genre experiments that plunders from metal, pop, rock, jazz, electronica, new wave, post-grunge and space rock. You get tempo and mood shifts from mellow ambient to a crashing blast, sometimes in the space of one tune.
It's ambitious and effective, both melodic and experimental.
Like most upstarts, the Coopers had all the time in the world to work on their debut, See Through This And Leave, but they wrote and recorded Kick Up The Fire in the space of eight or nine months.
"I really feel that we captured a moment in time. You catch the mood of a particular time in your life."
Right. Whose mood is that? The bulk of Gautrey's often seemingly introspective lyrics are actually written by guitarist Daniel Fisher.
"Well, I wouldn't sing the songs if I didn't feel any relationship to the lyrics or if they didn't reflect how I was feeling. Fish and I have known each other forever, so we've basically lived the same life. We all have. We'll all contribute lyrics to the third album, though."
I've noticed they've thanked Tony Robinson on their liner notes, and though it says right there "aka The Irish Jockey," I'm still hoping it's the Tony Robinson who portrays Baldrick on Blackadder.
"I know who he is [like, duh], but that's not who it is. He's this really old guy we met just outside of Camden when we first started touring.
"He's this really eccentric old Irish jockey, and Kieran (Mahon, on keyboards, synth, piano, guitar) felt that he related to him since they both had Irish names. We decided he should be immortalized on the album."
OK. I guess that's even better.