Monday, March 28, 2011
Kopek: The Rock Of The Irish
Have you ever played word association? Ok then, what comes to mind when I say Irish? Red hair? Shamrocks? Bagpipes? Lucky Charms? How about genuine and authentic rock and roll saviors, here to deliver a sermon that not only is rock and roll not dead, but it is about to grab you by the neck and choke you into submission. Do I have your attention now?
Let me introduce you to three lads from Dublin, Ireland: Shane Cooney on drums, Brad Kinsella on bass and Daniel Jordan on vocals and guitar. They go by the name Kopek and their debut CD, “White Collar Lies”, has only been out a short time, but it has caught the attention of an industry that has grown stale and an audience that is hungry for real music. These guys are as genuine as you get: real musicians writing real songs and playing real music.
I had the privilege of catching up with drummer Shane Cooney before a recent gig and we talked about this crazy rock and roll ride that has begun for the band. “The response here in the States has been overwhelming at times. We wanted to keep things honest and original when we made the CD, but we truly did not expect this kind of a reaction on this side of the pond. Everyone seems to be really into it,” said Shane.
So, what’s in a name? What exactly does Kopek mean? Shane explained, “It really doesn’t mean anything, we just liked the word. We wanted to choose something that people would hear and associate it with the band, no second meanings. We wanted to have a blank canvas, free to do what we wanted. Plus, it needed to have a hardcore and rock sound to it.”
The boys have been busting their chops and paying their dues for almost ten years now, so this is no overnight sensation story. Drawing on influences ranging from Robert Johnson and the Doors to Nirvana and the Smashing Pumpkins, the lads perfected their sound. Daniel provides some nasty guitar riffs that are as infectious as his very unique voice. Shane and Brad are a solid rhythm unit providing that fist in the air pumping backbeat that keeps the songs throbbing along.
“Our style is one that would stop you on the street, throw you up against the wall and slap you in the face”, says Shane, when asked about the group’s sound. “The Sex Pistols would have killed for all of this material to write about. There is so much horror going on in the world. Then you have bands that write love songs, but what if you don’t have a boyfriend or girlfriend? Things do tend to piss us off, especially after our hangover wears off and we like to write about those things; whether it’s the price of alcohol or the price of oil.”
Shane told me that his musical defining moment came when his parents took him to a midnight show when he was eleven to see Jerry Lee Lewis in Ireland. It was a rare opportunity to see Lewis perform and Shane was a mere twenty feet away from him in a small club. He was so blown away by how real Lewis was and how he wasn’t trying to copy anyone else, he just wanted to be himself. That was the moment that he knew he wanted to do that for a living.
Speaking of shows, Kopek has definitely been busy burning up the road on tour. They just finished up a very successful tour with Hinder, Saving Abel and My Darkest Day. I was fortunate to see the guys perform in Greensboro, NC on that tour. “That was a great show! The crowd there was very into it and very energetic. I also learned that moonshine is a delicacy in those parts of the South,” explained Shane when recalling their stop in North Carolina. The band ended that tour and then jumped onto another tour with Cold and Egypt Central. Shane told me that when that tour was over, the band would be joining another tour, but he couldn’t let the cat out of the bag yet and tell me who with.
Our conversation closed with a discussion of the band celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in the States instead of their native Ireland. “We were actually in Baltimore on that day and had a show to play. It’s amazing how all of America comes together and for one day only, everyone is Irish. I think we drank for two days straight and are still a bit hung over. America certainly knows how to do St. Patrick’s Day right,” said Shane.
I have to tell you all that this band has had a major impact on me. I cannot tell you the last time that I got a CD that was as solid as “White Collar Lies” is. Shane explained to me that they wrote and recorded in a way so that each song could be strong enough to be a single and video. The irony is that there are so many choices floating around, that the label is debating exactly which one to release next. How many bands can say that they actually have that type of a problem?
Check out these Irish lads and see what all the fuss is about. One listen to “White Collar Lies” will make you a believer not only in the luck of the Irish, but also in the talent of these amazing musicians.