here was an American, a Belgian and a Scotsman, and . . . you’ve heardit‘? Then you’ll know the kind of decay and depravity that The Revolting Cocks set to a dancebeat — although there aren’t many danceﬂoors that would tolerate an intrusion like their unrecognisable version of Olivia Newton-John’s ‘(Let’s Get) Physical’. S&M parlours certainly, scrapyards and abattoirs perhaps, but dancefloors? Not when there’s something less jarring that could be eased on in its place. And practically anything is less jarring than The Revolting Cocks’ last album, Beers, Steers and Queers, a funny, raucous and very loud voyage to the mythical heart ofthe American West.
The core of The Revolting Cocks is three ‘studio rats’, Alain Jourgensen (USA), Luc Van Acker (Belgium) and Chris Connelly (Scotland), who, backed up by Paul Barker and Bill Rieflin, operate a scorched earth policy on rock, dance music and whatever else gets in their way. Around the time of their charming You Goddamned Son ofa Bitch LP, they could perhaps be taken as some kind ofextreme and confrontational mutant house group, but although they are based in Chicago, and work the graveyard shift at the studios where the house sound has developed, they have little to do with the music and producers that have put the city back on the map in the last five years.
‘I know some of the guys, and they’re friends and they’re nice and everything like that, but I don’t pay attention to that kind of music,’ says Chris Connelly, main vocalist and lyricist, speaking from Malmo, Sweden, on a tour that is so laid-back that the band aren’t even bothering with soundchecks. ‘A lot ofthat music is recorded there, but it’s just so bland.’
‘Bland’ is not a word that can be levelled lightly at the Cocks. Their reputation for irresponsible behaviour has grown to such unmanageable proportions that were they a career-minded group, they would be seriously worried men by now. The hard-core pornography spread liberally around the gatefold sleeve of You Goddamned
Teddy Taylor MP begged the Home Secretary to stop themplaying in this country. Shocked Christians have demonstrated outsrde their shows. Even their own go-go dancers turned against them. They are THE REVOLTING COCKS, and, as Alastair Mabbott found out, they draw the line at cattle abuse.
Son ofa Bitch is said to be from Connelly’s personal collection. Guitarist Mark Durante was allegedly arrested after the Houston show on charges of LSD possession, damaging a police car and suspicion of male prostitution. But foremost in Cocks’ mythology is Al Jourgensen, who is portrayed by the press to be Chicago’s answer to Genghis Khan. Connelly seems particularly aggrieved by a Melody Maker article that made them out to be ‘completely despicable human beings’.
Formerly a member of Fini Tribe, whose blend of electronic beats, samples and social comment bears some relation to what he is now doing with the Cocks, Connelly left Edinburgh for Chicago in March 1988, after a year of commuting between the two cities. Jourgensen and Van Acker were already sending up American archetypes, and on 1990’s Beers, Steers and Queers their mutual obsessions bloomed into a marvellous parody of the redneck way of life that Connelly found so amusing when he went over to live there. It wasn’t intended as a concept album, but something that ‘grew out of our mentality’. ‘And,’ Connelly continues, clearing his throat and lowering his voice, ‘we have a big audience in Texas, right? And, y’knOw, when we’re travelling, a lot of the music we listen to on the coach is country music, ’cause we enjoy it. So maybe we’re the rednecks.’
Maybe so, but certain elements ofTexas’s populace didn’t appreciate the Cocks’ tribute to their fine menfolk. The band’s Houston gig was dogged by ‘anal retentive’ demonstrators. Meanwhile, inside, punters were being treated to a show the like of which they’d never witnessed before. So how much of the Beers, Steers and Queers show have they managed to bring to Europe?
‘How much ofwhat . . ?’
The performance! The twenty-foot high sheets of ﬂame, the cattle driven across the stage, the bucking bronco that Jourgensen shags the life out of and then obliterates with a burst from a crotch-held ﬂamethrower! Come on, Chris, the action we’ve read about!
10 The List 25 January — 7 February 1991