early Mayhem vocalist’s punk band Cockroach Clan cover The Mountain Goats on first LP in 22 years
Eirik “Billy” Norheim was one of the co-lead vocalists on legendary Norwegian black metal band Mayhem‘s 1987 debut EP Deathcrush (using the moniker Messiah), but he left the band after that EP and played in other bands like Impostor, Death Fuck, and Within Range before forming the punk band Cockroach Clan (and assuming the moniker Billy Cockroach) in the early ’90s. They haven’t released a new album since 1997’s Just Say Blow!, and more recently Billy/Messiah has been fronting the band Order (who perform some Mayhem material but also write their own material), which also features his former Mayhem bandmate Manheim and members of Cadaver. But now Cockroach Clan are back with their first album in 22 years,
Songs About Blunt Knives and Deep Love, due September 13 via Norwegian label Fysisk Format (also home to Arabrot, Blood Command, and more).
The album includes a mix of new songs, re-recordings of old songs, and at least one cover, and two of the songs are out now. One is the original song “Believer,” and the other song is a cover of The Mountain Goats‘ “Going to Georgia.” We knew Mountain Goats leader John Darnielle is a big metalhead, and it’s always cool to see when the feeling is mutual. (And it’s not the first time a metal legend has associated themselves with The Mountain Goats.) Cockroach Clan’s cover stays pretty faithful to the original, but makes it just a little punkier, and it’s great.
Update: John Darnielle acknowledged the cover on Twitter, writing, “as everybody knows I am Going to Georgia-agnostic at best these days (the song, not the place, the place shreds) but this cover supersedes the original in every way.”
“Believer” was actually written 18 years ago and recorded as a demo, but nothing ever came of it. It’s rooted in the same kind of ’80s street punk as Cockroach Clan’s classic material, and it’s a ripper. Guitarist Atle Egil Knoff Glomstad had this to say about the song, via Norwegian site Musikknyhete (translated via Google):
This I wrote 18 years ago and recorded as a demo the following year. We did nothing about the recording besides making some CDs and going to London to get it reviewed. Goof! As the country’s boys we were, we expected that we could easily go to Kerrang’s headquarters. It only took seven hours. With our feet full of blisters and grooving as first class, we made our errand: “We’re a band from Norway, you might have heard of us”. Kerrang the people had not heard of us but were nice and thankful for the demo. Of course, it was never reviewed.
Recording Believer was the easiest thing in the world. It’s a straight forward and catchy little thing with a screwed chorus that doesn’t allow you to dance to it without stumbling. I can’t remember having written the text, so who knows what it’s about. Probably not about trashing.
Listen to both songs, see the full tracklist, and read more about the new album, below.
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1. Going to Georgia
2. You Have a Bun
4. Three Wishes
5. On an Island
6. Crash Ka-Boom
7. Necktie Party
8. Facts on The Wall
9. Gene’s Got a Bun Too
10. Dit It Again
12. Cockroach Fandango
Album Description And Credits (via Bandcamp):
The legendary Norwegian punk act Cockroach Clan strike back after 22 years! The album called “Songs about Blunt Knives and Deep Love” started out as a bizarre idea from producer extraordinary Hugo Alvarstein (The Good the Bad and the Zugly, Raga Rockers):
“Pick some gems from your 1990s recordings and rehearse them properly. Then visit my studio and I’ll make that scrap iron shine” he demanded. So the band did, threw in some new songs as well, and unpredictably ended up with an album now being released through record label Fysisk Format.
“The Fysisk Format crew are just a bit too young to catch Cockroach Clan on their first wave, but when we first heard the new album from the old legends, we were hooked!” tells Fysisk Format’s Kristian Kallevik. “We fell in love with Cockroach Clan’s great songwriting, down-to-earth attitude and their weird ability to be both angry and cheerful at the same time. We’re honoured to bring Cockroach Clan to a new generation and to old fans as well.”
Cockroach Clan have stayed more or less active the past few years, a few yearly gigs at the hand of nostalgia, enduring friendship and stubbornness has been the drill. Much like going fishing – for full houses.
The band started out as far back as 1994, building a loyal fan base and a reputation of being a superb live band along the way. Jovial aggression just can’t fail when accompanied by good tunes! Cockroach Clan’s previous albums “Roach” (-94), “Going Underground” -EP (-96) and “Just Say Blow!” (-97) have become minor classics in the Norwegian punk scene, although the band never gained any significant success beyond the punk congregation.
You might have seen the band on stage with acts like The Toy Dolls, Discharge, UK Subs, The Exploited, Cock Sparrer, Anti-Nowhere League, Vice Squad and GBH through the years. If not, it’s about time – there are more gigs, joy and outrage to come!
So far so good, but… how about some trivia?
-Guitarist Akke was initially chosen to join Danny McCormack’s The Yo-Yo’s back in 1998 when The Wildhearts split up. Akke never got to become a full-time member of the band, due to problems in Danny’s personal life at the time of his recruitment.
-In the wild nineties, Cockroach Clan was signed to renowned Swedish punk label Birdnest, alongside “trallpunk” bands like Charta 77 and De Lyckliga Kompisarna
-Bassplayer Morten and guitarist Simen made out the primitive garage punk duo Mormones. Morten is also the songwriter and guitarist in Fysisk Format/Rural Rebel Rock act Kosmik Boogie Tribe.
releases September 13, 2019
Billy Cockroach: lead vocals
Akke Knoff Glomstad: guitars and background vocals
Cato Holmen: drums and background vocals
Simen Jeistad: guitars and background vocals
Morten Mormone: bass guitar
Hugo Alvarstein: keyboards
Jan Erik Kraabøl: guest guitar on «Fantasyland» and «Necktie Party»
Recorded, mixed and mastered at Instituttet for Tung og Tøff Rockelyd, Oslo, Norway
Produced by Hugo Alvarstein
Mixed and mastered by Hugo Alvarstein
Cover art by Bly and Fysisk Format
(h/t Metal Injection)