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THE EARLY BIRDS
Derry four-piece, cuckoo, have caught the proverbial worm, landing a world-wide deal with Geffen, and are finally ready to set the world on fire. Birdwatcher: john walshe.
John Walshe, 19 Feb 1997
CONTRARY TO reports of their inactivity, Derry guitarniks Cuckoo have not been passed over by the record company circus. This time last year, the band were very hard to spot, granted, but that was merely due to the throngs of A&R men fighting for their signature. But, no more. For Cuckoo have at last signed on the dotted line with the big corporate monster, in this case, Geffen (cue fanfare). But they don t want to make a song and dance about it (somebody shut those fucking trumpets up).
We re still not used to having a deal, to be quite honest, explains Ruairi O Doherty (bass and vocals). But nothing has really changed. We re still the same people, and still working away.
In fact, just today we were over in a guitar shop, browsing around and I saw a guitar I really wanted, he continues. I thought, Fuck, I can t wait til I get some money together to get that , and then I remembered, I can afford it now .
Signing with Geffen has been the culmination of four years of hard work by the band, with three top-notch singles already under their belt in the shape of Colonised , Non Sequitur and I Don t Wanna Get Up . The last year in particular has been a busy one for the four-piece, and 1997 looks like being even busier. A plethora of brilliantly impressive gigs last year, including a ferocious performance in The Attic during the Heineken Green Energy Festival and a couple of gigs at In The City, led to much to-ing and fro-ing with ponytailed record label execs. All of which put Cuckoo well on course for phase two of their plan for global domination.
1996 also saw the lads release the amazing Non Sequitur single, which has found its way onto many an indie compilation. More recently, the B-side to that single, More Of Me , has been included on the latest Volume compilation. But that wasn t the extent of their work over the last year, which included, for the first time, a trip to England.
We played three gigs in London, recalls Andrew Ferris, (guitar and vocals), including one in Camden. It was great and horrendous at the same time, as London is. It was great experience, and it was fabulous to get gear hired out for us and to play through proper PAs.
That was the first time that we recorded that it hasn t cost us anything financially, points out Brian Deery, drums. It cost us only the sets of guitar strings.
Having sold their souls to Geffen, the band have already begun demoing material for their debut album, which they plan to record in April. That s the end of our indie credibility now, laughs Jason Flood (guitar). Thank God.
Geffen were just so positive about the band, interjects Andrew. Up to that point, everyone had been very negative, like (adopts English accent) We like 60 percent of your set . That s all you really hear. Whereas Geffen are very encouraging.
We criticise ourselves enough already, explains Ruairi, without some fucker with a coke habit telling us what to do.
The band have no half-formed ideals about making non-commercial 12-minute epics, though. In fact, it s fair to say that Cuckoo have no die-hard, alternative pretensions about the deal with Geffen, and that they want their album to sell by the 747-lorry-load.
The album is going to be very single-oriented, states Andrew. It is going to be very directed at selling loads of records. There will be no messing about with a difficult, experimental first album. We want to get straight in there and go for the jugular.
The band feel that America, in particular, has huge potential for their music, and thankfully their record company agrees with them. With college radio, all the alternative stations and MTV on our side, we can do well, Andrew says. We never were an English-sounding band. Most of our influences were American.
We all like lots of English pop acts, but when it comes down to it, straightforward rock is what we are best at doing, he continues. A lot of people have compared us to Bob Mould and Sugar, with harmonies and loud guitars. With our music, at the end of the day there are hooks there and good choruses. That s what Americans like big songs with big choruses.
I d love to break London as well, interjects Andrew. I d love to be on the front of the NME, but it s not the be all and end all of success.
That s one of the problems with England, opines Brian. Because we re so close to England, it dictates to us how we think about the music scene, which it shouldn t, because that view is so narrow.
Most of this year will be taken up with recording and promoting the album, on both sides of the Atlantic. Cuckoo are planning some major touring Stateside, basically working their arses off to promote the album and build up a fan-base in the old US. It s going to be chaos until the end of the year, between touring Ireland, the UK and America. The album should be released in the fall, whenever that is, laughs Andrew. Maybe it s when we all collapse from exhaustion. Seriously, though, we hope that it will be out at the start of September.
Cuckoo have finally left the nest, then, and hopefully the next year will see them spread their wings, and head for the clouds. With this band, the sky is most certainly the limit. n