It is always good, when the year opens up with a great album, last year it was The Loyalties and this year it is The Peckham Cowboys. They release their album “10 Tales From The Gin Palace” on February 2014, which is appropriate given it shows a love of traditional British rock n roll. Having reviewed and loved the album (https://thesoulofaclown.com/reviews/m-p/) we were delighted to get the chance to speak to their singer, Marc Eden.
Hi Marc, perhaps we can start with a bit of history about the band. I understand that, alongside yourself, one of the original members was Guy Bailey, formerly of the Quireboys. Is that correct and is he still a member of the band?
Well, Guy is in a position where, post the Quireboys, he is not really interested in going back to the day to day touring and wanting a massive return. The fact is, that The Cowboys really just happened by accident as we were all just friends and in different bands at the time. Guy and I just got together and he had some riffs and we just had a bit of a jam. It all started off as a bit of a joke, we were just all in Peckham playing late one night and recorded some tracks. The next morning when we listened to them again we thought, fuck me, this is pretty good!
It all just started out like that, but the fact is that Guy has been out of the Quireboys since the early nineties so there is no big comeback. I am sure, however, that at some point we will do something together again.
Isn’t his former band mate, Nigel Mogg, now a member of the band?
Yeah, again, I have known Nigel for a long time and then we met in New York in the late nineties when he was a member of Nancy Boy. I went to one of his shows and we just hung out at a great night at the Chelsea Hotel, where there were people like Evan Dando hanging around. We just had a great time and made a real connection. Nigel still lives over in LA but he is still very happy to be involved with the band.
Speaking of members of other bands, is former Dogs D’Amour guitarist Darrell Bath also one of the band now?
Darrell is just a great guitarist and he did a few shows with us and has helped us out. He is actually now working with The Vibrators, but the reality is that he is just a free spirit and you can’t tie him down. He is one of the best soulful, rock n roll guitarists I have ever known.
In terms of The Peckham Cowboys, how would you describe your sound?
Well that’s a tough one to answer but I suppose it goes back to the great British rock n roll lineage. I love American music but our sound is in no way American but British in the way of The Kinks and the Stones. It also has a more vaudeville side to it, in terms of being part of a show. We have all been in bands before and approached things in more of a po faced way. When we began this, we talked about the old musical tradition in London. This was primarily the Kinks but even stuff like Chas and Dave and more recently The Libertines. As I said, it all really came about by accident but then we thought about it and realised the influence of The Stones, The Clash and The Pistols. We then decided to do a London rock n roll band based thing, rather than anything broader. So we kept it very central, indeed, even narrowed it down to a South London thing.
I saw a review comparing you to Faster Pussycat, I guess that was a bit wide of the mark then?
(laughing) well not really, I mean I didn’t like their first album but the second one, Wake Me up before, or whatever it was called, or am I quoting Wham at you?!? Anyhow, at the time of that release, Appetite for Destruction also came out which was a land mark album for a lot of people. In fact, I saw Faster Pussycat at The Hammersmith Odeon with Guns N Roses and The Quireboys – what a line up that was! They were important because they sung about what they knew about i.e. life on the Sunset Strip etc, and we could relate to that. In some ways, The Peckham Cowboys are doing the same sort of thing for this century. We are writing about our lives and what it means to us and hoping people just get it.
We’ve mentioned bands like The Quireboys and Dogs D’amour, they got lumped in with the whole sleaze rock scene with bands like Faster Pussycat. I can’t help but feel that it would help The Cowboys if there was a ‘scene’ around now, but there doesn’t seem to be one, unless it exists in London?
No, it doesn’t exist here and, in fact, having toured the whole country, doesn’t seem to be any where. At the moment, there isn’t really any one apart form us delivering this kind of sound. Everything else seems to be harsh metal or it’s more Indie stuff which has turned in to Coldplay and then that more singer songwriter style. There are just no rock n roll bands, so we are trying to do that but lyrically tie in with what is happening now. Peckham Cowboys are very street level, lyrically, talking about stuff that is real and we know, so people understand what and where we are coming from.
I guess, you have already mentioned The Libertines, and they were one of the last bands to do that. Again that scene died though because it just led to a load of parody bands who just weren’t that great.
I guess, I did really like The Libertines and really enjoyed the stuff they did. I knew people who worked with them and so know all about the difficulties which surrounded them. I guess they came from more of an NME background than what The Cowboys do.
Going back to The Peckham Cowboys and their lyrics, I understand that the song “Not Guilty” is based on your own experiences?
(chuckling to himself) yes it did, I was involved in a court case earlier in the year but I cant really talk about it I’m afraid. It was money related – so nothing too bad – it wasn’t about me stealing anything. It was more to do with money not being given to the Government!
Well, I not sure any one will give you a hard time over that, maybe that should be your new story line – the modern Robin Hood?
(laughing again) yeah maybe!
Moving on, I really like “In It For The Money”, not many musicians make a lot of money, so what are you in it for?
Well as the lyrics go, “Your’e only in it for the money, we are in it for the show”. I do feel for young kids who are just getting in to music at 15 like I did. The fact is though, that regardless of the money, if it is part of them then they will still be part of it. I also spend some time teaching guitar, and those kids will still talk to me about the Slash thing and have those stars in their eyes. If it’s in you, you can’t stop it and will carry on regardless of any money. They go on about people not buying CDs any more, but people are still going to see live shows, just look at Glastonbury. Money sure isn’t what it was, in terms of record company advances and the like, but I just can’t do anything else and nor can any of the other members of the band. Great musicians will always be around. “In It For The Money” is a nod and a wink to the Svengali character that you come across who promises you the world and then delivers nothing!
You mentioned Slash, I am sure you get tired of talking about it, but I understand that you auditioned for Velvet Revolver, how did that happen?
I was playing in a band called DNA Doll and we were recording with Telstar and made a record in LA with Matt Wallace. Matt was a producer for Faith No More and so knew Slash well. Slash had a conversation with Matt about what he was doing post G N R and asked him if he knew any decent singers and he recommended me.
Slash left a message on your answer phone, did you think it was just a mate taking the piss?
Yes I did! I did think who the hell is this but it had an LA number so I gave it a call, and it was Slash. I still have five of the songs that we recorded together. It was a pre audition for what ended up being Velvet Revolver but at the time it was just called The Project. It was a great experience and they were really lovely guys.
I recently interviewed Michael Monroe and he was also really complimentary about Slash, really thought he was a nice guy.
He was really great and I have tended to find that all the people higher up the ladder have been nothing other than really gracious, as well as open and honest. All the guys I have met such as Mott The Hoople and people like Robert Plant have been nothing short of honest and friendly.
The Peckham Cowboys album is due out on Valentines day, are there any plans to tour the record?
Yeah, we hope so, in fact I have just been talking to Dale and we are looking to play in March and there is a possible 14 day tour being sorted out. It is early days yet so I don’t know the dates, but hopefully, we will do that and also tour later in the summer.
If that’s a headline tour, any plans to go out in support of another band? and, if so, which band would you like to tour with?
(pausing) ahhh thats a good question, we would certainly like to pick up some support stuff. I don’t know really, Timo has been involved with Michael Monroe so that would be good or maybe someone like Buckcherry. Timo has also worked with Izzy Stradlin, so if he did something that would be really cool.
Well, thanks for your time and I certainly hope I get the chance to see you in the Midlands.
Well, we should be playing across the country, right up to Edinburgh, so hopefully we will see you on the road.
When you listen to The Peckham Cowboys album you can tell it is one that has been written from the heart and is about ‘real life’, it just sounds genuine. It, therefore, did not come as a surprise to find that Marc was also a down to earth, nice guy, who is clearly a true rock n roller. The album is certainly well worth grabbing as soon as you can, and keep your eyes and ears open for the tour!
photos courtesy of Beki Cowey