Modern day revolutionary songsmith and all round political agitator Cosmo has been around... and around and around, more than beached boy Brian Wilson could ever have imagined. His demeanour is one of a coiled spring yearning to bounce out and utter p`litical reality slogans and dreamt up ideals of universal happiness for all. To tell it like it is. And it is a fucked up place of suffering, injustice and economic-social abuse. As well as beauty. Let us not forget that... Goddammit!
Tongue firmly lodged in his, or somebody else`s, cheek, Cosmo has done this for many years with the anarchic punk-funk troubadours Flannel, and has Digger-like, ploughed a caring, sharing co-op stylee life affirming agenda since. From rabble-rousing, music-making, industry scamming in Brighton with Bloke, Stan and crew, he relocated to Wales and has since observed, written, sung and banged on about life and the universe to anyone who will listen, and you cant turn off your ears, can you? So listen up and let him know what you`re thinking about the world... he does bite, but only if you ask him nicely..
I asked Cosmo some questions about recent times;
Paul H : Hows life treating you at the mo ?
Cosmo : Work's been stressing me out. And nope, rest assured, I aint given up the day job yet.../p>
Paul H : What music hits the X spot for you ?
Cosmo : At the moment I'm listening to Frank Turner's album Sleep is for the Week. He used to be the front man in a band called Million Dead but I only came across him once he'd gone solo. He's on tour right now with a guy called Beans on Toast and we're all setting up a mutual admiration society. Check 'em out! Other than that, anything that's under my nose. In Cardiff we have Sicknote, Fred Snow, Julia Harris, Kilnboy, Imran and Bust da Dex and and many more...check 'em out in all!
Paul H : Tell me about Gibby Zobel`s influence on you and the new album...
Cosmo : I rescue him from a life of po-faced political activism by asking him to join a rock and roll band, (well, Flannel actually... and he rewards me by running away to a South American jungle and hanging out with land rights activists. I ask you! But when we hooked up in Brazil last summer he had a mini disc player and a microphone and he went on a mission recording everything we did - drunk bar gigs, frogs mating at midnight in a swimming pool, an army helicopter swooping us after a gig a the Christ statue in Rio...Oh, and some songs as well. And all of the above have found their way onto the new album.
Paul H : Whats the plan Stan for 07 ?
Cosmo : At the moment I'm working with a project teaching English language to asylum seekers and refugees in Cardiff - very PC and not very rock n roll but it's great. I'm doing a qualification as well, which I hope to finish in June and then.... lots of music in the pipeline, basically. Put it this way, there are surprises in store but I aint saying nothing yet cos then it's bound to go belly up, innit....
Paul H : Have you played with any other bands/musicians/on anyones albums ?
Cosmo : Yeah, Flannel! And I was in a hip hop band called Pondlife MCs till last year - that was a top mission and a top band as well! We're still up on MySpace and the rest of the guys are getting some new projects together. Other than that, I was working with a collective last year called Strawberry Gash, who are ace. We would pitch up at parties and festivals in the area with nothing planned and just play to hordes of mashed up people. Hip-hop, Johnny Cash, punk, you name it. Wot larks, Pip!
Paul H : What influences your outlook on life ?
Cosmo : The availability or otherwise of Orangeboom lager and/or inexpensive red wine.
Paul H : How politically correct are you........really ?
Cosmo : Just strap on your seatbelts, folks, cos I'm a-comin' to correct you all politically with such ferocity that you aint gonna know what's hit ya! Saying that, I've never been entirely sure what politically correct means...omething to do with being devoid of humour and a grip on reality?! Once one goes, the other follows swiftly in my experience. I reckon my next album will be a concept based around Wolfie from Citizen Smith, the BBC programme from the 70s. I think in the UK we look at people like that who spout radical politics as being a bit nuts and deluded. Which may be true, but maybe we have a point as well....?! For all my posturing around, the only message is: let's stop sleepwalking. By the time we open our eyes we may be too far down the line. For example, the BNP are targeting Wales for the first time right now in the Assembly elections. OK, they won't win but you can already feel the poison they're spreading about the place. I reckon it's up to all of us to get out there and stop it happening.
Paul H : Why move to Cardiff after Brighton ?
Cosmo : Romance and a change of scenery. And all I ended up with was heartache and a view of Splott railway bridge.
Paul H : How do you chill out, cos you seem a very busy, angry man.....?
Cosmo : You've been reading my blog...? Well, I'm hardly going to put: "Came home from a boring day at work and fell asleep in front of the TV ... or "...ot dumped by the missus, ended up puking in an alley at 3 am and failed to hasten the downfall of capitalism. Again..." But it all happens.
Paul H : Did you film any of your trip to South America ?
Yeah Gibby got some stuff filmed. Including me playing The Mosh Song to a bunch of Masons in a secluded hotel in a rainforest. It will be up on the site very soon....
Paul H : Your trip to Brazil etc sounded `epochal`, what did you get out of the experience, man ?
Cosmo : Jelly belly. Oh, and little things like taking on board a whole new culture, language and a way of life for the first time... We're bad at doing things like that in the UK. I'm working on doing things like that more, even now.../p>
Paul H : Can you sign your autograph in Hungarian ?
Cosmo : No, but I can fart the national anthem. And God Save the Queen. At the same time. And before he died, my dad taught me an ancient, medieval, Hungarian hip-hop song about drinking. Which I still play to this day. He had a strange way of keeping me in touch with my roots, the old man.
Paul H : The Devil..................is he all bad?
In the words of Dick Emery: "Ooo, you are awful! But I like you...Ä¶."
What, then, has changed you may ask? Well, Cosmo`s new album, Home Thoughts From Abroad is now released, a sun/rain drenched Chao-esque, funny/sad, beautifully life affirming strummed forty five minutes. Its 13 songs cajoled, ripped and wrought from the mind of possibly the only "guita-pickin` son of a lapsed Hungarian baron and a disinherited Scottish noblewoman allegedly descended from William the Conqueror" in Cardiff, Home Thoughts from Abroad was recorded during his 2006 road trip around different exotic and not-so exotic places in South America, where he played numerous gigs and had a ball. He added a few overdubs and mixed it back home, in South Wales.
The resultant tunes that ooze soft on the outside, hard on the inside, from Cosmo`s third album ( fittingly upping the vegan steaks from his 2005 album, I`m A Suicide Bomber In Your Heart ) veer from the harmony laden and sublime Hitting the Road Again, eco-fighter Swampy influenced Something Funny Goin` On, to the grinding, scratched-hop groove of One to One. Senor Gibby Zobel clocks in with a beautifully haunting harmonica blowout on Terra, before it segues back into the traditional MST ( Moviemento Dos Trabahadores Rurais Sem Terra - Brazillian land rights activists, visit www.mstbrazil.org NOW ) tune. Ably aided and abetted by Mr Spencer, Track 12 , Dubs the Fuck Funk, out of a sleazy slip-slidin` infectious riff.
Home Thoughts from Abroad ends with Backporch Dub; a smorgasboard of musical styles, underpinned by a heavy canal rooting bass, railroad harmonica and percussive acousticity; the result is a haunting, introspective tune, maybe mirroring Cosmo brain-chewing over his travels during 2006, munching a semtex and sipping TNT, jet lagged and back in his flat in Cardiff.
This album flows beautifully like a summer`s river on good acid.
Me, I`m waiting for the concept album with Toy Mic Trevor.
For now though (a plethora of websites);
Buy it @ www.cosmoguitar.net.
Is it not ?
Flannel ( RIP ) are lurking here:
COSMO can be found languishing in technicolour omelette glory at:
and on the Myspace swingers ball:
as well as the complacent bashin`, political mashin`, Toy Mic Trevorin`:
Paul Hawkins has been interested in popular culture and music, protest and survival for as long as we can remember. He began writing about things, making music and other noise at an early age. Paul has interviewed musicians, writers, poets, protestors and artists.