So, I'm reading Penn Jillette's novel Sock, and a certain passage brings up the band Cop Shoot Cop. Penn posits that the name isn't about police violence. Rather it is a junkie's to-do list (You have to cop so you can shoot, which makes you need to cop so you can shoot again, etc.). Turns out this isn't the official line:
Puleo reports their name was inspired by both the band members' shared dislike of police officers, and a newspaper headline about a botched police raid, reading "'Cop Shot Cop' or maybe it was 'Cop Shoots Cop.'"
[This gets long...]
When I read it, though, it was like an epiphany. I mean, there's a Spritualized song called "Cop Shoot Cop" (featured on the excellent Ladies & Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space) and it's all about the smack (Spiritualized is a progeny of Spacemen 3, one of the original Brit-smack-rock bands (The Perfect Prescription is highly recommended, though Taking Drugs to Make Music to Take Drugs To has the most apropos title.)). Check the words, yo:
Hey man there's a hole in my arm where all the money goes Jesus Christ died for nothin' I suppose
Cop shoot cop I believe I believe that I have been reborn Cop shoot cop I haven't got the time no more
There's a hole in daddy's arm where all the money goes, Jesus Christ died for nothin' I suppose. Little pitchers have big ears, Don't stop to count the years, Sweet songs never last too long on broken radios.
So, back to Cop Shoot Cop... I've never sampled their wares, though I've known of them for some time. Then I read that one of the founding members is also the main creative force behind another favorite of mine, Firewater (check out Get Off the Cross, We Need the Wood for the Fire - their first and best):
After Tod left his previous group, Cop Shoot Cop, he quickly regrouped and formed Firewater to explore the styles of music Cop Shoot Cop had only hinted at, including klezmer, cabaret, ska, jazz, and gypsy forms. More than one source described the original Firewater lineup as an "indie rock supergroup", based on members such as Duane Denison of the Jesus Lizard, Yuval Gabay of Soul Coughing, Jennifer Charles of Elysian Fields, and Hahn Rowe.
Looks like I have some downloading to do. Especially considering Cop Shoot Cop seems to play to a particular weekness of mine:
The trio added Jack Natz on bass guitar, and Tod briefly sang without playing bass. They missed Tod's distinctive "high end" bass playing, however, and they realized only popular convention required a single bass guitarist in a rock band, and both Tod and Natz decided to play the instrument with the group. The relative novelty of a dual-bass, no-guitar rock group certainly helped gather attention.
I'm a sucker for unique intrumentalization. Consider the Boston/Cambridge-based Morphine (Back to the opiates! Yes is my fave.) which consisted of drums, sax, and a two-string slide bass. Or even the Presidents of the United States of America (Their eponymous debut was the perfect antidote for the whole Seattle grunge scene.), whose Chris Ballew worked with Morphine's Mark Sandman and borrowed the basitar and/or guitbass idea. Or even the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion (I still stand by Orange, but I love them all.) who just used two guitars, with one tuned way low.
I love interesting minimalism in rock music.
And I guess I really dig the narcotics references, too... Go figure, eh? ;)