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Cops vs Expatriate - Axemen Turned Stickmen

Author: Huwston
Thursday, 27 September 2007
With the Cops and Expatriate about to hit the road in an all-out whirlwind extravaganza tour, we sent 3D’s Huwston down to the Abercrombie to catch up with respective lead men Simon Carter and Ben King to find out who was the better pool player, and therefore, the hardest road man of rock!

Is the road a good place where you can gauge the success of your efforts in the studio-
Simon: Partially, but the success of an album doesn’t rely on whether you can pull a crowd.
Ben: If 10,000 people come to your show and don’t clap you’d rather play to 500 people going wild – I don’t see it as a reflection of the success of the record. We sound quite different on record to what we do live.

Are you guys going to film your trip-
S: Yeah.
B: We filmed and made a video diary of our last tour. It gives the fans and people who are interested in the band a bit more of an idea about what you’re like. People don’t watch too much TV these days, it’s all internet.
S: It is an important part, especially with media like MySpace and Facebook, it is becoming easier to keep in touch with your fans. And to put stuff up wherever you are.
B: People want stuff now – it’s a ‘fucking disaster’ if you don’t put up the diary immediately.

Is the road a punishment-
S: Yeah.
B: Yeah. The one-hour out of the day you’re on stage is heaven. It’s like, our bus takes 10 hours to get to work. The romance of it is lost on you.
S: I actually thought that’s what happened! (Smiles abound.)

Do any band members have idiosyncrasies that don’t lend themselves well to travelling-
B: Our keyboardist ‘slash’ scientist, Damien, he’s lost in his own world and he should maybe stay home and build shit with wires in it. He’s like a lost dog on the road!
S: We’re all into a groove now, so I gotta say no. Our tour manager enjoys talking and driving at the same time which (to Ben) you’ll get used to feeling that fright.

How do you stay off each others tits-
B: We get in our separate dressing rooms… separate everything….
S: It’s in the contract.
B: We had our lawyers looking over the details.
S: Maybe in five years time it might be like ‘Oh that Ben guy’ but for now we’re two bands who’ve only just recently properly met each other so now we get to know each other.

Is there a healthy competitive spirit between the bands-
S: Touring with a band like Expatriate, you see them and you go ‘fuck, we gotta pull our fingers out,’ so it’s not so much a straight competitive thing, but the other band giving a great performance makes you want to give a great performance.
B: We want to give people a great night. And on the encore we play together.

Is there any room for posturing or braggadocio in your scenes-
S: Not in Australia, ‘cause Australians don’t like that kind of thing.
B: In England it would be an open slaughter.
S: The new generation don’t have the old ideals, they’re one for all and all for one, gone are the days of Walter Yetnikoff and here are the days of Kyle Sandilands.

Does a better pool player make a better songwriter/performer-

B: We sunk a couple of each other’s balls, so… I don’t know what that means-
S: Holding a cue is a bit like holding a guitar!
B: I saw Simon pulling out a few wacky moves in there!

WHO: The Cops & Expatriate ‘Strange Creatures’ Tour
WHAT: Play the Bar on the Hill in Newcastle / the Metro Theatre in Sydney / Waves in Wollongong
WHEN: Thursday 4 / Friday 5 / Saturday 6 October