COCKSPARRER: The Essentials: Box Set

You know, kids, there’s fandom, there’s overkill, and then there’s, “Holy shit, I have no idea what the hell these folks were thinkin’, but I think I just peed myself with excitement.” This, my spiky-coiffed friends, is the utter bee’s knees, thee ultimate wet dream for anyone who has more than a passing fancy for punk rock legends Cocksparrer. What you get for your listening pleasure are the Shock Troops LP, the Running Riot 84 LP, the Guilty as Charged LP, the Two Monkeys LP, the Here We Stand LP, the True Grit Outtakes LP, the Back Home double live LP, the Live-N-Loud LP (with a bonus double-sided tour poster), the Runnin’ RiotUSA double live LP and the Back in SF double live LP (plus a DVD of the show to boot), all of which are presented on colored 180 gram vinyl. You also get copies of the Run Away red silk-screened 10”, the England Belongs to Me 7” single, the SF2000 rectangular picture disc, and a laser etched copy of the Spirit of ‘76 7” single. As if the sheer volume of all that tuneage weren’t enough, they’ve also seen fit to include a copy of ‘Sparrer drummer Steve Bruce’s biography, Best Seat in the House, to read whilst rockin’ out, and a limited edition Cocksparrer pirate skull metal lapel pin to let the world know just what kinda fanatic it’s dealing with when you leave the house. Now, I could review every bit of music on here album by album, track by track, but who the fuck am I kidding here? With a limited, one-time run of 250 copies of this box and a price tag of $325, it’s a safe assumption that the odds of someone picking this up on a whim are nil and that those who do make the investment will likely be well aware of what they’re getting themselves into. I will say, though, that those who fancy themselves punk rock fans but are as yet unfamiliar with the band or its significance would do well to immediately acquaint themselves with the band by starting off with a copy of Shock Troops, as it’s one of those can’t-miss classics, a damned near perfect album packed full with jaw-dropping, hook-laden anthems and serves as the perfect gateway into the career of one of the best, woefully underrated, and still active (with all but one original member still slogging it out) bands to come out of England’s first wave of punk. Bruce’s book is also a hoot, deftly balancing humor and a knack for telling a good tale or two to pen the definitive, infinitely readable recounting of the band’s history, from its humble beginnings through punk’s formative years, right up to their finally getting the respect they deserve as one punk’s most influential acts. Sure, the price tag’s more than a bit steep, especially for the average punter, but I’d be lying if I said you weren’t getting more than your money’s worth here. Now if you’ll excuse me, the opening chords of “Because You’re Young” just rang out, and that means this fanatic’s gotta crank up the stereo and bounce off the walls for a bit.

 –jimmy (piratespressrecords.com)