The Professionals Advise You to Go Down to the Pub
The Professionals are out with What in the World today, an album featuring tons of guests and plenty of punch.
The band comprises Paul Cook of the Sex Pistols and vocalist-guitarist Tom Spencer, on this record joined by original member Steve Jones, Duff McKagan (Guns ‘n’ Roses), Mick Jones (The Clash), Phil Collen (Def Leppard), Marco Pirroni (Adam & the Ants), Chris McCormack (3 Colours Red) and Billy Duffy (The Cult).
We spoke with Spencer and Cook leading up to the album’s release, plus asked them to make us a playlist of tracks they’re currently into. Read on for all that good stuff below.
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On musical guests… First of all, Steve Jones [played on a few tracks], he was an original member…and Billy Duffy, Marco Pirroni… It was great, from my point of view, to play with all my heroes. – Tom Spencer
It didn’t work out with our original guitarist [Ray McVeigh]. We had a bit of space so I went and got the old address book out, phoned up some friends. Fantastic. They were all very accommodating and willing to get involved. It took a bit of negotiation, but we got there in the end. – Paul Cook
On honoring Bowie and Lemmy on “Going, Going, Gone”… It is shocking that they’re all dying at a really fast rate. One after another. They all seem to be about 70 or 69, so maybe that’s the age-span of old rockers. But it is a shame, because it’s an end of an era. I don’t think there’ll ever be anyone like David Bowie again. He meant so much to so many people. – Paul Cook
Steve Jones famously broke into Hammersmith Odeon — which is where me and Paul are from, Hammersmith — and stole David Bowie’s equipment between the two last Ziggy Stardust shows. It’s become a legendary story. Later on when I was a teenager (I’m 10 years younger), I worked at Hammersmith Odeon when Motorhead were doing the Bomber tour and during that tour they had their Bomber lighting rig stolen from out the back of the Hammersmith Odeon. So the two of them dying, in my head, it put the two stories together. – Tom Spencer
On politics and music… We just write about what’s going on in our lives, really — growing up as older guys. Growing older and stuff like that. It’s quite a personal album, which includes all sorts of stuff, really. ‘Monkeys’ is probably the closest we’ve come to [talking about politics]. The gist of that song is to get drunk and play some rock & roll, really. Because what can you do? Look at the mess America’s in and the mess England’s in and, at the moment, we can’t really change it. So go down to the pub. – Paul Cook
The world where Paul and the Pistols came along was a really desperate time. I was 10 years old, but I remember the depression of that era, and through a depression comes great music, generally. – Tom Spencer
I don’t think the kids are that angry today, really, to protest much about stuff. They’re doing OK. I’m sure there are some [young political musicians] out there. – Paul Cook
But it would make their music a lot better if they’re not melting to death by nuclear explosion. – Tom Spencer
That’s the title of the album, What in the World. Just throw your hands up. It’s just one atrocity after the other. – Paul Cook
The Professionals: What Are You Listening To?
The Tornadoes, “Telstar”
When I was a kid, it sounded like music out of the transistor coming from another planet.
Roxy Music, “Virginia Plain”
It sounded like nothing I had heard before when I first heard it. It sounded original. Unique
Alice Cooper, “School’s Out”
Walking past a record shop in Shepherd’s Bush London I heard the opening riff, and I was immediately hooked
New York Dolls, “Looking for a Kiss”
I saw them on the Old Grey Whistle Test, and old music show in the UK, playing this song, and it just seemed so outrageous and funny. A breath of fresh air.
The Who, “Won’t Get Fooled Again”
A classy rock epic. Nobody does them better.
The Pretenders, “Kid”
My favorite guitar solo ever – recorded first take by a 27-year-old off his tits.
The Specials, “Too Much Too Young”
Sung along to this as a kid then got married and had a child by 21.
The Stray Cats, “Runaway Boys”
New York came to London. My best live band.
Murder City Devils, “I Come Running”
The band had this cover version but I think its perfection.
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