The Cog is Dead
I had the opportunity to sit down with Captain John Sprocket of The Cog is Dead, to peer through my high-danger goggles into the world of Steampunk Music.
Wait…WHUT?!?!?!? STEAMPUNK MUSIC?!?!?!
Yes that too was my reaction. I knew of the Steampunk Genre of literature, Steampunk art, even the fandom of Steampunk. But unlike fantasy, sci-fi and horror, I have discovered that Steampunk has musical groups dedicated to ONLY the genre.
Now as a disclaimer I must admit, that the above statement is to the best of my knowledge.
So I was very excited when, upon request, Captain John Sprocket, of the band The Cog is Dead, most graciously agreed to accommodate me with an interview.
The band has a backstory, which you can read here: http://www.johnmondelliproductions.com/thecogisdead/band.html
It’s quite entertaining and really sets the tone for the creation of their musical world.
HOW DID YOU BECOME INVOLVED IN THE MUSIC YOU PLAY/SING NOW?
Captain Sprocket: It was really a slow progression. I saw a picture of a Steampunk guitar online, I really liked it, so I made one myself. The band was already, coincidentally, called The Cog is Dead.
HOW DID YOUR BAND GET ITS NAME?
Captain Sprocket: A complete accident. It was totally random. We literally opened the book to a play and pointed to a line at random. The line read “The Cog is Dead.” One of the guys said “That would be a really cool name for a band!”
WHAT ARE THE NAMES OF THE BAND MEMBERS, AND WHAT DO EACH OF THEM DO?
Captain Sprocket: Well, there’s myself, Captain John Sprocket, I am Lead vocals and Guitar. There is Sir Christofer Wolf, who plays Bass and does backup vocals. Joel the Navigator does Lead Guitar and backup vocals. Mr. Tony Seville handles our drums and percussion.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR MUSIC FOR THE PUBLIC AUDIENCE IF THEY HAVE NEVER SEEN YOU BEFORE?
Captain Sprocket: It has a variety of styles. It’s really a little of everything.
SO IF YOU HAD TO DESCRIBE YOUR MUSIC IN FOUR WORDS, WHAT WOULD THEY BE?
Captain Sprocket: Fun, Eclectic, Vintage, Modern
LETS TALK ABOUT YOU FOR JUST A BIT. WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST EXPERIENCE WITH MUSIC?
Captain Sprocket: I took Guitar lessons when I was 7. I have pretty much always loved music in general.
WAS THERE A SONG THAT YOU PARTICULARLY REMEMBER FROM CHILDHOOD?
Captain Sprocket: The ending song of The Elephant Show.
WHAT IS THE FIRST SONG YOU EVER WROTE/SANG?
Captain Sprocket: It was actually a song we put together before we were even a “band”. We were just messing around and recorded a song called “Chicken Pot Pie”…it had the same sound as the Guns and Roses song “Knocking on Heavens Door.”
DO YOU HAVE FAVORITE TYPE OF MUSIC THAT YOU LISTEN TO THAT DIFFERS FROM WHAT YOU PERFORM?
Captain Sprocket: Weird Al Yankovic, actually some of my music is influenced by him. (He smiles hugely at this point). I also like quite a few movie scores (sound tracks). One of my other favorite groups is Bare Naked Ladies.
DO YOU HAVE OTHER INTERESTS OR TALENTS?
Captain Sprocket: Film making, video, special effects, voice over, drawing, art.
SO WHO DOES MOST OF THE SONG WRITING FOR THE COG IS DEAD.
Captain Sprocket: That would be myself, John Sprocket. Most of the songs are really like mini stories.
WHICH SONG ARE YOU THE MOST PROUD OF?
Captain Sprocket: I guess it would have to be “The Death of The Cog”, since it really is kind of the back story to the band.
WHICH IS YOUR FAVORITE SONG TO PERFORM?
Captain Sprocket: I like “The Depths Below” it’s quite a bit of fun. Probably my most favorite though, is “I want only you”.
IF YOU WERE GIVEN THE CHOICE TO PERFORM WITH ANY MUSICIAN, WHO WOULD IT BE?
Captain Sprocket: (He contemplates this for a moment or two..) Weird Al! (He chuckles.) Actually, the opportunity to perform with Abney Park, incredible! (The Cog is Dead opened for Abney Park at the Florida Steampunk Exposition East on Saturday evening…AMAZING performances!)
WHERE DO YOU TYPICALLY PLAY?
Captain Sprocket: (Somewhat sheepishly) This is actually our first public performance. (He grins.) We have been practicing A LOT!
WOULD YOU RATHER PLAY SMALL VENUES OR LARGE VENUES?
Captain Sprocket: Well, again, this is our first time performing, but I would say a large venue if it was filled with established fans. Otherwise a small venue.
WHAT IS, OR DO YOU THINK WILL BE, YOUR FAVORITE THING TO SEE IN THE AUDIENCE WHILE YOU ARE ONSTAGE?
Captain Sprocket: First it would have to be the face to face fan recognition, where they KNOW who we are. But I would have to say that the thing I would like to see the most is people singing along to all the words.
WHERE DO YOU THINK YOUR LARGEST FANBASE IS LOCATED?
Captain Sprocket: The majority of it is here in the U.S. But I have gotten quite a few emails from England, Ireland, Scotland, Germany, France and Italy as well.
THEN HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT SELLING MUSIC ONLINE?
Captain Sprocket: It’s incredible, absolutely AMAZING! This (The Florida Steampunk Expo) is the first ever public performance for The Cog is Dead, but we have already sold over 1000 CD’s just from our Internet presence. We are on Twitter and were actually being followed by Captain Robert of Abney Park before we were following them!! The Internet is just amazing.
WHEN DO YOU GO BACK INTO THE STUDIO?
Captain Sprocket: We are actually working on recording right now.
WHAT ARE YOUR UPCOMING RELEASES?
Captain Sprocket: The recording we are now doing is for our (as yet) untitled second album.
WHAT IS YOUR WEBSITE?
Captain Sprocket: www.thecogisdead.com
AND DO YOU HAVE ANY VIDEO LINKS?
Captain Sprocket: Not as of yet, they are a work in progress as well.
That was pretty much the end of the interview. I thanked him for his time and patience. He thanked me for the opportunity. It was, after all, one of his first interviews.