From Sex Pistols to Manraze: An Interview With Paul Cook

By: Rob Cavuoto

It all started in 2004, when Phil Collen, after 20+ years as lead guitarist for Def Leppard, decided to express himself via another creative outlet – something a bit closer to his musical home.

With Paul Cook (Sex Pistols) on drums and Simon Laffy (Girl) on bass, Manraze was formed and released their debut album SURREAL in the summer of 2008. This debut album was chock full of rebellious in-your-face mantras (“Turn it Up”, “This Is”, “Running Me Up”) ranging from hardcore punk to dub.

Seen as a cross between the Foo Fighters, Green Day, Nirvana, Rage Against The Machine and The Police, Manraze is a response to the ever changing climate of multifaceted music and should be heralded for far more than just being a rock band.

The long awaited and highly anticipated sophomore album from these revolutionaries of rock, titled punkfunkrootsrock, will be unleashed upon the masses on August 2nd. With such solid raw rock songs like “Over My Dead Body” and “Get Action” coupled with the moody funk hit “Closer to Me” how could Manraze lose! Think Def Leppard raw and on steroids.

I had the chance to chat up with Paul Cook from across the pond about their punkfunkrootsrock and what the future holds for Manraze.




Rob Cavuoto: Can you tell be about the unique approach Manraze had for writing Punkfunkrootsrock?

Paul Cook: The approach we had to take in writing the songs was done via cell phone, texting and email. It was quite simple, really. Phil would send basic ideas of songs and we would have a listen, put our ideas in, and send them back. This would go on until we were all quite happy with the basic track. Then we would all work on it together in the studio.

Check out GI’s interview with Phil Collen of Def Leppard and Manraze.

Rob: When was the CD written and recorded?

Paul Cook: All the ideas for the songs came together over the last year or so and we recently finished the album in a couple of weeks.

Rob: Were there any extra songs that didn’t make it on the CD?

Paul Cook: We only had a couple of extra songs that didn’t make it onto the CD. I think we’ve been around long enough to know which songs are good enough and which aren’t.

Rob: Two of my favorite songs on the CD are “ICU in Everything” and “I Superbiker”, any personal favorites for you?

Paul Cook: I think my favorite tracks are the more rocky numbers such as “Get Action” and “Over my Dead Body”.

Rob: How is punkfunkrootsrock different from Surreal, and what direction is the band heading?

Paul Cook: I think the new CD is a progression musically from the first CD, which is more true to the direction that we want to go in the future.

Rob: From speaking with everyone in the band, Manraze seems like a fun project. Is there any challenging aspect for you?

Paul Cook: The best thing about Manraze first and foremost is that it’s fun and we can mess about with musical ideas that we typically wouldn’t be able to do with our other bands. The most challenging aspect is getting us all together at the same time to play live and record.

Rob: Will Manraze tour when Def Leppard finishes their tour?

Paul Cook: The album is coming out in the U.S. in August and we hope to be doing some U.S. date in the fall when Phil finishes touring.

Rob: Any band or artist that you would like to tour with when you come around?

Paul Cook: I’m not really fussy who we tour with so long as they’re a hip band and pull in a big crowd!

Rob: Was there any apprehension of putting a group together with Phil knowing that Def Leppard was his main focus?

Paul Cook: Yes, I was apprehensive at first, because although Def Leppard is a great band, it’s not really my thing. But once I heard Phil’s ideas and songs it became quite easy.

Read our interview with Manraze’s Simon Laffy

Rob: Is there plans to do a third Manraze CD?

Paul Cook: We hope to keep making music and releasing more CD’s but obviously sometimes we’re restricted because of Phil’s commitments to Def Leppard as well as mine with the The Pistols and Edwyn Collins who I record and tour with.

Rob: What do you attribute to the longevity and popularity of the Sex Pistols from generation to generation?

Paul Cook: I guess the longevity and success of the Pistols is due to the fact that we were a great band, and we inspired many people not just in music but to follow their dreams.