To call Kopek a return to rock & roll brilliance would be the minimum praise deserved of a band that has definitely put in their 10,000 hours. For Kopek, success is not only well deserved, but is virtually mathematically inevitable.
The Irish trio has a history that stretches back a decade. Drummer Shane Cooney and bassist Brad Kinsella grew up as next-door neighbors in Dublin, and through their shared love of classic and modern rock music, quickly decided that rock stardom was their ticket to bigger and better things. “We listened to all the old stuff, The Stones, Hendrix, The Doors, Zeppelin, amazing bands where you can hear the energy,” recalls Cooney.
The first singer who answered their ad in a local musician’s magazine turned out to be the golden voiced Daniel Jordan, and from there Kopek, average age 15, was born.
Early gigs in and around Dublin included many a battle of the bands contests, which the boys won with studied regularity. Contest spoils were often in the form of equipment, which gave the new band an even bigger leg up on the competition. “The first thing we won was a backline and we’ve never had to buy any gear since,” the lucky drummer adds.
From 2002 to 2009 Kopek toured relentlessly, and continued to win competitions. Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and multiple U.S. visits were all ticked off the list; it was an experience that not only enhanced their musical chops but also influenced their societal world view. A world view that in turn influenced their debut album.
“White Collar Lies was inspired by the corruption and loss of life we see continuously in our world today, so much so that we have become numb and disconnected from each other. The album is an attempt to draw attention to this and maybe change some peoples’ ideas, or at least give them a push in the right direction,” explains Jordan.
Indeed, the album bristles with subject matter that will immediately galvanize the listener. The first single, the riff-erotious “Cocaine Chest Pains,” an onslaught of hard rock, explodes in an ode to the temptations we all face on a daily basis (and not unironically recalls Stone Temple Pilots at their best). “Everyone has an addiction, from holy water to heroin. We came up with the killer riff first and then the song seemed to write itself. That’s the sign of a great riff!” says Kinsella.
In 2005 Kopek won the contest that would keep them in guitar strings for life. The title of Best Live Act at the Global Battle Of The Bands – www.gbob.com – earned them $100,000, a world tour, and one assumes a hell of a lot of fun. One thing that was eluding the band, however, was a partnership that could help bring them to a worldwide music buying audience. In 2009 Dublin based record company Religion Music entered the picture and signed the band to a large multi-album deal. With guidance, help and production from Glenn Herlihy and mastermind mixer Tom Lord-Alge, White Collar Lies was born.
“It’s been amazing to have traveled all over the world and met so many people and then to find someone on your doorstep to be your partner,’ says Cooney, referring to their partnership with Religion, ‘we really feel fortunate.”
From the beginning, one of the main rallying cries of the production was ‘all killer, no filler’, and the twelve tracks on WCL combine to create a seamless listening experience. Jordan describes what will certainly be a follow up single, “Love Is Dead,” a throbbing dirge that chronicles the band’s fallen heroes, to wit; “John is dead, Jim is dead, James is dead, Michael’s dead”
“There are a million love songs on the radio, but if you don’t have a girlfriend or boyfriend, Love is dead! We also wanted to give a shout out to the people that inspired us. We were actually tracking vocals when news broke that Michael Jackson had died. Obviously, like the rest of the world, everyone in the studio was in shock. Having grown up listening to Michael we felt it was more than fitting to add his name to the song.”
While the trio may have the potential for rock and roll rebellion, their Irish temperaments include equal parts sensitive artiste, as evidenced by another soon to be hit, “Bigger Than Us All,” a, dare we say mainstream, mid-tempo rocker with limited distortion pedal use. It’s still about drugs though.
Jordan: “Initially this was a song about the relationship between two family members, one of whom was a heroin addict. Before becoming an addict, people have souls and most of all love, which they give up along with their lives to this drug. This song is about that love still existing but forever suppressed and caged in these addicts.”
And as soon as American audiences get an earful of Kopek, they’ll be feeling the love too.