John Cooper Clarke on his love of Idles and Slaves: “They’re fabulous”

The punk icon speaks out...

Seminal punk-poet John Cooper Clarke has hailed Idles and Slaves as two of the main bands that he’s listening to at the moment.

The ‘I Wanna Be Yours’ writer explained how he was recently introduced to the Mercury Prize nominated Bristol band on the recommendation of his daughter.

He told NME: “I think Idles are fabulous. My daughter introduced me to their music, just the day before yesterday. She’s got a great ear for that kind of thing.”


Cooper Clarke was also full of praise for Kent punks Slaves, praising the lyrics of their 2014 single ‘Hey’.

“I really like Slaves,” he explained. “They’ve got that lyric ‘Watch out for those kids’, I love that. It’s great.”

Discussing his own history as a punk trailblazer, Cooper Clarke also admitted that there was nothing “groundbreaking” about the genre in the 1970s, and instead claimed that it was a reinvention of ’60s rock and roll.

“There was nothing groundbreaking about punk in the first place. It was a return to the core values of rock and roll, which went on a long hiatus,” he said.

“When I got involved, it was through the Ramones in ’75. To me, they were a step back to the days of the Beach Boys and Phil Spector, that’s what made it so attractive.


They looked so much like a gang too, and you just immediately wanted in. In a minute two song, they were able to sell a whole lifestyle and I think they are really underrated as lyricists.”

Cooper Clarke was speaking to NME after being unveiled as the lead judge for a Valentine’s poetry competition launched by Kraken rum. Winners will receive a limited-edition bottle of Kraken Blaken delivered by a milk float.

To launch the competition, Clarke has also written an original ballad entitled Nine Line Valentine in an attempt to inspire fans to compose their own effort. You can check it out in the above video.