- by Tom Dumarey
We not only caught up with vocalist Andy Cairns from Therapy? to talk about the band's new album 'Cleave,' which will be out tomorrow on Marshall Records. No sir, we went all out because... well, it's Therapy?. So we also sat down with drummer Neil Cooper and asked him a bunch of questions about his hometown of Derby, the city that didn't gain city status until 1977.
PRT: What made you first fall in love with the city?
Neil: As I’m sure most people have with their home city, I have a real love/hate relationship with the place I grew up. There’s plenty that annoys me about the city but the people and the characters can be fantastic. I’ll have disgruntled rants about Derby all day long but when I hear anyone say anything less than complimentary about the city I’ll defend it to the hilt.
PRT: If you had to come up with a marketing slogan for the city, what would it be?
Neil: “You moved here? Seriously?” Ha ha
PRT: Best place to play?
Neil: The Rockhouse was a classic rock club/gig venue. It’s no longer there but I played it a few times. One particular occasion, with my old band The Beyond, we played there with Therapy? That was back in 1990. Currently, ‘The Venue’ is a good place to play or watch bands.
PRT: Best place to go for a late night drink after the show?
Neil: The Duke of Clarence, in the Chester Green area outside the city centre. It’s a real, old fashioned boozer with a pianist in the corner and all the old boys taking it in turns to get up and sing the standards. The atmosphere is always brilliant. Proper old school.
PRT: Best place to go for a late night snack after the drink after the show?
Neil: Derby Grill, friar gate. Hands down. A regular haunt for myself, Michael and Andy after a long day’s rehearsal….
PRT: Best touristy thing to do in the area?
Neil: For ‘earthy’ tourism you must check out shrovetide football in Ashbourne (just outside Derby) Each Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday the town, Ashbourne, is literally boarded up (pubs stay open though!) It’s a complete free for all with around 600 people trying to either get hold of the ball or follow the mass scrum. The goal posts are mill stones set two miles apart at either end of the town. The only rule is the ball cannot go on or inside a vehicle – the ‘scrum’ trampling through houses/pubs etc is the norm! Utter carnage but great fun.
PRT: Best hidden spot in the city?
Neil: Darley Park is a great spot to chill out. With ‘The Abbey’ pub, a building built by monks in the 12th century, at one end.
PRT: One thing you would like to see changed in the city?
Neil: It would be nice to see the ‘Spice’ problem dealt with!! I know every city has drug problems but, seriously, what the fuck is going on in many city centres at the minute?
PRT: What's your best memory about the city?
Neil: I’ve so many personal memories here! Great memories relating to the city as a whole… Derby County being promoted to the premiership was very much a city-wide celebration. I’ve great memories of that. However, the season that followed caused city-wide depression!
PRT: Where in the city did you get your heart broken?
Neil: Erm? Behind the bike sheds? etc etc
PRT: Is there a historical fact about your city that makes you chuckle?
Neil: The chap who invented the hot dog in the early 1900s, Harry Stevens, was born here
PRT: Favorite quote about your city you'd like to share?
Neil: Bob Monkhouse once said “If you can pull a crowd in derby you know you’ve made it”. Fair comment.