Cockroach Clan and I by Morten Mormone

In the event of the release of Cockroach Clan's first new release in 22 years, we're happy to share this little piece by by Morten Mormone of Kosmik Boogie Tribe, formerly of Backstreet Girls, The Mormones, Cockroach Clan and a bunch of other great Rn'R bands. The text is just as much the story of growing up and being saved by punk rock as it is an oral history of a music scene of outcasts in the olympic village of Lillehammer.


"AKKE!!! We have to go now!" "But, ehhh but, but, but, ehh, I still have coffee left" "So did we, 45 minutes ago, van leaves now, come on you snail sod!" Billy shouted at the guitar player and word smith extraordinaire. "Oi, Billy, blood pressure" Cato continued while Simen was well into asking strangers if they like "Swedish hard rock" It was 2002 and we were on our way to Trondheim to play at the legendary squat UFFA House. I was now on bass (I was doing front of house for them before that) Billy only doing the main vocals and in-between songs chatter. A 3 song promo-EP called Believer had just been recorded and was now available for the punk rock mass of King Olav Trygvasson to put in their collection. It was 5 years since the release of their latest record and 7 years since the debut album Roach.

Now the slowest band on earth, in terms of descisions and such and not because of a low rate of bpm's in the their small but strong punk rock back stock, was ready to perform at least one of the three songs of the latest recording session. And yes believe (pun) it or not, ONE song was offered loud and rowdy to the congregation later that night, the one we always ended shows with. Billy's old classic "Statens Menn" from his days with Norwegians own "U.K. Subversives meets Motörhead" Within Range. The two new tunes was kept in the vault until further notice as in "after a proper rehearsal"

This is quintessential Cockroach Clan. It's like that cup of coffee.

A perfect title for a biography about CC would have been

...yes ! finally...and then nothing happened.

The legend of Cockroach Clan.

One show wonders.

"Yeah, but....!?"

"Eeeeeeeehhhh, but....!?"

"Shouldn't we have?"

When we were booked to do a show it was a certainty that we had to go through Akke and Billy's plethora of wordly mazes that usually ended in me calling up Simen crying "For fuck's sake, it's just a show, we are asked to do a show, why do they have to make this into an organizational version of Joyce's Ulysses? I'm giving up"

Our friendship and my involvement in Cockroach Clan started way back when my mates and I were playing in two musical groups called Mobius Trip and Sobious Dip. Mobius and Sobious. The latter meaning fuck all. With Mobius, the mathematical strip had one s taken out and we ended up with being property of unorientable. Young and restless. We were from 14 to 18 years of age and one night after sharing stage with C.C. at the local youth centre in the Olympic city of Lillehammer a drunk Billy and Jan Erik (original guitar player and songwriter of C.C.) approached us with an invitation to start band practice at Billy's venue Felix Pub & Scene. "The youth centre is going south anyways so you might as well just join us at Felix now" And so we did. It changed everyone of us very much. Not far from that summer in Stand By Me execpt I'm pretty sure us young blokes would have kicked the older guys' ass if we had to. We never had to. Still, us entering the world of Billy, Jan Erik (worked as a bartender) and Akke's (he lived across the road) Felix, was :

A vast and led heavy impact.

Like a three cord version of Tunguska in 1908.

A journey in anti-facsism.

A trip to the roots of punk rock.

An odyssey in Port and lager, legends of rock, old hags and 20-pints-a-day-sailor men.

In 1996 a German tour with 20 or so dates was organized. Not by the band I think but if it was, it has to be the most unlikely incident to occur in the 20th century. Rarer than the discovery of the Higgs Boson particle I would suggest. It was a peculiar line up : Cockroach Clan with Stoned (SE) and Sober (SE) Sounds kinda like it's made up. Europeanuts '96 was about to commence when Billy was hospitalized with a serious heart condition. He spent a month in intensive care. It was not foreseen and no one could be blamed but maybe Billy's severe licorice addiction. Suffice to say the tour was cancelled and C.C. instead started working or continued working on their second full length album that was gonna be released as Just Say Blow a good year later with a very young Simen Jeistad (The Mormones, Shit City) playing guitar on 4 or 5 songs. He'd been hanging out with Akke for a while learning some fast as a shark chops from at the time Supertzar Of Sweeping. Late fall us young ones had started rehearsing at Felix. At our disposition we had an Addam's Family flipper, two pool tables, a Würlitzer with 98 punk rock albums and the best of John Denver as the 99th, a stage with a pa, monitors, a sound desk and lighting. It was our Neverland without the creepy stuff. (Well the Felix building was built in 1827 and there's for sure a presence there, day and night but he is very Casper-friendly-like) Most important of all, we'd started Sub Unit Rock Club. It was Sobious and Mobius working with Billy. After the 30 days in bed with his blood pressure level at a staggering 200 something over 100 the bloke and his corpus was not in good shape and we understood he needed help with the booking of bands, doing the sound, collectiong the tickets, baby sitting bands, cooking and the lot.

I started my career in live sound at Felix managing the faders for Turbonegro in 1997, just after the ultimate Scandinavian punk rock record Ass Cobra was released. I had an 8 channel Soundcraft Spirit and I was there and then flabbergasted by the massive sound coming from the stage. After the show I remember a very intoxcated Thomas Seltzer and Pål Pot Pamparius trying to "kidnap" our drummer Kristian who was 15 or 16 at the time. You know, NAMBLA and all that. It was not our first with meeting future celebs and for sure not the last time. Us kids worked with among others New Bomb Turks, Onyas, UK Subs, NOMEANSNO, Sonny Vincent And The Shotgun Rationale, GBH, Motorpsycho, Lydia Lunch, The Vibrators, The Exploited, Hanson Brothers, Chokebore, Guzzard, No Fun At All, Jad Fair, Millencollin, Buzzcocks, Voïvod, Zeni Geva, Abhinanda, Misconduct and the list goes on and on. We were the most priviliged kids in L-Town that's for sure. 23 year since now and I see how much importance Felix and Cockroach Clan actually've had on my life.

It all leads back to that one night at the Lillehammer youth centre when Billy and Jan Erik invited us to Felix to start a new band life there. If we'd say no I would not have recorded and released the Sonic Rehearsal album with Mobius. I would not have travelled with Cockroach Clan to Trondheim '97 to see Simen Mormone almost getting punched in the head by the Henry Rollins. I would not have had coffee at Kjelli's place (legendary Motorpsycho merch bloke) where I heard Flying Burrito Brothers and Neil Young bootlegs for the first time, I would not have had the joy of giving my hero Bent Sæther a copy of Sonic Rehearsal via Kjelli. I would not have (unknowingly at the time) shared stage with Abusers (Zugly from The Good The Bad And The Zugly was the bass player - I've done sound for GBZ for close to a decade now) I would not have shared stage with Fekale Brekninger (Petter and his brother from Backstreet Girls, whom I later joined and released three albums with in the late 90s/early 00's - a fourth with me on bass out soon - haha, 20 years after I quit) I would not have had the opportunity to talk Scandinavian 70s prog rock with Tabata from Zeni Geva and a year later the same with Piggy from Voïvod. I would not have had NOMEANSNO staying at my place. I would not have been asked by Lydia Lunch in a relatively open manner "Let's go to my room and fuck you sweet young boy" I would not have witnessed sXe bands from Oslo getting annoyingly drunk. I would not have inherited Charlie Harper of UK SUBS's Psychic TV t-shirt given to him by Genesis P. Orrigde. I would not have had in my posession a beautifully Motorpsycho-signed copy of an obscure tribute to Charles Manson - I remember so well what Snah wrote "Deinn har æ itj sjøl engang" (I don't even own this) I was so proud. If it wasn't for Cockroach Clan I would not have had the opportunity to record a whole album on Snah's old Snahshall An old JMP 50 watt head that he traded for another vintage Marshall with a very very very very drunk Akke March 1997 on their Angels And Daemons tour. If it wasn't for Billy, Cockroach Clan and Felix I would not have gotten into country music (Prarie Home Invasion by Jello Biafra and Mojo Nixon) and I would not have witnessed a frantic Wattie from The Exploited running empty on speed in a small mountain village, as Lillehammer really is. I would not have been sharing a cabin with the merch bloke or something from Discharge and his girlfriend on the ferry from Stockholm to Turku and I would not have smelled the cat piss stench of his weed and I would not have been trying to sleep in my bunk bed while those rabbits were getting it on one tiny meter below were I was. And there is so much more. I would not have had the argument with the tour manager of Buzzcocks about a bottle of Champagne which we refused to give them. I would not have seen Tonje from Biri throw a glass in the face of Jimmy Gestapo of Murphy's Law and I wouldn't have had the pleasure to be called a "fucking green hick cunt" by little Mickey Fitz of The Business. And I would not have heard K.K. Null of Zeni Geva saying "I hate 99% of human kind" I would not have been sitting in Akke's living room with Simen and Akke's two cats, Kaiser and Chevy stoned out of my mind listening to the incredibly underrated ablum Whiskey Bisquit's Santa Ana River Delta Blues over and over again. And yes, we would not have started The Mormones if it wasn't for the 1995 NOMEANSNO show, we wouldn't have started Death Race 2000, Louisiana Trendkillers and Megatron and all the other silly bands we started the day after we'd watched a show in Felix' beer drenched basement..........

I owe it all to Cockroach Clan, Billy and Akke.

It's 2019 and we are about to release the first album in 20 or so years. Initially I was very reluctant to the whole idea. Several reasons for that and I won't bore you with details 'cause there's no drama it's just the usual Cockroach Clan business-as-usual-business. I have thrown in the white towel but will enter the ring again with the legends one last time and I pray to all Gods' available for that to happen. Insh Allah and all that. So if you are reading this I'm no longer part of the on-stage-Clan but Amigos Para Siempre we will be. I got to play on one record during my close to 22 year career with the band. I will forever be heaps grateful for all the years with you and forever and ever grateful for you guys opening the portal to enternal punk rock love and life.

Morten Lunde, Oslo, July 29, 2019.

And so you know, I've not forgotten all those wild wild wild shows we did. It has been so much fun but those stories will have to wait 'till later. Ok, one small anecdote : I was told by Simen some time ago that on stage while I was playing my Ibanez Musician at the Oslo Skins Christmas Party in the old Caven, Oslo back in 2003 or 4, that, he was still after so many years laughing out loud everytime he was thinking of the moment. Simen's own words :

"I still do not understand how you did it and I still to this day just do not comprehend what I saw and heard that night, see, you were drunk, that's fine, smashed really, but still you played like a God but thing was, throughout the whole show you were singing and doing everything right just it was so that you were consistently two bars ahead of the rest of us."

Thank you so much boys. Love you mucho mucho.