To celebrate our enthusiasm over the recently announced Frenzal Rhomb and Mike TV UK tour, we decided to exchange a few emails with Mike TV guitar guy/Come Dine With Me contestant/Internet celebrity Jhon Cosgrove about the tour, gigging as a vegan and being on televison. Here’s what he had to say…
You’ve been playing music since forever. At what point did you decide to become vegan? How have you found touring as a vegan?
Pickled Dick formed in 1999, around the time I first turned veggie. I went full vegan in 2007 (oddly the same year we changed our name to Mike TV). As with anything new, it was difficult at first but after a while you learn where and what you can eat on tour and it’s super-easy! It also makes up for all the beer you drink. Well, except when you eat chips for three meals. The only real difficult place was China where the rest of the guys ate some lamb penis and all manner of gross meat things – China does not get the term vegan. One place thought pork was vegan friendly. To summarise: overall, it’s not that hard as long as you’re organised. I always bring a cool-box full of joys with me for when we stay at people’s houses. It’s a red box with a white handle (just so you know).
What would be your go-to road snack?
God bless Blighty and its love of all things Marks & Spencer. Being a posh, southern bastard I bathe in its veg samosas, salads & bean based things when we stop at a services. You may think it’s expensive but it works out cheaper than filling your face full of McDonald’s or Bugger King. Oh, and I always used to bring Sosmix with me for a late night drunken party snack. Even carnivores love a sos-burger.
You were on Come Dine With Me. That’s weird. How did that come about? How did the punk community react when you popped up on their screens?
Haha, I guess it was weird. It’s less weird now. It was weird at the time for sure. I saw an ad on Facebook, applied, did some phone interviews, made up some bollocks (told them that John Lennon used to own the house I lived in), danced around naked in my garden while burying some frozen potato waffles and they thought I was suitably odd enough to appear on the show. I think most of the punk community was reasonably supportive. Luckily the show didn’t actually portray me for the massive cunt that I really am.
What were your motives to do the show?
The reasons for doing it were: 1) To show off 2) To get naked on national TV 3) To hopefully portray veganism as not a weird, cult-like concept (even if I both looked and behaved weird). I think a lot of people’s problems with vegans are the pre-conceived notion that we all wanna turn meat-eaters into hippies. I didn’t wanna preach to anyone. If you can live with yourself after chewing off a baby sheep’s face, then so be it. I’m happy getting off with an aubergine. I was also mindful of respecting my vegan brethren and promoting its values without being pushy.
Ahead of the Mike TV/ Frenzal Rhomb tour… If you were to impress Frenzal in the kitchen, what would you cook?
My dog is called Frenzal, so this question spooned me out. You could give him a shoe full of shit and he’d eat it. It was actually the other way around at Xmas.. Lindsay (Frenzal guitarist) kindly shared a Tofurkey recipe with me via the interwebs and I made a giant faux-turkey from five blocks of tofu (complete with stuffing). In return I’d make them all a delightful quiche, with kale chips, maple syrup sweet potato mash and loads of vegan real ale. We could eat it on the lawn and play croquet. I’m so English.
Which town on the tour are you most excited about playing purely on the basis of having great places to eat?
I really wanna check out V-Revolution in Manchester as I have never been there and the food looks incredible! To be honest there’s great vegan food in Bristol, Camden & Glasgow, so I am sure I’ll be spoilt for choice. You don’t get much free time to go out for rad meals on tour, so I may just have to live out of my red box. That sounds weird!
Mon 27/4/2015 – The Exchange, Bristol w. Frenzal Rhomb & The Social Club Event
Tues 28/4/2015 – Sound Control, Manchester w. Frenzal Rhomb Event
Wed 29/4/2015 – Audio, Glasgow w. Frenzal Rhomb & The Kimberly Steaks Tickets
Thurs 30/4/2015 – Underworld, London w. Frenzal Rhomb Tickets