The Pro­fes­sion­als

What In The World

Classic Rock - - THE HARD STUFF ALBUMS -

No Steve Jones, but never mind, this is the bol­locks.

Let’s get one thing straight right from the start: rather than pulling his full weight as guitar and vo­cal front­man, Steve Jones merely strops his strings in a trio of guest star cameos here. This is news that’ll doubt­less cause a wide­spread rais­ing of eye­brows within the global punk com­mu­nity. Not that juke­boxer Jonesy can’t be ar­sed to tear him­self away from LA ra­dio fame, but be­cause the crib­note ver­sion of rock his­tory tells us The Pro­fes­sion­als were dy­namic duo Steve Jones and Paul Cook, re­branded in the wake of the Sex Pis­tols tsunami, and with­out the iconic gui­tarist on board, what’s left? Punk Ringo?

As is of­ten the case, the air­brush­ing short­hand of rock 101 ill-serves ac­tu­al­ity, and any punk spe­cial­ist worth their salt will tell you The Pro­fes­sion­als amounted to way more than a no­tional post-Pis­tol whim of Cook and Jones. Among the smack ’n’ may­hem, of which there was much, were a band of no lit­tle po­ten­tial, and their core (Cook, some­times Jones, stal­wart ex-Sub­way Sect bassist Paul Myers) are back for a sec­ond crack. With a lit­tle help from their friends.

Up­front, man­fully ac­cept­ing the dual chal­lenge of repli­cat­ing Jones’s mag­net­i­cally al­lur­ing yob charm and seis­mic hum­buck­ing bol­locks, is Tom Spencer, whose fierce, de­lib­er­ate vo­cal mas­culin­ity oc­ca­sion­ally over­shoots the run­way of mere machismo into the chest­beat­ing An­i­mal­is­tic arena of the Anti Nowhere League, but there’s al­ways room for a choking fug of testos­terone in a band fronted briefly by Ray Win­stone.

Ob­vi­ously, ad­e­quate though Tom’s riff­ing is, one all-singing strum­mer could never serve up the match­less tes­tic­u­lar for­ti­tude of Jones and ab­sent wing­man Ray McVeigh. So Paul Cook – amenable chap that he is – opened his bulging ad­dress book and, with min­i­mal per­sua­sion, coaxed Guns N’ Roses’ Duff McKa­gan, Def Lep­pard’s Phil Collen, The Cult’s Billy Duffy, ex-Clash Mick Jones, ex-Ant Marco Pir­roni and, fresh from work­ing a lit­tle live magic, ex-3 Colours Red so­cialite Chris McCor­mack, to con­jure up a req­ui­sitely throb­bing scro­tum-full of ballsi­ness.

And they all de­liver. In spades. This clearly rep­re­sents a dream gig for the re­cruits and one they clearly rel­ish. All tap into their in­ner Steve Jones, es­pe­cially the man him­self (though Collen shines by stay­ing truest to his sig­na­ture style) and with Cook and Myers rock solid in the en­gine room, pro­duc­tion cru­cially tight and ma­te­rial strong, the re­sults are sim­ply spec­tac­u­lar.

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