John Cooper Clarke Plays America for First Time in Three Decades

Dr. John Cooper Clarke
Dr. John Cooper Clarke

When Dr. John Cooper Clarke plays Philadelphia's World Café Live on Monday, May 11, he brings with him the pedigrees of being a British first wave punk original (circa 1977), a published poet of the highest order, an artist whose music has been heard on HBO's The Sopranos and he holds an honorary doctorate from England's University of Salford. Plus, with his ever-present black sunglasses, skinny suits and high, corkscrew hairdo, Cooper will always look like the Bob Dylan of Don't Look Back fame.

Clarke has long been notorious for an arch, caustic brand of poetry, spat out in his low Brit-accented voice, first made famous in Manchester folk and punk rock clubs before he made records on Joy Division producer Martin Hannett's independent Rabid label. Not only did he open for Joy Division, the wiry performance poet played on bills with the the Sex Pistols, Buzzcocks and Siouxsie and the Banshees, and he appeared in the 1982 New Wave documentary, Urgh! A Music War.

Clarke has released brutal, snarky, literary albums such as Zip Style Method, and published Ten Years In an Open-Necked Shirt and other Poems in the UK. Yet, in the United States, he is best known for "Evidently Chickentown" from his album Snap, Crackle & Bop which was featured in The Sopranos episode "Stage 5" (season 6), as well as being recited by Christopher Eccleston in the made-for-television film Strumpet.

Dr. John Cooper Clarke plays World Café Live (3025 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA) on Monday, May 11, 8:00 PM, tickets $20. For more info call 215.222.1400 or visit

Photo courtesy of World Café Live

Posted on Monday, May 11, 2015