Cooley High Info

Clockwise from bottom L, Ritchie, Mateo, Mr G, King

Who are Cooley High?
The band are: King on vocals, Mateo DiFontaine on keys, decks and bass, Rich Mack on the drums and Paul "Mr G" Guerin on guitar.

Do you know anything about the guys?

| King | | Mateo DiFontaine | | Rich Mack | | Paul Guerin |

How long have the band been around?
A while now. I first heard of them in a Rockpalast web chat (transcript - I passed on the chat to go to a brass band concert - it was something I needed to do at the time, but now it does seem a little strange!) around Christmas 1999. (Link here. An allegedly drunk Fiffle chats too.) Well, I presume it was them (could be a typo, #check the rest of the chat#, or could be something entirely different):


The band has had some line-up changes in its time and featured a horn (I presume flugel rather than tenor) section as well as another keyboardist. More when I get to it.

Where can I get hold of their music?
As yet, the band haven't got a record deal but sources say they are very close to being signed.
Cooley High's debut EP, Sounds of Brooklyn can now be purchased online at DiFontaine Records and Tapes for $10 (not including p&p and shipping).

Where did the name come from?
The film, 'Cooley High' - a blaxploitation movie.

Original Cooley High film poster

Image from, taken with permission. Thanks!
What do they sound like?
Some people have asked me the question, 'What is a Cooley High?', only to be looked at with disgust and then backhanded across the face... Certain people will have you believe that a Cooley High is a refreshing cocktail beverage made of equal parts amber liquor (pronounced 'am-bo lik-er'), diet Coke and prison quality crystal meth... Others still will have you believe that Cooley High is a Blaxploitation film of the 1970s, or a blues/hip-hop (some would say blues-hop)/ funk rock band from N.Y.C.
As far as we are concerned, Cooley High is a deeply spiritual, religious feeling we get when we're making our music happen, mostly while drinking Cooley Highs.
So next time someone asks you, 'How you doin'?', just say,
'Cooley High Yo, Cooley High'

Yours truly,
Mr Incognito.


That's what it says, more or less, on the inside of Cooley High's 7-track EP 'Sounds of Brooklyn'.
I've been trying to define Cooley High's sound for the past three days and have not yet found the right words. Someone described the band as 'Fun Lovin' Criminals without the voice'. Perhaps they meant a different Cooley High, because I can tell you now, (and you know my FLC 'pedigree'), CH are much more blues influenced and have a stronger hip-hop edge to their music. As for not having the voice? Lead singer, King, has a spine-tinglingly sexy voice reminiscent of a mixture of Barry White / Louis Armstrong with a hefty dose of Noo Yawk added. Defies description, beyond belief, truly terrific... it's not Cooley High who don't have the voice.
As an FLC fan and having been to several FLC live gigs, it was strange for me to see Mateo DiFontaine up on stage with a bass in his hands, flitting between that and his more familiar decks, filling in gaps with some smooth rap. I wasn't quite sure what to make of MC Mateo, but having seen CH live twice in the space of two days and listened to the EP countless times, I can tell you that what at first seems slightly mismatched, grows to become strangely seductive and a integral part of the Cooley High experience. Don't ever change MD.
As for Ritchie Mack and Mr G, they are the final pieces of the Cooley High puzzle. When they play, you can hear their heart in the music and it all fits perfectly. (I don't think the Sounds of Brooklyn EP features G on guitar and in my opinion it loses something because of that.)
If you listened to the EP, you may get a vague idea of what Cooley High are like, but the CD is in no way representative of the band's talent or their amazing presence conveyed in a live performance. If Cooley High play within three continents of you, go and see them. it doesn't matter how much it costs, it will be worth every last penny.
-K, 13th August, 2001.

More as soon as I get it! You know anything I don't?!


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