* "What You're Listening To" *
"What You're Listening To"
Worcester Telegram and Gazette
October 2010
Victor D. Infante
Copyright 2011 Worcester Telegram & Gazette Corp.
Chest Rockwell Singer-guitarist, Cougar Bait
What’s in Rockwell’s album collection:

1. “When the Levee Breaks,” by Led Zeppelin

2. “Moonage Daydream,” by David Bowie

3. “It’s Only Rock ’n’ Roll,” by the Rolling Stones

4. “Nightrain,” by Guns n’ Roses

5. “Be My Lover,” by Alice Cooper

6. “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” by the Beatles

7. “Gimme Danger,” by Iggy and the Stooges

8. “One Way Street,” by Aerosmith

9. “I’m Waiting For My Man,” by Lou Reed

10. “Cold Hard Bitch,” by Jet

Cougar Bait is one of those bands that seemingly came out of nowhere and was playing
nearly every venue in town, with its provocative name and its down-and-dirty brand of
straight-up rock.

“Jet has the same mentality as Cougar Bait when it comes to songwriting,” says Cougar Bait
singer-songwriter Chest Rockwell (real name Sean Sullivan), discussing why he likes the
Australian band’s popular song. “We both try to capture the raw and gritty energy that rock ’
n’ roll used to have back in the early days of the Stooges and Velvet Underground. The
thing I love most about this song is its music is honest. It’s just sexy, straightforward rock ’n’
roll.”

That being the case, it’s probably not surprising to find an array of classic rock in Rockwell’s
collection, particularly from the glam era dominated by the likes of Iggy Pop, Lou Reed and
David Bowie.

“David Bowie’s ‘The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars’ is the
greatest album of all time,” says Rockwell. “If you disagree, I will fight you. It’s just a
masterpiece that blows my mind from start to finish every time I listen to it. … Mick Ronson’s
epic guitar mastery alongside Bowie’s majestic lyrics is just sex for my eardrums. It’s actually
one of the first songs that Cougar Bait decided to cover, and remains in our set to this day.”

The glam-rock era was a bit of an odd heyday, as the ’60s sound started receding a bit, and
the first, rebellious strands of what would eventually become punk rock began to surface,
pushing rawer, often louder sounds — a small revolution encapsulated by Iggy Pop and the
Stooges.

“The Stooges are the kings of garage rock,” says Rockwell. “This song starts out featuring
the bluesy side of the Stooges, only to be kicked into overdrive half-way through. I’ve always
loved songs that start acoustic and end in a bang. … I followed suit when I wrote ‘Hanging
On’ for Cougar Bait. I can’t think of a metaphor to describe the relationship between the
song and its listeners. It’s something like, a slow, seductive beginning, just getting
comfortable with one another, then picking up the pace and then finally erupting in ecstasy.
The term escapes me at the moment.”

Ahem. But still, as Cougar Bait takes a brief hiatus as it gears up for a February CD release,
it’s clear there’s going this is a band following a grand rock tradition.

Guilty pleasure: Rockwell seems impervious to embarrassment, so what dark secret lurks in
his collection? “Drops of Jupiter,” by Train. “It’s just an awesome song,” he says. “I don’t
care.”