Spotlight on: John Cooper Cat from The Rockin’ Rhinos!


This week we shine the spotlight on The Rockin Rhinos ahead of their Father’s Day gig at The Union. We absolutely love this band of animals and their family focussed gigs. We thoroughly recommend and hope to see you all at a gig  soon!


1 What’s your name and where do you come from?
Hi I’m John Cooper Cat and I come from the People’s Republic of Manchester

2 Tell us about Rockin Rhinos – what can families expect at your gigs?
The Rockin’ Rhinos are a bunch of animals,  a rock band , that play real rock gigs for kids, but importantly gigs that  the grown ups can enjoy too.Have a dance with your kids, whilst having a little Sunday afternoon drink. We play a mixture of songs and styles,  some original tunes,  e.g. The Growing Up Song, Dino Rap ; a few covers , Monkey Man and Starman are particular favourites but as it’s summer we’re enjoying Mr Blue Sky at the minute; and Nursery Rhymes, but in a  Rockin’ Rhinos stylee – Wheels on The Bus as if it were played by Deep Purple anyone?. We want our gigs , our music, the whole Rhino Experience , for want of a better phrase, to be infused with JOY – you guys know the joys of having a great old boogie with your kids whilst at the same time being able to have a beer. That’s pretty much what we’re about.

3 How do you know Our Kids Social?

OKS who are they ? No we love what OKS do, we love how you get it, all your events are filled with that joy I was talking about,  you realise that its possible to have events that both parents and kids can enjoy at the same time.


We love your energy and commitment to that . We first met, I think, at one of our gigs and then we hooked up and played at one of your events in Stockport- OKS and The Rockin Rhinos – it was a marriage made in heaven, we had a ball that afternoon…there’s a lovely review of it online by the ace @mcrmother here

4 Which tunes are top of the kitchen disco playlist on your house?

Phew that’s a tough one – I listen to so much different sorts of music, I do pretty much have it on fairly constantly , can range form some old classic Soul, William Bell, or Marvin, or Booker T,  loads of Ska , some old school  punk and new wave, The Clash, Ian Dury and The Blockheads, Talking Heads , loads of bands that you might not have heard of, but I’ve discovered when visiting festivals with a couple of mates, bands like Hope and Social – an amazing band from Leeds who are a joy to behold live, a New York band called The Slambovian Circus of Dreams, who are just ace,… god just so much music – BOWIE obviously – he’s a constant for me …erm and listening to Idles a lot at the moment who Guy Gorilla put me onto …that probabaly more than answers your question


5 What are your favourite places for an animal knees up without the nippers?

Well my nippers are not nippers anymore my youngest has just finished her GCSE’s and my eldest has just finished her first year at Uni – so pretty much any raving is normally in their company ! I love to go to gigs , love the Castle and Gulliver’s for gigs and Band On The Wall, it was great to play there last year, so yeah going out seeing bands, maybe having a beer or two – probably my favourite restaurant is Bundobust in Manchester, Indian Street Food, with some great beers always on tap as well , if you haven’t tried it , you must check it out , but living in the Heatons we’re spoilt for choice with some great bars and restaurants to nip out to

6 What was the first album / single you bought and what format did you buy it on?

Now this is going back a long long time …I think the first album I ever got was Mud’s Greatest hits , I think I was 8 or 9, would love to say it was something really cool like Ziggy Stardust, but no, Mud – which was cool enough for an 8 year old I suppose, I was into Mud and Slade and 10CC – they were the first band I ever saw live at the good old Apollo, then punk came along and my record collection changed somewhat …and it was on vinyl obviously as nothing else had been invented back then !

7 What would be your band T shirt of choice? 

I have a few again, sorry , I do tend to go on don’t I? I have a Prince Buster Tee that a mate of mine gave me for a birthday a few years back , we’d just seen the legend Prince Buster at a festival so I love that Tee, also have a really cool Patrik Fitzgerald Tee, which took me ages to track down, love that, similarly with my X Ray Spex Germ Free Adolescent long sleeved tee, that’s rarely off my back and then of course on stage I always have a red band tee on – I have quite a collection now , The Specials, The Ramones, The Primals etc

But… my most favoured and what I shall be wearing this Sunday are my special one off Red editions of the Metallica and Ramones Feminist tees from the awesome Everything’s Sweet Threads – love Al, Gerry and of course CeCe – funnily enough there’s a few pictures of me and the Sweets from our gigs and on every picture,Al , Gerry and me are all grinning away like loons but CeCe is always eyeing me suspiciously, smart kid that one – the real brains of the family !

8 Which has been the best gig you have been to? (Obvs discounting your own)

Oh my this is tough – I tell you what, I’m going to tell my people to phone Kirsty Young and cancel my forthcoming appearance on Desert Island Discs , it’s so hard to choose, ermm I was lucky enough to see Bowie four times,  ( we don’t really count the Glass Spider Tour – we all makes mistakes !) probably the last time I saw him was the best, it was at Old Trafford, Cricket ground, I’d blagged my way into the V.I.P. and he opened with an amazing version of Life On Mars , it was incredible…but was that the best gig ever…no I tell you what the best gig I ever saw was, The Jam at the Apollo, can’t remember which tour , think it was the Trans Global Express tour early 82 but they were playing two nights and I had tickets for the second night but went to the soundcheck at the first one to see if I could get in, long story short I got a guest pass off Bruce Foxton and watched the gig which was good, but hampered by a few technical issues, sound problems, guitar strings snapping on a number of occasions, just little niggly things, which clearly frustrated the band, Weller especially, afterwards he was really angry and apologetic about the quality of the gig, and checking if I had tickets for the following night and promised tomorrow we’ll get it sorted out and make up for it ….they came on that night and were on a mission, they were always an incendiary band but that night they were on fire…so yeah The Jam in 82, it was the best I ever saw them and I saw them a few times .

9 What is a fave family meal in your house and can you share the recipe?
I love cooking and if I say so myself i can rustle up a few delights – my eldest daughter is Vegan, and both my other daughter and wife are Veggie ( I’m not, although am pretty much by default !) so a few Vegan/veggie delights include Butternut Squash and Spinach Lasagne,Sweet Potato Chilli ( the secret is a bit of dark chocolate ), I make a pretty fine Moroccan Tagine, my Pea and Panner curry is always popular although not Vegan, and I like to make my own Chapatis …but if push comes to shove and you asked my family what’s the favourite family meal it’s what has become known in our household as Saturday Tea ( although it is possible to have Saturday tea on a Sunday!) It’s basically sandwiches and crisps, and cucumber, carrots, little tomatoes  and occasionally as a rare treat for me a pork pie…mmmmm… and more often than not a home-made cake and we sit and eat that IN FRONT OF THE TELLY – the only meal of the week when we don’t sit at the table so when the girls were younger this was a real treat for them and they still love the ritual…

So a cake like Chocolate Biscuit Fridge Cake – which is easy to make Vegan – dark Chocolate, melted with a little bit of non dairy spread and some golden syrup, break up Digestive biscuits ( the cheaper own brand versions tend to be Vegan – some have have milk ingredients) Mix  together with some chopped up dried apricots  – line a tin with cling film, spoon it in and let cool in the fridge…absolutely delicious…dead easy to make with the kids although you might have to share licking out the bowl then !

10 What goes on a Rhino rider?
Okay I see where you’re going with this, these rumours have gone on for far too long, so I would just like to put on the record and state  categorically  that I do NOT have a Cat Nip problem,…ok?…so I may have rolled around it in a little, when I was younger, but it was recreational and it was never a problem, just a bit of harmless fun…I have never demanded Cat Nip on the rider. Never.To be honest most of the rider is just taken up with bananas…Guy loves a banana…so yeah bananas oh and some top quality litter , but let’s not dwell on that !

11 Apart from Rhino gigs and OKS events, what are your top tips for keeping the nippers entertained in the North West? 

There’s so much to do for  the little ones nowadays – God how I wished OKS were around when my kittens were small. But as I say my two are grown now so I’m probably not the best person to ask, although Rainy City Kids is great resource drawing up a list and letting you know what’s going on, I’d always recommend anyone to have a look there , they always come up with some great choices of what to do and so many of them are free events or budget events, as it can be costly days out with the family, so yeah the ace Rainy City Kids

12 Which is your fave Rhinos tune and where can we get our paws on your fantastic CDs?

Boy you’re worse than Paxman with these questions, erm I’ve always loved the Growing Up Song, I remember hearing the finished recorded version and feeling pretty damn proud, if that’s not too conceited of me,  but I did . Off the new album I’m really looking forward to singing Kickstone 1-2-3- live  – Phil,who puts together our amazing artwork, described it as ‘a post-punk classic’ – I’ll go with that ! Where can you get our albums, well our first album is up on our bandcamp page and is across all the usual digital platforms, but our new album CRASH! will be on sale at our album launch gig tomorrow ….TOMORROW ! at MMU, tickets are still available at a discounted price today at Billetto – they’ll be on sale online until about teatime today ( Saturday) – I’ll take them down after my Saturday tea !… but failing that tickets will be available on the door …it’s going to be an absolute hoot, we’ll be playing some of these songs for the first time ever live so I’m really excited to see how they sound and how they go down…can’t wait.

13 Are there any other local small businesses / animal based bands who you would like to give a shout out to?

Well obviously your good selves, we love what you lot do, and I’ve already mentioned Everything’s Sweet Threads, but they are worth mentioning again because they are so awesome. Phil, our talented art designer , is part of the incredible they are really worth a look at they create some fantastic artwork, Rock and Roll Zoo on the first album was about one of their prints…oh and I better mention Heaton Hops…it might get me a free flagon…Damian?…a pint?  It’s a lovely little tap house with some great beers and just a lovely, lovely vibe

14 Can you do the floss and will you be showing us at your next gig? 

The whole band have a strict dental regime, which is very important and I’m glad you brought it up…( young person whispers in ear it’s a new dance craze that’s sweeping the nation ) …oh you mean the dance ..yes I knew that, I’m really down with the kids, can I do the floss, well I can mash potato, I can do the twist …but really Guy Gorilla is the one to be asking abut this …Guy is the bands dance leader, so I’m sure Guy will be showing us his very best floss tomorrow …won’t you Guy! ( he’s going to kill me !)  Actually you’ve just given me an idea, as it’s fathers day maybe we’ll have a dads floss dance off .Anyway must dash…got a thousand and one things to do before the gig tomorrow, most importantly I need a nap , I do like a good nap! Lovely chatting to you and see you tomorrow.


Published by ourkidssocial

OKS provide unique events for the under 8s and their families. Bring your family to our community for a knees up with your nippers!

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