Jokingly ask Clockclean Er singer/guitarist John Sharkey III what Lizard record he'd be, and he answers "I'd rather be a Richard Pryor record because I wonder what it would be like to be funny and black."
That's Sharkey - rude and comedic, at least in an interview setting. "I admittedly have a big mouth," he says.
While Clockclean Er's previous recordings include such titles as "Gentle Swastikas," the trio's new Babylon Rules is more obsessive than pernicious; filled with forlorn, rebellious songs such as "Man Across the Street" and "When My Ship Comes In."
"Basically you get older and things get colder," says Sharkey regarding the record's somber lyrical inspiration and its connection to a string of deaths related to him. "They seemed to be dropping like flies for a minute there."
While musically abetted by a dynamic new bassist in Karen Horner ("She drinks a lot and is taller than our previous bass player"), Sharkey goes on to say that Clockclean Er is three sad people peerlessly fed up with the current and the modern and pretty much everybody making both.
"Try harder." That's Sharkey's message to anyone looking to step to Clockclean Er.
Clockclean Er, with Pissed Jeans, Eddy Current Suppression Ring and Cola Freaks, play at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the First Unitarian Church, 2125 Chestnut St. The show is all ages. Tickets: $8. Phone: 866-468-7619.