Matthew James Cogley : A Eulogy

Read by Father Peter Stanley on 16/01/15 | Written by Martin Cogley

Matthew was born on the 3rd of December 1984 at Sharoe Green Hospital in Preston to mother Linda Cogley and dad Martin Cogley.

He was a lively child and was walking before his first birthday.

He would rarely stop running around but when he did he usually fell asleep. On one particular occasion at a school summer fair he was so excited and full of life that when he sat down to have his face painted he fell straight to sleep.

Matthew spent a lot of his early childhood playing with his brother Martin and other kids in the neighbourhood including Lisa, James, Wayne, Lyndsey and Phillip. He will always be remembered for his exuberance and frankly for being a bit of a ‘wind up merchant’ around this time! Sometimes the fall outs between Matthew and brother Martin resembled a miniature version of the Gallagher brothers, without the Manchester accents.

Matthew was attracted to all sports as a young child and there was no better way to judge what sport was in the public eye at any time than to see what Matthew was up to. Matthew was out with a tennis racket?… it’s Wimbledon. Matthew was out with a Football?… it’s the world cup or the FA Cup. Matthew was on his bike?… it’s the tour de france. You name it, Matthew did it.

Although Matthew played in his local football team with Sacred Heart Primary School, he and his brother Martin finally settled on Rugby League; a sport which meant a lot to Matthew throughout his life.

Matthew played for the Chorley Town Rugby League team with other kids around the same age and showed real potential. He was involved in leagues and tournaments, which saw the whole family travelling around the North West every weekend as well as regular training sessions in the Chorley area. They also held season tickets for Wigan Rugby for a number of years and made many trips to Wembley together.

Matthew achieved some great success with Chorley and later went onto have trials for St Patricks Rugby Club in Wigan after which he played with them for a number of years. For those that don’t know, St Pats is a natural run-on team for progression into Wigan Rugby League’s professional team and some of Matt’s teammates have achieved success in both league and international rugby.

As with Matt’s changing interest in sports from one season to the next his interest in Rugby League started to wane when at High School.

Matthew attended Holy Cross High School in Chorley and really enjoyed his time there. He met so many people there who he maintained a close friendship with throughout his life.

It became clear whilst at High School that Matthew showed clear potential as a performer both in music and drama. Matt starred in numerous school productions including playing the lead roles in Oliver and Scrooge to name just two. He also sang in the school choir and made a trip to Hungary to visit Chorley’s ‘twin town’ in order to perform.

Matthew began to take a strong interest in music and his mum, dad and brother will never forget his practice sessions at home learning new pieces of music on his cornet. They still get flashbacks when they hear the pink panther theme tune. Ouch!

On receiving music tuition and being fortunate enough to acquire his own instrument Matthew’s interest in the cornet shifted away from TV theme tunes and brass band numbers to punk music that was popular amongst the cooler kids at the time. This coupled with Matthews brother Martin learning to play the guitar led Matthew to start learning the bass guitar and trying out in local bands.

Matthew became tired of the bass guitar fairly quickly; he was clearly destined for greater things. Apologies to any bass players in the church!

Matt started learning the guitar (he was self taught) and played at venues in Preston and Blackburn with school mates from Holy Cross including Chris Hope and Tom Griffin amongst others. He was so young that he and his friends had to be sneaked into some of the venues by their parents as they operated fairly strict age restrictions!

Matthew’s parents made so many trips to the Golden Cross pub in Preston for their open mic nights that it became pretty clear that Matthew was truly dedicated to music and it was no passing phase.

After gaining some experience playing in pubs and clubs (before the age of 15!) Matthew was poached by a local band which later became known as Lets Not Lose Mars To The Commies. Matts family can remember him being so excited to have been asked to join the group. Matt quickly solidified himself within the group which also included Ste, Bruno and Liam by writing songs and becoming a recognizable frontman to local kids who were also getting into similar music.

Matthew and the band were supported by parents and local band manager John Winstanley which enabled them to play gigs across the North West and further afield with some well known touring bands at the time.

Lets Not Lose Mars to The Commies became absorbed into the Preston Music Scene in the early 2000’s and connections between band members and other groups who were active at the time began to flourish. There was a palpable sense of camaraderie amongst Preston bands at the time unlike anything that has been seen since; with band members featuring in other groups during live gigs and generally hanging out together on a regular basis.

Once again, Matthew was poached (willingly!) from another local band called Duckhunt, not just for Matt’s guitar playing ability but also his cornet skills that he had picked up at school. Duckhunt later became Failsafe following a small line up change and this band went on to define a time of significant importance in Matthew’s life and his legacy.

Failsafe, comprising of Matthew, Jim, Andy, Si and Rob all from the local area went from small beginnings gigging around local pubs and clubs in Preston to achieve great success within the industry.

They were highly regarded by other bands on the same scene most notably for the fact that not one member of the band acted like a ‘rock star’ even when they were featured in Kerrang and NME magazines. Matthew and the other lads in the band are so down to earth that they often sat in disbelief at the prima-dona nature of other bands at the same level. The band would sometimes see some amazing guitarists and Matt would retort with witty comments like “Yeah, they’re great on guitar but they probably haven’t got any mates!”.

Failsafe were quite literally a band of brothers who spent so much time as a band but more importantly a group of close friends touring the UK, Europe and USA. They will be remembered for two sessions at BBC’s Maida Vale studios, being played on Radio 1, as well as playing at the prestigious South by Southwest music industry festival in Texas not to mention featuring in an episode of the popular TV show The Inbetweeners.

Over the years Matthew began writing a number of his own songs which he was initially reluctant to air publicly. He later started to perform around the local area under the name of “The Might As Well” which he did to diffuse attention away from himself due to his modest / ‘un-rockstar’ nature.

After a short time Matt decided to bite the bullet and started performing as ‘Matthew James Cogley’. He wrote and then recorded a solo record in Devon which became fairly well known around the local area as well as receiving positive feedback from the likes of Guy Chambers who co-wrote the song Angels with Robbie Williams. ‘Ready to Resist’ is a song he will be particularly remembered for and the songs he recorded clearly shows Matthew’s great talent not to mention his raw emotion.

Matthew was also an accomplished music producer spending time with close friends Jon-Lee Martin, Joe Greenhalgh and others at Chorley Community Centre recording bands and helping young kids get into music.

Matt always downplayed his talent and although he enjoyed performing in London and Manchester as a solo artist he generally remained close to his roots and played most frequently around Chorley and the surrounding area. He featured in the last two years Chorley Live festivals playing two gigs a night at both events.

Matt’s involvement in music continued until very recently by performing with Failsafe at the Top Lock in Wheelton and also as a solo artist at The Rose & Crown just before Christmas. He also performed at the wedding of John and Lynsey Logue alongside fellow musician and friend Seamus McLoughlin in Northern Ireland on the 29th of December.

Although Matthew may be most remembered for his musical achievements and legacy there are so many other things he achieved in his life.

Matthew was a highly skilled joiner and completed an apprenticeship with Preston Council after leaving school before going onto work with Smithy joinery in Preston and then onto a family firm working alongside cousins Chris and Rick Darwin. To say Matthew was a skilled joiner doesn’t quite do it justice though. Matthew worked on a conservatory at Bradley Wiggins house in Eccleston, produced some high quality work for inclusion at Manchester United’s Old Trafford stadium and also worked on hundreds of high quality wooden shoe boxes for a well known fashion brand (‘Ugg’ boots). However, Matts modest nature meant that he didn’t often tell people about things like this and when he did he would often just gloss over the subject. He was never someone to brag about his achievements at all.

Also, to say he was ‘hard working’ would be a massive understatement. For instance, in December Matthew worked a 12 hour day on site in Birmingham before travelling back to perform with Failsafe at the Top Lock, arriving at the gig a short time before going on stage. He played a fantastic gig before heading home to grab a few hours sleep, waking at 4am to travel back to Birmingham and do the same all over again.

As well as being an avid supporter of Chorley FC over the past few years Matt was a keen Arsenal supporter – we never quite understood why but that had always been the case since he was a young lad. Nobody’s perfect.

In recent years Matthew surrounded himself with a very close group of friends who had so many experiences together on nights out and holidays away. Some of these friendships originated from the time Matt spent in the Rose & Crown pub in Chorley where Failsafe would practice upstairs. Matt formed a strong bond with many friends including Alex, Charlotte, Ian, Sara, Nick, Naomi, Seamus and far too many others to mention but they know who they are.

The strongest bond of all was with Rachel Vessey who Matt formed a relationship with around 2010/11. Rachel was dearly loved by Matthew and the feeling was mutual. They shared a house together in Anderton over the past 12 months and they were both so happy to have their own home. Rachel had an ability to bring out great happiness in Matthew and they spent many great times together in Manchester and on holidays both in the UK and abroad. Their happy, full of life attitude made them a great couple and Matt would want to know that he cared about Rachel and her family so so much.

There is no doubt that Matt would also like to thank his close family for their loving support throughout his life, he never went without and had such a close and loving set of parents as well as an older brother who was also his best friend.

His friends were always there for him and have such good memories of their time together. Many, many tributes have been passed through to the family both online and in private which show how Matt was dearly loved by all who met him – even if it was for a very brief period of time.

Matthew you were loved by so many people near and far, your memory and legacy will serve as a reminder to all of your great character and what we can only hope to achieve in our own lives.

You were truly one in a million!