The Detroit Cobras (Rock)


One of the earliest groups to emerge from the Detroit garage rock scene, the Detroit Cobras developed a reputation as the Midwest's finest (and most distinctive) coverband -- while the bandmembers devoted themselves to performing other people's material rather than recycling established hits, the Detroit Cobras dug deep into the well of vintage R&B and primitive rock & roll sides, building an individual identity out of lost classics from the past which they modified to fit their swaggering aural personality.The Detroit Cobras were formed in 1995 by Steve Shaw, who developed a taste for classic R&B from spending time with Alex Chilton, whom he met through his friends in Detroit primitives the Gories. The first edition of the Detroit Cobras featured former exotic dancer Rachel Nagy on vocals, Shaw and Maribel Restrepo (ex-Vertical Pillows) on guitars, Jeff Meier (from Rocket 455) on bass, and Vic Hill on drums, and they released their first 7" in 1996. During the three years that passed before the Detroit Cobras appeared on the Jack White-produced compilation Sympathetic Sounds of Detroit, founder Shaw left the band, with Dante Aliano stepping in on guitar and Rob Smith taking over on bass. Rachel Nagy's tough but soulful vocals and Maribel Restrepo's lean, muscular guitar lines would be the group's only constants from this point on, though they would be enough to earn the group a potent following on the American garage scene and a major buzz in the United Kingdom, where they scored a deal with the fabled indie label Rough Trade.While veteran tunesmiths Ellie Greenwich and Jackie DeShannon expressed interest in writing material with the group, the fourth Cobras album, 2004's Baby, once again featured them rocking out on a stack of R&B dusties, though Greg Cartwright, who helped produce the album, did co-write an original with Nagy and Restrepo, "Hot Dog (Watch Me Eat)." The album also documented yet another Cobras lineup, with Nagy and Restrepo joined by Steve Nawara on guitar, Joe Mazzola on bass, and Kenny Tudrick on drums. ~ Mark Deming -All Music Guide