Interview: Cobra Skulls on touring the Midwest, political songwriting, upcoming show @ Thee Parkside 8/17/12
August 10, 2012
Written by Derek Nielsen
Formed in Reno back in 2005, Cobra Skulls have firmly rooted themselves in San Francisco for the past few years now. Their three full length albums and several EP’s have all received high accolades in the punk community, but the band’s sound has always encompassed a wide variety of genres, including rockabilly, ska, reggae, hardcore and jazz. Singer/songwriter/bassist Devin Peralta’s songwriting hits hard, both musically and lyrically. His sharp, witty lyrics viciously call out for change in all realms of society, from the government/military industry, down to the social ids of the underground punk scene.
You can catch them when they play on August 17th at Thee Parkside. Check out “Iron Lung”, a cut off their most recent album Agitations below. Despite feeling slightly under the weather (probably as a result of their unforgiving tour schedule) Paralta took a minute to talk to The Bay Bridged about the upcoming election, the band’s new material, and almost dying while touring the Midwest.
TBB: I know Agitations has been out for a while now. It seems like more of a personal album than American Rubicon. Is that what you set out to accomplish?
There were definitely more songs like that. It’s not like a concept album or anything, but there were definitely a handful of songs that were way more personal. It wasn’t a conscious thing, that’s just what happened.
TBB: Not that I don’t enjoy your political songs. It was just cool to hear the song “Believe” on that album.
For sure, that song is almost political in a sense. It’s kind of a response to people who think that if you don’t believe in God, then you don’t believe in anything. I’m saying ‘No. God is a natural thing. It’s not the end-all be-all of spirituality.’ People think if you’re an atheist, you don’t believe in anything. That’s a personal song for sure. I almost wasn’t sure if it should be a Cobra Skulls song or if I should just leave it off the album and make it one of my own songs.
TBB: So Tony Texeira is fully in the band now, right?
Yeah! It’s pretty funny because both him and Luke [Swarm] played in Nothington too.
TBB: Is that how you met those guys?
Yeah, I met both those guys when they were in Nothington. It was random- we got asked if we wanted to do a video shoot for our song “Rebel Fate” but Chad, our old drummer, couldn’t make it. The director said ‘well, we have a fill in drummer. We just won’t film him too much.’ It turned out to be Luke. A few months later, Chad told us couldn’t be in the band anymore, so we just thought ‘Well, I guess Luke did pretty good in the video shoot, so…’ It’s just funny because his face isn’t in the video at all, even though he turned out to be in the band.
TBB: Is it cool having those dudes in the band?
Yeah, for sure. It’s not like I try to have so many line-up changes, but I love playing with Tony and Luke. Those guys are super cool and they’re my buddies. I think it’s honestly the best the band has ever been. Feels good.
TBB: Do the Cobra Skulls have plans for the future?
We just finished recording and mixing our new EP Eagle Eyes, which has 5 new songs on it. It hopefully will be out by The Fest (October 28). We’re touring with the Riverboat Gamblers out to The Fest, play a few East Coast and Canada dates, then probably lay low for awhile, then do more writing. We’ll also be doing a handful of West Coast dates in the next few weeks.
TBB: I read about how a few years ago, you guys got hit by a truck while on tour. What the hell happened?
We ran out of gas on the 80 on the border of Iowa and Nebraska. We had just come through the coldest, iciest day from Minneapolis to Omaha. It was a white knuckle drive the whole way. Cars were just flying off the road and there were ambulances everywhere. We saw one car crash because an ambulance was zooming by and the wind from it sucked another car off the road. It was chaos.
We were already late for the show and we ran out of gas about 20 minutes away. We pulled over, it was about 10 degrees. Adam took the gas can to go to the next gas station which was about a quarter of a mile up. While we were waiting on the side of the road, I was taking a piss, a semi truck came barreling down the highway. I could hear the truck hitting the rumble strips on the side of the road and as he crossed into the shoulder, I was like ‘Holy shit!’ as I watched him slam into the side of trailer going at least 60 miles an hour, luckily it just hit the wheel well, but it smashed the trailer up onto its side with all the wheels sticking up in the air. There were sparks and shit flying everywhere.
The van just had a gash in it and the side mirror was gone but the trailer was totally demolished. Our drummer Chad was in the van when it got hit- he was listening to headphones after just jumped out of the van screaming ‘Holy shit!’ Adam got back a few minutes after and was like ‘What the fuck happened?’ I think the truck driver fell asleep, because afterwards, he started leaving. I was like banging on his truck while running after him down the highway and he stopped and was like ‘Oh, did I hit you guys?’ We had to spend the next 2 days in Omaha waiting for the trailer to get repaired. Oh, and we didn’t make it to the show.
TBB: Was the gear okay?
Yeah, it was crazy. Everything was fine. The van was fine except the gash and scrapes on side. The trailer had a broken axle and fender, but we got it fixed and it made it home. It could have been a lot worse. If the truck had just been like 6 inches to the right, it would have smashed the back of the trailer and that would have been exponentially worse. We got lucky I guess.
TBB: Glad you guys survived.
Yeah, we made it out unscathed!
Cobra Skulls, Fucking Buckaroos, Dead Set, Hides
August 17, 2012