Saturday, August 28, 2010

Detroit Cobras put twist on R&B, Motown songs


As the name of its song "Cha Cha Twist" implies, The Detroit Cobras take old R&B and Motown songs and put their garage rock stamp on them. The song itself is a remake of the song "The Twist" - watch a video featuring a cameo by Meg White of The White Stripes at
The band - comprised of Rachel Nagy on vocals and Mary Ramirez on guitar - formed in 1994 and is currently working on a new album for Chicago-based label Bloodshot Records. The Detroit Cobras will perform Sept. 4 at Durty Nellie's, 180 N. Smith St., Palatine,

The Honeybees,, are also on the bill. The show starts at 9 p.m., and there is a $10 cover charge.

I had the chance to interview Ramirez about what the band is doing these days.

Q - I see you guys are working on a new album.

We haven't actually started recording it, we're just getting the material ready for it.

Q - How is the process going? Do you have any goals for the new album?

It's going to be a rockin' kind of album. I don't think we are trying to go in a different direction as much as we want to make it a little more rockin' this time around.

Q - How do you pick the songs that you want to remake, that you want to put your own stamp on?

It's like deciding what you are going to wear for the night. You are looking for a certain kind of feel, but that changes all the time.

Q - What did you listen to growing up?

I listened to a lot of soul. My mother was into a lot of soul and stuff, and then you break out on your own when you have money.

Q - What makes your collaboration with Rachel so good? How do you guys get along so well?

I guess we're lucky in that respect. We think a lot alike. I love the same kind of music.

Q - How does that work out? Do you both throw out ideas?

In Detroit, there's a lot of places where you can buy cheap records. You sit around and listen with your friends. Basically there's a lot of drinking and listening. We have a lot of people giving us suggestions. We draw from wherever we can.

Q - Are you guys doing new songs on the road?

I try not to. I don't want to try anything new on the road before I have it down on record.

Q - Meg White from The White Stripes has a cameo in the video for "Cha Cha Twist." Do you guys know each other well? How did that collaboration come about?

Everybody knows everybody here. Detroit is a small city. There are pockets of people.

Q - A lot of people refer to you guys as a garage rock band. Do you like that label? Do you think it fits?

To me, we play rock 'n' roll. Sometimes when people say garage rock band, you think it is low fi or something. I've used the term myself. If the Stones were coming out today, would they be considered a garage band? Probably.