Cobra Skulls Interview!

Did you guys partake in the 'Everybody Draw Muhammad Day' last year?
I was unaware of that, that happened!?

Yeah, it started out as a protest against the censorship of South Parks "201" episode because they got death threats and shit.
That is awesome! People can stop hating us for that now! It's funny that a cartoon would be the catalyst to people doing that all over but that's actually the reason why I did that cover.. we've gotten some strange mail regarding the cover of that EP.

Any threats?
Not threats, but just people really concerned as to why we would do that... people from other countries where they're like 'that's not okay in our country' and I'm like 'well it's okay in our country because we have the first amendment.

I read in an interview with that American Rubicon got a lot of 'its not as good as' reviews, did that affect the way you made this album or the attitude you brought into the studio this time around?
No not really but it's funny because I just heard somebody say "It's not as good as American Rubicon" about Agitations! But I think people always say that. It takes people a bit to get used to the new album no matter what band it is I think. So when a band has their first album it's either a good band or a bad band based on that one album, so if it's a good band and the next album is different people just don't like it. I don't know, I'm the same way though! Usually when albums come out I don't like it as much as the album before, and growing up when I was a picky, elitist punk kid who wanted shit to sound not produced at all if it sounded produced then I'd be like 'oh they sold out' but I mean, I think our new album is our best album and I know every band says that but I do, and I think people do like it in general. I feel like the response has been good in general.

Why exactly do you guys think it's your best album?
I think we all performed the best on this album and it's just a performance thing. I think the songwriting was a little different I guess too because it was like 'okay we've got to whip this out quick' and all the songs are basically shorter than all our songs before..
And we have Luke on this album.
Yeah Luke rips!
Nothing against our old drummer, he was great, but Luke rips hard!

So you named it Agitations because it's about a lot of things that agitate you obviously, can we expect a more positive album in the future!?
Haha, totally, wait what do you mean in the future!!? I think the album is positive even if it's about things that bother me or something like that lyrically. I think that if there's something the matter and you don't talk about it I think that's negative. If you don't talk about things that are wrong then that isn't good. So I don't find this album to be negative at all really! And I don't think we have negative lyrics, pessimistic maybe yeah, but I don't think negative! I guess pessimistic is negative but, you know what I mean! But there are positive uplifting lyrics on this album, the last song "Believe", the acoustic one, that's positive!

Who did the album cover?
His name I don't remember and I should, I haven't met him. There's a lot of alleys in San Francisco with great murals on it and I found one that I like that I thought fit the album and I just took photos of it and contacted the alley organization who manage all the murals and this dude lives in England now and it was a mural he painted in 1998. It's about the revolution in Peru, he's from Peru, and there's images based on that as far as I know.

As a band who is constantly touring, what do you do to keep yourselves from going crazy on the road?
Well it helps that we have this spacious vehicle this tour. I think we just try to get out and walk around and see the sights, do some stuff. I feel like I'm busy all the time and don't have the time to do anything else. I don't know what do you guys do?
I go crazy! That's pretty much it. I just go crazy, let it happen, get it out!

So this is the first time with this van?
And the last!
Yeah we got it before this tour, it's an old thing it's from 1990 and a band had it before we bought it so, it's great on the inside but the engine is a little problematic, it's been breaking down a lot on tour so we're just hoping it will get us back home and we'll probably get rid of it.
Yeah, she's a good vehicle, but not that good.

Do you guys still sleep in here most nights?
Oh yeah. All four of us! We're actually pretty comfortable.

Before you got the van what was the weirdest place you had to crash on tour?
Jeez, I'd say in Europe, we played a lot of squat houses in Europe and a lot of them are nice and clean but a LOT of them really aren't.
We've stayed in some weird places.

You guys played in a cave with an old anarchist choir in Austria a few years back, how the hell did that come up?
We did! How did you even know about that?
Sarah does her homework!
Yeah that was cool.
That was the weirdest night of my whole life by the way.
Ha, yeah it was an interesting show. We were in this little town in Austria in the middle of nowhere and all of a sudden we pull off the road and there's a little chalet, like not much bigger than this van, and we were like 'this is it' and we get out and look around to find out that there's a hole in this rock face and they were like 'yep thats where you guys are playing' and we go in, it wasn't really a cave but it was something they had dynamited out to hide Jews during the Nazi occupation of Austria. So yeah there was an old anarchist choir that played before we did and it was cool, they were some people from our age but most of them very old, like 70's, and they were playing these old banned songs that they couldn't sing, that were outlawed lyrics and stuff.
They were awesome!
They cooked interesting vegetarian food that night... something like boiled beets. It was so bad. Usually there is great vegetarian food in Europe but this was weird, what did they call it, boiled down purple beets... and it wasn't good.
And they'd make these fires inside of logs, like whole trunks, and they'd chainsaw the inside out of this old tree trunk and start a fire in it without wood, just light the inside on fire, it was really bizarre. So like the flames were just shooting out the top and it would keep you super toasty and by the end of the night the whole thing just burned out and fell apart, it was awesome! I've never seen anybody do that before.
It was a fun show!
It was a really weird night. Some other really weird shit happened that night to me personally, I'm not going to talk about it. Very very weird.

Have you ever experienced any other shows that crazy in comparison?
Well that wasn't crazy in a bad way.
For me it was!!! I had some weird shit happen man.
You might as well just say it now!
Fine, here's the long and the short of it. A guy offered me his wife for my jacket. True story.
No joke! This guy was yelling at Adam to get his jacket.
Yeah it was scary. A lot of other things happened to me between all that too. It was a Cobra Skulls hoodie and this guy was going nuts man, I was scared! 'You take my wife, I take your jacket'! Like whaaat!!
It was a little Austrian town in the middle of nowhere so maybe that's cool there..

Where do you draw your folk/jazz/blues/rockabilly influences from?
I don't know, I like all kinds of music! From junior high to high school all I listened to was punk and nothing but, but eventually started listening to other stuff.. I always grew up listening to my moms music too and she listened to all folk music and then she'd listen to all my grandpa's stuff which was all jazz and so yeah I guess that's maybe where it comes from.

If you had more time to write Agitations do you think it would have turned out differently? You wrote it under a lot of time constraints I hear.
I don't know, I think there would just be more songs on it. More songs to choose from. We went on tour, then we all went our separate ways and I was like 'alright I have to write a bunch of songs' and checked into a hotel for a few weeks and just wrote wrote wrote, then we got together and I had written 13 songs and said well this is what I got lets jam it out and hopefully they turn out cool. I think they did but with more time I think we would have had more to choose from and had some of the not so good ones cut off the album, but all 13 we had went on the album and that's how it turned out!

So you consider some of the tracks 'not so good'?
hahaha, uhh, I don't know because there are some that I thought weren't really good, or were just my least favorites but I think that's changed and now there are other ones that I find not as good. There was one that I found to be not as worthy, "The Mockery" and I thought it should have been more of a B-sides, but all the reviews I'm reading say it's the best song on the album so it's kind of surprising for me, but that's how it goes I guess!

Thanks so much to the dudes in Cobra Skulls and Melanie!!!