Cobra Starship | Sent by Futuristic Reptiles to a Stage Near You

prof_cobra_smAccording to their bio, a major mission passed down to the band by the cobra is to "teach hipsters to not take themselves so seriously and to tell emo kids to stop being pussies." When asked how that was going, both Blackinton and Suarez laughed.




What do you get when you add snakes, nontraditional aircraft, witty stage banter, and crazy dance beats? For some, that might be a hard question. Actually, for most, that would be quite a stumper. But for those who have been diligently watching their Fuse music countdowns and/or enjoy really shitty movies like Snakes on a Plane, Cobra Starship is obviously the answer.

Cobra Starship is the brainchild of former Midtown lead singer and bassist Gabe Saporta. According to the Cobra Starship's bio, the band began when "during a solitary spiritual retreat in the desert, Gabe was bitten by a cobra that was sent from the future to teach him how to dance and make beats. Gabe took the skills he learned and started Cobra Starship in honor of the spacecraft that transported his savior from the future."


In all likelihood, it actually probably began when Saporta got sick of recording sad, emo music with Midtown and wanted to actually do something fun. And believe me, Cobra Starship is extremely fun. I got a true taste of this when I had the opportunity to interview lesser-known band members Ryland Blackinton (guitar) and Alex Suarez (bass) before the Honda Civic Tour stop in St. Louis on May 18.

Along with Saporta singing lead vocals and Blackinton and Suarez covering the strings section, Cobra Starship includes former Armor for Sleep drum tech Nate Navarro who is surprisingly playing the drums and Victoria Asher rocking the keytar. That's right, ladies and gentlemen. The keytar.

Most who are familiar with Cobra Starship, however, will agree that the lineup was somewhat confusing from the get-go. The band's first hit single "Snakes on a Plane (Bring It)" featured guest artists William Beckett of The Academy Is…, Travis McCoy of Gym Class Heroes, and Maja Ivarrson of The Sounds, with Pete Wentz and Samuel L. Jackson making cameos in the video. The members of Cobra Starship, with the exception of Saporta, did not actually appear in the video, because at the time the video was shot, the actual band had not yet been put together. When asked if it was hard being a part of Cobra Starship at that point, Blackinton says, "It took time. It gave great exposure to everyone, but it took a while for people to realize that Cobra Starship at that point was Gabe's name."

Blackinton and Suarez got to know Saporta through Suarez's neighbor, Rob Hitt, who just happened to be the drummer for Saporta's previous band, Midtown. Blackinton and Suarez, however, go way back. They grew up together in Florida and, although they are extremely busy with Cobra Starship right now, Suarez and Blackinton also have their own band: Ivy League. While on tour, the guys can still do everything for Ivy League that they would do at home—i.e., write songs, record tracks, and mix tunes. The only thing they really cannot do is tour, which they hope to do soon once they are not so busy with Cobra Starship.

During our interview, not only did I learn that Blackinton and Suarez have another band, but I also learned other useful things from them. For instance, Suarez taught me that turtles are reptiles, not amphibians—according to Wikipedia, anyway. I also learned that Blackinton and Suarez used to work at Urban Outfitters doing inventory and that they empathize with Johnny Cupcakes over the T-shirt scandal—or, as Blackinton says, "Our hearts go out to Johnny Cupcakes in Massachusetts!" I also learned that neither Blackinton nor Suarez actually went to school for music. Suarez studied culinary arts, while Blackinton studied to be an actor, the latter a fact that was quite evident later that night as Blackinton and Saporta bantered back and forth during their set.

This is not surprising, however, since keeping the audience entertained is one of Cobra Starship's main goals. According to their bio, a major mission passed down to the band by the cobra is to "teach hipsters to not take themselves so seriously and to tell emo kids to stop being pussies." When asked how that was going, both Blackinton and Suarez laughed, Suarez responding with, "It's going pretty well. I mean, there are a lot less tears, you know, a lot less general unhappiness at our shows. We want people to enjoy our music, not just stand there and look sad, everyone getting all emotional from the ‘emotion' we're giving off."

All in all, Cobra Starship put on a hilarious set and they were a great band to interview. They may have some quirky elements like a keytarist and crazy stories of cobras giving them special missions, but that is what makes them original. That is what makes them Cobra Starship. | Katie Herring

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