The Detroit Cobras

The Detroit Cobras have been together since 1998, but it's only this month they've released their debut UK EP on Rough Trade Records. "Seven Easy Pieces" is a 20 minute introduction to the Cobras featuring their trademark scuzzed up garage cover versions of rare R&B and soul tunes. They formed the band because even though their friends in Detroit were making compilation tapes of these rare gems from the vaults they weren't hearing these tunes on the radio or played by anybody else. We caught up with guitarist Mary Restrepo and found out how their impressing the the original writers of these songs that they have offered to come out of retirement and write fresh material for them.

Q: There's so many bands that are coming out of Detroit right now that it's easy to get complacent. Let's take it right back to the beginning of the Cobras in 1998 with yourself and Rachel as the founder members. Could you explain to our readers where you're coming from?
A: In Detroit it's all about making good music so in that sense we are just another band from Detroit. But were just doing what we do and it's good that different types of music are coming out like the Electric Six and they're disco and White Stripes have got a more artsy feel. Were a little more R&B and then there's some good punk bands in Detroit as well.

Were really surprised that everybody has started looking to Detroit because when you live there you're really isolated and you make the music for yourself. All you're interested in is what you and you're friends like and Sympathy For The Record Industry was the label that allowed you to do it with no questions asked.

Q: The majority of the material you record is old R&B and soul cover versions with the exception of a couple of self penned tracks on the "Life, Love and Leaving" LP. Was it about bringing the music to a new audience?
A: I think every band is about your record collection. How good a band is is how good your record collection is. The original idea for the band was that we were going to do these songs that we never get to hear in the world. If we would have heard these songs on the radio or by somebody else this would never have happened. It's basically in Detroit there's a great love for R&B and i'm sure like it is in Memphis and Manchester. Great music stands the test of time and better than listening to the record yourself, it would make you feel even better playing it.

Q:  And what do the old school R&B fans who grew up with the originals think of the Cobras?
A: Believe it or not they are f**king happy about it. We do two Jackie De Shannon tunes and she came to LA and told us how great we were and how she want's to write new stuff for us. The old writers are totally ecstatic about us and the old fans are excited just to be able to go and see live music.

Our audience in the US ranges from 15 to 45 and that's great because it doesn't become this scene of what's in and what's isn't. I think for once I'm beginning to see people who always wanted to check out music, but didn't have the time to find out what's right and what's wrong.

"Seven Easy Pieces" is out March 10th on Rough Trade
The band are expect to tour the UK again in the Spring
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