Hailing from the East Bay, Mystic Knights of the Cobra, have supported everyone from Green Day’s garage rock alter ego Foxboro Hot Tubs, Jesse Michaels’ Classics of Love, Foxy Shazam, The Stripminers (featuring members of X and The Donnas) plus many other incredible bands that all love, love, love MKOTC! They’ve spent years touring as an underground punk-rap-vaudeville “secret society” and have only recently started to garner the attention they deserve, thanks in part to, one of the band’s frontwomen, Lady Cobra, collaborating with Green Day for a track on their forth coming release Dos! She is also the muse for another jam on the album titled after her, Lady Cobra. Mystic Knights of the Cobra are currently hitting the studio to record new EP Fade to Pink. Lady Cobra took some time out to answer some questions about the mysterious MKOTC!
Has music and art always been a big part of your life? Did music or art come first for you?
LADY COBRA: Always. Art came first. I’ve been drawing since I could pick up a pencil. Music was around me growing up and my older brother was in a band but I didn’t get into playing myself until I was a teenager.
MKOTC are based in the Bay Area. Did you grow up there?
LC: Born and raised in the East Bay.
I’m a huge fan of a lot of amazing punk and hip hop (I love Hieroglyphics) from the Bay Area; were you influenced by these music communities growing up?
LC: Oh yeah, I grew up going to Gilman street and Burnt Ramen shows. I felt like I had found where I belonged – with the music, the creativity, and the rowdiness of it all! I would design flyers, T-shirts, and album artwork for my friend’s bands. Cinder Block was always a big inspiration to me, with Tilt and her merch company. I love Del! The Cobras actually just went to Oakland’s first annual Hiero-day recently.
How did you begin to find your identity as a musician?
LC: Oh man, I don’t know…malt liquor? [Laughs]
How did you first come to performance?
LC: BabyGirl (from MKOTC) and I have been friends since we were kids and formed our first band when we were about 16. It was an all-girl punk band and we would play shows locally. For me, that was the first time performing in front of people. But it wasn’t until we started doing shows with the Cobras that we really started thinking about making things bigger and more theatrical. Our stage shows are an all-out party with costumes, a dancing robot and a dirty magician. It gets pretty weird and we’re always coming up with new ideas to make it fun and crazy.
Where did your stage name Lady Cobra come from?
LC: Josh our drummer started calling me that. I was the ‘Lady’ in the band amongst a bunch of sweaty fat dudes.
I haven’t been able to find much info about Mystic Knights of the Cobra. Tell us about the origins of MKOTC.
LC: It’s because we’re super mysterious [laughs]. It started out as just a few friends getting together and playing music for fun. In the beginning I played guitar with Chino and Josh (our current guitar player and drummer) and we wrote a bunch of funny songs about kung-fu and ninja stars. Then Josh started making these beats on the computer and we would get day drunk and write these ridiculous raps. It was really just to entertain us, but pretty soon word caught on to how we were spending our afternoons and more and more people wanted in on the action. All of a sudden we had a bunch of songs written and hundreds of these silly ass rap/electronica songs. Text Messaging Slut came about somewhere in that malt liquor haze. Our friends in another local band put us on as opener for one of their shows as a dare and we never stopped playing shows after that.
What’s your ultimate favourite thing about your band?
LC: Playing music with my best friends. They’re my family.
So far in MKOTC’s journey to awesomeness, what’s been one of the highlights for you?
LC: There’s been a lot! I don’t think we would continue to do this if we weren’t having a blast. Playing in New York with the Foxboro Hot Tubs was super fun! I met Joan Jett there and just about died. Any time we play with Prima Donna it’s awesome. I love getting to travel and play shows with my friends, I feel really grateful.
MKOTC recently had success with funding on Kickstarter for your upcoming EP, congratulations! Did you guys do anything to celebrate the goal reached?
LC: Thanks! The usual: cheap champagne and strippers.
Just to clarify, are you making two EPs Fade To Pink and Pink and Destroy, or did you decide on a name change from Fade to Pink to Pink and Destroy? Is there significance with the colour pink for MKOTC?
LC: The name of the EP is called Fade to Pink which features a new song called, Pink and Destroy. The EP and the song are a tribute to our guitar player Donny who has since passed away. His favorite color was pink; he used to wear a pink Speedo onstage along with pink Crocs sometimes, a pink raincoat or a pink tracksuit. Most of the time by the end of the show he just ended up naked though.
On the MKOTC Facebook you guys mentioned “We will begin recording our EP Pink and Destroy” is there anything that you do to prepare yourself or your vocal for recording?
LC: Drink milk, smoke cigarettes and do push ups. Just kidding. I sing in my car and to my cat.
How much time do you spend working on your lyrics? How important are they to you?
LC: As much time as it takes, I try not to over think it. 90% of the time BabyGirl and I are writing about not so serious subject matter: blow jobs, getting secret drunk, getting not so secret drunk, we have the mentality of 15-year-old boys sometimes. So I guess it’s just important that it makes us laugh.
What aspect of making music excites you the most right now?
LC: Right now recording Fade to Pink is pretty exciting. We’re also doing some rad new videos and designing new merch, the whole creative process is a lot of fun.
What aspect gets you the most discouraged?
LC: We have about ten band members. It’s like wrangling cats some days—really drunk cats.
Your upcoming EP is dedicated to your “gone but not forgotten guitar player Paul (Call me Donny) Dominguez”; what’s the greatest thing that you can tell me about Paul?
LC: Paul/Donny was one of the most hilarious, talented and creative individuals I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. One of the greatest things about him was that he genuinely never cared what other people thought of him. He had a very Hunter S. Thompson quality about him. One time he cut his hair into a comb-over. Not because he wanted attention, but because he said it made him laugh when he looked in the mirror.
Excitingly, you feature on song Nightlife that you collaborated on with Green Day; what are your thoughts on the track?
LC: It’s fucking awesome! It was really fun to do and I’m excited for people to dance to it. Green Day and MKOTC are from the same home town, so the song kind of plays homage to that.
There is also a song Lady Cobra which features on their album Dos; what does that song mean to you?
LC: The song is a bit of an introduction to Nightlife or an invitation to the MKOTC/Green Day party. Not everyone can handle the party though, shit gets weird. People drink piss.
Besides being a musician you also work at Sugar City Tattoo. Who or what inspired you to become a tattooist?
LC: It’s something that I’ve always been interested in. I think it just ties into the whole punk rock scene growing up. Seeing them on people, they were always intriguing and I knew I wanted them. Friends were always asking me to draw them tattoo designs when I was younger and I ended up landing an apprenticeship when I was 18.
What was your first tattoo?
LC: On me? A heart. Sounds lame, but I kind of have a thing for hearts. I also have them tattooed on my temples.
Which tattoo of yours means the most to you?
LC: I let my fiancé (who’s not a tattooer) tattoo a little heart on me. It’s near my wrist, I see it every day and love it much.
What’s the best?
LC: The tribute tattoo on my fiancé to his cat and the Bjork pin-up I did on Josh are near and dear to me.
Who are some of your favourite artists?
LC: Alphonse Mucha and Frida Kahlo
What’s next for you?
LC: World Domination. Or maybe just a nap. We’ll see how the day goes
Photo credits: 1 – by Randy Beiriger / 2+3 courtesy of MKOTC fb.