Music

Cobra Ramone brings the venom

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Let’s be clear: “female-fronted” is not a genre.

The term is often attached to bands that happen to have a lady at the mic, but it’s one that’s a point of contention for Cobra Ramone—lead vocalist and general badass for the Vancouver-based three-piece that bears her namesake.

“People feel the need to put female-fronted because it can’t just be music. Why can’t you say, ‘Oh this band, if you like this kind of music you’ll probably like them,'” Ramone says. “It would be like saying, ‘If you like black singers then you might like this [artist].’ It’s so crazy to me.”

The hurdles facing women in any genre help Ramone get fired up for the stage, and her gritty, powerhouse vocals and guitar chops are a kick in the teeth for any doubters out there. She’s channelled that into the band’s latest release, Bang Bang, a five-song EP filled with heavy, grungy rock anthems—though the title track is actually a cover of a hip-hop song by Trouble Andrew she got hooked on, thanks to her Hammond player
Trevor Snakedust.

“I was obsessed with it, but it was a bit more rap and I was like, ‘We should totally cover this’ and everybody was like, ‘That’s a ridiculous idea,'” Ramone says with a laugh, adding she won her bandmates—which includes drummer Pat Steward, known for his work with Bryan Adams, among others—over with a homemade demo. “It’s strange: I kind of rap on it a little bit. It’s not normal singing for me, and I just love the song. It’s different; it’s a little more punk-rock for us, and it kind of fits with our logo, [which] is a gun, and the cover of our new record and tour poster has a bullet box on it.”

Bang Bang comes three years after Cobra Ramone’s self-titled sophomore disc, which had some mainstream radio success with the single “Wrath Like a City,” but Ramone, who dropped out of high school to pursue music at age 16, shies away from writing straight-forward radio rock, favouring what feels most natural and authentic to her. This record also marks the first time Ramone has done any cowriting with Snakedust in their three-year musical partnership.

“I always write the lyrics because it’s important to believe what you’re saying, but Trevor’s an incredible guitar player—he can actually play the drums really well, too—and he just started coming through with really cool guitar riffs and things,” Ramone says, noting the track “Here Comes the Flood” as an example. “[Collaboration] is a hard thing to allow, I think. I’ve been doing this by myself for so long that to trust other people with that is an interesting hurdle to get over, I guess.”

Fri, Mar 6 (8 pm)
Artery, $8 in advance, $12 at the door

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