COBRA STARSHIP - ALEX SUAREZ
With a band name featuring a type of snake and a vegetarian frontman that has long been a supporter of PETA (Gabe Saporta's previous band Midtown were meat-free and promoted the animal rights organisation on their album sleeves) we knew that it would only be a matter of time before the US dance rock band Cobra Starship were featured on Save A Scream. However, it's not just Gabe that is veggie, Cobra Starship's bassist Alex Suarez is also a superhero for the animals and vegetarian too. Alex has also been involved with PETA, and nominated for their 'Sexiest Vegetarian' award. And so with the band's third studio album 'Hot Mess' attacking the masses, Save A Scream grabbed a quick chat with Mr. Suarez to find out more. Incidentally since this interview Victoria Asher, keytar and backing vocalist, has also twittered for fans to help stop animal abuse and sign a petition against a Utah University that tests on animals. This band is just an amazing bunch of animal lovers! :-)
By Jadine Wringe
Jadine Wringe: The new album, 'Hot Mess', seems to be doing really well. How has the reaction been so far?
Alex Suarez: Well we really put a lot of work into it and we've been getting a great response so far. We spent a lot of time making this record. We first started out trying to just pump out another record and then we took our sweet time trying to finish it because we realised we didn't need to rush. I guess it just goes to show a lot of hard work pays off.
JW: After spending so long recording it, did the record come out exactly as you hoped it would?
AS: Yes. We ended up writing a ton of material and we really got to sift through everything and get all our songs exactly where we wanted them to be, which is hard to accomplish. It's really hard to find an ending point with a song. You always want to keep adding more and adding more and taking away. I feel like we really got to comb everything through really well.
JW: What are you most proud of on the record?
AS: The first song, 'Nice Guys Finish Last', was one of the later songs we wrote, in our second batch of writing. That was kind of like a different twist for us so we're really excited about how that's turned out. It's kind of like 'Womaniser' by Britney Spears. We were really happy with that one. It's kind of like a different twist on generic punk rock or electronic pop.
JW: Which song was the biggest stretch for you?
AS: I would say 'They're Not In On The Joke'. We have this bridge part where we got all these hardcore dudes to scream all these screaming vocals. We have never done any songs like that that had all these hardcore style vocal theme on it, so it was kind of like a new branch to us.
JW: How did you become a vegetarian? Did Gabe influence you?
AS: No, although I guess it makes it easier that more of us are vegetarian. I kept having bad experiences with eating meat on tour and I kept getting sick. I'm very into a healthy lifestyle and a healthy diet so I figured I didn't need it and I cut it out. It's been great. I'm almost at two years now.
JW: You used to be a cook. If you ever opened a restaurant would it be a veggie one?
AS: If I opened a restaurant I would probably cook meat because my background is classical French, but I would definitely make killer vegetarian options. There are a lot of really good restaurants that have amazing dishes but they usually don't have good vegetarian options. Just grilled vegetables, something boring like that.
JW: You must be quite interested in food. Are there any veggie foods you have found which have surprised you?
AS: Oh yeah. Especially living in New York, there's tons of places like that. They make this crispy soy protein, it's like vegetarian nuggets. People that are meat eaters think it's real meat. They make these insane barbecue style pork ribs but they're fake, which are amazing. They're really awesome. They do buffalo wings, all the good meat stuff they've been able to emulate really well with fake substitutes. If you're in New York you've gotta go to this place, Red Bamboo. It'll blow your mind.
(Note: Save A Scream's Shari Black Velvet has actually been to Red Bamboo! We vouch that it's a great place!)
JW: It was reported that Cobra Starship once rescued a mouse from a glue trap backstage at a show. What do you think of cruel vs humane traps?
AS: Victoria rescued a mouse, yeah. We were at a venue and she found a mouse that was still alive stuck to a glue trap so they rescued it, which I thought that was really nice because, you know, nobody likes mice in their house or anything but I don't think glue traps are the way to go. They're really sad – it's terrible. When I moved into my apartment in New York they had a guy come in, an exterminator, and he put glue traps in the house and we took them all down. I couldn't believe he did that. It's terrible – very old school.
JW: Which animal cruelty/rights issues bother you the most?
AS: I don't think animal testing's fair. I'm not a big fur guy. But I think to over-accessorise in fur and leather is totally unnecessary.
JW: Appropriately for Cobra Starship, there have been a lot of reports about cruelty to snakes in countries like India, where they are used for entertainment. What do you think about the animal entertainment industry?
AS: I think it's terrible. In fact, the first time I saw it was when I was really young. We went for a spring break in the Dominican Republic. And on the beach these guys were hosting cock fights. It was crazy. It was like the old school, fight to death stuff. I couldn't believe it. It kind of ruined poultry for me for a little while.
Visit www.cobrastarship.com for more info.