Eye of the Cobra


By Shana Naomi Krochmal

If you ask him for the official story, Gabe Saporta will say that he started his band Cobra Starship after wandering through the desert, eating too much peyote and being bitten by a snake who then told him it was his responsibility to save self-important hipsters from their own serious selves.

The former Midtown front man made a beeline for infamy with "Bring It (Snakes on a Plane)," the soundtrack single that was a bigger hit than Samuel L. Jackson's movie. While the City Sleeps, We Rule the Streets, Cobra Starship's 2006 debut, was packed with ridiculous, relentless dance rock interspersed with campy quotes culled from classic movies. He even brought back the keytar.

Now fully integrated into the Fall Out Boy pop & pop hit machine -- Pete Wentz signs bands to his label, and singer Patrick Stump produces their records -- Cobra Starship's sophomore album, 'Viva La Cobra!, comes out this week.

Saporta spoke with Out about making out with his boss to end homophobia, the raunchy track he recorded with gay hip-hoppers VIP Party Boys, and why Justin Timberlake will always be his favorite.

Out: "Guilty Pleasure" is my new favorite song. I kept trying to listen to the rest of the new CD and couldn't get past it. What's your guilty pleasure?
Gabe Saporta: Cobra Starship! But the whole idea of guilty pleasure is like -- I love Britney Spears, you know, and that's not a guilty pleasure. I'm stupid with it. Even though her career's gone down the tubes, I love her.

Is there anything you're actually ashamed of?
No, I've got no shame.

What's your favorite track on the album?
I think my favorite song is "Pleasure Ryland." It's so quick, and I kind of sound like Michael Jackson, you know, and that's all I wanted to do with this band -- sound like Michael Jackson. And I quote Old Dirty Bastard. I refer to myself in the third person.

How does Ryland [Blackinton, Cobra Starship's guitar player] feel about the song?
Ryland loves it. That's the song that Ryland had all the music for, and we didn't know what to do with it. And then one night, we were fucking wasted on the bus, and we just recorded it. I wrote those nasty lyrics. We used to refer to that song as "Lick My Balls," because he just laid down some words to have on it, like, [singing] "Lick, lick my balls, and play with my asshole." We had to change it around and make it legitimate.

Thank you for making that song sound even gayer than it does on the album. Tell me about working with the super-queer VIP Party Boys.
Ryland used to live with Jonny [Makeup, from VIP]. Ryland's girlfriend is from Philly, and she was good friends with all of them, and Jonny needed a place to stay. I had first seen VIP play at MisShapes a few years back and was like, "Wow, this shit is amazing." And then Ryland said, "We should get them to be on our album." I was like, "Done." "Scandalous" was the track that we knew it would work best for. They came to the studio, and we didn't have anything prepared. We just got drunk, and they went in there and started talking shit. Also, they refer to everyone as "she." We were working and they're like, "Oh, she's drunk!"