Cobra Starship

Cobra Starship Biography

Gabe Saporta was in the desert, contemplating his existence, when a cobra bit him on the neck. You’re thinking: Yeah right. If a cobra bit his neck he’d be dead. But that’s what happened. That moment, in the desert, while Gabe was clutching his neck in pain, hallucinating that the snake was schooling him on the dancefloor, was the inception of Cobra Starship. Not exactly the most conventional way to form a band.

Since that moment in the desert in 2005 a lot has happened. Gabe collaborated with William Beckett (The Academy Is), Travis McCoy (Gym Class Heroes), and Maja Ivarsson (The Sounds) to pen the first Cobra Starship song, "Bring It (Snakes on a Plane)," which came out on the Snakes on a Plane soundtrack in August 2006. A lot of people liked that song and Gabe realized that writing catchy songs is a good way to get to hang out with Samuel L. Jackson. He figured if he wrote a whole record full of songs like that maybe he and Sam could get BFF necklaces and have slumber parties.

Cobra’s first album, While the City Sleeps, We Rule the Streets, came out in October 2006. A lot of people liked that too (some people didn’t, but Gabe handled them and now they like it). Gabe got a band together—guitarist Ryland Blackinton, bassist Alex Suarez, keytarist Victoria Asher and drummer Nate Novarro. They started touring; nepotism earned them an opening slot on the Fall Out Boy tour. The members of Cobra said to each other, Let’s put out a new record every year. And let’s starting writing new songs on tour right now!

Cobra’s second record, ¡Viva la Cobra!, came out in October 2007. The album cover was a picture of Gabe wearing bling with his face on it. This time even more people liked the songs and Gabe’s head started swelling uncontrollably. It barely fit on the tour bus, which was a problem because Cobra was touring a lot. They played MTV Spring Break, Bamboozle East, West; they rocked over London and rocked over Tokyo. They even made it up to Canada!

People liked the record so much that Cobra got their mugs on TV. They were on MTV’s New Year's Eve, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and Late Night with Conan O'Brien. Then Alternative Press stuck them on the cover. Their video for The City Is At War went into the Top 10 on MTV. They headlined for the first time and sold out every show. In the summer of 2008, Cobra played the main stage of Warped Tour and sold massive amounts of neon-colored merch. After Warped Tour they were like, Shit! It’s almost October! We owe the world a new record!

The band started writing and recording new songs in New York in September 2008, but nothing was working. October arrived and no record. Fail, as they say on the Interweb; Epic Fail. They went back into the studio in December only to discover a cyst on Gabe’s vocal cords. Surgery ensued. Gabe was silent. Everyone was happy. Except still no record.

While unable to speak, Gabe had a lot of time to think. He thought the band could benefit if they had some time to think too. So in January 2009, Cobra isolated themselves in a house in the Poconos, hooked up a web cam so fans could watch them waste valuable time, and spent several weeks working on new songs. Success. They recorded throughout January, February and March in New Jersey and Los Angeles, with the band functioning as the producers. This was good because Ryland and Suarez are like totally awesome at producing.

While in the studio in LA, Gabe was told that a “top line writer” was coming in to collaborate. He thought they said “topless writer” and was bummed when American Idol’s Kara DioGuardi appeared fully clothed. Still, Gabe gave her a shot, and together they penned the new album’s first single “Good Girls Go Bad” (which features that girl who plays Blair Waldorf on Gossip Girl). “That wasn’t so bad,” Cobra thought. So they collaborated a bunch more on the record (kind of like a hip-hop record with a lot of synth and no street cred). You’re thinking: What? Gabe plays well with others? With that ego? But he does and he did and the result is Cobra Starship’s third album, Hot Mess.

That’s the story so far. It’s mostly true. Except the part about Gabe’s head. There’s no way that thing can fit on a tour bus.

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