The Detroit Cobras to shimmy into Frankie’sWritten by Vicki L. Kroll | | email@example.com
Rachel Nagy can sniff out vintage vinyl. The lead singer of The Detroit Cobras loves pawing through the stacks.
“One of the great things about Detroit is that unlike New York or someplace where you have a million hipsters going over everything, you can always find [music] laying around in flea markets, record stores,” she said. “You spend a lot of hours on your hands and knees going through dirty bins.”
Fronted by Nagy and guitarist Mary Ramirez, The Detroit Cobras are known for covers of obscure rock, R&B and soul.
“It’s cool to dig up this stuff from a time when people might put out one single and that was it. Just like now, if you don’t get it to the right person or you didn’t slip somebody the payola, nobody hears it. There’s a wealth of stuff out there — just like now — some of that buried stuff that wasn’t a big hit is better than what was,” Nagy said.
The band has put its spin on Brice Coefield’s “Cha-Cha Twist,” Otis Redding’s “Shout Bamalama,” The Nite Riders’ “Lookin’ for My Baby (Ya Ya Ya)” and Gary U.S. Bonds’ “I Wanna Holler (But the Town’s Too Small).”
Last year, The Detroit Cobras recorded “Heartbeat” for the tribute disc, “Rave On Buddy Holly.”
“Paul McCartney was on [the tribute disc], a bunch of people like that. We were the only band I’d never heard of,” Nagy said and laughed.
The singer known for powerful vocals puts herself into every song.
“I’m not a really mushy, romantic person, so it’s kind of fun — like putting on a party dress if you don’t usually wear one — and kind of live vicariously, like yeah, I’m really going to sit in the bathroom and cry my eyes out over a boy,” Nagy said then laughed. “That’s really not how I am, so it’s fun to be able to try that role and enjoy it vicariously.”
A former butcher and stripper, Nagy never dreamed of being a singer.
“My friends just needed someone to get up and sing; they got me drunk enough to do it,” she said during a phone interview from her Nashville home.
That was 17 years ago, when the group formed in Motown. Since then, Nagy and Ramirez have rounded out the lineup with an ever-changing roster of musicians and released four discs, including “Tied & True” on Bloodshot Records in 2007.
The Detroit Cobras will play 9 p.m. March 24 at Frankie’s Inner City, 308 Main St. Tickets are $13 in advance and $15 night of the show. Opening will be Romans and Matt Truman Ego Trip.
“People forget how fun it is just to have a couple beers, dance with a pretty girl and just have a good time and not think so hard about everything. That’s pretty much the goal,” Nagy said.