Cococoma live. Photo by Chris Anderson.
Cococoma and Headache City has the same members right? How does that work? And how come you feel you need two different bands?
Mike: No, David Head Jr. is in Headache City and Bill Roe is not. Headache City came first then Bill and Lisa asked me to be in CoCoComa
Lisa/Bill: Well, Cococoma was initially a duo (Bill and I) and after a couple shows and once we started to write more songs we realized that for the type of sound we wanted that it really needed to be filled out a little more and Mike had expressed an interest in playing (possibly as a joke) but we took him up on it anyway and all of us made the decision that he’d play Farfisa to kind of make us stand out a little from you’re average guitar/bass/drum trio. Also at this time Norah was still in Headache City so the membership of each band wasn’t quite as blurry as it is now. The main difference was and is that Mike and Dave write the songs for Headache City and I help arrange them and Bill and I write the songs for Cococoma and Mike helps arrange….so there is definitely a different influence and style of playing unique to each band. It’s not that we NEED two different bands but that’s just how it worked out. And besides Cococoma started out as a not so serious side-project but after a few shows we kind of decided it was worth taking at least a little more serious (which basically only means practicing semi-regularly.)
How would you describe Coco’s and HC’s sound? What’s different and what’s similar?
Mike: Cococoma has more of a Sixties vibe and Headache City has more of a Seventies feel. But we both draw heavily from the music of the Eighties.
Lisa: Well, describing ones own band’s sound is difficult because there have been many times where we’ve thought an influence for our band or a song was totally obvious but then someone will compare us to a something we hardly listen to or would never have thought of….but if I (we) were to generalize?… For Cococoma, at least, it’s pretty much 60’s garage roots with the “play as fast as you can” punk aesthetic. The main differences in each band’s sound obviously come from the different people writing songs and HC usually has a little more craft to the songs while Cococoma will usually just work on a song for one or two practices and let the kinks work out live The similarities? Perhaps that we both have a pop sensibility and just like playing together.
What are the main influences for the bands?
Lisa: Some of Cococoma’s influences include (but are not limited to); Dave Clark 5, Paul Revere & the Raiders, Equals, Flamin’ Groovies, Wreckless Eric, The Who, BFTG & The entire ‘What a Way to Die’ comps, Pack, the holy 90’s trinity of Gories/Mummies/Oblivians, lots of fuzz like Davie Allan and on and on and on… People have said we sound like everything from 7 Seconds to the Misfits and ? and the Mysterians…so who knows at this point? I should add that I was not an original member of Headache City so I’m not even sure what the original intent of the band was…
How’d Cococoma end up on Goner?
Mike: They asked.
Lisa: Uh, I guess we probably have the Rat Traps to thank for planting the initial seed. We played with them here in Chicago on their first tour in 2005 (our 3rd show ever) and they went back to Memphis and apparently were very complimentary… so much so that Eric and Zac ended up asking us to fill in on Gonerfest 2 when The Detonations had to cancel (due to hurricane Katrina) without even hearing us. After that we ended up playing on a showcase at SXSW in ‘06 with The Dutchmasters and those guys asked us if we wanted to do a single which we of course were psyched about and then a week later while we were still on tour they emailed and said “how bout an LP too” which completely blew our minds.
What’s new for Headache City? You’ve been kind of under the radar for a while..
Lisa: We’ve actually been writing a whole bunch of new stuff, released a single about three months ago and Hozac is going to release another one HOPEFULLY just in time for the Euro tour. We’re probably going to record a new LP in April or May. We play pretty consistently here in Chicago.
Mike: We self-released a 7 recently and Were going to record an LP after we get back from Europe. Then well look for a label to put it out.
What do you look forward to on your eurotour?
Lisa: Every single bit of it. Neither Bill or I have ever been so we’ve been looking forward to it since the day Robert asked to book it. Everyone we know that has played over there has nothing but great things to say about the shows, people, clubs etc. Hopefully we’ll have time to site see a little but we’ll just be happy to be there.
Mike:Visiting Sweden of course!
What’s the reception been in the US for Cococoma? Do you feel like you’re one of the more recognized garagerock bands of today?
Lisa: It’s been WAY better than I think we ever expected… I mean Goner put out our LP which is a dream in itself. We’re continually surprised ANYONE knows or cares about who we are…but it’s great and has allowed us to play some really great shows and meet lots of great people…AND GO TO EUROPE!…as for being a “recognized” garagerock band…meh…I dunno but whatever recogition we’ve gotten so far is great and people seem to like the LP… Ummmmm….for some reason this question makes me uncomfortable. ha.
Mike: Being on Goner helps a lot. East Coast and Midwest have always been great.
Where would put Cococoma and HC in the current scene?
Mike: Thats hard to say.
Lisa: Hmmm, well, there’s a pretty good ‘garage/punk’ thing going in Chicago with bands like The Busy Signals, Alex White, MOTO, The Yolks, VeeDee, Submarine Races etc… and there are many cities that have similar great things happening…on our recent tour with The Hipshakes we got to play with great bands in almost every city. But, i’d say for Cococoma, for as much as it seems obvious that we’re steeped in 60’s influences we really don’t get any love from the garage “purists” (as it were)…which is fine cuz most of those dudes got no soul anyway.
Finally, who’d win in a streetfight between Cococoma and HC?
Lisa: Well, that’s a tough one since Mike and I are in both bands it would basically be a terrible battle between Bill and Dave. Dave takes HapKido but Bill’s got some raging biceps… Since I’m married to Bill I suppose I’d say Bill in 6 rounds.
Bill:I’m not much of a fighter, but if it really came down to it I’D KICK ALLA THEIR ASSES!!!
Mike:The Busy Signals