tinyhuman | Thorcraft Cobra
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Thorcraft Cobra

Thorcraft Cobra have perfected the seemingly lost art of combining big, radio-friendly hooks with big, classic-rock guitars.”  – LA Weekly

“It’s not really a record people can bone to, so it better be cerebral.” – Billy Zimmer

 

First off, despite their righteously badass nom de artiste Thorcraft Cobra are not purveyors of weed-hazed, beer-soaked SoCal Throttle Rock. Together, Billy Zimmer (Brown Eyed Susans) and Tammy Glover (Sparks) combine a knack for concise pop songwriting, a gift for crafting immediately engaging melody, and impeccable taste in rock and roll sonics into something that is both fresh and undeniable.

Zimmer and Glover first crossed paths when their respective acts signed to the same label. “I started as a fan of his guitar tone” relates Glover, “but quickly fell for his wit and songwriting skills.” Zimmer’s band, Brown Eyed Susans, had moved to Los Angeles, recorded a lost classic Afraid of Heights with Jason Falkner (Beck, Air, Paul McCartney, Jellyfish) producing, and was seemingly poised for success. Meanwhile, Tammy became the drummer for brothers Ron and Russell Mael in their iconic band, Sparks, and toured the world. When Brown Eyed Susans imploded in a cloud of dust, Zimmer retreated to his depressing North Hollywood wood-paneled hermitage to lick his wounds. He started working on some rough demos, and decided to play a few for his labelmate. “I wasn’t super confident in my work. Then I played some it for Tammy, and she was like, “whhhaaatttt”. And told me that it was good, and that she should play drums on it and we should put it out” explains Zimmer. “She also pointed at one of my vintage amps and asked, “What’s that?” “That’s my Thorcraft Cobra,” I told her. “That’s what we should call the band,” she said. I did not argue!”

They released a self-titled EP in November of 2010 that hit #13 on the Alternative Radio charts, and in 2013 released their debut full length Count It In. The album features guest performances from some of the band’s friends including Russell Mael (Sparks), Steve McDonald (Redd Kross), Mahsa Zargaran (Puscifer, Big Black Delta, Omniflux) and Will Love (Sabrosa Purr). Count It In had bigly success at radio, reaching #7 on the FMQB Submodern Albums Chart, #6 most added at CMJ Top 200, and #3 most added at CMJ AAA, and proceeded to chart at CMJ for 7 consecutive weeks, hitting the top 30 at over 40 stations with numerous Top 10’s. Touring in support of the release, the band has performed at South By Southwest, CMJ, and played club shows from Los Angeles to Stockholm, Sweden.

When the time came to record the follow up to Count It In the band turned to producer Rob Schnapf (Beck, Foo Fighters). Recorded in studios across Los Angeles and in a house that legend says once was home to Ricky Nelson, The Distance features musical contributions from Brett Farkas (Lord Huron, Aimee Mann), the Juno Award-winning Russell Broom, Teddy “Zig-Zag” Andreadis (Carole King, Guns N’ Roses) and Schnapf himself.

Lyrically, The Distance is an homage to a story, probably apocryphal, about Abraham Lincoln. Supposedly, Abraham Lincoln said it wasn’t remarkable that he was born in a log cabin and became the President; it was remarkable that he was born in a log cabin and became a lawyer. “I think about starting from behind in life and the distance that some of us travel to get to a multi-cultural world of ideas, rationality, science, empathy & art” says Glover. “I’m from Buffalo, NY, and the distance in front of me will never be as profound as the distance I covered – physically, intellectually, emotionally, spiritually –  to get here.”

Thorcraft Cobra is possessed of the rare gift of crafting melodic moods that align precisely with the lyrical worlds contained within their songs. Their music is infused with genuine feeling and thought, every note and every single word placed with purpose. The record is an inspiring statement, wrought by continually adjusting and adapting. Failing, yes, yet never stopping, determined to go The Distance.

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Photo by Marina Chavez