Michael "Cub" Koda (1948-2000)
On rockin', writin', and the sad state of Country music part 1
One of the most interesting stops on the rock n roll timeline would have to have been Detroit circa the late 60's to early 70's when rock music entered it's unruly adolescence. I jumped at the chance to interview ex-Brownsville Station frontman Cub Koda for the Glass Eye.
During our 2 1/2 hour talk at his home/office/studio/rock n roll hideaway outside of Ann Arbor, Mich, we touched on all facets of his 37 year career, from his garage band days with the Del Tinos, to the current reunion with his 80's outfit The Points. We also made stops in between to visit his eclectic solo career and his stint as Hound Dog Taylor's replacement in the Houserockers.
Despite his high energy stage presence, Coda is a very private person, so I was happy to find him open and willing to discuss his place in the Detroit music scene and the part he played in keeping guitar based Rock front and center for so many years-all served up with a dash of the Cubmaster's own unflinching views on life, fame, and Shania Twain! (Phil Klink)
You've been doing this a long time now..do you still get a charge out of going out onstage? Cub;
Yeah..you know i really do! Rock n Roll really means something to me, and getting on stage in front of an audience is still exciting.
Even after 37 years?
Cub: Oh yeah! I always said there are 2 ways i'll know when it's time to hang it up-when it's no fun any more or when someone walks away from a Cub Koda show and hasn't been entertained. You know, "He was ok..but you should have seen him 25 years ago!" I don't try and present myself as a 25 year old, unlike some guys who are still squeezing their 50 year old bodies into Spandex!
If REAL rock n roll means something to you, then Cub Koda music has a place in your collection. As many diverse areas as I delve into musically, be it jazz..blues..country..or doo-wop, I'll always play honest rock n roll. I still love it!
Why after 25 years did it seem like the right time to get the Points back together?
We just realized how much we really missed each other..missed playing together. It definitely wasn't for the money!
Ever been talk of a Brownsville reunion?
Look, the other guys in Brownsville see the band as a "cash cow". you know, make a few bucks, and I'm not interested. One of the reasons we broke up to begin with was that we all wanted something different out of the band. I tried to introduce Rockabilly and Blues into the band many times, but pressure was kept on the band to be hip and produce more hits. The other guys wanted to be Led Zeppelin or Rod Stewart. I just wanted to do good music.
Do you ever get tired of fans requesting 'Smokin' in the Boys Room"? You have to be sick of playing it.
Cub: Hey, let's get the 'Smokin' thing out of the way right now. I'm very proud of that song. If you could write a song that's made so many people happy for 25 years, wouldn't you? And hey, the Points do a pretty damn good job on it too!
You guys recorded the new cd 'Noise Monkeys" in one day?
Yeah! We knew that if we cut another studio disc, it would have to mirror our live show-spontaneous and just rockin' away! It was originally gonna be a live album culled from the reunion show in Fremont Ohio, but the rehearsals sounded so good we used 'em! We just turned on the tape and went at it live in the studio. See, this band, unlike Brownsville, has a unified spirit. We play instinctively. We are all on the same page, so to speak. We like the same kinds of music.
The band was always kickin' live. You and Joey Gaydos always complemented each other musically'
Cub: Hey, I think Joe is one of the most underrated guitarists around, and you can really hear him wail on this record. Yeah, complement each other is exactly right. It never turns into a pissing match, just two guys who dig each others style of playing. As you can tell, I'm very proud of this record for a number of reasons.
First because we got all the original members back together..Fred Schmidt..Pete Bankert..and Joey, and second, because this reunion and record almost didn't happen. The week of the reunion show, i ended up in the hospital with congestive heart failure, and it was almost a year later we finally got together.
When you are laid up in the hospital with tubes coming out of you, you have a lot of time to think, and I came to the conclusion that everything I did from here on in..I wanted to really mean something, you know?
To do something that would last..not jump the latest trend to sell records. God knows the last thing we need is another fucking trend! There will always be a market for cute teenagers singing innocuous pop songs, but if you wait long enough, the real thing always comes back around. Stay tuned for more from Phil Klink's interview with Cub Koda..