Although many first became aware of Cleveland's Cobra Verde when they joined forces with Robert Pollard in Guided by Voices, they're certainly not just any ordinary backing band. They rose from the ashes of the out-of-control Death of Samantha, which released three full-length albums and one EP on the Homestead label. The new group wanted to achieve a more atmospheric sound than its predecessor, and did so by the time of their 1994 debut on Scat Records, Viva La Muerte.
Combining the impact of punk with the urgency of early-'70s glam rock, the record was voted one of the year's best independent releases by both Rolling Stone and Request magazines. It was also around this time that the group toured with fellow Scat recording artists Guided by Voices and struck up a friendship with GBV leader Pollard, which would later come in handy.
1995-1996 saw the group release a flurry of singles, as well as the Vintage Crime EP, which helped increase the band's popularity with the alternative rock crowd. It was during 1996 that Pollard decided to split up the original lineup of Guided by Voices, and Cobra Verde approached him about being their replacement. Pollard agreed, and the results can be heard on 1997's Mag Earwhig!, considered by many the best GBV album since 1994's classic Bee Thousand. Cobra Verde continued as a separate group, though, splitting their time equally between both bands, and also finding the time to release a compilation of singles and unreleased tracks titled Egomania (Love Songs) in 1997. Easy Listening appeared in 2003 from Muscletone Records, followed by Copycat Killers in 2005 on Scat.
The band's developing reputation helped them place multiple songs on TV shows, beginning with a special appearance on The OC in 2006 as a Foreigner tribute band (complete with a cover of "Waiting for a Girl Like You"). Cobra Verde placed two television songs leading up to 2008's Haven't Slept All Year, including on Entourage and Sons of Anarchy. Recording activity sputtered to a halt, however, when frontman John Petkovic and guitarist Tim Parnin joined the indie supergroup Sweet Apple, which released a pair of albums in the early 2010s. By 2014, however, Cobra Verde was back in the studio recording new material. ~ Greg Prato