Photos: Travis Shinn
If we time-traveled to the past and gave Bob Dylan some vocal range and a bit of diversity in his songs, you’d get a taste of what Mondo Cozmo presents in the present. The Dylan circa Like a Rolling Stone-esque similarities are undeniable, but he also channels tinges of a more modern Rolling Stones, the spirit of the Summer of Love and The 5th Dimension emanating political undertones with positive rock and/or roll vibes. Title track on his forthcoming LP Plastic Soul is reminiscent of Coffee Cold by Galt MacDermot by way of Handsome Boy Modeling School giving us a song with depth on depth on depth.
Plastic Soul officially drops August 4th (tomorrow), and the obeisance to David Bowie works on so many levels with themes and musical exploration that the late legend would be proud of… wherever he is. Now enough talk about the past and comparisons and what not because the originality on the new LP are as bold as they are accessible.
Plastic Soul is shaping up to be quite the album of the summer. The title track: “Didn’t I see you tearing down the wall back in 1989?” Is this a reference to today’s political spectrum and/or the lack of progress we’ve made since The Berlin Wall came down at the end of The Cold War?
You’re the only person to pick up on that. That’s a great way of putting it, “the lack of progress.” I wrote that tune the weekend Bowie passed away. Thought it would be fitting to write a song about time travel and meeting up in the next life.
Will Sixes and Sevens make the cut or will it remain a single?
I freaking love Sixes and Sevens, but when we laid out the album, it just didn’t fit into the running order. The album moves so well from front to back, it’s a complete thought. Sixes just didn’t fit.
Take us through the inception of Mondo Cozmo, the name. How did the name come to you and what made you decide that that would be your moniker?
I used to be in a band with a very long name, when I started this I wanted something that was short and sweet, that rhymed and would look good on a t-shirt. My dogs name is Cozmo, and I got the mondo from a John Waters movie called Mondo Trasho. Mondo Cozmo. Done.
Your video for Hold on to Me is so poignant and full of life in an interesting way with visuals that may be atypical for a “traditional” rock and roll video. Take us through the planning and the execution of the video…
We shot that before I had a record deal. The idea was to get my friend Anna Faris to just hug people. So we went to a retirement facility and just filmed her. We had no script and no budget. The whole thing was real and beautiful. So proud of that video.
How was your experience at Summerfest and then Rock the Green up in Milwaukee? Did you get a chance to explore Wisconsin at all?
Well I love beer and cheese curds (Who doesn’t, right? -Ed.) so…
Summerfest was incredible, to be able to play alongside Dylan and Willie. I mean, I just can’t express what that means to me.
Your cover of (The Verve’s) Bittersweet Symphony agrees nicely with your vibe, one sort of lost in translation over the decades between (the anti-materialism that manifested in) the ‘60s and the ’90s when the song was originally released. Can you tell us a little bit about your decision to incorporate that particular song into your set(s)?
I think it’s one of the greatest songs ever written. It’s just so powerful. I ran into a sample issue with Plastic Soul, so I thought it a fitting cover for us.
What can festival-goers expect from your performance on Friday at Lollapalooza?
We’re firing on all cylinders at the moment. We’ve had a bulls eye on the this show for a while so your gonna see a high energy show with a bunch of dudes smiling on stage.
Who are you excited to see at Lollapalooza this year?
Liam, Cage and Spoon for sure.
What’s next for Mondo Cozmo? What are your short-term and long-term goals?
More festivals this year, headlining tour this fall, world domination, and prolly checking into rehab on Christmas.
Mondo Cozmo appears at Lollapalooza on Friday, August 4th at 1:50pm on the Pepsi stage.