Cobra Ramone saves her venom for live shows

What: The Black Ladybugs, Keg Killers and Cobra Ramone

When: Tonight, 9 p.m.

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Where: Logan’s Pub (1821 Cook St.)

Tickets: $10

Note: Cobra Ramone is also performing Friday in Nanaimo at the Cambie

 

When she dropped out of high school, in part to follow her dream of being a musician, Cobra Ramone was certain she had made the right decision.

The daily routine was doing the New Jersey-born, Calgary-bred musician more harm than good, simply because it was getting in the way of her dream.

“School just wasn’t for me,” Ramone said this week from her home in Vancouver. “I just wanted to play music. I knew that so early.”

Ramone started performing under an alias. Cobra Lynn Ramone, her real name, didn’t suit the singer-songwriter material she was writing as a teenager, so she stuck with Rebecca Ramone, a name she adopted at an early age. Her first gig, at 16, was in a coffee shop. Needless to say, it made sense not to go with her given name, Ramone recalled with a laugh.

“I didn’t like Cobra, so I went by Rebecca for a very long time. But I embraced Cobra when I got a little bit older and started to play rock ’n’ roll. I think my parents had rock ’n’ roll in mind for me, so that might have been the point.”

It wasn’t until a few years ago that she finally let her inner wild child loose on stage. Ramone first came to notice as a featured vocalist in the group Balligomingo, an electro-pop group not unlike Enigma or Delirium.

The experience gave Ramone some needed exposure, but her heart was elsewhere. She threw everything she had into a rollicking new project with an old name, Cobra Ramone, of which she would be the singer, songwriter, guitarist and leader.

The Flood, the band’s debut EP, was released in 2010. She soon had enough songs for a full-length followup, 2011’s Cobra Ramone, which is roughly when things began to come together career-wise.

The lead-up to the release of her new EP, Bang Bang, took fan appreciation to another level, however. Ramone raised more than $17,000 in a crowdfunding campaign to help pay for recording sessions for her and her bandmates, keyboardist Trevor Snakedust and drummer Pat Steward.

Ramone was overwhelmed by the amount of support. But more than anything else, she was happy to take steps forward in her career while keeping a home base in Vancouver, after spending time in Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto and Venezuela over the years.

“I’ve built a really great family here,” she said of the Vancouver music scene. “There’s some really amazing bands, a great music community. You hear a lot of times that that isn’t the case, but Vancouver’s music community is amazing.”

Ramone found out first-hand how supportive her Vancouver peers can be when one of their own encounters a rough patch. Ramone’s tour van was broken into a month ago, resulting in the loss of some gear. After Ramone posted about it on social media, support came pouring in.

“The amount of people in the city who messaged me and said I could borrow gear or have some equipment was insane. It was the most amazing feeling to know that there was that much support here.”

Ramone will be the first to tell you that sex sells in her world. The video to the trio’s new song, No Good, was shot amid a lot of skin at the Vancouver strip club that employs her as a bartender when she’s not on the road.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that her greasy blues traffics in the same sense of sin, Ramone said.

“The griminess and underbelly of that industry absolutely influences my musical style. I don’t know how it couldn’t.”

At times, the image she portrays brings some unwanted attention. Though she fronts her eponymous band and writes all the lyrics, some men in the rock industry assume she’s a fringe member of her own group.

“I’m treated a lot differently than the rest of my band is treated. It doesn’t make any sense. But it pisses [my band] off as much as it does me.”

She isn’t entirely bent out of shape over the mistreatment. If anything, Ramone uses it for firepower during her live performances.

“When the sound guy is an [idiot], or the other bands ignore me, it is always assumed that I’m the girlfriend. It pisses me off to the point that I almost like it. It fires me up before a show. I’m happy to show them that I have bigger balls than they do.”

mdevlin@timescolonist.com

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