A Starship to fame

Zach Wilson


Credit: Jason Hall

Don’t refer to members of Cobra Starship as snakes.

“We like to be called cobras,” lead singer Gabe Saporta said.

Saporta speaks with excitement about his new band and the fame generated from Snakes on a Plane, the Internet joke turned major motion picture.

“Cobra Starship is the best band I’ve ever been in,” Saporta said with a smile. “My band is awesome.”

Along with guitarist Ryland Blackinton, bassist Alex Suarez, keyboardist Elisa Schwartz and drummer Nate Navarro, Saporta plans to take his reptile-aligned dance-pop to the masses.

“I’m ready to make music fun again,” he said.

Much like the movie Snakes on a Plane, the story of how Cobra Starship formed fuses fantasy with reality.

“I was at a spiritual retreat, meditating under the stars, when all of the sudden a cobra bit me,” he said in a mock-serious manner. “The next thing I know, the cobra is talking to me, telling me I need to form Cobra Starship.”

Saporta followed the advice of his reptilian friend, writing upwards of 40 songs for the band’s debut when suddenly the Snakes on a Plane sensation caught on.

“I knew the movie was a conscious joke,” he said. “It couldn’t be more perfect for us to be involved with, at the perfect time.”

With the help of his friends in fellow bands The Academy Is…, The Sounds and Gym Class Heroes, Saporta re-recorded the song “Bring It” for the movie’s soundtrack. A video soon followed featuring Samuel L. Jackson, the movie’s star.

“He was such a cool dude,” Saporta said of Jackson.

Saporta said everyone on set had been warned to not talk to Jackson during the shoot. But as soon the cameras were not rolling, he ran straight to Jackson.

“I even play squash with him every other Tuesday,” Saporta joked.

Along with playing with the stars, Saporta even cavorted with Hollywood’s elite.

“We went out to L.A. for the video premiere, and could see how huge this was,” he said. “This movie was out of place in Hollywood. It’s so different. That’s the vibe of Cobra Starship.”

But Saporta doesn’t want the success of the movie to undermine the fact that he’s making fun, interesting music.

“I don’t want Cobra Starship to be associated only with the movie,” he said. “I wrote these songs a year ago and wanted to write something different.”

Also of the band Midtown, Saporta decided that the serious nature of his music didn’t fit with who he was.

“Midtown’s last record was so dark,” he said. “I couldn’t go out and play those songs honestly.”

Once the band went on a hiatus, Saporta decided to “make music fun again.”

“I’ve been in bands since I was 14 years old,” Saporta said. “This is my life.”

Contact off-campus entertainment beat reporter Zach Wilson at [email protected].