Cobra Starship’s Gabe Saporta Talks Haters, Being Called A ‘Joke Band’

'When something is funny, people think it's a joke,' frontman says in part two of our interview.

Gabe Saporta is not a jerk. He’s not a celebrity, either.

But he plays both of those roles to perfection, as evidenced in part one of our interview with him , which we posted on Monday and was quickly greeted throughout the blogosphere with comments that ranged from “Wow, what a jerk” and “That dude totally thinks he’s a celebrity” to “What a jerk wannabe celebrity” and “You’re not a celebrity, jerk.”

It was a tidal wave of negativity that, quite frankly, caught us off guard. But then when we thought about it — and aside from being rather hilarious — the hatred also proved a point: Saporta is truly on top of his game. He’s the “Rowdy” Roddy Piper of pop music — the man you love to hate.

And in part two of our chat, Saporta talks about his public persona and about how it affects the music he makes with [artist id="2402281"]Cobra Starship.[/artist] He talks about watching his band become huge and how he plans to keep it that way. And, for the first time, he discusses Cobra’s new album — the songs, the producers and picking that all-important title. But a word of warning: If you’re dying to know just when you’ll be hearing that new album, well, Saporta’s got some bad news for you.

On Himself, His Band and Their (Many) Detractors: “I feel grateful for everything now, because I’ve been making music since I was 16, and I’ve always had bad luck — of course, I’ve been the cause of a lot of it. I just got a bit older and realized I can’t control all of it. I can’t control what people think about me or my band, so I don’t try to, like, hyper-manage that sh–. I think the thing is, when something is funny, people think it’s a joke — but that doesn’t mean it also can’t be a real thing. [Cobra Starship] is not serious, like, we’re writing poetry, but I want it to be real. Instead of trying to, like, focus on one part of my emotions, I want to give people a window to the whole thing. I want people to hear all of it. And it’s obviously always easier to get someone’s attention with a good joke, because if they like it, they’ll want to hear more. And that’s what happened with Cobra … the people who got it, they got it, and we’ve always been really f—ing appreciative of them.

“A long time ago we made a decision that we’re going to have fun and do throwbacks to really funny things, and if people got that, cool. And, like, it’s weird, because when you make music, most artists will say they don’t want it to be big, but everyone wants their music to be heard by as many people as possible. I could’ve taken the money and run after I did [the theme song for] ‘Snakes on a Plane,’ but I kind of bet on myself. I made a decision that this band was going to be a real thing. I know that it’s jokey and some people may not get it, but I think that I can do it, and so far, we have. At the same time, I realize that this is my second shot, and no one gets a second shot — except somehow I’ve been able to. And I’d like to think we’ve established this little niche in pop culture, so that’s awesome.”

On Writing Cobra’s New Album: “We have a clear idea what the sequence of the album is like, you know? We have an idea of the whole record. We wrote nine songs before we went on tour, and we liked ‘em, but we kept saying, ‘These don’t have the variety that the songs on Viva la Cobra did.’ So we got off tour, and we headed to this cabin in Pennsylvania to begin working on some new ones. And, seriously, it was the most productive thing ever. To go there, we had to convince a lot of people, that it would be a good idea, you know? Because usually, when a band goes out by themselves, they end up tripping on acid and coming back with a bunch of sh– that makes no sense. But as an artist, the challenge is to do something interesting to you, but comprehensible to the average music listener. And that’s a fine line to walk. Cobra is all about walking the fine line — ‘Are we a joke band, or a serious band?’ — so I know where that line is. I can’t articulate it, but I can feel it. So, thinking about all that, we went to the cabin, and we sat there for two weeks, just working. We didn’t watch TV, we didn’t f— around — we sat around a big table with computers out and just worked and worked and worked. I mean, at night we’d party a bit, but we worked. And we came up with a bunch of new stuff, something like 11 songs, and then we’ve been jamming out. So we took the songs from writing to making it come to life. And now we’re going into the studio … we’ve got those songs, plus stuff we did with producers … we did stuff with Benny Blanco [Katy Perry, Britney Spears], we worked with [Fall Out Boy frontman] Patrick [Stump] on a few new songs. You know, we’ll try anything and everything.”

On Picking That Perfect Title (and Release Date): “I don’t know when the record’s going to come out, and I don’t worry about that. I don’t worry about that sh– at all. At the end of the day, I’ll put the whole thing on the Internet if I have to. We’re going to record it, and I’m gonna sit down and listen to it, and then pick which songs make the cut, and slap a title on it and get it out somehow. And I have a title picked out already but it might be too out-there, so I don’t know just yet. It was weird, because we just decided to call the last one Viva la Cobra as a joke, and then kids, like, latched onto it, and now you see people on MySpace or Facebook and their names are, like, ‘Viva la Katie!’ F—, seriously though, I just hope the kids who like us will continue to like us. It’s going to be a big record for us, one way or the other. I mean, I usually get bored of a band after their third album, so we’ll see.”