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Sept. 17, 2020

Interview with Mondo Cozmo

Interview with Mondo Cozmo

We had the pleasure of interviewing Mondo Cozmo over Zoom video!

You hear and read countless stories about blood, sweat, and tears all shed in the name of art and—paid like a toll to unseen forces—for its creation.

However, you never validate how...


We had the pleasure of interviewing Mondo Cozmo over Zoom video!

You hear and read countless stories about blood, sweat, and tears all shed in the name of art and—paid like a toll to unseen forces—for its creation.

However, you never validate how much of each fluid really flowed...or do you?

In this case, blood actually spilled (beyond a lot of tears and sweat) in order for Mondo Cozmo to craft his second full-length and first release for Last Gang Records, New Medicine. Now, he does not regret putting his fist through that window for a second, but the four-hour surgery did suck. Yet, breaking the glass smashed a figurative ceiling. In the aftermath, he learned how to “Say no,” departed amicably from the major label system, “taped a fucking pick to his cast” in order to play guitar, lost feeling in the aforementioned hand for two years, attracted the wisdom of Butch Vig (“the dude of dudes!”), and wrote the rock ‘n’ roll record he always meant to write. The most rock ‘n’ roll thing about it isn’t the right hook, the guitars, or even the attitude. It’s the moment of self-actualization by the Philadelphia-born and Los Angeles-based critically acclaimed alternative troubadour and gutter punk poet.

The man himself, Josh Ostrander, tells the story best.

“We were shooting a live video on a sound stage in Culver City, and I fucking lost it, because the whole thing didn’t feel like me,” he recalls. “I never lose my cool. I try to be the leader I want to see. A switch flipped, though. I thought I was looking at a dumb foam wall in the studio, but it was the glass door. I punched it so hard that when I pulled my hand back out you could see the eruption of blood everywhere. Turns out, I clipped all of these arteries. My drummer pulled a handkerchief from my pocket, tied a tourniquet around my arm, and my tour manager took me to the hospital. It turned out to be therapeutic. So many beautiful things happened. Since I made such an ass of myself, I knew the next record had to be the best thing I’ve ever fucking done,” he laughs.

As performing proved a challenge to say the least, he took a primitive approach to writing in addition to enlisting the help of some friends. With the pick taped to his cast, he simplified the chord structures and allowed the anger to ring out (you can hear his cast hitting the strings) as he wrote in his home studio. He invited longtime friends and tourmates Black Rebel Motorcycle Club to lend their talents to the project as Peter Hayes cut guitar and Leah Shapiro performed drums on multiple tracks. Not to mention, legendary producer Butch Vig professed his fandom for Mondo Cozmo on a podcast, so Josh found a way to get in touch. Butch then became a sounding board and “father figure” throughout the whole trip.

In the midst of the recovery, Josh’s doctor prescribed an antibiotic, doubling as an omen.

“When I was on the antibiotic, I was coming up with all of these fucking songs,” he says. “I told him! He looked at me and said, ‘Do you actually think it’s the antibiotic? Or, do you think because you said what you needed to, you’re writing these?’ I thought, ‘Maybe, he’s right’. So, I called the album New Medicine as it stemmed from the whole experience.”

He introduces the record with the revved-up snarling rock of “Black Cadillac.” A slithering clean riff snakes around tambourine. On the bridge, everything subsides into a steeple-size chant upheld by handclaps before the affirmation, “I’m alright.”

“We had these seven-hour van drives during the Kavanaugh hearings, so we’d watch them,” he goes on. “I call him out on the third verse, because I feel artists should be speaking up right now. Don’t play in the middle of the road. Use your words. At the same time, the song is also very much about being on the road and getting sick of Instagram.”

A rush of guitars builds towards the sweeping and soaring “Come On.” For the only co-writer of the project, he joined forces with Dan Wilson and summoned the spirit of

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