The Cool and Deadly
The Cool and Deadly
Danny Zion) had a mixture of hot-rod, punk and skate culture while growing up in a South Shore Massachusetts Portuguese community; drummer/producer Bill “Prince Polo” Szeflinski, a Milwaukee native of Polish descent, and guitarist Harvey Valdes, a first generation Columbian-American raised on his parents’ cumbia records, developed their chops playing heavy metal. “My family came from the Cape Verde islands so I got heavily influenced by West African guitar—lots of reverb!” Danny says. “My dad was a crazy Elvis fan and a rhythm guitar player like myself. He unconsciously filled my head with the crazy mix.” While THE COOL AND DEADLY officially united in 2004, the trio has worked together since the late ‘90s, when Valdes met up with Baptista and Szeflinski’s defunct reggae outfit, Zionix.
“With Zionix, we were mixing roots reggae, 80's rub-a-dub and Cape Verdean music,” Danny says. “In our next band, El Knife, we actually switched places—Billy was on guitar and I was on drums. That opened the spectrum to all the surf and skate punk stuff we listened to back in the day. Once that happened, we couldn’t go back to just playing straight reggae anymore.
It was inevitable that The Cool and Deadly was an American punky reggae mash-up.” Of course, reggae requires bass and, naturally, THE COOL AND DEADLY have two men on the case. Josh Werner of Matisyahu and Lee “Scratch” Perry fame writes and records with the trio while David Dovo, a longtime contributor to the band’s live show, has expanded his role to include writing and recording as well. Five years deep into their renegade sonic quest, THE COOL AND DEADLY have recently released their sophomore LP, Rude Boys Revenge (DubShot Records). King Tubby meets the Wild West on the defiant independence statement “Digital Glitter” while “Future Has No Love” offers a match made in heaven—or better yet hell—in Valdes’ blazing guitar riffage and Baptista’s apocalyptic words. “We as band members influence each other just as much as the music we listen to,” Bill says.
“If I write a song, it's not truly a song until everyone touches it with what they do.” Speaking on his lyric-writing process, Danny adds: “On a reggae song, I focus on non-cliche vocals and, on punky tunes, I get esoterically spiritual. I gotta keep em guessing, you dig?” Add THE COOL AND DEADLY’s relentless dedication to performing and touring, and the result is a band that can play anywhere to any audience and elicit the same enthusiastic reaction—even if it’s delivered in different ways. “I love that some big ass biker will tell us how much he dug our style while the Dread over there tells us we killed it,” Danny says. “Or that hippies dance to it while punk rockers party to it. I think we got a little bit for everybody… Good-time lovin’ people, that is.” Read more on Last.fm.
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