Stephen Cooper & The Nobody Famous

An interview with bandleader, vocalist, and saxophonist Stephen Cooper
by Mike Huberty
June 2019

Stephen Cooper and the Nobody Famous

Stephen Cooper and the Nobody Famous

Looking at the big hair, flames shirt, hot rod sensibility, and vintage style, you see Stephen Cooper and you’re thinking he’s the Second Coming of Bryan Setzer. But if the Stray Cats were 50s retro in the 80s, STEPHEN COOPER & THE NOBODY FAMOUS hope to dig deep from the well of R&B and Soul then Big Band and Rockabilly. Horns, Hammond Organ, and of course monster saxophone solos from the singer and songwriter himself. It’s fun, high-energy, dance-able new music with a flavor that’s distinctly familiar. They’ll be rocking Atwood Fest on July 28th and we talked to Stephen Cooper to find out how THE NOBODY FAMOUS are gonna take it to the Madison streets.

MAXIMUM INK: Why a vintage sound? What musicians could your whole band come together on?
The bands we’ve all gelled around range from Sam Cooke to Saint Paul and the Broken Bones, Wilson Pickett to Boz Skaggs, James Brown to Lake Street Dive and so much more in between! I’ve played music with every cat in this band in the past and have waited for the moment to bring them all together, knowing full well this would create a group the likes of no one has ever seen. I’m very happy to share this magic with everyone!

We’re focused with a traditional Soul/R&B sound but bridging the gap from then to now…think Amy Winehouse if she’d been a man and hadn’t died… that’s me and that’s the band… new songs with a edgy attitude the have the old soul flavor but feel current because they are…we’re constantly writing new songs and putting them into the sets.

MI: What’s the latest song that people should check out to know what the band is all about?
SC: The latest song I’ve written is a ballad called “Don’t You Dare Say Goodbye”…I wrote it with my whole heart to the love of my life, and it embodies what this band is all about…sharing the stories we’ve experienced and performing them with every last bit of ourselves, because they have been real…It’s what I’ve lived, what we’ve all lived, and if the audience can’t feel the emotion I’d suggest checking for a pulse. We are currently putting the wraps on our first album, and I’m hopeful it will be out by the time of this printing.

MI: How do you get inspired?
SC: You probably have guessed by now, but my favorite place to find musical inspiration is love and life, because these are truth…and after all we know is considered, the only three things which truly matter are love, life, and truth.

MI: What’s one of your favorite shows you guys have played?
SC: The group is still relatively new…it’s about a year old now, and the current lineup of players has only been how it is for a few months, but I would have to say my favorite performance with the group to date would be our show at The Smiling Moose in Osman, Wi on April 28th of this year. We’d been rotating personnel in and out, and it was at that moment, that show when it became apparent we had finally found the right fit with everyone involved and all the pieces clicked together harmoniously.

When coming to a show, people will see fantastic musicianship, brand new songs along with a few familiar throwbacks, and they should expect to be taken on an emotional thrill ride ranging from life’s lowest depths to its highest happinesses… All by a collection of guys who aren’t afraid to take you there.

MI: What are your plans for the rest of the summer?
SC: Plans for the remainder of the summer include adding new shows, performing at new venues for new audiences, putting out our new album, writing new songs, and focusing our collective endeavors to push this group further than any of us could have ever dreamt.

MI: Anything we missed?
SC: And anything else? Well, I’d say if anyone has any more questions, they NEED to come see this band. It will flip you on your ear, leave your mouth hanging open, make you shake everything you’ve got, and set your heart on fire all at the same time…so what are you waiting for?

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