Cobra Shoes showcases Theron Bennett's hard rock style from the late 1990's.
Cobra Shoes is a collection of unreleased songs from 1997 and 1998. Following the brake up of Gresham Weed in early 1997, I decided to go in a different direction. Gresham Weed had been a hard rock / metal band. Since I had other interests and didn't enjoy being painted into a shoe box, I started the Cobra Shoes project. The idea was to write and record two albums of completed, polished, publishable music. I had no real plan as to putting together a band at the time. I had written about twenty songs and had just finished the final recording of only two when I discovered martial arts. This was mid 1998. The music stopped. Being an obsessive person, I put 100% of my energy into martial arts. The studio, instruments, tapes and everything else went into storage. My basement studio turned into a basement dojo. It would be 17 years before I even strummed a guitar. But I did, and immediately after I did I knew I wanted to try to write again. Upon pulling out all my old equipment and setting up a new, all digital studio I discovered all those unfinished Cobra Shoes songs. I found several hundred hours of finished and unfinished songs from several projects I completely forgot about. Now, I decided to release them partially finished. The reason for that is that twenty years later I am a different person. No longer angry and feeling overwhelmed by life, I simply would not do it the right justice. Besides, I really enjoy listening to them as is. So I present it to you as I left it 20 years ago. The first two songs are 100% finished and I think you will like them. “First You Speak” is a song about being about 12 or thirteen years old and having a crush on an older girl in school. She is actually nice to you and would love to have a conversation. However, whenever she looks into your eyes, your faculties vacate and you run. It is my favorite song of the album. The rest of the songs are a mixture. Some have the music completely finished and lack a vocal. Some have finished guitars and bass with the drum machine recorded because I hadn't recorded the live drums yet. “The Blame” is 100% finished and is about feeling like a scapegoat of society. I felt like dropping out of conversation because every one of them felt like the other person was saying that because of how I felt about issues was the reason for all the ills in the world. “What's the matter” Is a song about people obsessing over me and my not understanding it. The music is almost a finished recording. I know I was going to record the drums again. The playing is OK the mic placement was a little off. There is no singing. My memory was that I had a finished recording of the vocals but I didn't. In fact I know I would've rerecorded the lead guitar. “Blitzkrieg of the Mind” was 100% finished. It's about the fear and loneliness of dying through the tale of an old lady named Sallie whose house and garden are in disrepair and she's terrified and contemplating suicide. I narrate from the position that I know her well but am unable to help. The song is recorded murky like her emotions. A mix of acoustic and electric guitars. The bass was by Steve Tuggle who is the only guest musician on the recording. “Vaporized Voodoo” is a the song I believe I was trying to finish when I stopped recording. I don't recall having any lyrics written and I would have been working on perfecting the drum track. The recording is very good but the drums have a couple minor glitches. I still think it sounds very good. “Crack” is a departure from the rest of the album. It features timbale drums, harmonica and nature sounds. It's also unique in that I made up all of the lyrics on the fly. I remember trying to write what I sang and realizing half of it made no sense. I hadn't even attempted the drum track yet but it still sounds fairly polished. “I Incubus” Is a song about an incubus. I don't remember much about why I wanted to write a song about an incubus but I know people in the old days would use the incubus as an excuse for pregnancies and such. The vocals would have been rerecorded and live drums had not been recorded. Additionally, at certain moments you can hear the music sort of fade in and out. This is because of degradation of the audio tape itself. “Still Love You” is the only ballad I have ever written. It was written while my wife and I her having a days old fight over something I don't remember. I wrote it because I felt such overwhelming love for her even though I was so angry with her. I wanted to run upstairs and say I was sorry but I am a flawed, stubborn fool. Instead, I wrote and recorded this song. It's embarrassing because at one point late in the song I begin weeping as I sing. It might sound like I am almost laughing but it's not. I had planned to rerecord the vocals after she heard it but she told me I didn't have permission. I hadn't recorded live drums and that's the only thing missing. Also, it's the only song on the album with my old, 1934 Hammond A-1 organ. This song fades a bit here and there because of tape degradation. “Reverse Yourself” has no vocals and only drum machine. It has good bass and rhythm guitars. I would have rerecorded lead guitar. I included it because I think it's a very well written song. There are about 12 or so songs that I could have put on this but they were either degraded too much, too unfinished or not fully written or in pieces. The songs were recorded on a Tascam 8-track analog tape deck through a Tascam M-208 mixer. Guitars used were Takamini 12 string, Ibanez 6 string acoustic electric, 1964 Gibson Melody Maker, 1996 Gibson Les Paul, Yamaha and Ibanez strat styles with tremolo (for the life of me I can't remember years or makes). Drums were Pearl export and the drum machine was an Alesis HR-16. Bass was a 1980 Epiphone with no name. The mics were all Sure SM-57's except the bass drum mic was some big, fat $280.00 mic I was talked into buying buy a slick drum mic salesman. The songs were recorded between early winter, '97 and summer, '98 at my bass player from Gresham Weed's house in Stone Mtn. and at my basement studio that I called “The Sonic Crypt” in Conyers, Georgia.