My Life In Songs: Mario Cuomo (The Orwells)

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Dropping out of school to pursue a career in music has certainly paid off for Mario Cuomo, frontman of The Orwells. The bands success and ever-growing fanbase highlight that you can make it if you’ve the passion and talent. Having witnessed the show and a half the frontman puts on first hand, it’s interesting to see just some of the artists and bands that have influenced Cuomo in their turn. We asked Mario to pick five songs that define his life and he’s disclosed their significance to us in this weeks ‘My Life In Songs’. Take it away Mario…


Sandwiches // Odd Future

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79_axJZ2plk?rel=0]
I was getting a ride home from school with our guitarist Matt O’Keefe and he said he saw the craziest thing last night on Jimmy Fallon. Said these rappers were jumping off Fallon’s couch and there were zombie chicks in hospital gowns on stage and garden gnomes. Then he said this is the song they played and pressed play. I heard Sandwiches and immediately needed to know everything about them. I went home and listened to everything they put out. I was obsessed, an OF solider. After that day I basically only listed to Bastard and Goblin for a year at least. I had found the soundtrack to my short lived academic career. I think it ended up heavily influencing/might have been the sole reason for my dropping out of high school to follow my dreams.

Still New // The Smith Westerns

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVAx9D8tCio?rel=0]
When I wasn’t listening to Odd Future I was listening to the Smith Westerns. They were proof to me it was possible: a signed band that started around the same age as us. They were my response to those who doubted the possibility of making a career out of music. If someone said it was crazy to not go to college and just make music I would be like, “Have you not heard the Smith Westerns?” Dye it Blonde quickly became my favorite album of all time. They came out to see us play a little record store in Chicago we played with Father John Misty and it made me feel like we were finally doing something right. When your idols approve of what you’re doing it’s the craziest feeling. Now I have all their numbers and party with them and am looked at as a fellow “artist” not just a fan boy, its dope.

My Shadow // Jay Reatard

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cduC2DZ7Iyw?rel=0]
It was the first Jay Reatard song I ever heard and it made me feel like I could run through plate glass. He had the coolest voice and loved the way he went about performing, not talking in between songs. One into the other, then walking off without saying thank you. I still think that’s the way it should be done. He had such a cool outlook on songwriting and the way he put out music. I really wanted to be like him but without the guitar or something. Blood Visions is the best punk record of that decade.

Congratulations // MGMT

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cB7IAXrCkO8?rel=0]
Matt’s older brother Eddie played it for us on the way to our first show. I think it had just came out that day. It was the worst weather, grey, cold and wet. It’s not the happiest song, but we were on our way to the city from the suburbs for our first legit venue show. It was the most afraid I’d ever been before a show and that song really calmed me down. Those dudes have made some of the best records of our time, brought all types of people together. I think they’re the coolest duo of our time for sure.

Drop I Hold // Black Lips

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=slILJ4u90AQ?rel=0]
When we first saw these guys live it really was a religious experience. For a long time the only thing we wanted out of being in a band was to open for them. A few years went by and there we were, New Years Eve at One Eyed Jacks in New Orleans. Opening for our idols, drinking beers in the same room. Cole complimented the way I screamed; I always thought his screams were the best. They made it clear to me you could do whatever the fuck you wanted on stage. You could kiss each other and throw shit at the crowd and blow off fire extinguishers. The previous New Years Eve Cole even pulled down his pants and started fucking his guitar. I wanted to have shows like that, have cool fans that were willing to put their bodies on the line. I wanted to dress as cool as they did and get the same dangerous reputation. This song though, the way Cole sings it – how he almost raps it – and the eerie way the music carries it? It’s perfect. One time I was broke as fuck, walking from the skatepark to 7-Eleven and I had the song stuck in my head. While I was walking I sang out loud “Ain’t got no money but the gods make it fuckin rain!” looking up at the sky. When I looked down at my feet there was a 20 dollar bill staring up at me.

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