With an EP title like Your Motherfucker, a mohawk, and a corona bottle close in hand, it may seem unlikely for The Grammys to call on Mondo Cozmo when looking for a spokesperson to advocate for better artists’ royalty rates in US Congress.
But somehow, Mondo wearing the same suit he got married in, walked into a room full of Congressmen and women, told his story and the legislation they were advocating would pass unanimously a week late.
A disciple of Springsteen’s sentimentality, Beck’s versatility, and Dylan’s social commentary - Mondo Cozmo is a passionate, pissed-off, poetic punk rocker with a heart of gold and the kind of authenticity that will even make a politician listen.
The LA-based, Philadelphia native first made a splash when his single “Shine” hit number one at AAA radio in 2016. The song’s uplifting message and video struck a chord during a tumultuous time in America and quickly jolted Mondo to front and center of the rock scene. He quickly followed the momentum with his debut full-length Plastic Soul, an album he wrote on a two-week deadline while in the desert in Joshua Tree alongside his rescue dog, Cozmo, and “a shitty 10-year-old laptop.”
For the next 10 months, he and his band toured nonstop bringing their stadium ready rock show to sold out headlining gigs at clubs like LA’s Troubadour and tour runs with Bastille and Vance Joy.
“After the amount of shows we did, and the amount of people we were able to meet it was like getting a crash course in finding what words people connect with in the lyrics and how to deliver it,” says Mondo. “Like when I sing ‘I’m not gonna work this job no more’ in “Higher” and see the guy in the back row put up his hands in the air … it’s like fuck man, that’s power.”
Using those moments as his roadmap, Mondo set out to write his next record, Your Motherfucker EP.
As he struggled to commit after writing next to 85 new songs, Mondo had a breakthrough moment while on his routine running route. “I had the idea while on my morning run,” says Mondo. “I raced home to grab a pen.” Mondo then wrote title track “Your Motherfucker” in five minutes time.
The beautiful and heartfelt lyrics, I want to be your girlfriend, I want to be your lover. Your ride of die bitch, your motherfucker, your motherfucker, your motherfucker, your motherfucker… sings Mondo amongst a haze of layered static beats reminiscent of a 90’s dance track.
It’s a slight departure from Plastic Soul, but Mondo knows that artists like Beck didn’t make history by staying inside the lines. “As soon as you set parameters you’re fucked. Letting go of ego and letting the song be itself is a beautiful thing,” he says. ”And maybe it won’t work. Maybe it will fall flat on its face, but you gotta try.”
What Mondo really understands is that people want to connect with the lyrics of a song in times
like these. Amidst the turmoil, people need hope. They also need an outlet to be scared, angry,
and pissed off.
“Tonight Tonight,” co-written and produced by John Hill (Portugal.The Man, Santigold, Florence And The Machine) is an upbeat drinking song that accomplishes just that.
“I wanted to a write a song where it’s like - the world could fucking end tomorrow, but I would still like to take you out for a drink,” says Mondo.
He rounds out the EP with “Hey Steven,” where his wife Aria makes a vocal appearance, and “Sold” – classic Mondo songs that drip like honey right where Plastic Soul left off.
But whether he’s playing a dance track, a punk ballad, or a folk tune, Mondo is Mondo Cozmo no matter the situation. He’s a new school voice for his generation who isn’t afraid to pull anti-establishment shenanigans but can also put together a TV debut for Jimmy Kimmel Live with two days notice. He’s an old school rock’n’roller who writes about the past and the future pulling from the ethos of both his fans’ experiences amid his own to make songs that can be symbiotically sentimental and outlandish.
He loves being on the road. He loves making music. He loves his fans, his dog, and his wife.
He can get drunk and ride four wheelers with is manager in Mexico and call it an official music
video one day, and he can convince US Congress to pass national legislation, the next.
He’s a man with a simple philosophy and a hell of a lot of soul.
“My motto is just put us in the room,” says Mondo. “And we’re gonna win.”