Like Chicago-style pizza or the beer that made Milwaukee famous, music has always been a big export of New Orleans. While all three have been over-commodified into products bearing only the faintest resemblance to their inspiration, Louisiana natives Cowboy Mouth waste little time worrying about what's been watered down; they're too busy raising the roof.
"In the long run," says drummer Fred Le Blanc, "you realize all that stuff's a bunch of bullshit. Because the reality is, it's just one clique trying to zero out another clique. I can't look down on somebody because they enjoy 'Living on a Prayer,' and I can't sit there and think better of myself because I enjoy London Calling."
The Mouth's latest (and umpteenth) album, Voodoo Shoppe, provides ample evidence of the group's democratic, no-nonsense approach, as it powers through musical genres -- the blues/funk of the title track, the pop/punk of "Joe Strummer," and a nod to Huey Lewis-dominated '80s AOR in "Hole in My Heart" -- like a conventioneer knocking back rum drinks in the French Quarter.
"I've always enjoyed bands -- whether it's the Beatles, the Replacements, They Might Be Giants, or somebody like Nellie McKay -- who throw a whole bunch of different things into their music," says Le Blanc. "I mean, you know, we're musicians. We're here to play."