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Coo Coo Birds Raise a Ruckus at Ardent in Memphis

San Francisco Rockers Cut Rootsy New Album

Pictured in the Ardent Studios atrium beer garden are the Coo Coo Birds (L-R) Jonny Cat, Chris Tolan, Ryan Zweng, Sabina Begum, Ian Lightning, Chuck Gonzales.

San Francisco’s Coo Coo Birds have cut their new album, “Mexican Cowboys,” at Ardent Studios in Memphis with recording engineer Adam Hill. Known for their colorful rock ‘n’ roll attitude and an era-spanning sound drawing from garage, psychedelic, and 50_s rock, the Birds came to Tennessee to record with Hill, known for his work with The White Stripes and others at the venerable studio.

“Chuck Gonzales had run into Adam,” explained fellow Coo Coo, Ryan Zweng. “We love his rootsy, raw sound and coming to Memphis brought us to the heart of Americana music. Elvis, Johnny Cash, and one of our favorite groups, Big Star came from Ardent. It was great hanging out with their former drummer Jody Stephens, who is the general manager at Ardent.”

Previous recordings by the Birds include “Don’t Bring Your Boyfriends” and “Psychedelic Warriors.” The new album was funded by the band with a Kickstarter campaign while touring and playing festivals like SXSW.

“This new album has a more robust drum sound and is definitely tighter all around,” continued Ryan Zweng. “Our earlier work had more of a garage band sound — this is a more cleaned up approach, but still has a lot of guts and is a good progression for us. We have a strong beat and an attitude in the lyrics and a playing style that speaks to the audience in a freeing way. We’re a little controversial but definitely uplifting, not self-loathing like a lot of the music these days.”

The band tours together with a posse of 12 Bohemian rock and rollers and partied at Ardent when the work was done. “We brought a keg into the atrium,” added Zweng, “and our ladies fixed up some sandwiches for everyone at the studio. What a great atmosphere here at Ardent, and they treated us great, like ragged royalty.”

See the Coo Coo birds at Ardent in this YouTube video:

For information about Ardent Studios, visit: