20 Questions

Cobra Verde

by PopMatters Staff

26 March 2009

Once upon a time Cleveland band Cobra Verde served as Robert Pollard's backing band in Guided by Voices. They've released six albums and an EP over their career, including the most recent Haven't Slept All Year. Singer John Petkovic -- who has played in a bunch of bands, done time as a journalist, and served as an aide to the Crown Prince of Serbia -- sits down for PopMatters' 20 Questions.

1. The latest book or movie that made you cry?
Gran Torino. The sacrifice that Clint Eastwood makes—and his redemption amid the senseless violence—brought a tear to my eye.

2. The fictional character most like you?
Huck Finn. I’ve paddle down any river in search of adventure, even if my boat crashes in the process.

3. The greatest album, ever?
Blood on the Tracks by Bob Dylan. I always loved the record, but I learned the hard way, through heartbreak and despair, just how beautiful it is.
4. Star Trek or Star Wars?
Star Trek. The outfits are better, the alien babes are hotter and tribbles are cute.

5. Your ideal brain food?
Not eating. I find that I’m most reflective and thoughtful when I’m hungry.

6. You’re proud of this accomplishment, but why?
Being there for my mom when she was dying. Death is cruel, but compassion gives meaning to life.

7. You want to be remembered for…?
Music, laughs, adventures, stories, experiences and that thing the French call joie de vivre.

8. Of those who’ve come before, the most inspirational are?
Oscar Wilde. Klaus Kinski. Sergio Leone. Marlene Dietrich. Lili St. Cyr.

9. The creative masterpiece you wish bore your signature?
Anything by Antonio Gaudi, the brilliant architect from Catalonia.

10. Your hidden talents…?
Math. My dad is a great mathematician, yet it never added up to him why I pursued songs instead of numbers.

11. The best piece of advice you actually followed?
Diplomacy is letting other people have your way. Or, Why keep up with the Joneses when you can bring them down to your level?

12. The best thing you ever bought, stole, or borrowed?
Candy. Used to steal it as a kid, and I loved it so much—the act and prize—that I became a candy klepto.

13. You feel best in Armani or Levis or…?
Levis. Especially the super skinny 511s. They fit nice and I like the bright red color of my pair.

14. Your dinner guest at the Ritz would be?
A homeless guy. Give him one night of culinary delight.

15. Time travel: where, when and why?
I believe in it, because I feel as if I lived in the 1920s and was somehow transported here. It was a lot more fun back then, if my memory serves me well.

16. Stress management: hit man, spa vacation or Prozac?
None of the above. Hit men are too violent, spas are too boring and Prozac is too depressing.

17. Essential to life: coffee, vodka, cigarettes, chocolate, or…?
Gummi Bears. They go well with everything, especially coffee, vodka, cigarettes, chocolate and ‘or.’

18. Environ of choice: city or country, and where on the map?
Atlantis. I’m a Pisces and always considered myself an honorary, long lost citizen.

19. What do you want to say to the leader of your country?
How about a one-year moratorium from attacking or bombing someone? After all, it’s been decades, Mr. President.

20. Last but certainly not least, what are you working on, now?
An art show/book project about undies that explores frustrated exhibitionism, mundane eroticism, superheroes and my own privates collection.

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