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Michael "Cub" Koda (October 1, 1948 – July 1, 2000) was an American rock and roll singer, guitarist, songwriter, disc jockey, music critic, and record compiler. Rolling Stone magazine considered Koda best known for writing the song "Smokin' in the Boys' Room", which reached #3 on the 1974 Billboard charts as performed by Brownsville Station, and was later covered by Mötley Crüe. He co-wrote and edited the All Music Guide to the Blues, and Blues for Dummies, and put together the CD of blues classics accompanying the latter title, personally selecting versions of each song that appeared on it. He also contributed liner notes for the Trashmen, Jimmy Reed, J. B. Hutto, The Kingsmen, and the Miller Sisters, among others.
Early life and career
Koda was a native of Detroit, Michigan, and a graduate of Manchester High School, Manchester, Michigan. He became interested in music as a young boy, learning drums by the age of 5, and by the time he was in high school he had formed his own group, the Del-Tinos. Using the style of rockabilly, rock & roll, and blues music, the band released their first single, "Go Go Go" (a version of a Roy Orbison recording), in the fall of 1963. They released two more singles, but eventually broke up in 1966, when Koda wanted to pursue other options.
Koda then worked as a solo artist releasing two singles, "I Got My Mojo Workin'" and "Ramblin' On My Mind", and working with a couple of bands, before forming Brownsville Station in 1969. Formed in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Brownsville Station also included drummer T. J. Cronley, bassist Tony Driggins, guitarist Mike Lutz, and later Bruce Nazarian and Henry Weck. The group was influenced by Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, The Who, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Link Wray.
The band began performing throughout the American Midwest, and released several singles before getting noticed. They released their first album in 1970, but it was the 1973 single, "Smokin' In The Boys Room", that remains their best-known song. The song went to #3 on the Hot 100 and eventually sold over two million copies. Although the song was the band's only hit, they continued to perform together until they disbanded in 1979.
Other recordings by Brownsville Station include,"The Martian Boogie", "I Get So Excited", "Hey Little Girl", "Mama Don't Allow No Parkin'", "I Got It Bad For You", "Kings Of The Party", "I'm The Leader Of The Gang", "Let Your Yeah Be Yeah" (title taken from Matthew 5:37), "Lady (Put the Light On Me)," "Wanted (Dead Or Alive)", and "Barefootin." "Smokin' In The Boys Room" was later covered by Mötley Crüe.
After Brownsville Station
Before the breakup of the band Koda purchased a multi-track recorder and started producing one-man band tapes of rockabilly, blues, R&B, country, early rock and roll, and jazz music, which he released as the album That's What I Like About The South. He also became more focused on performing solo, and also began writing for numerous music magazines, most notably his column, "The Vinyl Junkie", for the Goldmine Magazine (later for DISCoveries). He also wrote three volumes for the acclaimed Blues Masters series. Koda was also a contributor to the Allmusic review website and books.
From late 1979 until late 1980, Koda began playing with three members of a Detroit-based band called Mugsy, calling themselves Cub Koda and the Points. Their eponymous debut album was released in early 1980 on Boston-based Baron Records on hot pink vinyl; also released was an EP entitled "Shake Yo Cakes." Due to financial difficulties, the band broke up in late 1980 prior to releasing a second album.
By 1980, Koda was performing with Hound Dog Taylor's backing band (The Houserockers). Together with guitarist Brewer Phillips, and drummer Ted Harvey, they performed and recorded together for 15 years. The group's first album was It's the Blues (1981), and their second, The Joint Was Rockin' , released in 1996. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Koda continued his busy schedule between touring, recording, and writing. In 1993, the twin release of Smokin' in the Boy's Room: The Best of Brownsville Station, was released on the Rhino Record Label, and Welcome to My Job, a retrospective of his non-Brownsville material was released on the Blue Wave Record Label. This followed a year later with the release of the album, Abba Dabba Dabba: A Bananza of Hits on Schoolkids Records.
In 1997, he released the solo work, Box Lunch collection, on the J-Birds label, and the 1998 Norton Record Label reissue of recordings he made with the Del-Tinos. He also re-formed Cub Koda and the Points, and released 2000's Noise Monkeys (one of his last works).
In 2010, an original Koda song was featured on Daddy Rockin' Strong: A Tribute to Nolan Strong & the Diablos. The tribute album was released by The Wind Records and distributed by Norton Records in August 2010. Koda's contribution to the album is "You're the Only Girl (Delores)," a song previously included on Koda's 1994 album, Abba Dabba Dabba, which only saw limited release.
- Skanse, Richard (August 31, 2000). "Obits". Rolling Stone (848): 34. ISSN 0035-791X.
- Bogdanov, Vladimir; Woodstra, Chris; Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (2003). All Music Guide to the Blues. Hal Leonard Corporation. ISBN 0-87930-736-6.
- Brooks, Lonnie; Koda, Cub; Brooks, Wayne Baker (1998). Blues for Dummies. IDG Books Worldwide. ISBN 0-7645-5080-2.
- Stephen Thomas Erlewine. "Cub Koda". Allmusic. Retrieved November 11, 2011.
- Carson, David A. (2006). Grit, Noise, and Revolution: The Birth of Detroit Rock 'n' Roll. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. p. 279. ISBN 0-472-11503-0.
- Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits (Revised and Expanded Eighth ed.). Billboard Books. p. 91. ISBN 0-8230-7499-4.