Artist to Watch: The Cuckoos

By Brandon “B-Mac” McCarthy

Psychedelia in the 1960s was one of the earliest precursors of the hard rock and heavy metal sound. It groovy melodies and trippy lyrics are what attracted the most to it because when I hear a good psychedelic song, I just get lost in it. I am in my own world, and the outside world does not exist. On August 15th, my good friend Kelly Walsh invited me to the Silver Lake Lounge in Los Angeles to check a band that embodies the old-school psychedelic sound with the modern hard rock, funk and pop rock edge. They call themselves the Cuckoos, and they come all the way from Austin, Texas. Imagine that, a band from Austin of all places playing psychedelic rock music. Well, they were on the road recently, opening up for Matt Gilmour, son of Pink Floyd leader David Gilmour. They invited me to go with on a magic carpet ride and experience something special.

The Cuckoos were formed back in 2017, and they were influenced by the artists that ruled the 60s and 70s like Velvet Underground, the Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. They even add a grunge feel that is similar to Nirvana. They are fronted by Kenneth Frost, who is not only the singer, but he is also the songwriter and keyboardist. According to an interview he gave about the band’s mission, he says “We just want to make music that makes people feel good and feel bad. We just want them to feel something, something that’s passionate and honest.” As soon as they played the first note to the opening number, “High Class Woman,” I indeed felt the passion.

Frost has an amazing voice that is like a mix between Jim Morrison and the Struts’ Luke Spiller. He even has the stage swagger of Iggy Pop and the teenage angst of Kurt Cobain. What is really trippy about him is that he plays the keytar, which is one of the dorkiest instruments out there, but Frost makes it look cool. The guitar player of the Cuckoos, David North, strums the strings with power, giving the sound a distorted yet equally harmonious riff. I see him as a cross between Neil Young and Jimi Hendrix, with a touch of Gary Clark Jr. and Duane Allman. Both Frost and North are, to me, the next great singer & guitarist power duo like Jaggar/Richards or Plant/Page. Bassist Eric Ross is the steady pulse of the band who does not move around too much, but lets his fingers do all the leg work for him like John Entwistle, only simpler. Cole Koenning is a solid drummer who has perfect timing and keeps everyone else in the Cuckoos in-check. Together, all 4 of these talented young kids show us that there are still kids out looking to make rock ‘n’ roll.

The whole time at the Silver Lake Lounge, the Cuckoos took us on a trip back to a sound that was out of sight (excuse the corny 60s references, lol). During their performance, there was a gentleman who provided a colorful backdrop on a projector that looked like a lava lamp was hypnotizing us. I tell you what, Frost was selling me on the keytar, making it sound like the best sounding instrument in the group. Along with North’s distorted heavy riffs, the Cuckoos brought a musical explosion to the Silver Lake Lounge. From “Weekend Lover” to “I’ll Be Ur Tramp,” “Why Don’t U Ever Call Me Anymore,” “We Can Take a Trip to Another Day,” “Lady Boy,” “Carpe Diem,” and “Mind Breakthrough,” they punched hole in the roof of the club so their musical heroes can hear their magic. They were only supposed to play for about 20 minutes, but they ended up playing for almost a full hour. I guess the club owner loved them as much as I did. All in all, I’m cuckoo for the Cuckoos, and others will be as well. To the Cuckoos, I salute you. Horns up!!!

Full The Cuckoos at the Silver Lake Lounge gallery below:

Follow The Cuckoos on their social media:

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