An Interview with David Cohen

The other day our reporter Joe Borneo, newly recovered from his identity crisis, traveled into cyberspace for this RBZine exclusive interview with Country Joe and The Fish member David Cohen prior to David and Country Joe's performance September 3rd in Westhampton, New York.

David Cohen in his Fish days What have you been doing in music the last few years?

Playing gigs with various musicians, and teaching guitar and piano. For the past couple of years I have been playing in the Bobby Kyle Blues Band around the New York metropolitan area. I have put out three video instructional tapes on blues piano, in addition to six tape audio series on blues piano and a six tape audio series on ragtime piano for Homespun Tapes. I also have two book/CD packages on blues piano on Homespun and distributed in music stores by Hal-Leonard. I recently recorded a Hammond organ video for Homespun that should be out by the end of the year.

You and Country Joe McDonald played together at "Day in the Garden," the 30th anniversary of Woodstock at Max Yasgur’s farm. Did the audience look old and was it groovy or a bummer?

It was VERY groovy. Or, as they say nowadays, "way cool." The audience was (mostly) our age. I guess that means old... I did notice a few young faces amongst all the tie dye.

You and Country Joe will perform together opening for Melanie and Ritchie Havens in Westhampton in a few days. Does it feel just like the good old days?

I think it feels like the good new days. Although Joe and I haven't played together regularly, we still play as if we've rehearsed together in different rooms. I really enjoy these gigs.

What do you think made your organ sound in Country Joe and the Fish such an instant classic rock band "sound" of an era?

That's a good question. I don't know, except for the fact that I had no idea what I was doing. Barry (Melton) and I were playing together and Barry was also playing with Joe. I was playing guitar in those days pretty much exclusively, but there was an old upright piano at the Jabberwock that I would bang on once in a while. I would usually play some boogie-woogie. Barry was very impressed with my playing and when Joe said he wanted an organ sound in the band, Barry said, "David can play organ!" Of course, I have never even seen one up close, except for some theater organs, so when the band got me one I didn't really know what to do. So I just stole my own guitar licks. Soon after, I started to get these reviews, saying what a unique style I had...

What have you to say to your many fans all over the world?

Thank you for your continued support! I will continue to do my best!

Joe Borneo

You can e-mail David Cohen at or visit his web site.