Rachel Nagy of The Detroit Cobras Has Died

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Videos by American Songwriter

Michigan rock band The Detroit Cobras announced on social media that the band’s lead singer Rachel Nagy has died.

Nagy co-founded the garage rock band in 1994. The band released its debut LP, Mink, Rat or Rabbit, comprised of cover songs from the ‘60s, in 1998. As was the band’s sophomore offering, Love and Leaving.

The Detroit Cobras have had dozens of members over its nearly three-decade run. The group was known in the Motor City as “Detroit’s Most Famous Cover Band.”

The band took to social media to let fans know the unfortunate news, writing on the band’s Instagram page:

Dear friends, family and fans,It is with a heavy heart and great sadness that we announce the loss of our beloved friend and musical colleague, Rachel Lee Nagy. There are no words to fully arrticulate our grief as we remember a life cut short, still vital and inspirational to all who knew and loved her. With the Detroit Cobras Rachel Nagy carried the torch of Rock, Soul and R&B to fans all over the world. More than just a performer, she embodied the spirit of the music itself and vaulted it to new heights with her own deeply affecting vocal power. I know that I am not alone when I say that I was inspired by her vitality, her fierce intensity and her vulnerability. Once plans have been finalized by the family we will post more information regarding further details to memorialize Rachel and pay tribute to her life. Until then, please know that if you are as devastated by this news as we are, you are not alone. We are with you in your grief. Rachel is survived by her brother Tony Nagy and her mother Marge Nagy.
-Greg Cartwright

The band more recently was signed to Jack White’s Third Man Records, which took to social media to express their sadness around Nagy’s passing.

“In both her voice and personality, Rachel Nagy was the perfect balance of tough badass and absolute sweetheart. From the earliest White Stripes shows at the Magic Stick in Detroit through the Third Man 10th-anniversary show in Nashville, Rachel and the Detroit Cobras have been a consistent inspiring presence in our world for nearly 25 years. We will truly miss the sound of her room-filling laughter, her no-bullshit honesty, and her true friendship. Rest in power.”

In 2018 Nagy spoke to the blog All I Could See and said of her group, “People think, ‘Oh, they’re covers, it’s easy, what’s the problem?’ It’s actually harder. When people are playing original songs, they have the freedom to fuck up, they can change something. With us, it is something very specific that we’re after.

“That’s the funny thing when people call us a cover band. Usually, cover bands are at the corner bar playing Creed and songs everyone knows and wants to sing along with… Even those that are very deep into their music, they’re usually pretty surprised to find out what songs are what.”

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