Marc M Cogman was born in Washington DC and raised along the northeast coast. After fronting rock bands in Boston and Los Angeles, he began his solo career in 2007 with the independently released Welcome to the Danger Show. Making use of a wide cast of fellow Los Angeles musicians, the lyric-driven songs were an instant hit with local audiences, who came in increasing numbers to Cogman's monthly residency at Los Angeles' The Mint. The album soon caught the attention of Geffen Records, where famed producer/engineer/EVP Jack Joseph Puig likened Cogman to a young Bruce Springsteen.
After an option for a deal with Geffen expired without coming to a contract agreement, Cogman signed with Time-Act Music, who released his follow-up, Beneath a Balcony in 2009. This album focused more on the rootsy aspects of Cogman's soundscape and utilized his Los Angeles backing band, the Dead Messengers. Members included several artists who would later make noise in other projects, including bassist Frogs McCormack (Stars in Stereo), multi-instrumentalist Giulio Carmassi (Pat Metheny Group), and backing vocalist Kelli Anne Noftle (an award winning poet published with Omnidawn Press). One track from Beneath a Balcony, the dark, compelling ballad "Bullet" was used in the film The Tontine Massacre, helping Cogman's audience grow. He also signed at this time with Marty Diamond of the Paradigm Agency.
Nevertheless, Cogman's star didn't take off as expected. His third album, the more indie-rock Anthems, included contributions from David Lowery (Cracker) and John Morand's Sound of Music Studios (Sparklehorse, Joan Osbourne) but remained unreleased due to issues within the record label. 2010 would present personal and professional challenges for Cogman, including severing ties with his label, manager, and publisher. (Anthems wouldn't see the light of day until Cogman released it independently in 2012.)
In the spring of 2010, facing career upheaval, a divorce from his wife of just one year, and increasing dissolution with Los Angeles and the industry, Cogman sold or gave away most of his possessions, moved into his car, and spent the entirety of the year playing shows across the country and writing his fourth album. Eventually landing in Buffalo, then Boston, then Oklahoma City, and finally Tulsa, Cogman found a new beginning and a renewed artistic energy.
Remarried, teaching English at the University of Tulsa, and in better mental health than he had been in years, in 2012 Cogman made his most vital record to date, the chronicle of his fall from grace in L.A. and his nomadic travels across the country.
Albatross, recorded in Boston, Los Angeles, and Oklahoma, arrived February 25, 2014 and featured an impressive list of producers including Scott Riebling (Butch Walker, Metro Station), Eddie Jackson (James Taylor, Willie Nelson), Jared Evans and Chad Copelin (Sufjan Stevens, Graham Colton) and Grammy award winner J.D. Andrew (The Boxmasters).
After the release of Albatross, Cogman took a break from performing before reuniting the original Dead Messengers for a high-energy show in Los Angeles in the summer of 2015. The show inspired a flurry of new songwriting over the course of the year, and when Cogman returned to Los Angeles in the summer of 2016, it was not only to play another show with the band, but to enter the studio to record a fifth full-length.
Those sessions at Contribution Studio in Culver City saw Cogman reunite with longtime collaborators including producer Justin Siegel and Dead Messengers Brian Moskin, Giulio Carmassi and Frogs, none of whom were a part of Albatross. Meanwhile, guitarist Steve McDonald reprised his regular role on guitar, and other elements were added by producer/engineer/multi-instrumentalist Joe Napolitano and vocalist/keyboardist Jillinda Napolitano.
Nothing is Fantastic is the record they made, and it arrives March 21, 2017 via Cogman's bandcamp store. The 10 songs of Nothing is Fantastic feature the same masterful lyricism of Cogman's first four releases, but the sonic landscape is a departure. For the new album, Cogman worked with Siegel and the band to craft a soundscape that draws on mid 90's guitar-rock, the music that was in heavy rotation when he formed his first high school bands. The result is a sound both fresh and familiar, with an emphasis on heavy guitars not seen since Cogman disbanded his alt-rock quintet The Neon Calm back in 2006.
Nevertheless, this is a Marc M Cogman record, with a variety of sonic textures setting the backdrop for ten poetic short-stories, tackling everything from the underbelly of love and the sting of regret, to larger philosophical questions about life, faith, and doubt.
It's now been 10 years of solo records from Marc M. Cogman, with Nothing is Fantastic arriving almost an exact decade after Welcome to the Danger Show. Go to the store to complete your collection, and continue to celebrate the work of one of the great independent songwriter-poets of our time.