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Corey Cunningham of Magic Bullets

The Magic Touch

After a seemingly endless stint of performing at San Francisco’s smaller music clubs, Magic Bullets are finally lining up more high-profile shows at various venues in the Bay Area and beyond, including a show with Perry Farrell that gave the band a taste of national mainstream media exposure. In addition to working on new music, the sextet is considering heading to Europe this summer for some festival performances. Magic Bullets perform April 4th at Bottom of the Hill. Guitarist and primary songwriter Corey Cunningham spoke with SF Station on his way home from his day job at a San Francisco grocery store.

SF Station (SFS): How is life in Magic Bullets?

Corey Cunningham (CC): It’s been pretty good, actually. We have been so busy I haven’t had much time to think about it, but it’s been fun.

SFS: What has been keeping you busy?

CC: We did a tour at the beginning of the year with a band from Seattle called The Blakes. That went on for about a month and we just recently came back from South by Southwest. That was a long trip -- 26 hours both ways, nonstop driving.

SFS: You didn’t do any spot dates en route?

CC: Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to stop. My body just tuned itself to sleeping for an hour and then being awake for an hour.

SFS: You were in a band called The Cosmos with two other members of Magic Bullets. Was it hard to form a new identity with the new band?

CC: Yeah, that probably took the most time. We play together pretty good but it took awhile to settle in to what we are doing now.

SFS: Did anything help you settle?

CC: It was just time. We had to write a lot of really crappy songs before we figured out what the good songs are for us. Eventually we got it. We did a lot of demoing and figured it out.

SFS: Does having five other members in the band change the way you approach songwriting, compared to other band you have been in?

CC: Absolutely. In The Cosmos, I was singing, playing guitar and writing all the music. In this group, it is harder because everybody wants to play at the same time and I have to figure out how to write around the dynamic of five people. It’s one of the most bizarre songwriting practices I have ever learned to get into but it’s fun and really makes our sound unique.

SFS: How do approach a new song? Does it start with you and a guitar?

CC: Yeah, I usually sit down with my guitar and a lot times I sit down and play while I’m watching TV or reading. I play while I’m doing tons of other things and don’t think about what I’m doing and usually a verse will write itself. I kind craft the chorus around that. The hardest part is typically the bridge and the melody, which take a little more work. I’ll usually craft that part with the band.

SFS: Is there a particular TV show that has helped you succeed?

CC: "Man vs. Wild" was pretty good for zoning out and making up riffs.

SFS: You played with Perry Ferrell recently. How was that?

CC: It was at the top floor of Bloomingdale’s and it was pretty bizarre.

SFS: Wasn’t he running around in his underwear?

CC: Yeah, it was weird, but free drinks.

SFS: Was that the most bizarre show for you?

CC: We also played a stairwell. It was near a shoe store in L.A. We had another show booked in Pomona, but it got canceled. We tried to get booked somewhere else the same night, but they canceled five minutes before the show. It was a fiasco so we just played in a stairwell.

SFS: What help you transcend from that point to some of the bigger gigs you are getting now?

CC: That was back in 2004. It wasn’t so much of a jump, but a really small crawl to what we are doing now.

Magic Bullets perform April 4th at Bottom of the Hill. Tickets are $10. Doors open at 8pm and the show starts at 10pm.