The Detroit Cobras’ Rachel Nagy Has Died

Doug Coombe

The Detroit Cobras’ Rachel Nagy Has Died

Doug Coombe

Rachel Nagy, leader of the garage-rock band the Detroit Cobras, has died.

“There are no words to fully articulate our grief as we remember a life cut short, still vital and inspirational to all who knew and loved her,” her bandmate Greg Cartwright wrote in a post on the group’s official Facebook page. “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.”

Nagy joined the Detroit Cobras in 1994 after she was recruited by guitarist Mary Ramirez. Their debut album, Mink, Rat Or Rabbit, came out in 1998, and it featured covers of songs by acts like the Marvelettes, the Shirelles, and the Shangri-Las. After releasing Life, Love And Leaving in 2001, they got swept up in the city’s garage-rock revival that was spearheaded by the White Stripes. They released two more albums, 2004’s Baby and 2007’s Tied & True (both via Rough Trade) and made a name for themselves as formidable live performers. Their first two albums were reissued by Third Man Records in 2016.

“In both her voice and personality, Rachel Nagy was the perfect balance of tough badass and absolute sweetheart,” the label wrote in an Instagram post. “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.”

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