Awesome Snakes were kicking it ophidian old-school long before a certain over-hyped Samuel Jackson movie started blowing up. In fact, the duo started more than two years ago as a side project for the guitarist and drummer of Minnesota punk band The Soviettes, now styling themselves as Danny Snake and Annie Awesome. "We wanted to not just play one kind of music. We wanted to play two kinds," jokes Danny. With the Soviettes on extended hiatus, the Snakes have slithered into their own with the hugely fun debut Venom, a loose, loud set of Ramones-y tunes all about two subjects: snakes and/or things that are awesome. If Venom lacks anything, it's the ability to get specific about particular snakes–especially since the songs clock in at around 90 seconds each. So The A.V. Club tracked down the Awesome Snakes armed with a stack of research (ahem, a few Wikipedia printouts) to set the record straight. (This interview originally appeared in The A.V. Club's Twin Cities print edition.)
The longest venomous snake in the world, this Asian reptile is able to lift its head up high enough to stare a 6-foot man in the eye.
Annie: King cobra is at the top because it's scary and makes a good shoe.
The A.V. Club: It says here that a king cobra can deliver enough venom to kill a full-grown Asian elephant in three hours.
Danny: Unless you have a time machine.
AVC: Do a lot of elephants have time machines, though?
D: I can't really talk about that. Because of what I'm doing at work right now.
AVC: It's top-secret?
D: Yeah, highly classified.
Awesome Snakes Awesomeness Rating: Awesome.
A giant South American snake that kills its prey by crushing it, the anaconda was also the title villain of the 1997 Ice Cube thriller Anaconda.
AVC: If Ice Cube fought an anaconda in real life, who'd win?
D: The anaconda would win.
A: I think Ice Cube would.
D: Well, Ice Cube's got some deadly words, but he's just a man. He can probably punch pretty good. You're gonna need more than that, though.
Awesome Snakes Awesomeness Rating: Awesome-plus.
The Worm Ouroboros
A world-encircling mystical snake found in Norse mythology; described by the Greek philosopher Plato as "an immortal, perfectly constructed animal."
D: Is it like a loop?
A: Is it like a bangle?
AVC: Well, supposedly it circles the Earth, and then it eats its tail.
A: That's stupid!
D: That whole thing is bullshit. It's a zero.
A: [Laughs.] That is a flat-out lie!
Awesome Snakes Awesomeness Rating: Zero.
Mildly venomous arboreal snakes of the genus Chrysopelea.
A: There are flying snakes? Where do they live? Because I do not want to go there.
AVC: Southeast Asia, the Melanesian islands, and India.
A: I am not going there.
D: They jump from trees, right?
AVC: Yes. They're not really "flying" snakes. They're called that, but they glide instead of flying. So these snakes are fronting.
D: Pretty cool, but not all the way cool. Seven.
AVC: Is there anything these snakes could do to improve their awesomeness?
D: They could get a clue.
Awesome Snakes Awesomeness Rating: Seven.
Australasian legless lizard
Though they resemble snakes, these limbless Australian and Indonesian reptiles are actually members of the gecko family.
D: I don't know. It's not really a snake, so it can't be awesome.
AVC: Does the fact that it's only pretending to be a snake make it worse than if it were just a bad snake?
D: Well, nobody likes a perpetrator. And it is fronting a little bit, too.
Awesome Snakes Awesomeness Rating: n/a.
A huge African snake with extremely toxic venom , it's also one of the fastest snakes in the world, with a top speed of 12mph.
D: Could you outrun a black mamba on a bike? Maybe not. This snake can go as fast as a bicycle.
AVC: You would probably be okay if you were on a bicycle being chased by a mamba on another bicycle. So you need to hope it has a sense of fairness.
D: It would have to team up with a buddy mamba to catch up.
Awesome Snakes Awesomeness Rating: Eight.
A British hard-rock band formed by former Deep Purple singer David Coverdale, Whitesnake had a smash hit in 1987 with "Here I Go Again."
A: Danny doesn't like metal.
D: No, I do. I only like the heavy kind of metal, though. I don't like diet metal. I'll give it a two… No, because it's ridiculous I'll give it a four. They get some points for style. "Here I Go Again" is not the best song. Even though people sing along to it, it doesn't make it good.
Awesome Snakes Awesomeness Rating: Four.
The Western and Eastern diamondback rattlesnakes
The two main species of American rattlesnake, found respectively in the western U.S. and Mexico and in the southeastern U.S.
AVC: There's an East Coast/West Coast split going on. These snakes can't get together. They can't make peace.
A: That's not good. I do like rattlesnakes.
AVC: How could the Awesome Snakes help rattlesnakes overcome their disagreements?
D: There would be a series of discussions.
A: A roundtable.
AVC: So you'd get them together at the negotiating table to hammer out their differences?
D: They would each have to realize that something has got to give and they can't be so selfish all the time, even though they're territorial. Maybe if we bribed them and told them we'd make a really cool T-shirt design if they did get together.
Awesome Snakes Awesomeness Rating: Eight each; nine if the snakes sign an accord.
The most common reptile in North America, and also a common pet snake.
D: This snake is friendly and good for everybody. This snake can hold the key for everyone getting along.
A: I like blood pythons more.
D: Garter snakes are good for kids and old people.
Awesome Snakes Awesomeness Rating: Awesome-plus-plus.