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On The Verge: The Orwells

The underage Illinois rockers return to ”Letterman” on June 10 to celebrate their new record, ”Disgraceland;” frontman Mario Cuomo gives us boat tales and hair tips

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Your band famously got signed when you were all very young. What kind of scene did you grow up in?
When we first started playing shows, it was mostly kids’ garages and basements. We were all big Strokes fangirls, so we did a bunch of Strokes covers. Only a couple of band practices went by before we made our first [original] song, and from there on out we would make a new song every Friday for the rest of high school.

You had a great moment a few months ago on Letterman when you performed ”Who Needs You.” Dave demanded an encore, and Paul Shaffer sang along. How did that feel?
[We couldn’t tell if] they actually enjoyed it or if they were just mocking us, but then we got asked back. [Dave] really liked it, and I think he was totally genuine. I went into it hoping a bunch more people would hear about us, and it did all that you could ask for. I was stoked that random people sitting in their houses with their families saw it.

This past year you toured with the Arctic Monkeys, then you were booked on the Weezer cruise with acts like Cat Power and Toro y Moi. Is it weird to perform on a boat?
Yeah, especially just being in the middle of the f—ing ocean. You’re surrounded by the color blue. It’s kind of weird, but so much fun. Everybody was cool and drinking the whole time, and you could gamble.

You’re a really physical performer. Have you ever gotten hurt on stage?
We were playing at a snowboard shop in Chicago the other day, I had the mic in my mouth, and some kid just yanked the cord when it wasn’t ready to come out. That hurt pretty bad. But I’ve been lucky — I’ve only been electrocuted once.

You have very impressive rock & roll hair, too.
People like looking at it bounce around and s—. I’m milking it. I’m not getting it cut.