"I don't usually go through the whole story, but I will for you guys." So begins Monty Colvin's explanation for the title of the newest Galactic Cowboys album, The Horse That Bud Bought. The title of the album comes from a line in the song "Oregon," which discusses a significant experience in Monty's childhood. "We were living in Phoenix," he remembers, "and we sold our home and a lot of our possessions, and me and my mom and dad moved up to Oregon to live in kind of a Christian commune. This was, like, the early 70's, and it was kind of a time when everything was kind of, like, big on the end times. So we all lived on this farm, and basically, it ended up being a really bad experience. It kind of turned into a cult-like thing, with the leadership there. So we ended up leaving."
Well, that explains it, doesn't it? Not really. What's this about a horse, and who is Bud? "Bud is my dad," he continues, "and the fact is that he had bought a horse for me, and put it on the farm. And there was a lot of jealousy and whatnot over the horse. And it ended up being a problem to where they even said that the horse was an abomination to God.' And that is what triggered us to leave. When we heard that, we were just like, No way, we're outta here!' It had become kind of a control thing, and once we realized it wasn't of God, we got out. But I think we learned a lot. It was just weird."
Does Monty's dad have a problem with his name being all over the album, especially with such a situation? Wouldn't he be offended, or even embarrassed? "In fact, I checked with him, and he was real cool with it. He was actually flattered by it. Besides, I pretty much clearly state in the song that it wasn't his fault."
It seems the song "Tomorrow" was written out of frustration with the music scene at large. As you read in the GC piece in issue #63, the boys got a little frustrated around the time their labelmates, Nirvana, made it big, because that meant that the Cowboys weren't going to be pushed as hard, or pushed at all. "Tomorrow" seems to be a final statement of that frustration, asking the industry what it will do once the so-called "new music revolution" is over: "Pay no attention to quality, churning out the pap like a factory . . . with all apologies to LA and Seattle, cloning is artistic suicide." Quite a statement, but not surprising, considering it comes from a band who has never bowed to trends. "Still today, there's such an obsession with, You gotta be really cool, and fit in this box of what's alternative,' or whatever you call it.' And you know, I'm sick of all those things. That's all (the song) is about. We're just a band that plays music."
That attitude comes through in the music. Galactic Cowboys have always been able to stay current, without being dated. "We tried to do everything with a little more vibe of just being us. I don't know. We just, recording-wise, tried some different guitar sounds, some different bass sounds, and drum sounds. I think it's still basically us, but it has more of a melodic pop feel than Machine Fish. I guess that's kind of what it's like. We still just consider ourselves a rock band. We weren't really worried about being heavy or macho or anything."
It's apparent such a worry wasn't there, as the album's artwork once again painted by Monty features an expected painting of a horse, but that horse is surrounded by pretty flowers. "Yeah, I don't know," he laughs. "We are a rock band. We rock live, and I think the album rocks. But I guess (the artwork) is just an expression of that pop feel. There's an idea that if you're heavy, you've gotta have a skull, you know, and a cover that's, like, so cliché."
As many know, and have known for years, the members of this band are Christians, and, like every aspect of their lives, hints of their faith occasionally surface in the form of lyrics. For instance, "I Can't Wait" may very well be a reference to the rapture, with lyrics like, "All the changing of the times and changing of the channels / I care more because of what's in store / I care more because I know the score / I can't wait." In spite of this, Monty explains, any spiritual leanings in the band's lyrics are not exactly measured out like cans of water in concentrated orange juice. "It's not something we sit down and calculate," he explains. "Ben wrote a lot of the lyrics on this album, and I know he's got some deep ones. I just write from my heart, and if that's in there, it's probably because I'm a Christian. But I never sit down and calculate how much spiritual content is in there."
Regardless, there was word, when last we reported on the band's goings on, that Metal Blade would start pushing the band's product in the CBA market. But according to Monty, that hasn't necessarily happened but it still could. "I know that's still the plan," he says, "to get our CD's into that market. But still, it's like, if a person really wants to buy our albums, they can still buy em at the local record store. They're out there, but yeah, we are still trying to get em everywhere."
The boys seem to be doing okay financially anyway. While most bands don't even know what an advance from a record label is (money the label gives you for the album before you record), the band used theirs to build a studio. "Outside of that," says Monty, "we're doing great. We're not rich rock stars, but we're surviving."
Such is the life for a hard rock band in 1997. Another thing they did this year was to make a video for a song on the record called "Evil Twin," which Monty describes as "a heavy pop song about blaming your problems on other people." The video was produced by Frank Hart, so expect quality there. "The video shoot was a lot of fun, a lot of hilarity," he remembers. "We also have some animation in it. It's kind of what you'd expect. It has us changing into different characters. It was a blast to make."
No matter where you buy the CD, or what's painted on the cover, the Galactic Cowboys are just as thoughtful, just as relevant, and just as hard rocking as ever.
Return to Current Issue