Saturday, December 8, 2007

two cow garage interview

many thanks to shane from two cow garage for breaking our interview cherry as it were.

so who's in the band and what do they do?

Currently the line up is:
Andy Schell- Keys
Cody Smith- Drums
Chris Flint- Manager/sometimes guitar
Micah Schnabel- Guitar/vocals
Shane Sweeney- Bass/vocals

where does your name originate from?
A long time ago I worked at a science museum and a friend of ours and I were going to have a smoke. We were discussing the tribulations of coming up with a band name and he suggested, as a joke, Two cow garage. At our first show we still did not have a proper name so we, again as a joke, announced ourselves as Two Cow Garage. And it stuck. This could be fortunate or unfortunate depending on who you talk to. But we didn’t actually come up with it, I don’t know that any of us are that clever.

you play bass, describe your setup if you will.
Well, the thing is I play some pretty shitty gear. We tend to abuse our equipment and even aside from that expensive gear never lasts on the road. You just end up losing money on it. If I break a hundred and fifty dollar bass I don’t feel that bad, if it was like a ’59 jazz bass I wouldn’t be able to live with myself. So I play a Fender Squire P-bass through a 250 watt rogue head with a 4x10 crate cabinet.

how is the scene in your hometown of columbus?
The music scene in Columbus is pretty amazing. So is the art scene actually. There is an abundance of talent and some killer bands. Too many to name them all so I will name just three:
Times New Viking
The Evil Queens
Tree Of Snakes

what was the worst gig you guys played and why?
We played at a place in Pittsburgh, where the opening band played either bass or guitar (neither at the same time), the drummer had an electric kit, and two girls played plastic tubes. After sitting through that the manager of the place came to pay us our 8 dollars and we told him just to keep it, and he said, good that he needed to because the electricity was getting shut off the next week. This is by far not the worst but it was one that sprang to mind.

ever had any on stage injuries?
Yes. Many. I’m slightly accident prone. Guitar headstocks to the forehead happen occasionally, or small things like fingernails getting ripped. I once hit a globe lamp with the headstock of my bass. It shattered on me slicing my lip and left index finger. Everytime my heart would beat a stream of blood would come shooting out of my finger. Lots of stitches. That was probably the worst.

what's the best gig you've played and why?
Just like the bad ones, there are an inordinate amount of good ones too. Though as far as I am concerned, the recent This Is American Music, revue with the Drams, Grand Champeen, Glossary, and ourselves was the most special thing I’ve ever been a part of.

who have you shared the stage with?
This would be an extremely long list so I’ll just put some buddies that I haven’t mentioned yet.
I can Lick any sonofabitch in the house
Drag the River
Little Grizzly
Okkervil River

i hear fiddles and banjos littered thru-out 'please turn the gas back on', are you guys playing all we hear, or do you bring in session players, friends etc...?
It really just depends. I think Micah played the banjo parts on that first record and we typically have friends get involved, even if its for something that would could conceivably play ourselves. It’s more fun to have your buddies playing with you. Sometimes we just don’t have the ability to play some of the things we hear in our heads though.

why was 'III' a more rock n roll record?
Well, actually I thought the first one was a rock record, it wasn’t until it started getting reviewed that it kind of got tagged as not that. For a very long time we were a three piece and we always played with a certain kind of abandon and obviously did not have banjo or fiddle live, so they were all rock songs to us. I just think that musically we had explored what those I guess “country” instruments could do for our songs and moved onto things that interested us more. So I guess dropping those things might make it sound more that way. Though they all have been to me. I don’t know if that made any sense.

i noticed with that with the drams and glossary, that whoever wasn't on stage would rotate in and out of playing the other bands songs on stage; a guest if you will, is that normal behavior for a show or a tour of yours?
Typically if we’re on tour with some friends we’ll have one of them on stage for something, but not to the degree of the TIAM tour we just did with those guys. That was specifically set up as a rolling thunder revue type thing. And it was beautiful. We’ve all toured together, we’re all friends, we all love each others songs. It was more like a family reunion than a tour. So no its not typically like that, though we do like to have friends up occasionally.

what are some of your favorite cities or venues to play?
I’ll list them, but it would be an essay describing why.
1 New Orleans
2 Seattle
3 Columbus
4 Austin
5 Portland, Ore

1 Vera- Groningen, NL
2 Paradiso, Amsterdam, NL
3 Subterranean, Chicago

what are 5 things in columbus that keep you guys there?
1 Music scene
2 Art Scene
3 It’s incredibly liberal
4 Clintonville
5 It’s our home

my favorite records are:
This is a loaded question
1 Born to Run- Springsteen
2 Where ya been- Dinosaur Jr
3 Sleepy-Eyed- Buffalo Tom

my favorite songs not on those records are:
1 Motion Pictures- Neil Young
2 Unsatisfied- The Replacements
3 Call the Legion In tonight- Centro-Matic

if i could work with _________ life would be great.
1 Springsteen
2 John Steinbeck
3 The Coen Brothers

these records get spun on the bus the most
1 The better angels of our nature- Glossary
2 Bested- Big Back Forty
3 Nothing feels good- The Promise ring

describe the songwriting process if you will.
For me, something will just appear, and I’ll hear it in my head, be it a melody or chord progression, a good line or a title, and then I just run with it and flesh it out. I can’t sit with a guitar and just write something like it’s a job. I’ve tried, it doesn’t work for me. I wish I could, maybe I’d be more prolific.

say, did you ever see that movie, uh, 'clash of the titans'?
Yes I have. It is the single reason why I’m afraid of scorpions

well i don't want to sound like a queer or nothing, but i think unicorns are kick ass.

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