SEXY PEE STORIES AND
OTHER CUNNING STUNTS
AS TOLD BY COWS
This Interview by Tim Merrill originally appeared (except for
the graphics) in Exclaim, a music paper in Toronto, Canada.
In an abandoned field in Minneapolis Minnesota, a three stomached four headed beast has been grazing for about eight years, feeding off a diet of head candy, cheap booze, and an abstract appreciation of country music, rythmn and blues, and fucked up jazz. Shannon Selberg and his band COWS have been cooking up tasty cow pies for Amphetamine Reptile Records since 1989, and through six killer albums and legendary relentless touring the COWS remain one of the most amazing, and underated punk rock bands out there today outstanding in their field (no pun intended!)
COWS are: Shannon "Two Pull" Selberg, vocals and bugle; Thor "Teeny" Eisentrager, Guitar; Kevin "Freckles" Rutmanis, Bass; and Norm "Jingles" Rogers, Drums.
I'll tell you my sexy pee story ...
Exclaim: What makes you want to do another tour Shannon?
Shannon: Getting to hang out with these swell guys.
Norm: I thought he was asking us what makes it worth doing Shannon.
Kevin: I just like playing and writing songs. It's just one of the things I do.
Exclaim: Is this the start or the tail end of your tour? Any screwed up tour stories so far?
Kevin: It's the start of the tour, so no nifty stories yet.
Exclaim: It seems to me that COWS comes across like a joke band to a lot of people because of what you do on stage. Do you think people take it too lightly or too seriously?
COWS: Wow, that's complex.
Shannon: Well, I think a lot of it goes right over peoples heads. They just look for the obvious and don't dig very deep.
Exclaim: So it's just the visual aesthetic that people take in?
Shannon: No. They can hear distorted guitars and say, "hey that's punk, you guys must be like Flipper. What category do you fit in?".
Exclaim: How do you feel the COWS fit into the 90's with all the P.C movement? I've heard stories of people spreading screwed up stories of you guys being mysoginistic and the like. Do you feel people are taking the COWS the wrong way, and just need to relax and enjoy themselves?
Shannon: Well I thought people were taking some things at face value, but I live a sheltered life.
COWS: Do the COWS have an agenda or plan for world domination?
Norm: Yes, but it's a secret.
Exclaim: So one day you'll just say what it is?
Norm: No, but you'll just definitely know.
Exclaim: Kevin and Thor, how did you guys develop your "guitarded" playing styles?
Thor: I think it's evolved. We wanted to play something different, and Kevin was playing these beautiful bass riffs. We wanted to do something pretty unconventional, and we work hard on it. It doesn't just come off. We work hard on the timing and changes, and riffs.
Exclaim: It seem like the COWS have been going on as one of the great undiscovered punk bands of the past few years. Do you keep trudging on regardless of what people think, or does it piss you off that the band is like a diamond in the rough?
Shannon: Well you can only do what you do, know what I mean? You can only talk like you talk, or write like you write. It kind of sucks to see bands who you're better than on TV, and driving Mercedes and shit.
Exclaim: I guess it all depends on what you want to do.
Shannon: Well I wouldn't mind.
Norm: I'll drive their Mercedes.
Shannon: Can I borrow your Mercedes?
Thor: We play music that we like. We know how the world works. We're not trying to make music for mass consumption. Sometimes you get frustrated, but it's all about music. Episodically you get pissed off, but we've had a fair shake with the band, and we've had good tours. Basically we wish more people could get their hands on the records, but we know what we're doing and like what we do. It's not like somebody is trying to fuck with us, or ignore us. It's just the nature of the beast.
Norm: You know there's bands out there touring who get $100 a night. They might be around for one year or five years, but we're lucky compared to them.
Shannon: We will be vindicated by history.
Thor: I could care less about the people who slag us. We'll be around longer than the little people who write for their magazines and don't like us. We're not going anywhere, we're here for the long haul. We feel like we're getting better at what we do every year as we learn about new things like recording and technology.
Shannon: It seems like a lot of fans and writers are looking for the next Nirvana, and aren't listening to the music, but just playing some little prediction game, and we're just not gonna play into that.
Thor: A lot of kids are being bought up by major labels, and not learning to work for themselves. You can probably have integrity on a major label, but that's up to you personally, not the label
Norm: Everytime I pick up a fanzine, it amazes me who's getting signed. Everybody is getting signed by labels like Interscope, and they're all looking for the next Nirvana. If they can't get that, then they'll just make it a wider range to support that scene.
Shannon: All this major money just took what should have been a lot of bands exchanging ideas and competing with each other musically, and just turned it into showbiz.
Exclaim: Is playing before a crowd therapy for you Shannon? What do you usually do before a show to get psyched into it.
Shannon: Usually I read the bible, and I pray a lot. Then I drink a lot of beer and throw up, and then drink a lot more beer.
Norm: Do you do Yoga like Hank does?
Exclaim: Do you think the COWS are therapy for the crowd?
Shannon: I should hope so.
Anonymous Voice: More like who cares.
Shannon: Yeah, it's like throwing your money away therapy.
Exclaim: How often do people try to mess with you on stage.
Shannon: Once in a while it happens. People try and steal shit.
Exclaim: Where do you get most of your toys on stage Shannon? (Ie: dildoes, mousetraps, blowup dolls).
Shannon: Well, the Salvation Army. Lying around in the street. A lot of good stuff can be found in gas station in places like Arkansas and Iowa.
Kevin: Once on stage a guy took a lit cigarette and popped the asshole out of a blowup doll I had just bought. I was mad!
Norm: He wanted to fight the guy.
Exclaim: Do you have any sexy pee stories to tell about the stage or any tours?
Shannon: Well I like to kiss a fella once in awhile
Kevin: Oh yeah. There was a girl masturbating beside the stage one time. I don't even think she knew she was doing it.
Exclaim: Did you stop and watch?
Kevin: No I did not. I played and watched.
Exclaim: Have any of your parents come to your shows?
Shannon: My parents have. They thought it was VERY interesting.
Shannon: My Mom thought it was fun, but didn't hear any music in it. She thought the Beatles were white formalist noise.
Exclaim: So what do you guys do besides play?
Shannon: I draw once in awhile.
Norm: I'm a bartender. A mixologist.
Thor: I'm a security guard during the day at the museum of art in Minneapolis.
Exclaim: Is this where you shot the cover for Sexy Pee Story?
Thor: No, but it's a send off of the place.
Exclaim: So you were telling me you can't get a hold of your first album "Taint Pluribus, Taint Unum", anymore.
Shannon: No you cannot.
Kevin: There was talk of rereleasing it, but I don't know what happened to that.
Exclaim: Haze (Tom Hazelmyer-AmRep Big Cheese) ought to do it.
COWS: Well you tell Haze to do it! Put it in the interview.
Exclaim: Ok. Haze, please re-release Taint Pluribus!!!
Exclaim: Any songs floating out there that you wish you wrote?
Kevin: I remember wishing that we had written "Cannibal" by Scratch Acid.
Norm: Either that or any of the great Alice Cooper songs.
Exclaim: It seems like the COWS are entertainment for all ages. Is there any chance of the COWS hosting a kids show on TV. You'd be great Shannon!
Shannon: I would guess not!
Exclaim: The animated adventures of the COWS?
Thor: The terms of our probation prohibit that sort of thing.
Kevin: They'd have to be interested in the real adventures of the COWS first!
Norm: It would be hard to draw.
Exclaim: Like Fritz The Cat perhaps?
Shannon: No, more like that Fat Albert gang.
Exclaim: What made you want to pick up the bugle anyways Shannon?
Shannon: I got bored with singing, and I said, "I wanna play somthing too.."
Exclaim: How far do you want to go with the bugle thing?
Shannon: Well there's no big demand for bugle players in the orchestra. There's no session guys who play bugle.
Exclaim: Your songs mostly deal with three things: losers, sex, and bodily fluids. Are these the things you see outside your window Shannon?
Shannon: No, those are the things I see inside my house.
Exclaim: What do you expect people to take home from a COWS show?
Norm: And a t-shirt.
Exclaim: Tinnitus and a t-shirt.