Glorious Noise Interview with Shane Sweeney, Two Cow Garage May 3, 2009
GLONO has been keeping tabs of Columbus, Ohio’s Two Cow Garage since 2003. They epitomize today’s working band and everything we love about live music. They’re also great guys and so like their big brothers and sisters, we like to make sure they’re OK out there.
GLONO last saw Two Cow Garage on a Sunday night in Portland, Oregon at a downtown rock club called Dante’s that hosts an “industry night” for local service staff. The idea of an industry night with drink specials for those who deliver the rest of us our Bud Light and Slippery Nipples is nothing new. What is interesting is that Dante’s service night focuses on the VERY healthy sex industry in Portland.
Great to see you guys at Dante’s Sinferno night in Portland. Tell me again about the first time you played that venue on that night.
We were told that it was an early set and all of our gear had to be off stage by exactly 10:30 because there was a burlesque show afterward. Things like that happen all the time, and it was a Sunday, so I didn’t think anything about it being early or rushed. So we played and as soon as we had loaded off stage they mopped it, and put up a stripper pole. Needless to say our Midwestern modesty was not prepared for Sinferno night. People breathing and swallowing fire, go-go dancers in cages above the bar. Naked women in the green room. It was like something out of a Motley Crue video.
How is touring these days? How many dates are you averaging?
Touring is touring you know. Things gradually get better in places and some places probably never will. I’m not really sure how many dates we’re doing these days, not as many as we used to. We’ve gotten to the point where we can pick and choose a bit more, as opposed to just taking whatever shows come our way.
Any other interesting venues or bills you’ve played recently? Give us a good Road Story.
We recently played in Ft. Worth, Texas at a place called the chatroom pub, and, I won’t name the other band, but after we played the last band dressed up like alien robots, turned on a laptop and sang Phil Collins “In the Air Tonight” singing through a vocoder.
You have two relatively new members of the band; how are they holding up under your touring schedule? It can’t be easy.
Well, Andy has been with us for about 2 ½ years and this is the first touring band he has ever been in, which, can be a bit of an adjustment, but he took to it immediately, and was as excited to see new places as he was to play which was very refreshing. Cody has been touring for a long time in a variety of different bands and different situations so he’s pretty much used to everything. Though his first big tour with us was a five week tour of Europe which he had never done before.
You and Micah have been hitting the road for some acoustic dates, is that something you guys plan to do more of? What’s behind the decision to do this kind of touring?
We’ll most likely do more. This is how we make our living, you know. So whenever Two Cow has down time, for whatever reason, it just makes sense to keep playing. And now we’re to the point where people might care enough to actually come out and see us do the songs in this way. It’s actually a lot of fun for me, I mean all the songs are written on an acoustic and it’s nice to strip them back down to that. And also to play some songs that aren’t necessarily Two Cow songs.
There’s a distinct expansion of your sound and your influences on the new album Speaking in Cursive. What sparked that, do you think?
I think mostly it’s a natural progression in our song writing. Each record, I think, has been markedly different in some ways. Also playing with the people we’re playing with now, Andy, Cody, Jason Garner from the Death Ray Davies played drums on a bunch of songs before we met Cody. There was just a different energy and a lot of different perspectives.
How has the change in line-up changed how you write or play live?
Well, honestly I don’t think it’s changed all that much. Obviously Andy adds a lot of depth with the keys and can help Micah not have to carry the melody so much, but all of our records, from the very first one, have had keys on them. Its just Andy’s style of playing and his artistic interpretation of the parts that make it different. And Cody is as solid a drummer as you will find. He’s tasteful and energetic, never misses a beat.
Talked to Dustin [Harigle, original drummer] lately? How is he? What’s he up to?
I actually haven’t talked to Dustin for a while. I think the last conversation we had was about the Lego Star Wars video game. We live in different cities and so we hardly ever run into each other.
I’ll ask you what I asked in our last video feature: Any regrets?
Absolutely not. I’ve seen almost all of our country and toured through most of Western Europe, which is a hell of a lot more than I ever thought I would get to do. Are there things that I could have done better? Of course. But I don’t regret one single moment.