Madcowboys grow up
Calgary band stays together despite various hurdles
After years of partying, touring and promoting albums, Calgary’s Madcowboys are turning down the craziness.
Health problems, an upcoming wedding and one member moving to Vancouver have forced the boys to grow up and look at their lives as individuals, not as a unit.
“These things cause there to be less activity in the band,” said drummer Will Schatz. “Your relationships get more serious, and when they do, you want to leave home less.
“Health can also slow you down. The lifestyle can take its toll.”
Since 2003, the band has been performing in-your-face angsty punk. Unreserved and uncaring, their music is straight-forward loud, fast punk rock dressed up with honest, yet cynically funny lyrics, topped with personality, and doused with intensity.
And years of constant intensity meant time away from home and being in a van laying rubber on the highway for months. It started taking its toll on the guys mentally and physically.
“For a long time, everything in our lives took second place to the band, so it’s really nice to be getting back to some organic-type shit and growing all the other parts of our lives,” said lead singer Mike McLeod.
“We’re just figuring out what we love about the band and what we fucking hated about the band and seeing where we land after that.”
A serious shoulder injury has plagued Schatz for the past year, and with his girlfriend living in Vancouver, the chance to settle down and recuperate seemed like his only option.
With the pace and the pain, his condition was deteriorating to the point of not being able to play at all.
One “Goodbye Will” party and an engagement later, many of the band’s dedicated fans were worried that was going to be it. There were even rumours of their demise floating around.
Playing two shows in the last six months and the distance (literally) between members doesn’t help.
What does all of this mean for fans? Nothing, say band members, as they’re still together.
Their most recent show at The Broken City was a beer-soaked, adrenalin-fueled entire-room mosh-pit.
“It kind of took us by surprise,” McLeod said. “Of course feelin’ some bat-shit love like that makes us want to get up there more often, but it’s a bit of a catch-22.
“If we did start playing more, people would stop coming out and getting as wild as they do. You know, that ol’ supply and demand thing.”
The crowd’s intensity made it one of the best shows of the fall season, and many fans seem like they’d be happy to do it every week. But, even with demand still high, the supply is low and will be for some time to come.
While each member is keeping a low profile, they are still looking to get into the studio and do some recording in the near future. Whether it will be a full-length or a seven-inch split, they haven’t decided.
“We’ve all been talking about what’s next,” McLeod said. “We had about four songs that were cruisin’ at a seven inch, but then Will moved away and that got put on the back burner.”
With Schatz being back in the Calgary area over the upcoming holiday season, “there’s an extremely good chance” they will record some more tracks. So does this mean more touring, and more shows around the country?
“I wouldn’t hold your breath for another month-long cross-Canada,” McLeod said.
“Very unlikely, but stranger things have happened,” echoed Schatz.
The band is in a spot where they all seem happy to grow up and move forward in their own directions. Their personal contentment showed in the cohesion they had as a group at their recent show in Calgary.
“To be honest, I find the dynamic of the band is better now than it has been for a long time,” McLeod said. “It’s fun as shit again, it’s playing music with buddies and not all the business bullshit.
“We ain’t stopping, just relaxing and having fun.”