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An interview with Monty Colvin dated Friday, June 7, 2000.

By Marco P. Overvest for Art for the Ears

Once the Galactic Cowboys wrote the song 9th Of June which talked about the end of the world. Recently the band made known they've decided to go their separate ways. As a last goodbye there's a new album, Let It Go, for the fans to cherish. Because of this album I had the chance to talk with Monty Colvin from the band on the 9th of June. Not about the end of the world though, but about the end of the band. And more.

What do you think of the new album?

I think it's real good. I thought it came out real well. And I think there's some really good songs on there.

How would you like to describe the music on Let It Go compared to the other albums?

Well, it's maybe the most eclectic thing we've ever done. There's like so many different kind of styles of music and things on there. It's probably the most varied and eclectic thing we've ever done.

I hear there's a lot of variety too. Is that because you and the others still had all kinds of ideas for the band that you had to put into one album? How do you experience that?

Yeah, you know we have different writing styles within the band and I think we just like different kinds of music personally. We just end up writing different kinds of things like that. So, I guess that's the only way you can explain it.

Okay. It strikes me that the duties are more shared than before. Like Wally also did lead vocals, played drums and even bass, and Ben did also some drumming and guitar. How did that happen?

Well, I think we kind of approached it as, you know, whatever was best for the particular song. We've done some different things. We kind of threw the rules out of the window and there was a couple of songs I think Wally was wanting a different kind of bass-tone and things like that. So I said 'why don't you go ahead and play it.' And things like that. There's a couple of songs that Wally wanted to play drums on. You know, some things like that, that we didn't really worry about.

So it happened quite naturally.

Yeah. Pretty much. We just kinda tried to cooperate with each other and make it as fun as we could for each other.

Former drummer Alan Doss was involved with the making of Let It Go. But instead of him you had Jerry Gaskill of King's X and others bang the drums. As Let It Go is the final album for the band I could imagine Alan doing the last album just for fun but that's not the case. Wasn't he interested?

No. He really wasn't. I think he's more interested right now in the engineering side of things. Other things like that. He wasn't really that interested in playing. So, he didn't really play on the album but he was in there mixing it for us and helping with some of the sound things on it. So, he was involved a little bit but not really the playing.

You had an other drummer for some time, Erick Tatuaka. But he left the band. How was that experience?

We let him more or less go after the last tour. Things didn't really work out as well with him. When it came time to make the album we really didn't have a drummer and Jerry from King's X was available at the time and we asked if he liked to come in and work on the songs and do the drumming on the album. So he came in and played the drums for us. So, we had a good time with that.

As usual you wrote the majority of the songs. How do you write your songs? Does it start with something in your head or just through playing on guitar? Or does it start with a certain riff or a vocal line?

Well, that's a good question. All those things actually. A lot of times it'll just be a melody in my head that I get. Other times I will be playing guitar and come up with a riff or something and go from there. It might even be a lyrical idea, a kind of melodic idea. So, all those things. And I kind of start from there and build it from there.

Yeah and if you have some kind of melody in your head, how do you build it from there?

I usually sing it into the tape recorder and then work on it from there. Just kind of begin figuring out what kind of chords and things sound best underneath it. I just kind of build it up from there, with the guitar.

And when does the band come into vision for the song? Is the song already finished or...

On this particular album I just did demo's for the songs I wrote. I pretty much sat down with an 8-track recorder and put the drum ideas with the drum machine and have a full sounding tape done. With the full sounding songs with all the parts done. So that's what I did on this one. I just send them down a tape of how I thought it sounded and we kind of took it from there.

So, there's no real brushwork from the band?

There was some, yeah. But this album was a little different. Always in the past they've had more to do when we actually worked the songs out. But this time it was more sending down the songs. They came out sounding pretty close to the way they were on the tape when I send them.

Aha. Let's talk about the decision to stop. In the lyrics on Let It Go it seems the band talks about reasons for disbanding. Like in the song Disney's Spinning it talks about bands with an evil image having successes. I read frustration in that song. Can you tell me why exactly did the band stop?

Well, I think it's a lot of those things. We did if for ten years. At least me and Ben did. And I think it just reached the point where I felt we'd taken it as far as it needed to go for now. I was kind of wanting to branch out and do some other things which will include, hopefully, my own band and a solo album and things like that. Those are all reasons. I think some of the frustration down to the years entered into it. But basically, from myself, it was a kind of a decision, I wanted to go my own direction now. And be the lead singer of my own band.

I was wondering, because Alan Doss -he was one of the original members- quit the band. Did that have something to do with the final decision to stop?

Not really. I think we just kind of decided this before we started this album that this would maybe be the last one, for a while anyway. You know, I think it was kind of the three of us deciding that now was the time. Alan didn't really have anything to do with it.

You said 'the last one for a while'. What do you mean with that?

Well, I'm leaving the door open for future things with the guys. We're parting on really good terms. So, who knows what will really happen in the future but I'm not opposed to getting back together at some point and doing another album or something like that. It's not like we're saying 'never again'. For now I'm gonna concentrate on a solo career. That's where I'm headed but I don't close the door on anything.

When I read the lyrics in Swimming In December I almost got that impression that you close the door. You sing about 'Eleven years of wonder; I never figured out; The one who knows the score; But I'm not playing anymore.' It sounds so final.

Yeah (laughs). I think at that point....I actually wrote that a year or two ago and at that point I was really going through a lot of frustration in my life. We just were contemplating if it all was worth it and that kind of thing. It didn't totally have everything to do with the band, that song. I mean, it had to do with a lot with my life and things like that. I wasn't totally talking about the band but that entered into it.

When I read that song there's a lot of....It seems you're very disappointed, discouraged. Am I right? At that time when you wrote the song? 

Yeah, I think at that time I was. You know, we've been through a lot. We've had some real good times too and I think there are other songs that really express the happiness of life. There's always those points in your life when you do get down or discouraged and as artists you have that vehicle to write a song and kind of vent. I think that's kind of what I was doing there.

Yeah, to express yourself, your feelings at that time.


I would like to talk about the artwork on the CD. It leaves me with an impression about how you felt at the time with the kid on the front cover who's having those balloons. He looks rather sad. And on the back of the CD he released the balloons and he's going crazy as if it's kind of a release. He's happy 'yeah, it's over!'.

Yeah, you know I must say that's cool of you to notice that. Because that's pretty much exactly what I had in mind. I think the front cover basically expresses the sadness of it which, I think, for Ben and our fans.....They've expressed a lot of the sadness of the coming to an end. And I think the back-cover was really for me (laughs). For me it's more of a happy time. It's more of a release. It's like, 'okay let's go onto something new'. But it's releasing the past and things like that. So, that's very cool you would notice that though.

Yeah. But the balloons still look bright.

Yeah.(both laugh)

What did you hope to achieve with the Galactic Cowboys?

I think in some ways we actually achieved probably what we set out to do. Just do some really creative stuff. Hopefully do some experimenting with music and push the boundaries a little bit of what we could do personally and artistically. I think we did a lot of that. You know, maybe we didn't reach the heights we hoped to reach, as far as reaching the mass audience and maybe selling as many albums as we thought we would. But, overall we were abled to sustain for ten years and had a good career out of it.

Okay, so overall it's all right, or not?

I think there's always some good and bad things. There are things that you wish hadn't have happened. And there's things you really can't complain about. I think we've made some really great albums. There's probably some things with the industry, with recordlabels, that you would have hoped would have been different. Overall it's been a pretty good ride.

What would you like people to remember the Galactic Cowboys for?

Hopefully just the music. That it was creative, melodic. Good songwriting and that we were fun. Hopefully they'll remember that. We had a good time doing it, whether we were writing a sad song or a happy song, we always enjoyed doing it and had a lot of fun.

Okay, I would like to look into the future a bit now. What are the members going to do? Take for instance Ben.

I'm not real sure what he's gonna do. I know Wally is gonna build his own studio, I think. As I am. I think Wally is planning on doing an album of some kind. I'm not sure what direction he'll be going. He's planning on doing some recording on his own. As I am. So, hopefully there will be more music coming your way.

Let's hope so (laughs). You said you're gonna start a solo career. How far is that?

Well, I'm shopping tapes right now. I've got a new band together. We're called Crunchy. And, you know, we're....



The band is crunchy.

That's the name of the band and that's kind of the feel of the music. It's fun kind of stuff. Melodic rock with kind of a heavy edge to it. Rocking guitars. Crunchy guitars. Crunchy is the name of the band and it's basically gonna be my little pet solo project, band thing.

Will it be through Metal Blade you're gonna do something?

It's possible. I'm talking to them right now and they seem to be interested so far. So, we'll see.

I'm very interested in how that's gonna sound like.

It's gonna be a kind of melodic, rocking pop thing I guess. I hate to use the word pop as there is a lot of punk and that kind of feel to it. The best way I can describe it, it's kind of Foo Fighters kind of thing where it's real high energy and yet real melodic. But there's gonna be lively elements that are still with Galactic, like the harmonies. Lot of Beatles influence. That's not going away.

Sounds cool.


I'm very interested how that's gonna sound like.

Oh, great! I'm hoping to get to work on maybe recording that this summer. I'm really hopeful that will happen. So maybe early next year we'll have something out.

I'm looking forward to that as I'm a fan. I was kind of sad with the news of the breaking up. So, it's cool you're doing something solo. There's something to fill the void.

I think you're really gonna dig it. I think our fans will really jump on board with it. I mean, there's a lot of stuff even on this album, Let It Go, that I actually wrote for the solo thing. But I put them on there. Like the last song on the album and the first song, T.I.M. were both written for the solo thing.

The last song is The Record Ends, you mean?

Yeah. I wrote that song and T.I.M. for Let It Go. I actually wrote those intending them to be on the solo thing. But I just ended up putting them on the Galactic thing. It's still gonna be that kind of rocking melodic stuff. So I think Galactic fans will really like it.

And how important is music to you?

Uh, well I don't want to overstate its importance but it's very important. I pretty much eat, sleeping, drinking, breathe it, you know, pretty much all the time. I wake up in the morning thinking about it and go to bed thinking about songwriting and songs. But it can't replace family and love and things like that. So, you got to keep it in perspective. But it's very important and it's what I do. It's a great outlet for me.

You feel the need to express yourself through music?

Yeah, it seems to be the thing that God has given me. To get things that are inside of me out more. So, I'm thankful for that.

One question about the Galactic Cowboys. Is there's gonna be some sort of final effort you're gonna do to support the new album?

Well, at this point we don't have any plans. We'll just have to see. We don't have any tour plans or anything. It doesn't necessarily mean we wouldn't do one if the right situation arose. But, at this point, it would take a really great tour to go out and do it. But, you never know.

You mean lots of dates to convince you to start something like that?

Kind of what I'm saying....If Metallica calls and asks us to go on tour, of course we're gonna do it (laughs). Outside of that we don't have plans to go out and do a headline tour by ourselves. We're human so if the right thing comes along we're probably not turning it down.

So when you have a chance to fulfill a dream to tour with Metallica you will jump on the bandwagon?

Yeah, that would probably be too good of an opportunity to pass up, you know.

Yeah! I was wondering what you're gonna do with the studio you've build with the Galactic Cowboys, the Sunflower Studio. Is that gonna be used somehow for your solo projects?

Actually, what we've done is we've splitted the equipment among us. We're actually building our own studios from that. I actually got enough equipment out of that studio that I'm gonna put some other stuff with it and build my own. So, I think it's gonna work out really good for all of us. I'm really excited.

I've got one final question. What would you like to say to the Galactic Cowboys fans worldwide?

Well, we've gotten a lot of great response on the internet on our webpages and things like that. They said some really nice things and expressed their support and their sadness that we are breaking up or that we're not gonna be recording for a while anyway. You know, I just want to express that we really appreciate that. And we appreciate the fans. Hopefully they'll enjoy this new album we've got coming out and that they'll stay with us and support us on our solo projects. And things like that. On our future endeavors in the music business.