The metal-with-a pop-centre band return – and this time they’ll be careful not to be seen as "King’s X's little brother”.
Galactic Cowboys sit near the top of the league table of Great Lost Bands Of The 90s. Like a heavier version of fellow Texans King’s X, the Houston four-piece pitched themselves as Metallica-meetsThe Beatles, welding the heavy-duty riffing of the former to the latter’s anything-goes approach. Seventeen years after they split up, the Cowboys have returned with a new album, Long Way Back To The Moon. Vocalist Ben Huggins explains how they achieved lift-off again.
Whose idea was it to get back together? Bill Evans, who is acting as our rep for [new label] Mascot, called Monty [Colvin, bass] three years ago, asking if we had any interest in getting back together. Monty said: “Let me make some calls.” I was like: “Yes, I’ll do it.” I gotta tell you, I have missed Galactic Cowboys for a long time. I was the last one holding on back then. I didn’t want the band to end.
Why did you split up?
Offers for tours were drying up, we had our budget for the last album [2000’s Let It Go] cut, people were starting to grumble. It was a spiralling thing.
You were originally signed to Geffen, the same label as Nirvana, and your debut album came out a month before Nevermind. Did that help or hinder your band?
I can give you a quote from Gary Gersh, who signed us. They were stoked about us, we were having constant conversations with the label. And then when Nirvana took off it was like [makes shutting-down sound] – nothing. They put out one more album and then they lost interest in us: “Yeah, you’re gonna have to leave now.” You were closely associated with King’s X. Too closely, maybe?
Those guys were our friends, they were great for us, but it was tough being King’s X’s little brother. It did stifle us a little bit. I don’t regret it, but I just wish we’d done more with other people as well.
The Cowboys had a unique sound. Did audiences get what you were doing back then?
It confused some people. We did our first real tour supporting Overkill, who were just balls-to-thewall thrash metal. We went on and did our thing with an acoustic guitar and a harmonica, and people were just getting angry. I got dragged into the pit by my hair at a club in Pittsburgh. I had to fight my way out and back on stage, but I carried on playing. It was like I had been baptised by the crowd: “Okay, they didn’t kill me and now they’re getting into it.”
“I got dragged into the pit by my hair, but I carried
Individually you’re all Christians, but you never pushed Galactic Cowboys as a Christian band. Why not?
I’m not a minister, I’m not a preacher, I’m not an evangelist. I’m a singer in a rock band. If you hire a Christian plumber, do you ask him to do a sermon before he clears your drain?
Do you wonder if the world needs a new Galactic Cowboys album?
The world didn’t need the first six or seven! We did it because we wanted to do it. There’s something about creating this thing that’s totally your own, with your patented sound, that’s totally fulfilling. Yeah, there’s some selfishness there, but I don’t care. DE
Long Way Back To The Moon is released on November 17 via Mascot.