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More (White)Cowbell!

Banned from the Holiday Inn and hated by Toronto press, psych-rock juggernaut White Cowbell Oklahoma returns to Halifax for some love.


Last October, White Cowbell Oklahoma covered Halifax in pumpkin guts sprayed from a whirring chainsaw. This year, they're back to serenade you with songs from their third album, Bombardero, and celebrate a whopping 10 years as a band. Only time will tell if Tuesday's show with Iron Giant at the Seahorse will be as wild as last year's. "It was pretty explosive, I must say," says frontman Clem C. Clemson. "Much of that had to do with the enthusiasm of the Halifax crowd as much as the snowballing juggernaut of shame that is WCO."

Ten years is a long time to be a snowballing juggernaut. To what does White Cowbell Oklahoma owe its longevity? "It's an unrelenting---almost bordering on mean-spirited---desire to just not go away," says Clemson. "That would be just too convenient for all the naysayers that are just dropping like flies. We have outlived every fruitfly music critic. Some people in the Toronto region have just written us off. And yet we don't go away and they do. We find that immensely satisfying."

Clemson reminisces about some of the high points for the band in the last 10 years: "Touring Europe six times, we played an enormous metal festival and rubbed shoulders with Iron Maiden, played to over 40,000 people, all this while Toronto press tried to continually write us off." In Toronto press' defense, the twangy psych-rock antics of the sextet isn't for everyone. Including, as it turns out, Holiday Inns everywhere.

"We got banned from the Holiday Inn chain of hotels after a particularly sordid night in Calgary," says Clemson. "We immortalized the evening in question by putting a photo on the cover of our seven-inch." When totalling hotel rooms isn't an option, entire provinces will do. WCO is grateful to have had the chance to "go from province to province and leave craters in our wake."

This tour breaks new ground---the band heads to Newfoundland for the first time. "We've actually rented the ferry to be private for our disposal. Just us and Iron Giant and a few hundred of our closest Maritime friends, it's actually going to be a clothing-optional cruise," jokes Clemson. "We often float, but not on water, more on our own hallucinogenic air."

The band's devotion to hallucinogens comes across in Bombardero. "It's like a Bosch painting, there's actually Bosch art on the album," says Clemson. "It's dark and infernal and it's a lot more proggy than its predecessors. We took a lot of acid and listened to Zappa."

The next 10 years are up in the air. "We've been listening to Funkadelic and Krautrock, so maybe we'll put those together. Or maybe we'll go in a Sabbathy direction or do a country album," says Clemson. "We haven't decided on a direction we are going to go in, it's just so exciting right now."

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