Dead Cowboys \ Biography
Dead Cowboys coalesced from the dust of Dust, the outfit formed by Dave Jackson and Becky Stringer after the demise of Benny Profane. Dust played gigs and recorded a couple of unreleased albums between 1991 and 1994. The band included ex-Profane drummer Liam Rice, and at different times, Ian Johnsen (Of Arrow Hill, Must Destroy) and Kenny Manson (Kit) on guitar.
Greg Milton, formerly of Jackson and Stringer's favourite Liverpool-based band, Barbel, joined as Dust's new guitar guy in late 1993. The band then decided on a name change, briefly playing as Stripwax and then Cowboy Mouth. Unfortunately, they discovered that the name Cowboy Mouth had been taken by some Scottish upstarts so the band finally settled on Dead Cowboys. As the name implies, the original concept behind the band was to indulge the group's penchant for country music and early sets reflected this, with songs very much in the Hank Williams, Gram Parsons, Merle Haggard mould. A particular live favourite was the band's heart-rending rendition of Webb Pearce's 'There Stands the Glass'.
Several drummers down the line, the band hooked up with Andrew McKechnie, Joe McKechnie's flame-haired nephew. Together with Becky's husband J.R. Kyme on rhythm guitar and mixing board, Dead Cowboys began to record their debut album, Comings and Goings. During this time, the band began to evolve away from the straight country vibe, which still informs some of their music, towards a style which this scribe can only describe as Cowgoth or post-punk Unamericana - melding their Sunday-go-to meeting songs to heavy metal, blues, torch balladry and their own roots music - the Northern English rattle, twang and drone of an 80s independent scene that spawned them.
Ex-Room mate Peter Baker pleasured the Korg organ on several tracks during a fleeting visit from Australia. Comings and Goings was released in 2000 and received glowing reviews in Uncut, Mojo and Time Out. However, the release coincided with Andrew's retirement from drumming, and the band's general preoccupation with other stuff - jobs, babies, beer brewing and skittles.
As a result Dead Cowboys played fewer gigs but eventually began recording again as a three piece in Greg's home studio. The recordings went really well and so they just kept on writing new stuff as well as resuscitating older ideas. The result is Twin Evil Stars, 18 new songs and a Joe McKechnie remix. The album also features an obligatory Christmas visit from their now abstemious antipodean keyboard player, Peter Baker, probably playing his last drink-fuelled session.
Dead Cowboys recently started playing live shows again and recalled an ex-drummer, Tony Smith. Their October 2004 performance at Hell's Ditch in Liverpool was a showcase for their moody intensity. More live activity will follow on the heels of the February release of their new album on The Boutique Label.
And there's more. Rubberboy from their last album is used in the title sequence of Dead Cool, an independent UK film by David Cohen, while several tracks off Twin Evil Stars and Comings and Goings feature in a Dave Jackson scripted short, Someone to Talk To.
Dave Jackson is currently developing a low budget science fiction feature for the UK Film Council and Box Film. Becky Stringer is perfecting Stringer's Ales with husband, J.R. Greg Milton is saying nothing - why do you want to know?