More Cowbell, please 

White Cowbell Oklahoma returns to Whistler with a new live album and two bands in tow: Big John Bates and the Voo Doo Dollz and The Schomberg Fair


Who: White Cowbell Oklahoma

When: Thursday, Dec. 9, 9 p.m.

Where: Dusty's

Cost: $15

Clem Clemson wants to warn Whistler residents about an "impending rock and roll onslaught" heading our way next week.

Clemson is the front man of this little outfit known to legions of fan as White Cowbell Oklahoma (WCO), and he and his crew and heading into town along with Big John Bates and the Voo Doo Dollz and The Schomberg Fair.

"We're all rock and roll pirates on this tour, and we're actually a fleet of pirates," Clemson explained. "Usually it's the good ship White Cowbell Oklahoma alone, but this time it's Big John Bates and the Voo Doo Dollz and The Schomberg Fair. It's an impossibly overwhelming assault of the eyes, ears and groin, to be frank."

But this ensemble of pirate rockers has no real captain or first mate - there is no hierarchy on this ship of anarchy.

WCO just returned from the Rockstar Uproar Tour with Avenged Sevenfold and Disturbed, and returned to Toronto only to hit the road, yet again.

"We've taken on the pirate/carny life, and we just can't stop now!"

They took a day off on Monday. Clemson was strolling around Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, when Pique caught up with him.

"We decided not to drive to Thunder Bay today, because most of us are still drunk."

Fair enough.

The band features Clemson on vocals and guitar and Hollis P. Cartwright III on guitar. Drummer Dingo Von Devereaux was recently replaced by Luigi the Pantysniffer. Bubba Lee Phett is on bass and vocals, Chainsaw Charles mans the percussion and electric, while The Cousin Who Hath No Name plays guitar.

"We are the only thing that should be on Whistler's radar and it's more for your own safety, really," Clemson mused.

"...We're like a wolf pack of U-boats approaching the tranquil little town of Whistler, British Columbia. We're coming up that mountain, and we're actually probably going to knock the mountain right down with our sheer, explosive onslaught."

Consider yourselves warned.

The group just released (and I mean just released: it came out on Tuesday) their first live album, Viva Live Locos: Alive at the Burg Herzberg Festival . The project comes on the tail of three successful studio projects - Cencerro Blanco in 2005, Casa Diablo two years later, and Bombardero just last year. Which really raises the question: why mess with a good thing?

Well, WCO really is notorious for their live show. Pretty much anything goes at a WCO show: fire, chainsaws, topless dancers. So, they wanted to bring a bit of that magic from the live show to their fans' living rooms, cars, headphones....

"People have always talked about White Cowbell Oklahoma and their unprecedented live show, and the studio records have been critically-acclaimed world wide. But people always say the live show is like its own animal, and by listening to our records you don't get an idea. So we thought, we take a lot of pages out of the KISS and Alice Cooper book and nobody really understood KISS until they heard KISS live or they'd seen them in concert."

Clemson is confident that this album captures the spirit and energy of the original live show, recorded as the band headlined the first night of Germany's infamous annual Burg Herzberg Festival, one of Europe's biggest hippie jam festivals.

"It was like a mixture of Woodstock and Altamont put together. Just picture thousands of crazy German hippies, out of their minds on LSD, but it's 2006, not 1969!" he laughed.

"...I don't know how we actually conned these Germans into letting us headline their festival on the first night of their three-day festival, but we did, somehow, and it was sheer pandemonium."

That performance featured some rare gems from the WCO canon, including at least one eight-minute guitar solo. The whole show was recorded and broadcast on German national TV.

This year, WCO finally got their hands on the tracks and set to work mixing and mastering their first live album from the material. The end result is a truly live project that required no extra overdubbing (just take a listen to heavier tracks like Cheerleader and Faster Than Sin). They also threw in a few tracks that had their signature southern-boogie flair - Shot A Gamblin' Man, Ole Glory and Do Me So Wrong - and you really do get a sense of what it's like to see WCO, live, in all their glory. Well, minus the chainsaws and scantily clad ladies, of course.



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