The Cowboys never wanted to be a punk group, lead singer Keith Harman said. However, they said they’ve still managed to incite passionate reactions from audiences.
For instance, at a live show in Dunn Meadow, a group of onlookers targeted them with golf balls.
The golfers were actually members of an off-campus fraternity nearby, he said.
The Cowboys were scheduled to perform at a house, but after cops shut down the show, they moved all their gear and crowd to the field so they could still play.
“We knew we were going to get in trouble, but we did it,” guitarist Mark McWhirter said. “It was so cool.”
The Bloomington band will perform again Tuesday, this time indoors at the Bishop.
The band formed in the summer of 2012 and originally only played covers.
When the Cowboys finally started to play full sets of original music, the sound was so up-tempo people immediately labeled the group as a punk band, Harman said.
“That’s just kind of what we got lumped into,” drummer Jordan Tarantino said.
The band blames the unwanted tag on their first EP as well.
If Harman could go back in time, he said, he would change the Cowboys’ first EP by adding a few slower songs to diversify the record.
“I just don’t want to be a punk band,” he said.
McWhirter said the group has a lot of appreciation for the vibrant punk scene in Bloomington but never intended to be a part of it.
“There’s a lot of people in that scene that actively seek each other out,” he said. “We don’t do that.”
In fact, McWhirter said he tends to enjoy watching the older musicians in town more than his contemporaries, and wouldn’t mind becoming one of them some day.
“There’s this old, veteran Bloomington garage rock kind of thing,” McWhirter said. “We really like some of those older people who made music here back in the day.”
Harman writes most of the songs and said the newest Cowboys tracks are more to his liking.
“I’m hoping that the songs are starting to diversify a bit,” he said.
While the Cowboys wait for the time and resources to record their new songs, McWhirter said they’re busy selling their first vinyl record.
Bassist Zackery Worcel made a connection with a St. Louis musician who offered to print a record for them, so the band collected 14 of the best songs from their three EPs and took him up on the offer, Harman said.
“He heard us, and he saw us, and he liked us, and he said, ‘Do a record,’” Harman said.
McWhirter said the Cowboys were thrilled with the result.
“It was a pleasant surprise,” he said.