Sharing Space with Ben Huggins of GALACTIC COWBOYS
Interview by Christopher J. Kelter - March, 1999
Currently on tour with KING'S X, the GALACTIC COWBOYS are another band that have survived through personnel changes, label swaps and the unavoidable fickleness of Joe Public. East Coast Correspondent Christopher J. Kelter caught up with the band's Ben Huggins during the current tour in support of the Cowboy's newest release, "The End of the Day."
Rough Edge: Are
you enjoying the tour with King's X?
Ben Huggins: Yeah, it's been real good.
Rough Edge: Obviously, Galactic Cowboys are friends with King's X and you've toured together in the past, but this seems to be a long tour including Europe - does that make this tour special?
Ben Huggins: Well, it is the longest we've toured together. We've done several four and six week tours over the years, but this is the longest we've ever toured with King's X. We did eight weeks in the fall, seven weeks this winter and we're about done with the seven weeks now. We've got five weeks to do in Europe. It's a long time together, but we're all good friends. Sometimes we get on each others nerves, but for the most part it's lighthearted.
Rough Edge: Are there any areas in the U.S. that you still get airplay?
Ben Huggins: When it comes to radio I don't think we have a market, I mean there's usually some airplay on the really big markets, but mostly it's college stations and specialty shows with some smaller markets. I think that to have any major success in the United States you'd have to cram it down people's throats. But I wish sometimes that someone would step out on a limb, say "I like this a lot and I don't care if it's on the playlist or not - I'm gonna play it." It doesn't happen because radio programmers are afraid because radio isn't about music anymore - it's about connections, favors, and pleasing major labels.
Rough Edge: Are you happy about the positive response the new album, "At The End Of The Day" is getting?
Ben Huggins: Yeah, we're getting a real good response. There's always those that just don't like what we do and that's fine - that's their opinion. But, for the most part, the press has been great, people that didn't like "The Horse That Bud Bought" are liking this album. I can't put my finger on what it is that makes one album work over another. It's all part of what we do and it happened to click this time around. We're getting a real good response out of Europe, too. Reviews all the way around are good. People coming to the shows are saying "Wow, I
didn't know you had a new album out - I gotta go get the new album!"
Rough Edge: How do the fans in Europe react to Galactic Cowboys' music - particularly those that aren't familiar with your music?
Ben Huggins: There a lot of the same type of reactions that we get in the States. It all depends on the place that we're playing. Europe is a lot like the States - people in the North may not react to the music like people in the South. It varies from city to city - the show in Virginia was great. But in Europe when we were there in '96 there was a different response in Germany because they're not as emotional. Every show in France, Spain, and England was great. Even the people that just stand and watch will come up and tell us that the show was great. For the most part, it was a good experience then and we're looking forward to going now.
Rough Edge: What are your honest opinions about touring - Love it? Hate it? Necessary evil? A little bit of both?
Ben Huggins: It's a little bit of both especially this time around. Last fall we toured and it was great because it had been two years since we toured. This time around it started off great, and then it seemed like it was going on forever. The shows have really started picking up the last three nights and they've been phenomenal. I'm the kind of person that feeds off the response from the crowd and I shouldn't depend on it so much. When the crowd is into it and they're being fans instead of "attendees" that's when it energizes me.
Rough Edge: What inspires you to make your music?
Ben Huggins: Galactic Cowboys started off as pretty much Monty and Alan's brainchild. They really wanted to do really heavy music with melodic vocals. I loved the band that they were in before this and when we got together Monty said he wanted to have a band with heavy music and melodies; I said "Cool." It turned out to be the distinguishing characteristic of the band including our influences, but it's also been a deterrent to our success because some people don't always want all that variety. We get people who say "We really like the heavy guitars - what's up with the vocals?" and then other people are saying "We really like the vocals - why are the guitars so heavy?" It's what we are and
everything in between. It's what we do, it's what we started out as, and it's what we continue to do.
Rough Edge: Which
album of your five would you choose as the best representation of the band?
Ben Huggins: The problem with that is we've had different personnel; each album represents that point in time. I do have my favorites - I think "Space In Your Face" and "At The End Of The Day" are probably the high points in our career to date. But, there are songs on "The Horse That Bud Bought" that I think are great and there are songs off the first album that I think are great. It's just that I'm not objective; I can't treat it like I wasn't part of it or that I didn't do it. It's a difficult question.
Rough Edge: I'll accept responsibility for asking an unfair question. Any plans to headline in the future?
Ben Huggins: Well, we were talking about doing it after Europe, but Monty has a baby on the way. I think we're going to take a little time off, let Monty bring his baby into the world and have a little time with the baby before we start working on the next album. If I was going to throw out a rumor it would be that while Monty is spending time at home we might put together some kind of anthology; we already have permission from Geffen to take stuff off the first two albums and put it with some unreleased tracks. Then we'll start working on a new album.
Rough Edge: If you
weren't in the music industry what would you be doing?
Ben Huggins: I'm in the music business, but I have to do other things because it helps me support my career - things like working in the construction business. But what would I want to do? I like the idea of doing videos and artistically I've got about four half-finished screenplays. There's stuff I'd like to do, it's just not money making. In the end I hope to be successful at anything I do.
Rough Edge: Thank you for your time; good luck on the rest of the tour.
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