If, like us, you’re desperate to see the return of live music in the UK then you need to make sure you are following the Crazy Cowboy. They’ve been putting on gigs that showcase some of the best rock n roll bands in the UK. They’re hosting their latest festival on the 19 March and we got the chance to catch up with Alec and Victoria to find out all the details.
- Ok, obvious first question but what’s with the crazy cowboy name?
Alec – What can I say, I’ve always loved Western movies and I’m a little surprised I’m still free to walk the streets but hey, that’s the beauty of the UK, we’re all a bit eccentric! I have a love of hats and boots of the cowboy kind, and a Bulgarian employee of mine came out with the nickname ‘The Crazy Cowboy’ for me around eight years ago, and it has stuck ever since! It beats all the previous nicknames I’ve had for sure! Then I embarked on this great rock n’ roll adventure, threw a bit of money at a few ideas, and used it as the brand name for my events.
- Can you tell us a bit more about how you started?
Alec – it’s a bit blurry now, mainly due to copious amounts of alcohol and misbehaviour, but some years ago I came back from a 3-4 week excursion around the UK in my gangster mobile, a Chrysler C300 series we called Pinocchio, with my then-girlfriend, taking in loads of Quireboys and Dogs D’Amour gigs and meeting like minded lunatics, when I decided I might be able to make a decent job of putting on shows myself. So I started talking to a few promoters and bands, to see how it was done, worked a fair bit out for myself, and gave it a go. And it SNOWBALLED! I went on tour with all my favourite bands, put it all together, had a lot of fun and then moved on to finding newer bands I could make a difference with. It was all a total blast, until COVID struck and put paid to it for a while. Victoria joined me a year ago to help out with festival planning as its more fun when you’ve got your best mate up there with you. She’s a writer so we started doing interviews and features with bands and posting them online during the long months when we couldn’t plan any shows. People seemed to like what we did together and we make a good double act, I bring all the chaos and she sorts everything out into some semblance of order! It works!
- What is the main aim of crazy cowboy?
Victoria – For me, Crazy Cowboy is about putting together events that have a little bit of something extra, whether that is the surprise guest appearance of an old favourite or a brand new band that no one has ever seen before, we like to throw in a few curve balls at our festivals in particular so people don’t always know what’s coming next! Our general philosophy is ‘We don’t play it safe’, so we are always on the look out for the outrageous, unusual and diverse! There are a lot of amazingly good rock bands out there we can approach but we like our bands to be that little bit more edgy! Our influences are sleaze/glam, old school rock n’ roll and what Alec likes to call the pirates and the villains! We also feel very strongly about getting behind the new bands that catch our attention and giving them a push promotionally using our platforms, and its often bands that other promoters haven’t been that interested in but if we think they have something we will do everything we can to support them, and we haven’t picked a dud yet! It’s a great feeling to see these kind of bands progress and do well, their hard work paying off and to be able to have played a part in that.
Alec – yes, what she said! One thing we can never be accused of is being predictable! Always on the look out for new bands, if you’re loud, keen and have that Crazy Cowboy appeal you’re in with us!
- What are your views on the current music scene in the UK?
Victoria – I have mixed feelings, there is certainly an enormous amount of talent out there and in my experience it’s the rock bands that are the hardest working and the most passionate about what they do out of every genre. But it can be tricky to find something truly original sometimes, and for me originality is what its all about. You need to stand out from the crowd and offer something dynamic and colourful that people will remember, to add to that capability and expertise. What’s nice at the moment is that there are a lot of younger bands showing up with their take on the ‘classic rock’ genre, punking it up a bit and not being afraid to take a few risks. A couple of bands I know, these guys were barely out of nappies when some of their strongest influences were at their peak, and I love that, they’ve taken something authentic they’ve discovered and put their own spin on it.
- How do you think it will emerge from the nightmare of Covid?
Victoria – I see it emerging already, there’s been a lot of hard work over the last two years trying to support the live music scene and somehow keep it afloat, keep people’s interest and reassure them that there will be something to come back to! The government’s attitude to the arts in general hasn’t helped, and people are still understandably nervous – especially in this scene as a lot of us are older, put our bodies through some physical nightmares over the years in the name of rock n’ roll and are now a bit vulnerable! But the shows I’ve been to since the restrictions have eased up have been a thing of joy, the old camaraderie is back, everyone goes out miles happier than when they came in. A noticeable difference for promoters is that ticket sales tend to be very last minute now, people don’t want to part with their cash until they are sure they can make it or that the event is definitely going to happen, which makes it more challenging to plan ahead. But that will come back in time. I’m very positive about the future for us all.
- Tell us a bit more about the festivals you’ve been putting on?
Alec – CC 1,2, 3 and 4 happened over 2018 and 2019, each one grew a bit more and we picked up an incredibly cool, friendly and supportive gang of rock n’ roll fans along the way. They’d turn up in the morning, stay all day and all night, watch and cheer every single act, drink like fish and have a bloody good time! We use 2 stages, bands alternate between the rooms with no overlaps, everyone gets a decent, stress free soundcheck in relative peace around 45 minutes before they go on while the audience is in the other room. We have a dedicated media space we call the ‘Backstage Ballroom’ where we hold interviews and photo shoots, it’s a place bands can leave their gear, chill out and get stuck into our legendary rider! We wanted to branch out into the North and had started thinking about a festival that way bit then COVID came; we had CC5 and 6 all ready to go but despite several attempts at rescheduling it wasn’t to be in the end due to the variants. So here we are with CC7!
- How excited are you about CC7?
Victoria – This is my first one so I’m about as excited as it’s possible to get! Having hand picked a whole bunch of the bands, Alec giving me free reign to do whatever I want promotionally, and so many people I can’t wait to meet, what’s not to love about that? It has been refreshing to have the scope to choose the bands we want for ourselves and our audience without worrying about keeping industry agents happy or doing deals with management companies – we can throw all that out the window and create our own bespoke day to share with everyone we know are going to love it as much as we do!
Alec – It’s been a long 2 years without doing any of this stuff and I’m really looking forward to starting up again with this one. I won’t remember any of it afterwards but people will take notes and post it all on social media and in magazines so I can read it and pretend that I do.
- What can people expect?
Victoria – The unexpected!!! We don’t want to give too much away because we like surprising people, but there will be on stage appearances from some of our most entertaining friends, we’re going to share the compere duties so different people will introduce different bands, and an extra set will be going in from a secret superband! The Facebar is a fabulous venue and the fact that we have two rooms so bands can go on back to back with no gaps keeps the momentum going and no one gets bored or wanders off. Everyone piles in at the start and stays till the end, the drinks flow and the lovely Curry Man keeps everyone fed.
Alec – A crew made up of some very dodgy characters, a horse called Maud, extremely merry drunken musicians, noise, fun and adventures!
- Are there any bands that you’re personally really excited to see?
Victoria – South of Salem, I’ve been listening to them a lot lately and they caught my eye a year ago when Alec first asked me to start looking for bands, I’d never heard of them before and they really stood out from the crowd with an intensity I loved. And our opening band RANSOM – they have recently released their debut album and it’s been getting five star reviews. This gig will be the first time they have ever played their songs to a live audience so it’s a big moment for them, and I just know they’re going to smash it.
Alec – I can’t choose between all the children!!! But if I had to pick one with a gun to my head it would be Rich Rageny and the Digressions because I haven’t seen Rags for several years and I think The Digressions are refreshingly and unbelievably different from anything else.
- Ok, final question if you were putting on your ultimate festival what bands would you want to see?
Victoria – I think we just did it didn’t we? 😊 I’m a big fan of the late 80s early 90s sleaze/glam/trash bands, anyone that played in the Cathouse Hollywood around that time, Riki Rachtman (Cathouse co owner) is one of my heroes and I still wear their t shirts! So I’d have Alice Cooper headlining, followed by Guns n’ Roses, with the likes of Faster Pussycat, Megadeth and maybe a bit of Motley Crue for good measure! And give Riki a guest pass so I can finally meet him!
Alec – For me, ‘Old Friends’, so Dogs D’Amour, Gorilla Riot, The Dirty Strangers and all of the pirates that I’ve met along the years. If I had to add one huge name then I guess it would be Guns n’ Roses. But I’d probably fall out with Axl Rose as my inability to put up with massive egos or tantrums is fairly well known and I’d probably boot him in the ass!
It’s really important that we support people like Alec and Victoria who are dedicated to putting on gigs for us to enjoy. So dont hesitat and get your tickets from here now!