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Minneapolis, United States (1987 – 1998)

Cows were a band from Minneapolis, Minnesota, formed in 1987 and disbanded in 1998, notorious for their raucous live performances.

The original line-up consisted of lead singer Shannon Selberg, who later took up the bugle, guitarist Thor Eisentrager, bass guitarist Kevin Rutmanis, and drummer Sandris Rutmanis (soon to be replaced by Norm Rogers). The band had a hardcore sound characterized by blurred guitars, however the Cows took the formula a step further, creating a unique and unconventional style.

Stripping away anything that remotely resembled pop - including melody and catchy hooks and riffs - the Cows offered punk rock in its crudest form. John Dougan in All Music Guide described the group’s distorted sound as “a feral racket that sounded as is if the guitars were being played with metal files”. Lyrically, their songs dealt with just about anything, from losers in life to sex and bodily fluids. And Selberg’s shrieking vocal style and general lunacy on stage provided the Cows with a bizarre, yet often engaging focus.

In 1987, the Cows released their debut album, Taint Pluribus, Taint Unum, landing a record deal with Amphetamine Reptile for the release of their second LP, Daddy Has A Tail. And by the time Cunning Stunts arrived in 1992, critics began to cite improvements.

However, while the Cows exhibited a more solid playing technique and greater songwriting focus, they stayed true to their punk roots and anti-commercial stance.


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  • Georg_Bonk

    26 May 2:58pm Reply
  • MisterJunior

    Not for me. Maybe it's because I don't have Facebook. What's the content of the link, please?

    21 May 1:10am Reply
  • Georg_Bonk

    Link is working

    20 May 9:11pm Reply
  • MisterJunior

    That link doesn't seem to be working. The fact it was apparently posted on April 1st doesn't bode well for its legitimacy, but what did it say?

    16 May 2:17am Reply
  • JamesHippieKid

    V it says Cowz.. I wonder if the Z means something?

    14 Apr 5:11pm Reply
  • pinkeyeonmyleg

    i want to believe

    1 Apr 12:03am Reply
  • JamesHippieKid

    God, I don't know why Sorry in Pig Minor didn't click for me on the first listen. Now it's my favorite.

    6 Mar 10:02pm Reply
  • AprilPhantom

    Maybe I'm just biased, but there is more difference to those groups of noisy bands than most genres where everything is exactly the same.

    17 Feb 1:59am Reply
  • AprilPhantom

    MisterJunior, AmRep bands weren't dime a dozen. Please tell me how Tar sounds just like Cows, Helmet just like Hammerhead. Chokebore just like Today is the Day. Janitor Joe/Gnomes of Zurich just like Lowercase. Killdozer just like Guzzard. They were a wonderful label R.I.P. and Melvins were defiantly part of that sound, even if they started a bit earlier than AmRep.

    17 Feb 1:59am Reply
  • AprilPhantom

    MisterJunior Nice to see Tool fans have garbage taste in music, and usually look like this

    17 Feb 1:04am Reply
  • bruno__________

    @Orpheus' Travesty - i've been looking for this album for years, with no success.. In fact I have doubts about the real existence of it.

    3 Jan 12:22pm Reply
  • MisterJunior

    First thing I gotta say -- If you see Tool on this tour, and the band "Cows" is opening...go back outside and wait an hour. Ugh. It was HORRIBLE. Nasty no-talent screechy garbage, with a singer that kind of resembled Axl Rose with no volume, and a bugle. The best thing about this band was definitely the fact that Maynard introduced them, and maybe the fact that the music(?) drowned out the singer's voice totally. ...or the part where someone lobbed a wad of paper at the singer, which tagged him in the shoulder, and the crowd cheered. :)

    24 Dec 2014 Reply
  • MisterJunior Plenty more here. It's interesting to get the perspective on one of my favorite bands ever from people who think Tool is the end all be all of music.

    24 Dec 2014 Reply
  • MisterJunior

    Inspired by mefurgly's earlier posts about the Cows' disastrous opening tour for Tool, I've dug up some reviews from Tool fans: Well, I got to the show just after The Cows had started playing, and I have to say that they were really, REALLY shitty. Their singer was dressed in some sailor suit and kept playing this fucking trumpet which put out the most annoying sound I have ever heard. At one point he was trying to sing and play the trumpet at the same time, but he just failed miserably. The rest of the band wasn't too bad, and I actually enjoyed them when there wasn't any singing.

    24 Dec 2014 Reply
  • MisterJunior

    I think it's time for a Cows marathon. These guys were so fucking good. It's a shame that they got no respect or attention while they were around and have gotten very little since. They were almost without fail lumped in with all the AmRep noise bands who, let's be honest, were mostly a dime a dozen. AmRep was a great label but none of their other bands had even a modicum of the creativity and twisted brilliance that the Cows had (I don't consider the Melvins to be an "AmRep band," incidentally). If the world were a right place Kevin, Thor and Shannon would all be millionaires.

    23 Dec 2014 Reply
  • pinkeyeonmyleg

    hahaha the low rider cover! and re: Orpheus' Travesty, i haven't had any luck finding it either, unfortunately.

    16 Dec 2014 Reply
  • MisterJunior

    Also, thanks for the link Bruno, those videos are awesome.

    12 Dec 2014 Reply
  • MisterJunior

    Has anyone ever so much as seen Orpheus' Travesty? I've been looking for it for years and years and never even found anyone who had a copy, much less wanted to sell one or was willing to make a copy. I can't believe no one's ripped a copy to mp3 and made it available for download after all these years.

    12 Dec 2014 Reply
  • bruno__________

    this dude has uploaded lots of cows' full shows to youtube. reverence him.

    2 Dec 2014 Reply
  • Treats4TheSOUL

    that song Dear Dad made me cry.

    20 Nov 2014 Reply
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