Ozzy Osbourne bites heads off bats.The Red Hot Chili Peppers perform in the buff. Bloodcow gets kicked out of small, sleepy towns.
Although they’re a local act, this five-member band isn’t afraid to rock out and party like the pros. So much so, they were once escorted by police out of Oshkosh, Wisconsin—and forbidden to ever return.
“We went to a motel after a show, partied all night like usual, but this time things got real weird real quick,” says vocalist Matt Owen. “By 6 a.m., we had police at our door.”
But is a rock band even a rock band if they haven’t been kicked out of at least one town? Hijinks and antics aside, this group has worked for their right to a good time.
Over the course of Bloodcow’s 17-year history, the band has won three Omaha Arts and Entertainment Awards and released four full-length albums.
“One thing that has always rang true with us is that we were never looking to make a career out of music,” Owen says. “We were more into the rock ’n’ roll lifestyle than making money.”
Flash back to 2000, a time when metal rock began to teeter away from focusing on fun and music toward somber theatrics. Bloodcow formed as the antithesis of acts like Slipknot and Korn, a figurative middle finger intended to take the genre back to the partying ways of yesteryear. The original members had one goal: to make people uncomfortable. Performing live donning just underwear and writing music that opposed the Bush administration followed.
While Owen and guitarist Josh Lamb are the only original members left, all current musicians have a shared history of attending Abraham Lincoln High School in Council Bluffs. Their current lineup comprises Owen, Lamb, guitarist J.J. Bonar, bassist Josh McDowell, and drummer David Collins.
“What drew me to the band was their raw energy during live shows,” Collins says. “I was jealous of that intensity and attitude. When they asked if I wanted to be a part of it, I couldn’t say no.”
With the shuffle of members, the band’s sound has developed into “a jambalaya of pop, rock, and [psychedelic] music,” according to Lamb. The production value of each album has increased in quality, and their latest LP—Crystals & Lasers, released in 2015—acts as a thematic cocktail of social satire and sci-fi mixed with a healthy dose of humor.
Due to their unique sound and even more unique subject matter, Bloodcow has found both local and regional success touring. Performing at venues such as The Waiting Room and Slowdown has built their credibility in the metro, while tours across America have resulted in firework fights in Alabama, countless moonshine shots consumed, and many nights sleeping in their van or strangers’ homes.
“Anytime we’re together, it’s a blast,” Bonar says. “So is performing live and seeing the reactions from first-time listeners.”
While the band is enjoying a hiatus from active gigging, they still play occasional shows around town, and they continue getting together for regular jam sessions—if for no other reason than to party like the rock stars they are.
“Success for us is all about being able to play kick-ass music while remaining the closest of friends,” McDowell says.
Visit bloodcow.com for more information.
This article was printed in the November/December 2017 issue of Omaha Magazine.