Exploring Entertainment in Florida's 850 & Beyond
“Actually it’s been quite a while. I think it’s been almost a year since we’ve played Pensacola,” says LeBlanc. “We love the people over in Pensacola. It’s always been a great town for us.”
On Friday, October 26th, Cowboy Mouth will return to the Vinyl Music Hall in Pensacola. We caught up with the constantly touring, constantly creating Fred LeBlanc to talk about what the band has been up to and some hints at future plans.
LeBlanc famously not only handles most vocal duties for the band – but he holds down the drum kit as well. “I wanted to move the drums up front because it looked like that’s where everybody was having fun. And honestly, I didn’t wanna stare at somebody’s ass for the rest of my life. Spend my life staring at some guitar player’s rear end. I don’t think so,” LeBlanc says with a laugh. “So far so good. I’ve been doing this 28 years. So I must be doing something right.”
Cowboy Mouth formed in 1992 and by 1996 was receiving regular radio airplay. With the internet changing the landscape of the music industry, the band recently has embraced the growing Patreon platform.
“It costs money to do this. Granted, we love doing it,” says LeBlanc while chatting about production costs. “Patreon is the way to say to hardcore fans, ‘Help us out a little bit each month’.”
“The competition in the venues became a lot more fierce. The competition for the dollar has become a lot more. I think we offer a quality merchandise line. Obviously, if I didn’t think our music was any good I wouldn’t be doing this. And you just try to get people to contribute to the experience overall. We’ve had some good luck with it.”
The Cowboy Mouth Patreon costs as little as $1 a month while giving fan’s exclusive access to a curated vault of the band’s endeavors. “When we first started doing it, when I started thinking about the Patreon thing it’s like ‘Okay, where am I gonna find the stuff?’ Then I looked on my computer files,” LeBlanc quips.
“You’re looking at something that hardcore fans might really love to have… There’s all sorts of music and concepts and ideas you get that you don’t follow through on. But they can be pretty interesting. I had a whole concept album of the band doing blues songs. Just imaginative stuff. Let your imagination run wild. I had a few songs written that I thought were pretty good, but it didn’t really go where I thought it would. It turned into something else, but the original song was a song I wrote called ‘Roll’.”
“The line was ‘How you supposed to rock when you don’t roll no more,’ you know? That kind of thing. Finding, delving into the roots of not only the music itself but why you do this as a person. It’s concepts. So those things will be more available, different versions of songs. Just because you record one version of a song doesn’t mean it doesn’t go through a million other iterations.”
“There’s demo recordings. There are unreleased songs. There are live versions. There are acoustic versions. There’s a pretty healthy turnout. There are cover versions of songs.”
Among LeBlanc’s achievements is he is a children’s book author. “It’s called “Fred the New Orleans Drummer Boy.” It came out about two years ago and did pretty well. It’s basically Cowboy Mouth in kid form.”
Cowboy Mouth recently released the second volumes of their ‘best of’ series entitled ‘The Name of the Band is…’. Both volumes not only include their most popular songs but re-recordings of them.
“The band has got a pretty strong catalog of songs. But all the different albums are on a multitude of different labels – majors, indies. I just wasn’t happy with the sound of all these things.”
This was due to the age of some of the recordings, advancements in studio techniques, and simply living with some of the songs on the road. So in the name of a more coherent sound and album listening experience – the songs were re-recorded.
If you have been to a Cowboy Mouth show, you may have been part of the red spoon throwing. I had to ask if there was a story to the origin – and LeBlanc admitted he was puzzled by it as well. “We have that song ‘Everybody Loves Jill’ that John sings. There’s a point where the song breaks down and he sings something about red spoons. And then one day people started throwing them. And then every time we come to town Dairy Queen shudders in horror whenever they run out of red spoons. It’s something that the fans started. And they do things like that. Like the whole chant. One time it was “The Name of.” I’ll improvise a lot in terms of keeping the audience going. And one day I was just like “Okay, the name of the band is Cowboy,” and I was just saying that to keep the audience going. And then I started noticing that the audience was screaming “Cowboy Mouth” louder than I was. So it got to the point where I would say “The name of the band is” and they’d go “Cowboy Mouth.”
“And you just go with it. The red spoon thing, as long as they’re not throwing hammers. I honestly wish that John would have written a song that had house deeds.”
Check out their newest video for ‘I Believe’ below. And catch their live show when you can.
“I was told by a fan a while back, “Man, I love you guys. You guys are like a gospel tent revival without the religion.” That’s awesome. Our shows are very boisterous. They’re very celebratory. They’re a lot of fun and you can scream and go crazy and let go of your troubles and worries. It’s not the newest version of the cool kids that are here to judge. It’s just basically about people letting go and celebrating if they want to. That’s what Cowboy Mouth is.”