By Brittany Rudyck
EDMONTON — To say the Raygun Cowboys have had quite the career would be an understatement. After being on the scene for 15 years, putting out numerous records, losing and adding members, touring relentlessly, it seems things are only just beginning for the Edmonton rockabilly vets.
Just recently, the Cowboys were signed to Stomp Records out of Montreal, an accomplishment they’ve been working toward for years. Founding band member and front man, Jon Christopherson, credits the success to perseverance, explaining, “It’s been tough [keeping the band together]. I toured with a completely different band in 2010, for example. You just got to keep doing it and hope everything will pay off.”
Their first album on Stomp, Heads are Gonna Roll, will be released on April 21st and is a point of humble pride for Christopherson, who admits it’s a far departure from their first few recordings in 2005 and 2006.
“I’m pretty happy with the new album. It’s got a lot of bottom end. I just like it. Each record we’ve done has gotten better and better, and this one I can actually sit down and listen to it. The other ones… like, I can’t even listen to my first record.”
Sonically, Heads… is more polished, as more time went into its creation. Not only did they up the production value but they also brought in some friends to add pops of harmonica, fiddle and extra vocals, giving the album a bigger, deeper sound.
Originally, the band began as a trio, and throughout the course of their existence, they’ve played with several different line-ups. Christopherson and drummer Derek Theisen are two of the originals and are now joined by Oakland Valleau on bass/ vocals, Mike Johnson on the trumpet, Johnny McCormack rocking the sax and Nathan Connolly blowing the trombone.
The addition of the horn section came in 2007, which added a deeper dimension to the all ready fun, outrageous style of the Cowboys. With the new members, as well as a new album in 2008, they did a few Canadian tours, as well as a three-week stint in Europe, which they hope to recreate with their newest offering.
In between their last album in 2012 and now, the guys have been taking it fairly easy, to some extent. Christopherson explained that 2013 was almost like a sabbatical for the band, as he went back to school after their last tour didn’t exactly go as they had planned. While in school, the writing process began for their newest album, Stomp Records got involved to offer support in the process, and now the band is preparing for what could be one of the busiest years in their career.
To celebrate the release of Heads are Gonna Roll, the Raygun Cowboys are heading out on a cross Canada tour with the Resignators from Australia.
“Live is where we’re best. People can expect mayhem. Johnny will be dancing on the bar. We’re a party band; it’s just fun!”
Catch Raygun Cowboys at the Pawn Shop in Edmonton on May 1st.AB, Alberta, Pawn Shop, Raygun Cowboys