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That ain't the Yawpers

Denver-based cowpunk trio keeps country gritty

“I like keeping the visceral, dangerous nature of punk rock in country music,” says Yawpers frontman Nate Cook.
“I like keeping the visceral, dangerous nature of punk rock in country music,” says Yawpers frontman Nate Cook.

When imagining a band composed of two acoustic guitar players and a drummer, most would envision some sort of mellow country or folk group. That ain’t the Yawpers. The Yawpers play acoustic guitars, but they come across as more Keith Morris than Keith Urban.

“Punk rock is my lifeblood. I grew up on it,” the Yawpers’ singer/guitarist Nate Cook explains. “That’s where my experience with rock and roll turned from casual to intrinsic. I love punk rock more than just about anything.”

Video:

"Doing It Right"

...by the Yawpers

...by the Yawpers

Cook cited vintage cowpunk bands such as the Blasters, the Cramps, and the Gun Club as heavy influences on the Yawpers. It’s no surprise, since the group seems to harness the same energy and spunk that made this first generation of punk/country hybrids so notable. It is a far cry from most of the tame “alt-country” that has become more mainstream since the mid-’90s. Cook agrees that cowpunk was “a little bit more dangerous.”

“I like keeping the visceral, dangerous nature of punk rock in country music,” says Cook, “and alt-country kind of missed the boat on that over the past few years.”

According to Cook, the Yawpers formed soon after he moved to Denver about ten years ago. He started jamming with guitarist Jesse Parmet, and soon enough a drummer was in the mix. The setup was so automatic that the band never considered a bass player. Cook made it sound as if looking for a bass player was an insult.

“Nahhhh...no, no, NO. I know I say that kind of cavalierly like it’s some sort of ethical stand. [Laughs.] No, we haven’t.”

Past Event

The Yawpers and the 4onthefloor

  • Monday, October 17, 2016, 8 p.m.
  • Soda Bar, 3615 El Cajon Boulevard, San Diego
  • 21+ / $10

Cook’s voice was a little hoarse during the interview, primarily because he had just returned to Denver after spending a month recording a new Yawpers album in Chicago. If you are familiar with the Yawpers’ songs, this basically means he was yelling into a mic for about 30 days. The new album will be out next year, but don’t expect new songs on this tour, as Cook says, “We’re saving them for the release.”

The Yawpers have shared the stage in San Diego with Nashville Pussy and the Supersuckers, but somehow they seem to have crazier nights in this city than either band.

“I think every time we’ve been in San Diego it kind of winds up in a debaucherous, existential crisis by the end of the night,” says Cook.

The Yawpers debauch Soda Bar on Monday, October 17.

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“For three months, I existed only on yoga pants and sweatpants.”
“I like keeping the visceral, dangerous nature of punk rock in country music,” says Yawpers frontman Nate Cook.
“I like keeping the visceral, dangerous nature of punk rock in country music,” says Yawpers frontman Nate Cook.

When imagining a band composed of two acoustic guitar players and a drummer, most would envision some sort of mellow country or folk group. That ain’t the Yawpers. The Yawpers play acoustic guitars, but they come across as more Keith Morris than Keith Urban.

“Punk rock is my lifeblood. I grew up on it,” the Yawpers’ singer/guitarist Nate Cook explains. “That’s where my experience with rock and roll turned from casual to intrinsic. I love punk rock more than just about anything.”

Video:

"Doing It Right"

...by the Yawpers

...by the Yawpers

Cook cited vintage cowpunk bands such as the Blasters, the Cramps, and the Gun Club as heavy influences on the Yawpers. It’s no surprise, since the group seems to harness the same energy and spunk that made this first generation of punk/country hybrids so notable. It is a far cry from most of the tame “alt-country” that has become more mainstream since the mid-’90s. Cook agrees that cowpunk was “a little bit more dangerous.”

“I like keeping the visceral, dangerous nature of punk rock in country music,” says Cook, “and alt-country kind of missed the boat on that over the past few years.”

According to Cook, the Yawpers formed soon after he moved to Denver about ten years ago. He started jamming with guitarist Jesse Parmet, and soon enough a drummer was in the mix. The setup was so automatic that the band never considered a bass player. Cook made it sound as if looking for a bass player was an insult.

“Nahhhh...no, no, NO. I know I say that kind of cavalierly like it’s some sort of ethical stand. [Laughs.] No, we haven’t.”

Past Event

The Yawpers and the 4onthefloor

  • Monday, October 17, 2016, 8 p.m.
  • Soda Bar, 3615 El Cajon Boulevard, San Diego
  • 21+ / $10

Cook’s voice was a little hoarse during the interview, primarily because he had just returned to Denver after spending a month recording a new Yawpers album in Chicago. If you are familiar with the Yawpers’ songs, this basically means he was yelling into a mic for about 30 days. The new album will be out next year, but don’t expect new songs on this tour, as Cook says, “We’re saving them for the release.”

The Yawpers have shared the stage in San Diego with Nashville Pussy and the Supersuckers, but somehow they seem to have crazier nights in this city than either band.

“I think every time we’ve been in San Diego it kind of winds up in a debaucherous, existential crisis by the end of the night,” says Cook.

The Yawpers debauch Soda Bar on Monday, October 17.

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