Personally, Tallahassee would have been pretty unbearable without The Cow Haus, and it's fifty cent Natty Lights. I easily saw well over a hundred shows there, within the span of just a few years. Sometimes going two or three times a week. In the meantime I was working twelve hour shifts at a printing plant, and buying speed, and weed off of coworkers.
My life was in a period of upheaval. I was living in the aftermath of a break I had with my family that continues to this day. I'd lost all of my friends I'd known since childhood, and a five year relationship with my girl was in ruins. It sounds depressing, and times were undeniably dark, but it was a new beginning. I just did shit because I could. It took my mind off of things.
On the bright side, I had my own apartment. It was a shit hole, but it was my own place. Be that as it may, there was a place across town that was my preferred hangout. You guessed it, The Cow Haus. A big part of that was due to the music scene.
There were some great southeastern based bands that would play there seemingly all the time. Not just death metal bands either. Bands like The Causey Way, and Dirty Poodle would drive up from Gainesville. Jucifer would come down from Athens seemingly all the time. I saw Queens of the Stone Age play a sold out show there in support of Rated R. I have a scar on my hand from when the singer for the opening band (Pigeon) broke a glass bottle on the stage. Glass sprayed everywhere. He apologized to me at the urinal.
The Cow Haus kept it weird. Your more mainstream acts and wannabe's played at the larger venue a few blocks down, Floyd's Music Store. This being the late nineties/early millennium, you'd find the Nu Metal acts, various Limp Bizkit clones, and fake orgasm contests there. It's closed now.
For me, The Cow Haus was home. It was my Cheers in a way. I still remember when the bartender from the jazz bar Waterworks won the Halloween costume contest at The Cow Haus, and she noticed I'd recently had a haircut. And then there was the Cow Haus bartender who gave me her number but never would go out with me. She ended up playing bass for the band Mira, a great band.
Okay, so of all the local and regional bands I saw there on a regular basis, by far my favorite was Syrup. They were a winning combination of Kiss, Russ Meyer, and Big Daddy Kane. They called it "pimp rock". As far as I'm concerned, they were the jesters of southern rock.
Syrup is just one legions of local bands, from local dives, all across the world that never made it. But entertained a shitload of people despite their obscurity. As far as I'm concerned you could do a lot worse.
My days of calling my local dive home are over. I'm a domesticated dude, and I have a wife and mortgage. That's too much real world shit for dive bars. That's a young mans game. As far as The Cow Haus, it's moved a few blocks down and changed it's name to the Beta Bar. I went there once to see Nashville Pussy, and Artimus Pyledriver play. It was agreeable but not the same.
So enjoy this peek at some of the souvenirs I've saved from those days, and support your local dive.
Syrup video for the "Slim Bullfrog" anthem, Sexy Swimmin' Hole (not my vid):
Pics of the band I took at a Cow Haus show: