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The Galactic Cowboy Orchestra

Interviewed by Gary Hill
Interview with Lisi Wright of Galactic Cowboy Orchestra from 2016
MSJ: If you weren't involved in music what do you think you'd be doing?
Honestly, I promised myself when I was a sophomore in high school that my career would involve music in some way, so it's hard for me to think of what I'd be doing otherwise.
MSJ: How did the name of the group originate?
When we first intended to start gigging in the summer of 2009, we still didn't have any recordings of our music. I was the booking agent for the band and I asked the guys to give us a name that turned heads. They came up with Galactic Cowboy Orchestra and we got four gigs off the name alone that summer!
MSJ: Who would you see as your musical influences?
My personal influences would be rooted in classical, I'm sure, as I started playing violin at the age of five. I was always into heavier guitar-driven music growing up, Metallica being my fave band in high school.  I remember "Santa" brought me the sheet music for Guns 'N Roses "November Rain" and I played the whole guitar solo note-for-note with Slash when I was 13. Ha! My first crack at a rock solo.
When I met my husband, GCO bassist John Wright, he introduced me to progressive rock as well as bands like Soundgarden and Tool. It really made an impression on me. When I went to my first Rush concert and they played "Natural Science" it was like a little light from heaven was shining down and I was sitting there thinking, "where has this music been all my life?"

My main violin influence would definitely be Jerry Goodman. He's Hendrix on the violin and his solos will stand up to any killer rock solo on any instrument. He blows my mind!
MSJ: What's ahead for you?
I love this question because I get really excited thinking about what's next for this band. We have so much fun together, on stage and off, and the sky is the limit! We're excited to reach more and more fans, play lots of big rocking festivals, sell out clubs and we want to go to Europe ASAP! We're also releasing our first live album this November and will be releasing our fifth studio album next Summer.
MSJ: I know artists hate to have their music pigeonholed or labeled, but how would you describe your music?
Art-rock jazz fusion
MSJ: Are there musicians with whom you would like to play with in the future?
It would be so fun to open for a band like King's X or King Crimson. Musicians I'd like to play with? I had a dream that Rush had me sit in with them on “Losing It.” That'd be pretty awesome!
MSJ: Do you think that illegal downloading or streaming of music is a help or hindrance to the careers of musicians?
Both. It's reduced the monetary value of the music, but it also increases the awareness of the band. We're a newer band, and if someone so wants our music that they're going to illegally download it, I say, “go for it and share it with your friends!” It's a very interesting conversation, but it's a full conversation, and I can't say too much more about it because I wouldn't be able to give it a full response.
MSJ: In a related question, how do you feel about fans recording shows and trading them or posting them online?
Go for it! We love it when fans film and take photos! This music business is all about word-of-mouth. There's so much music out there, and there are fans for all of it! It's just a matter of finding them, and the more our current fans share us in whatever form they choose to share us, the more we're going to find more like-minded fans!
MSJ: If you were a superhero, what music person would be your arch nemesis and why?
If I were a superhero, my arch nemesis would definitely not be a music person.
MSJ: If you were to put together your ultimate band (a band you'd like to hear or catch live), who would be in it and why?
Honestly, they are or were already together! Rush, King Crimson, Mahavishnu (Jerry Goodman line-up!), Soundgarden, the list goes on. I will say, I would love for Bill Bruford to come out of retirement for the AWR tour this fall. Jon Anderson, Rick Wakeman, Trevor Rabin, Tony Levin and Bill Bruford. That'd be freaking sweet!
MSJ: If you were in charge of assembling a music festival and wanted it to be the ultimate one from your point of view who would be playing?
This is a hard question, but I'll do my best. I like general music festivals. I prefer to go to a festival and hear all kinds of music, not just one genre. So, I would have a huge mix, there would have to be a lot of stages. Here's what pops off the top of my head:

King's X
Willie Nelson
Peter Gabriel with a full band
Kansas - from the Kerry Livgren years
Collective Soul
Mahavishnu - the Jerry Goodman line-up
Jon Anderson solo
Stevie Wonder
Jeff Beck
Fairport Convention - I'd love it with Swarbrick and Sanders! Twin fiddles!
Rage Against the Machine
Travis Tritt
The list goes on and on and on!
MSJ: What was the last CD you bought and/or what have you been listening to lately?
I am, at this moment, listening to Samuel Barber's Cello Concerto.

The last CD I bought was Lynyrd Skynyrd's All Time Greatest Hits. Not even kidding. I bought it for my nephew for his birthday. He loves it! "It's a Saturday Night Special. Got a barrel that's blue and cold." He doesn't know what it means, it's fine.
MSJ: Have you read any good books lately?
Yes! California  by Edan Lepucki was really good, as was Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami.
MSJ: What about the last concert you attended for your enjoyment?
I went to see John's other band, Lehto & Wright, in late April at one of my favorite places with a friend.
MSJ: Do you have a musical “guilty pleasure?”
Let's be clear this is all pleasure, no guilt. I like what I like and I feel good about it!

The things that others might call “guilty pleasures” would be the song “MmmBop” by Hansen - love it! That's my generation, baby! I also will not change the dial if Korn or Marilyn Manson come on the radio.
MSJ: What has been your biggest Spinal Tap moment?
Spinal Tap happened to be on the TV the other day, and we watched a few minutes. It was the moment when Nigel is b****ing about the food backstage. The way he did it... what he says... Let's just say, we've witnessed that, first hand.
MSJ: If you could sit down to dinner with any three people, living or dead, for food and conversation, with whom would you be dining?
Rush! (noticed a trend yet? I love Rush!)
MSJ: What would be on the menu?
Indian Food with Bell's Two Hearted Ale and dark chocolate salted caramels for dessert!
MSJ: Are there any closing thoughts you would like to get out there?
Check out our music at and come to see us live!
MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 4 at
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