The Cog Factory documentary gets YouTube release…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 12:19 pm April 3, 2020

A screencap from The Cog Doc.

by Tim McMahan,

Ah, the Cog Factory documentary. Filmmaker Kyle Benecke has created a 41-minute ode to an Omaha music scene landmark, and it’s a scorcher — extremely entertaining and engrossing.

The film traces the all-ages music club’s origins, highs, lows and the bathrooms, and includes a fine selection of live footage taken at dozens of shows interspersed with interviews from founder Robb Rathe and club mainstays, fans, volunteers and musicians who performed on its stage, including Todd Fink (The Faint), Gary Dean Davis (Frontier Trust), Matt Baum (Desaparecidos), Jason Ludwick (Bombardment Society) and a ton more.

As a film, the documentary is well-shot, well-edited, as good as (or better than) what I’ve seen at Film Streams or on Netflix, which makes me wonder why it couldn’t have gotten a more elaborate World Premiere than a post on Facebook, but times being what they are… I’m hoping when the COVID lock-down is lifted that the folks at Film Streams figure out a way to do another premiere, preferably at the Dundee Theater (and somehow get Rathe there for a Q&A).

Until then, enjoy it in whatever bunker you’re hunkered down in:

There’s a documentary website at that includes more performance video, flyers, photos and whatnot as well as a “tip jar” that connects to a gofundme page. I don’t know what Kyle will do with the money, but it would be cool to see this get more exposure and entry into film festivals, etc., and that costs money.

Seems like I remember back in the day there always was a benefit show going on to help pay for the Cog Factory’s bathrooms. I can’t remember if it was a city code thing to what.

I only went to the Cog a couple times over the years, including once to interview Frontier Trust for a publication out of Lawrence called The Note. When it was going full blast I was in my late 20s and spent most of my time at clubs like The Capitol, The Howard Street Tavern and, of course, Sokol Underground.

If you want more info about the Cog Factory, read my ’98 interview with Robb Rathe, written about his leaving Omaha and the Cog Factory. Also, an interview with Chris Harding, who took over the reins for a time.

Wish I had some show announcements to pass on for the weekend. Hang tight, folks. We’ll all be back in the clubs before you know it.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


  • Thank you for this, Tim!
    I never made it to the Cog Factory, but I constantly drove & walked by it teaching at the beginnings of Liberty Elementary School created and guided by none other than Nancy Oberst, yeah, Conor’s mom…and she forever thought he was wasting his Creighton Prep education until his bro died. Every song Conor creates reverberates somehow…or impacts something somewhere. In these crazy times, have you heard the new Bright Eyes song: Persona Non Grata…and also, check in to the NEW ‘official’ Bright Eyes Instagram, ’cause he’s doin’ you right, Tim, drinking a…drumroll….take a look, you should get an ‘in person’ social distancing appropriate interview on this one!

    Comment by Carla Goodrich — April 4, 2020 @ 4:04 pm

  • Lol! That’s hilarious Carla! I literally thought the EXACT SAME THING when I saw that picture the other day! Lol. “Tim at lazy-i would be proud!” Hahahahaha

    Comment by Lucas Wright — April 4, 2020 @ 5:25 pm

  • Hey, Lucas! Thanks for chiming in & keeping track of ‘shit’ like this! LOL Didn’t it look like Conor’s younger self was doing a ‘For you, Tim…in your honor…’ look!?! So, so perfect! muahahahahaha!

    Comment by Carla Goodrich — April 4, 2020 @ 5:44 pm

  • Thanks Carla and Lucas! I did see the Instagram photo after you pointed it out and it does look like he’s saying “This one’s for you, Tim,” but despite having interviewed him a dozen times or whatever I doubt that Conor remembers who I am and have no doubt he’s never read a word I’ve written! Conor’s always been a great interview. He’s like talking to any Joe Shmoo at O’Leaver’s and I never get a sense that he realizes how much of a cultural touchpoint his music is. He’s one of those guys who will be remembered more fondly after his career is over, with people saying “We should have paid more attention to this guy when he was still performing.” Anyway, I’d like a cold bottle of Rolling Rock about now. Most bars around here are dropping Rolling Rock and when they do have it, it’s only in cans. Even Brothers Lounge doesn’t carry Rolling Rock! I hope you guys are doing well during this COVID lockdown… and thanks for reading.

    Comment by tim-mcmahan — April 5, 2020 @ 8:01 am

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