Legendary Rock Interviews: Q & A with Bobaflex singer

By John Parks

As a band, Bobaflex is already a few albums into their career, but to hear the guys or their fans talk about the West Virginia-based band, they are just getting started.

Bobaflex’s latest video, a heavy cover of the Simon and Garfunkel classic “Sounds Of Silence,” has gathered them a ton of attention on YouTube, and the music from their last album, Hell In My Heart, is rising fast on rock radio, all while the band is readying their next album, Charlatan’s Web, for release later this summer.

Bobaflex, fronted by brothers Shawn and Marty McCoy, has built a steady and loyal fanbase, and figures to enjoy another sold-out show locally this April 27 at The Back Bar (www.thebackbar.com), a venue in Janesville, Wis., where they have become serious favorites.

I recently had the pleasure of talking a bit with singer/guitarist Marty McCoy about his music and life on the road.

Q: Bobaflex has a really nice following here in the Midwest, where we are based. The radio is solidly behind you, especially in Wisconsin, and the fans always turn out. What have you learned from all your gigs in the area?

A: The Midwest has been great to us, whether it’s Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio — you name it. It’s full of hard-working, blue-collar Americans who wanna rock because they work hard all week and look forward to the weekends to kick ass. They are our people (laughs), so I love it out there. It’s a great place for bands to play, and sometimes people forget that in between New York and L.A. there is this whole country of real people, and that’s where we belong. We’re from West Virginia, so we can relate, trends come and go in some places, but places like the Midwest and the Northeast it’s just different, it’s a different feeling, rock never died.

Q: I don’t know what to say about how blown away I am by your last record, Hell In My Heart. I was turned onto it by your cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s “Sounds of Silence,” but the entire album is just great, start to finish. How did you set out to make it a “complete album” experience?

A: All we ever wanted to be was a band like Guns N’ Roses or Metallica, or one of those bands that wrote records you wanted to listen to from beginning to end. For a while now, there has been a big surge of bands that have had two or three songs and people were buying singles or downloading singles and the money wasn’t really there for record labels like it used to be. But what that does is it creates an opportunity with iTunes and things where fans can get even more into an artist in general. They can click and get your entire catalog, or dig as deep as they want to, and I think that’s a beautiful thing. We were on TVT Records and Eclipse Records, and it was an amazing experience back then and to have that material now and also be able to control and release our own material now. It’s really good for us now, and some of that is because of that initial push we had from those labels. I don’t know if we would be able to keep up now if we were a new “baby” band just coming out. That might be a little scary. Even though our label experiences didn’t go exactly the way we wanted or the way we needed and the label went under, it still benefited us and got our name out there a bit and makes it a little easier to do what we’re doing now on our own.

Q: I think part of the reason I am so late to the party is due to the fact that I wasn’t really into the early work you guys did, but I think it is awesome that you kept your name and felt comfortable to adapt and still kept those fans. It’s really the fans that have kept your head up when things were supposed to be falling apart, hasn’t it?

A: Absolutely, John. We’ve been through so much stuff, not just the bankruptcy with TVT but all kinds of things that would have killed any other band. When the shows were supposed to be getting smaller and people were like, “Oh, they’re dead, they’re over with,” the shows were actually getting BIGGER. Radio stations started to spin the songs, and it’s all because of the fans, totally. They are just amazing, and they allow us to keep changing and keep doing different things. Also, the fact that there are five different personalities and five different writers and everybody is open to change and recording music where it’s not just one song over and over that sounds the same. We have five different guys who have different interests and tastes, which have grown and changed over the years. We’re all really big fans of music, all kinds of music, so we’re never going to have an album where it sounds like a variation on one particular idea.

Q: I am excited about seeing you guys live after having heard so much about the show, but am also anxious to hear what’s next. Is the new album going to be the next logical step from Hell In My Heart?

A: Yes, but at the same time, the new album we just finished doesn’t sound anything like our last album, which is awesome (laughs). It’s keeps us fresh, and it’s really, really cool that we have different styles and that everybody writes and we all trust what everybody writes. There are so many songs, and we have so many to choose from that it makes it real easy for us to hone in and really pick out the ones we think are amazing. The goal is always to make it all killer, no filler. I don’t wanna make it sound like it’s easy to do, but it does make it easier that we have so many songwriters in the band. It’s all about the music, and that’s awesome. Whatever the success, this is what I love to do, this is in my blood and in all of our bones, whether we are playing in front of five people or 30,000 people. This is what we do, and what we have to do to keep our hearts beatin’. It’s hard to explain to people who don’t get it … we are like moths to a flame, we’re gonna do this no matter what.

From the April 24-30, 2013, issue

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