BOBNOXIOUS - Meet The King Of RAZOR Sharp Rock N' Roll
December 22, 2014, 6 years ago
To the metal world at large, vocalist/guitarist Bob Reid is best known as the current singer for Canadian thrash legends Razor. Those that didn't blink might remember his SFH outfit after Razor folded following the release of Open Hostility in 1991. Since 2002, however, Reid has fronted and flogged his self-styled two fisted twisted rock n' roll band Bobnoxious on an ever-appreciative fan following. Their latest album E.O.A. - named for the East Of Adelaide district in the band's native London, Ontario - has been out for several months and by Reid's account it has performed as expected: Bobnoxious plays weekends in and around Southern Ontario, the fans show up in droves for the party."Most of our fans are around our age, so they don't take the time to write us or give feedback or do shit," Reid laughs. "They show up at the gigs and tell us 'Love the album, man!' and that's all I need. A flip of the horns and it's all good. People are too busy working or partying to call and email me, which is good for me because I don't have time to answer fan mail (laughs). I just like the fact people like the music. I'm not looking for any admiration. If people love the music, great, and if they hate it they can fuck off. I'm a music guy. I was brought up listening to Disney, listening to my Dad's era of rock n' roll, absorbing the '80s speed metal scene, being a B-horror movie fan. I just like to absorb all that shit, put it into a processor and squish it out (laughs)."
"The funny thing is that when I started Bobnoxious, I wasn't really sure if that first album was going to be the be next SFH album or not. I decided at the time to go with Bobnoxious because I was getting tired of seeing guys coming and going in other bands. The perception for some people was that if somebody in a band left, that band was over. I thought, fuck it, I'm going to call the band me (laughs) and if somebody comes and goes in the line-up, I don't care."
"The song 'Stoned At Large' on the first Bobnoxious album was originally for SFH, and on almost every album I took songs that I wrote over the years before I started Bobnoxious that I never released as SFH tunes. The songs 'Hush', 'Let's Go', 'Stupid Things' and 'Down' are all from back then, and with the exception of E.O.A. there's always been a song from SFH on those old albums."
Some Razor fans want nothing to do with Bobnoxious or Reid in general, because as far as they're concerned his brand of rock n' roll has nothing to do with Razor's thrash. That, and a lot of folks consider Reid a pretender to Stace "Sheepdog" McClaren's throne. Reid laughs at being called the "new guy" in Razor some 25 years in and at people who underestimate the musicality of what Bobnoxious does."I challenge anybody to play our stuff. I'm do think of myself as a pretty good rhythm guitar player; I can play like Hetfield and a lot of guys can't. I've got that picking thing down, whereas a guy like (Razor guitarist) Dave Carlo is beyond that. I wouldn't even begin to try and play like Dave because I'd bugger up my hand for life (laughs). I'm not the solo guy. I'm a songwriter and I like to sing and play. I think the party atmosphere Bobnoxious has actually taken away from the fact that a lot of thought goes into the music."
"On a listening basis from the outside the music is very simple; to the untrained ear it just sounds like 'One, two, three, four...'" Reid agrees. "I've got a new guitar player (Chris Raposo / Rebel Few) and he's fantastic, and when he came in he told me that he thought the songs were going to be easy to learn, but there's a twist in almost every one of them. He was like, 'Aw fuck! You always throw in something weird!' People just don't pay attention. They just think Bobnoxious sounds like Motörhead meets Ramones stuff, and I'm cool with that, but if people knew how long I spent working on some of those simpleton little songs... Sometimes I'll spend months working on one verse because I don't like the way the music or the lyrics are being delivered. Maybe it's that one word that isn't quite right. When we did the Rockaholics album (2006), the title track was the last song I wrote lyrics for. I kept waiting for that one monumental moment, and it was when
I woke up so hungover I thought I was going to die. Instead of puking my face off I grabbed a paper and a pen thinking 'This is what I was waiting for...'"
"Most guys I know, they write a song and they're done and moving on to the next one. I don't want that with my music. I don't want to be saying to myself 20 years from now 'I wish I hadn't written that' or 'I wish I'd written it a different way.' And it was Dave Carlo who taught me that. In the very early years of Razor he told me 'Nobody else has to live with this record except you, so make sure that if you feel like fixing it, fix it.'"
Razor's influence on Reid's writing doesn't stop there. It turns out the one serious ballad on E.O.A., "Sad Songs", was completely inspired by the thrash quartet."Here's what's weird about that song, and now I'm going to wreck it for you (laughs). I wrote it a couple hours after I got off stage with Razor at a festival in Germany, and the lyrics aren't about what you think they are when you read them. Go back and read the lyrics again, and think about Razor being on stage; some of the gear we rented is crap, Dave can't stop playing because as soon as he does his guitar starts feeding back, and we're all looking at each other not really sure of what we're playing. That's what the lyrics are about; 'Sad Songs' meaning we're playing these great tunes and they're coming across to the audience sounding sad and shitty. Somebody and circumstances beyond our control was wrecking the songs for everyone."
"Gordy (Prior) from Blu Bones heard it and said 'Dude, this song needs an orchestra on it...' but that was way out of my league," Reid continues. "Turns out (founding Honeymoon Suite keyboardist) Ray Coburn is a friend of his, so he sent 'Sad Songs' to Ray thinking maybe he could do something with it. I've never met the guy but he seems totally awesome; in less than 24 hours he sent the song back. When I first heard it I didn't like it, but Gordy convinced me to listen to it for a while and I grew to like it. Then I played it for people who hadn't heard the original and their jaws hit the floor. I ended up emailing Ray telling him I thought it was amazing, which it is, and he told me he loved the song. He's a Juno Award winning dude and he's on my album, so when people say 'Aw, Bobnoxious are just a bunch of drunks...' some nights, yes, but we've got some pretty cool stuff out there."
Although Bobnoxious has been Reid's top priority for over a decade, when Razor comes calling he's ready to jump on board as required. Mere hours before this interview took place, for example, Razor was confirmed to play the Trois-Rivières Metalfest in March 2015."I don't know what the hell happened with Dave, but he's really gotten motivated," says Reid. "He gave me some music a while back and I just went nuts on it, gave the songs back to him and he really liked some of the stuff. Then he had to deal with this cancer business, his hands were pretty much fucked but they've gotten better, him and Rob (Mills / drums) had a falling out, but Dave has gotten excited about making music again. He went and found a new drummer (Rider Johnson), they started jamming, and I've jammed with them three times now. Things are coming together and sounding really good."
So, any chance of recording new Razor material and more live dates in 2015?"Well, Dave says so. If he moves the way he's been moving on everything else I'd have to say yeah, he's totally serious about doing it. He told me he wants to get back to Germany and Japan, he's got some other stuff lined up as well."
BraveWords ran an exclusive interview with McClaren earlier this year which turned out to be controversial in the eyes of Dave Carlo, who responded in a feature a couple months later. Reid prefers to keep his opinions of McClaren to himself, suffice to say that he was a huge fan of the man's voice and those early Razor albums. He was tapped to replace McClaren after SFH opened a show for Razor where things effectively fell apart on stage for the headliner. A lucky break for Reid."Absolutely, and I could see why I was asked. Here's the thing: you don't remember the bands you loved back then unless they did something really awesome, or they really let you down. When I met Gene Simmons a few years ago he was beyond awesome, and meeting someone that you put on a pedestal, if he had let me down I would have been so fucking bummed. Nobody wants to do see their favourite band in the world and find out the guy is rude and an asshole. Everyone is entitled to have a shitty day and I get that, but to suck on stage and not know the lyrics to the songs, it just makes me go 'Really, dude?' If I pay to see a band play I want my money's worth."
Which Reid intends to give back tenfold whether he's on stage with Razor or Bobnoxious."Razor, those guys want to play a couple times a year. Me, I'm the guy that loves the camaraderie and making noise with the boys. Bobnoxious does lots of charity shows every year, we play as much as we can all year 'round. It's in my blood and I'm never gonna stop."
(Band photos by Darko)