Bobaflex, the spawn of a flux-capacitor and Boba-Fett? Maybe! Not in this case though. We are talking about the band Bobaflex, established by brothers Shaun and Martin McCoy in 1998. Unleashing three records with a driven and powerful style; they toured vehemently across the country, ending with a high-profile slot on Megadeth’s Gigantour in 2005, and their breakthrough release, Apologize for Nothing. They followed up with, Tales from Dirt Town, at which point the band began to weave classic rock elements into their music, honing in on a balance between heavy and melodic rock. Now they are bringing us Hell In My Heart, an album that is full of slashing guitar work, rapid-fire drums, and the exceptional three-part harmonies which give Bobaflex the razor-sharp edge that keeps us begging for more.
Interview with Marty McCoy from Bobaflex:
Alice: Thanks for talking with me. How’s it going today?
Marty: It’s awesome! We’re doing three sold out hometown shows through Saturday here in Parkersburg, West Virginia. The weather is like 80°. There’s always something special about West Virginia shows for us, because it’s home and the people are a little bit more electric, especially with the new record being out. It’s great to be home as it’s been over a year!
Alice: That’s awesome! I’m sure your family and friends are glad to see you.
Marty: Oh yeah, that goes both ways. We leave tomorrow for Columbus, Ohio but that’s what we do!
Alice: Bobaflex has been together since 1998. Are you guys all the original members and what do you think is the thing that sets your band apart in your eyes?
Marty: Yeah, we’ve been out for a little while. We are all original members, except for our new guitar player that we just brought in about seven months ago, John Hoskins. It really feels like he’s been here the whole time. We have three different singers. Everybody is singing nonstop the whole time, which is kind of the thing that sets us apart from everybody else. It’s a straight up rock ‘n roll band. Nobody sounds like us because of the three singers; our bass player is a phenomenal too. I’ll sing lead and my brother will sing lead as well. We switch around and do a lot of different stances on the vocals. I think it keeps us fresh, and keeps us from sounding like the same old boring band every album.
Alice: And we thank you for it. We are very appreciative. I love your three part harmonies. Did any of you go voice lessons or get professional instruction to learn how to harmonize like that? It’s just so clear and precise!
Marty: No. It just made sense to us. We aren’t the greatest singers in the world, but when there are three of you and you sing together all the time, we sound a lot more powerful. There can be a guy, and he can be just amazing, but because there are three of us, we will probably beat em’ up!
Alice: Three times as awesome! How would you define your style of music and sound?
Marty: Kickass rock and roll, with a lil more depth than what you are used to. There was a little more thought put into it. I would say rock n roll with a little bit of operatic.
Alice: A little symphonic?
Marty: Tiny bit. We’ve changed styles over the years. It isn’t something that we did on purpose. We’ve been together for a long time. We did the Gigantour with Megadeth, then have toured all over with a lot of really cool bands, and over time our style has streamlined. We got used to writing with each other. Things are not as crazy. We write better songs that are a lot more streamlined and focused.
Alice: How has your writing style changed over the last several years?
Marty: We have just written so well together over the years. It’s just so much fun to write songs, because there are five guys in the band who are all singers, and they are all writers. Four of us can play everything, except for drums. Everybody will come to the table with their ideas and we welcome each others stuff, “Oh, I love your song. Let’s work on it together.” We have it so streamlined that we can go into a room and within a week come out with 12-13 songs, and 6-7 of them are really good. (laughs) We’ve done it for so long and we’ve really been passionate about it. We will get into a room together and stay in there for eight hours a day, seven days a week, if we are not on tour. The day that we come home, we will go up in the room and start writing. We’ve done it for so long, and put so much time into it, like a football team. We used to do two a day. We used to go practice at nine in the morning, and practice til about 3 p.m., go home and get something to eat, come back and practice until midnight. We just really like playing with each other, got good at knowing our instruments and how to write songs. When we work together, everybody respects each other. I know our drummer is not going to do something stupid. When he says, “Hey, I have an idea!” I can’t wait to hear it. It’s the same way all the way around with the band members. We like each other personally (obviously) and really like each other’s musical style. It’s a very open and creative process.
Alice: Sounds like a very democratic process. You are a McCoy. Are you from the McCoys, as in the Hatfield and McCoys?
Marty: Absolutely. We just got our new t-shirts in today, which has my brother and I, with guns pointed like the Hatfields and McCoys. It has gotten us into SO many different interviews and so many different things, like people who may not have been into the band now want to talk to us because of the Hatfield and McCoy thing. You get your foot in the door that way. It has helped so much. The theme of it has started to blow up. Everybody knows about the Hatfield and McCoys now because Kevin Costner and Bill Paxton took it to the next level with the movie. It’s cool. It’s really really cool.
Alice: Absolutely. I actually went to high school with some of the Hatfields.
Marty: Hatfields are all over the country. That’s first thing they say, “I’m a Hatfield.” And I say, “I’m a McCoy. Buy me a drink. Let’s do it!” It’s totally different. We are always asked, “are you still in a feud with them ?” The answer is always no. That was a couple of hundred years ago. It has since blown over.
Alice: I’m sure there are some of the backfield old-timers with some bad-blood still brewing around. I know for a fact that there are folks up in those hills that have never seen a McDonalds.
Marty: It is pretty wild. I noted that everywhere. Places like West Virginia and Kentucky get a bum rap. We’ve been asked, “Are you hillbillies?” and I’m like, “I’ve traveled the entire nation!” They show the same people on the news in West Virginia that they do in Connecticut. They take the dumbest fucking person that they could possibly find and put him on the news. I’ve been everywhere. I’ve been all over the country. There are trailers in Maine. I’ve seen them. I love it in West Virginia. Once we got the internet, things changed. We don’t tightroll our pants anymore. It’s a beautiful place and people are really nice.
Alice: (laughs) I’m so glad that you are no longer tightrolling your jeans.
Marty: I remember that when my brother went to college and he was tightrolling his jeans, and people were, “What the hell is that?” We were about ten years behind until the internet. Then everything changed. We started having cool haircuts, and started watching the shows from the west coast. It was all good. It changed the game!
I don’t know if its my vibe or what, but going around the whole country, I’ve never met anyone who has been weird to us. I mean, I’m the weirdo with eyeliner running and black leather going into the convenience store at 3 a.m.. People are so nice to us. I don’t know if it is because we are in a band and we look like a band when we walk in. We’ve never had any trouble with anyone, ever. Everyone has been super cool.
Alice: I think it might be an attitude thing. I’m sure you don’t walk in with a scowl.
Marty: NO! I hold the door for the old ladies and give a cd to the clerk.
Alice: I’ve been listening to Hell In My Heart and I’ve been loving it so far.
Marty: Cool, well please tell your magazine readers to call their local radio station to request “Sound of Silence” because it could change five people’s lives! What have been your favorites on the album?
Alice: So far, I have thoroughly enjoyed “Sing”, “Slave”, “Rise” and of course, “Sound of Silence.” I’ve seen that one get quite a lot of airplay on Sirius Octane. So, when the opportunity came up for Bobaflex, I opted to not hand it off to one of the writers, but to take it for myself. I guess I was a little greedy, so THANK YOU!
Marty: That’s good. We’ve gone through several records where people have said, “We don’t want to mess with them.” The next record we would bust our asses and try to make it better, and write better songs, and just become better musicians. We never had to stick our noses up and “do whatever we want.” We always tried to learn and to write better songs. The last record we did on TVT Records before they went bankcrupt was Tales from Dirt Town, and it started to really open doors for us. Then Hell in My Heart came out and we decided to get some help promoting it and the band. I couldn’t believe how great it was when we hired a publicity company! Our publicist sent out the cds, and we started getting the reviews back and they were really positive. I’ve read some pretty bad reviews of our band. We looked at them and actually paid attention to what they said. If they were spot on the money we were like, “Yeah, they nailed us to the wall there!” When Hell in My Heart came out we really didn’t get any bad reviews. Well, there was one, but he couldn’t say he hated it. There were overwhelming great reviews on the album. I don’t know if this is our masterpiece, because it is definitely opening the door for us to be able to do another record and be a legitimate band.
Alice: I think that says a lot about your band, being open to feedback. Because a lot of musicians get really disheartened by what is written about them.
Marty: Right! The thing that sucks – iTunes has been great to us by the way it helped us and allowed us to buy steak dinners and stuff. I love iTunes – but the whole reason for iTunes and the things that have happened over the last ten years, when you get a record, is that there are two good songs and the rest of it is shit. You have to spend the money on the other songs, and record them. It is very expensive to record a record. We always strive to to make a record that when you put it in you want to listen to it all the way through.
Alice: The internet has changed it in such a way that you have to decide whether you are going to make an awesome album with ten songs that could each stand-alone, or do you want to make one kick-ass song that will be the album’s flagship, with the hopes that it pulls the rest of the album along.
Marty: It has changed the game. I want to be one of those bands that if you did buy the record, that when you got the record you were proud to have it and we were proud to make it. It would be something that you COULD listen to, it would be long enough, and not be a flash-in-the-pan in your mind. Like a month later this song is your favorite. Two weeks later this song is your favorite. You know, just make a great record! I’ve gotten some really great records over the years, that I absolutely think are phenomenal. I wanted to make one of those records that started in the beginning with “this” vibe, and towards the middle it has “this” vibe, towards the end it has “this” kind of vibe. I remember getting records when I was a kid, and when it was over I would be literally “Oh My God this is great!” exhausted and then start it all over again. I wanted to make a record that was a great record in totality, instead of two songs.
Alice: I listened to the tracks out of order. I’m going to have to back, put them in order, and listen to what the journey is supposed to be.
Marty: Yeah. The first song my brother sings lead on, and I’m playing guitar, and we are all singing backups. I sing the second song, it goes back and forth. Our bass player sings lead on a couple of songs on the record. I hate it when you get a record and it sounds like the same song, the same exact sound, all the way through the record. You can put out ten records that way. Well, you can if you are AC/DC! Bands like Rage Against the Machine, I love that band, but “put out another record!’ I already got it five times! Its going to be ‘bow bow bow’ and the guy is going to yell out political shit. Alright. Cool.
Alice: Thanks for yelling about political shit again, Sir!
Marty: In the same tone and same Led Zeppelin sounding guitars. I love Rage Against the Machine. I will probably buy their new record.
Alice: I’m sure it gets boring putting out the same record over and over again.
Marty: I’m sure. You go in the studio and be like, “I’ll play this same ol’ guitar sound and call me when the guitar is up.” I hate that shit. The band is there from the time we set the drums up in the room. We are helping lay the carpet down for the drums and the mics and everything. We want to be in on EVERYTHING. You have five guys doing it instead of one guy, I mean, its overwhelming with just one guy. It would be different if we had one genius in the band that wrote brilliant songs, and everybody would be like, “cool, tell me what to play.” Its not like that.
Alice: So you are in there putting the carpets down too – really?
Marty: Absolutely. Getting the drums out, loading the van, getting the drums ready, sitting there when the bass is getting recorded. The bass player is sitting there when the guitar is getting recorded. The drummer is there. He could have gone home a week ago. He’s been done a week ago, but he’s still there. Everybody is just into it. “Lets try this” and “I love this part” and “I have this idea.” It’s just a lot of fun to do it that way and we get these unique sounding records. We could do a very simple song, but because we have three singers, and our bass player has this brilliant way with harmony, we can get way more complex. He is hard to watch when he goes into the studio. It is like, “really? You did this in one take? It only took 10 seconds, are you shitting me?”
Alice: Some people have that innate ability!
Marty: Oh! You bastard! The same thing with the bass. It’s going to take me a couple times with the guitar to get it right. On his first play he is done, and we are like, “are you serious?” He is just one of those guys. He feels it in his bones. We can do a simple song, but we get this unique sound because there are three good singers, and when we sing together it’s definitely a unique sound. My favorite songs are when my brother, Jerod, and I are singing together; everyone singing all at once. It’s gorgeous and powerful and I love it!
Alice: (laughs) I can tell! Of course, we mentioned before about the “Sound of Silence”, the cover, and how it is getting tremendous airplay.
Marty: It is starting to. It has gotten a lot of good reviews. This is the second week of us going knocking on doors. It is doing well. We are getting a good reaction and 23 radio stations have added it already. That is the most adds that we’ve ever had. People are into it. It was a no brainer. Simon and Garfunkel already did a great job. It was a beautiful song, and if we could do a great job at it, then people won’t say that we can’t play worth a shit. Yeah we can!
Alice: (laughs) Definitely. Are you all Simon and Garfunkel fans and can we expect any more Simon and Garfunkel covers?
Marty: We actually laughed about that today – “What if we did a Simon and Garfunkel song on every record?” – and we were dying laughing. My bass player has a phenomenal voice on that song. I sing a lot of the leads, and Shaun sings a lot of the leads. Jerod is a huge part of the sound. He has this amazing range where he can go really high and sound like a choir of chicks singing. He has this amazing range. We used to do this cover of the Jackson Five long ago. He used to sing it just like Michael Jackson when he was a kid. It was hilarious because it was the Jackson Five, but he sang it REALLY well. Everyone would request it because they thought it was funny. I tried to get away from it. We are not a funny band; this shit ain’t funny. I’m dead serious when I’m up there. I’ve bled up there, gone through divorces, this shit seriously ain’t funny. So, we were looking for a song that would be perfect for his voice, and I was watching the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction, and all these bands played, and it was great. It was bands like Metallica, and other huge bands, and then Simon and Garfunkel came out with an acoustic guitar and one microphone on stage and dusted everybody. That is when we decided that it was the song.
Alice: Oh Yeah! It’s a wonderful song . Its nostalgic, but it is still current.
Marty: Yeah – and it will never go away. Jerod sang Garfunkel’s part exactly to a T. I sing Paul Simon’s part to a “T.” It was perfect for his voice. Nobody wanted to do it. They all thought it was crazy. My drummer and I forced it. We even went and recorded all the music and said, “Just sing on this.” Once we had the vocals they said, “maybe you are on to something here.” You never know. It scared me shitless. If we do a crappy version of this, they are going to tear us apart. We really have to hit the nail on the head. Everything was stacked against us to get the best performance out of this song. He sang the part, and I sang mine, and it was just magic. It is a beautiful song. The older folks, they get a great cover, and the younger kids think we are great song writers. It’s a win-win situation.
Alice: Absolutely. It’s kind of like Train. Some kids today think that they are newer, but don’t realize that they actually came out around 15 years ago.
Marty: Yep. “It’s not new – they are on VH1′s Behind the Music all this week.” They are awesome, I love that band. I think they are great. Have you seen their Behind the Music? It’s really really good.
Alice: No. I only have a handful of shows I watch, and I have to DVR every single one.
Marty: And they would be?
Alice: Dexter, I’m getting back in to that. American Horror Story…
Alice: Hell YES! It’s wonderful!
Marty: The show stresses me out. I get stressed, my hands gets sweaty and shit, and I’m all, “What are we going to do?” I’ll have dreams about it too. Before the season started, I watched a whole marathon of Walking Dead. I watched it all day and then dreamed about zombie attacks. It was quite terrifying.
Alice: I love the way the Rick character is evolving across the seasons.
Marty: Rick’s not fuckin around!
Alice: Do you watch The Talking Dead afterward?
Marty: Yeah, if I can get my girlfriend to let me! She thinks its stupid. When you watch it, they will tell you that the whole show is more about the human condition and what humans would do in this situation.
Alice: The zombies are almost secondary. I’m not there for them anymore, I’m there to see what happens and how people deal with it. It’s crazy.
Marty: You KNOW whats going to happen. If you had a group of people with women in it, and the end of the world came, you KNOW what would happen. Everybody from the outside would want you, and they would do something horrible to your women. It’s how it works.
Alice: And its not like he has any unattractive women in his group. They are ALL cute.
Marty: Even the older lady, looks like Jamie Lee Curtis a little bit.
Alice: Off the wall question. What’s the most bizarre experience you’ve ever had onstage?
Marty: I got electrocuted once. I was knocked clear out and had to go to the hospital in Florida. That was pretty wild. I smacked a redneck in the head with my guitar once because he attacked my bass player with a knife. That was pretty wild. I was afraid that I had killed him. Glad I didn’t.
Alice: As are we! Marty, Thank you so much for speaking with me! I look forward to catching up with you guys later during your tour!
Marty: It was an absolute pleasure!
Electrical shock treatment to the lips and hitting a redneck with a guitar: bizarre moments in Bobaflex history indeed! To our readers, do yourselves a favor: If you haven’t heard Bobaflex’s Hell In My Heart, you’ve done yourself a disservice. Get out there and get a copy, visit them on facebook and at theofficialbobaflex.com, request ‘Sound of Silence’ from your radio station, and make Bobaflex a household name. You won’t regret it!
~Alice Roques – Editor, RockRevolt™ Magazine
Pictures from Bobaflex Facebook Page