The story as I remember, or as it was told, goes something like this...
Reverend Bob or Rev Bob as he is called by friends and enemies alike, was not a real reverend.
He wasn't ordained in any official way, but he was a preacher's son destined to follow in his
father's footsteps, but music--especially the howling tonques of blues and early rock n' roll
filled his soul. But of course this was wrong--even evil. But music was the thunderbolt to the
heart that Jesus could never be. This conflict between the world of his upbringing and music
would forever haunt him and fuel his own songs and performance. If you look closely you can
see the angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other as he plays the Mississippi trumpet.
Fast forword a few years later and Rev Bob is playing in groups or going solo, spreading his blues gospel. Coming from the south to the north and back again; Woodstock, Paris, London, New York and all the sticks in between. Guitar over his shoulder, his story--telling songs caught attention [he did have the preacher's blood] and his fiery harmonica playing thrilled any audience that bore witness.
As a travelling blues muscian Bob would come into contact with a host of strange and
beautiful people, but it was while on tour in the south that he fell for the charms of a voodoo
priestess. The relationship was intense but did not last. What did last was it's effect on his
music and persona. Overnight his performances had a shamanic quality. Some said he was a
witchdoctor. I can't speak to the truth of this, but it did attract larger and kinda' crazier
audiences. Record people came a' courtin'. And then everything crashed.
Crashed........dishonest managers and exploitive record contracts? Artistic obstacles with
nefarious underground elements? The usual stories of drink and drug abuse also circled. Some suggest the voodoo priestess cursed his good fortune. Or maybe some soberly say, it was the changing winds of taste and fashion; no one wanted to hear "that old shit"--it was all played out. The gigs got cheaper and scarce. He lingered under southern skies for awhile and then suddenly him and his ever present trailer drove north. He picked Detroit for a year then
crossed the border into Canada and ended up in Hamilton, Ontario.
Working the various industrial mills and following it's boom to bust trajectory, he mostly kept low--key--preferring impromptu jams at his trailer. And at this dark hour he met four musicians who were very junior to him. Four savants who were coming from the punk, garage, and metal scenes.
Busking is how Rev Bob came into contact with these four long in the tooth, but still
considerably younger upstarts. Guitarist Josh says he met Rev Bob blowing his harp outside
a booze can. Bob said it was Josh playing guitar outside the establishment. Johnny the drummer says they probably met fighting over the coveted busking spot. Regardless, the three began jamming and writing tunes. Later Les and Jimmy were kidnapped into the band to handle bass and vocals.
Rev Bob admits at first he didn't know what to make of these loud snotty punks who
were doing the rounds in local punk/metal bands like Ghetto Dolls and Sarasin--what did
they know of the blues. For their part Josh, Johnny, Les, and Jimmy wanted to do something
different--if Rev Bob could keep up.
What happened next was interesting and extraordinary. They weren't re--inventing
the wheel but the tread was deep and sharp and the hubcaps looked fucking cool. It was
roots and modern. It payed homage to blues and even country but with the snotty attitude
of punk and the grandiousoty and flash of metal: An ear for the past but an eye to the future.
Maybe there was something in the water or the heavy smoke for that matter. Maybe they
just got lucky. Or maybe I'm just crazy. For some the music might sound like someone
raising the black--you know the kind with a skull on it. In fact, despite all talk about music
genres and their origins, they and their music reminds me of a pirate ship. Rev Bob as captain
and the rest of the crew in the crow's nest sharpening their swords and looking for new ports
to sing their stories. Stories you wouldn't want to live but relish hearing--peeking in on a world
that is dark and alive in a world gone dead and numb from digital karaoke.
Ladies and gentlemen for your dining pleasure; for your consideration; for your fucking
entertainment--may I present REV BOB AND THE L'IL EVIL BLUES BAND. From the gritty
streets of the Hammer to your heart and crotch. Turn it up! This machine shakes asses!