[Below are a few of the publications my various bands have been featured in (the ones that haven’t disappeared from cyberspace, at least).]
NEW TIMES BROWARD-PALM BEACH
(newtimesbpb.com | originally published: Feb. 27, 2003)
BY AUDRA SCHROEDER
Mere minutes into the set, he throws himself on the floor, white suede dress shoes flailing, in a spectacular display of rock ‘n’ roll grand mal. The crowd backs up, bristling with confused looks. But it’s not long before the witnesses are also seized by the “just gotta dance” reflex. Billy Boloby‘s catchy, feverish brand of rock ‘n’ roll has been known to cause convulsions, hypothermia, even spontaneous combustion. And that’s on a bad night. The lad from West Palm Beach has created an arsenal of shenanigans to spice up his live shows, and folks can’t help but take notice.
After stints in the Happy Accidents and the Mute-Ants, lead singer Billy Boloby (pronounced buh-LOW-bee) started his own band in early 1999. A three-year period of writing and rewriting songs prompted Boloby to abandon his guitar and focus solely on singing. But, he insists, an ambitious vision guided him: “My reason for starting this band was a combination of my complete and utter discontent for the vanity and pretentiousness that is popular culture and a need to find a legitimate vehicle for acting as out of my head as possible.”
The band played its debut show in February of 2001 as a three-piece, Billy Boloby and the Bad Priests, and a crowd at Respectable Street witnessed one of its first theatrical endeavors. Boloby sported a Southern Baptist preacher getup and shouted inanities. “On stage, you have license to do anything,” he explains. “I couldn’t go up there and just look pretty, like something out of a magazine.” After playing a series of gigs around West Palm, the lineup solidified by May 2002.
The addition of drummer-turned-guitarist Marvin Holiday allowed Boloby to put a proverbial tent on the circus and follow through with his mission of losing his mind without dropping his guitar. “I’d known Boloby for years through mutual friends and the scene,” Holiday says. “I already knew his influences agreed with mine, so one night I told him that I should play rhythm guitar. I was ecstatic because they were doing exactly what I wanted to do.” With Gary Lee Harris on drums and Herman Von Uberstein on bass, they were on their way. The band played its first show with Holiday as the Palm Beach Snot Club, an ingenious incarnation conceived to poke fun at the snooty, snotty upper crust of Palm Beach society. Weeks before the show, Boloby and “yacht captain” Harris infiltrated clubs across Palm Beach and Broward counties to pass out fliers, attracting blank stares and the all-important “nod and smile” response.
“We like that element of creating situations which make people curious,” Boloby says. “Obviously we’re focused on songwriting, but we also try to make shows inclusive and involve the entire audience. It’s a very atmospheric and theatrical event.” With that ideology in mind, the band hatched a plot to create a show by the people, for the people. Billy Boloby and the Ice Cream Socialists made their debut at Soundsplash in Lake Worth [sic] and, in true socialist spirit, served ice cream to the crowd. This move, not surprisingly, turned into a “complete mess,” but it still remains one of the band’s most talked-about shows. “We play a lot of venues, like Dada in Delray Beach, where people wouldn’t normally get to see us,” Boloby says. “I always half-expect people to walk out once we begin. We try to reach beyond musical barriers and appeal to people on a human level, hence some of the absurd themes we incorporate. Our fans range from [age] 14 to 70, the latter probably due to failed hearing aids.”
To add to the confusion, Boloby’s recent show at Dada turned grisly. As the singer ran out to the parking lot to grab the set list, he was struck by a white Saturn. Boloby was carried back into the club, where an off-duty doctor enjoying an after-work beverage just happened to be in the audience. He was able to revive Billy’s failing heart with a Fender amp and Von Uberstein’s pair of jumper cables.
Theatrical dalliances aside, Billy Boloby’s sound is not easily defined or categorized. Take a few R&B riffs, throw in some jerky punk rock, and add a bit of melodious pop… Trying to describe it is almost missing the point. “The four of us have a harmonious songwriting attitude,” Holiday boasts. “We don’t carry around a lot of ego. No screaming matches, no pranks. We’re painfully honest with each other about what works and what doesn’t.” And perhaps it’s that unwavering camaraderie that helped produce songs such as “My Love Is (Just a Corpse),” “(Yeah He’s a) Bad Priest,” and the twitchy crowd favorite “Better Wait.” Plans to put out a recording are in the works, but for now, the band is content to keep its adoring cadre of fans satisfied with props, faux facial fur, and most important, a frenzied dose of good old rock ‘n’ roll. Madness? Hysteria? Costumes? Yes, it’s all true.
“The scene is very warm right now,” Holiday says optimistically. “Our fans and the other bands we play with have a good attitude and are very, very supportive. We feel fortunate to be doing what we do.”
In his 1989 book Lipstick Traces, Greil Marcus chronicles the rise of punk rock from the ashes of Dadaism in the early 20th Century. The Dadaists’ use of music as theater, in incarnations such as Cabaret Voltaire, woke up a generation plagued by normalcy and routine, as did punk 60 years later. Billy Boloby may not call themselves Dadaists, but their music can certainly be defined as rock ‘n’ roll theater. And word has it they may finally unveil their choreographed dance routine sometime soon.
“Ideally, you won’t know what to expect of our live shows,” Boloby says. “We try to do something different each time, whether the band brings me back from the dead, we’re kidnapped by an evil scientist and replaced by a robot, or we’re hosting a wild Ice Cream Party for the People. Even when we don’t come up with a feasible idea, we make sure to turn everything up a notch.”
Pots ‘N’ Pans Stir it Up
Pots ‘N’ Pans’ potluck dinner: A little bit of this, a little bit of that and a pinch of who the hell knows what
By: Larry Boytano
Pots ‘N’ Pans have a little more shake, rattle and roll than most bands–and that’s just from front man Billy Boloby’s eccentric dance moves. Add garage-born punky grooves from band mates Devon Nelson, Jesse Dalton and Evan Eastham, and you have a rock and roll recipe prepared with utensils born from bands like the Jam, the Queers, the New York Dolls and Dick Dale.
Closer caught up with PNP on a recent breezy evening on the outskirts of downtown Delray Beach. Over beers on a sidewalk table outside Tony’s Deli, the band philosophized about the South Florida music scene, rock and roll performance art and why a spaghetti dinner would cause such noxious gas from a quiet guy at the table who isn’t in the band.
“In essence, we’re trying to create something new, but we’re all ripping off the same shit,” says Evan Eastham, vocalist and bassist, about the different musical influences his band mates bring to PNP. “We wanted to start a 60s soul, rock and roll, garage mix, and Billy was doing powerpop/ the Jam type of stuff. So we just brought it together.”
Eastham started the band with guitarist Devon Nelson, a longtime partner in crime who shares singing/songwriting duties. When they started Pots ‘N’ Pans, the duo enlisted a drummer who didn’t quite work out. They stumbled through a couple of gigs, one of which caught the eye of Billy Boloby–long-time scenester, former leader of a self-titled band and full-time impersonator of Jason Budjinski, former Broward-Palm Beach New Times music editor .
Eastham and Nelson were looking for a frontman and Boloby was bandless. Add the talents of Jesse Dalton behind the skins and the rest is audio artistry on a plate, kinda sorta.
“We’re trying to stray away from the punk stuff that we all played when starting out,” Eastham elaborates. “But the drunker we get, the more we revert. So we have these garage-y power-pop songs that end up sounding punk.”
With three singer/songwriters in the band, the tunes vary with the author. Those written by Eastham and Nelson tend to be a bit more garage-y while those written by Boloby are a bit more melodic. The result is a 60s, garage, surf punk vibe.
The band debuted with Presenting…Pots ‘N’ Pans, a four-song EP featuring two Boloby songs, “One Last Try” and “So Caught Up,” a tune from Nelson, “I am Your Friend” and one from Eastham, “Til She Was Dead.” The disc is available for free as a zip file at http://www.potsnpans.com . The band has about 13 original tunes in their repertoire, so their live shows are usually sprinkled with a choice cover or two.
PNP shines brightest when they hit the stage. That’s when Boloby–between singing, flailing around stage or busting out his signature shake, twitch and slide dance moves–is strapping on a guitar and providing backing vocals to Nelson or Eastham while Dalton bangs on his kit.
The energetic shows usually pack a sense of anticipation, that there’s something odd around the corner, a dance move, an intervention or bodily injury. Boloby has busted a rib on two different occasions–once while wrestling with a female fan, the other after banging a railing on the stage’s edge.
With or without mayhem, PNP gigs are more than the average rock show. The band’s theatrics reflect their belief in performance as art, a form Boloby feels is grossly overlooked: “No one really says anything about performance – it’s usually one song, two song, three song, boring stupid predictable banter in the middle,” he says. “That format has so much opportunity to be fucked with. There are limitless things that can be done and that’s where I like to have my creativity. Plus, I don’t drink, so that gets the craziness out of my system.”
The band hasn’t staged anything recently, as they’ve been concentrating on working with Dalton, the new drummer. They plan to continue the theatrics, but the sometimes fickle South Florida crowd can be a deterrent: “A lot of times we’ll come up with a really elaborate skit,” says Boloby, who’s performed in a sandwich board and other weird getups. “But if the audience isn’t receptive for whatever reason, it’s not worth all the effort, so we’re like forget it, let’s just play.”
At their relatively young age-all in their mid-twenties except Boloby, 31–the band members have seen their fair share of action in other groups. Currently, Nelson also performs in the Sleeparounds and a second side project, Shart Attak.
As a result, they know the South Florida crowd well, maybe a little too well: “People in South Florida will take what you give them,” Eastham says, a little disappointed. “They’ll have a drink in their hands and can get into it, but that’s about it. You’ll never see them again. There aren’t many culture vultures like in other cities where people will seek you out. You don’t get that here.”
To seek out Pots ‘N’ Pans, visit:
Or catch them at this Design District street party during Art Basel.
SOUTH FLORIDA SUN-SENTINEL
JASON KNAPFEL LOCAL SCENE
July 25, 2003|JASON KNAPFEL LOCAL SCENE
Just as it is in the fashion industry, all things make a return in the music world. Record labels were looking for the next “big thing” and they settled on a garage revival. As honestly refreshing as many of those bands have been (the Hives, White Stripes, Strokes etc.) even the less cynical get disconcerted by all the fashionable posing that comes about when corporate America gets hold of a marketable commodity.
Don’t blame most of these bands. Many of them were banging out their power chords well before the suits saw their sound as a cash cow.
West Palm Beach’s Billy Boloby has loads of reverence for ’70s punk and garage, and none of the bandwagon posturing many expect from the current crop of hipsters. Sure, their debut EP is titled The Revival. But it has more to do with mythical liner notes of resuscitating the young Mr. Boloby for a show than an announcement of bringing some musical movement back to life.
Unlike their contemporary retro-minded brethren, Billy Boloby (the group and the singer who dons the name) reference lesser-known acts of the ’70s underground. Boloby’s swaggering vocals snarl like a latter-day Richard Hell or his one-time band mate Tom Verlaine. But Boloby bears little resemblance to the artier tendencies of Verlaine’s Television, keeping more in toe with Hell and his group the Voidoids.
Each of the six tracks put you in a full pogo-inducing trance. Even more obscure ’70s punk touchstones come to mind, such as Boston faves the Modern Lovers and a spawn of that band, the Real Kids. The clear standout (listen up radio programmers) is the catchy la la chorus of Better Wait.
Posted on Thu, May. 22, 2003
Local & Indie Music
UNDERBELLY / Boloby unstuck
BEWARE OF FLYING INSTRUMENTS
BY RENE ALVAREZ
Billy Boloby is looking for some relevance in the here and now. Maybe he’ll find it with the release of his new six-song EP, The Revival. Embracing the brighter side of the Clash, the guitar-driven pop of the Jam, and the self-effacing lyricism of Jonathan Richman, Boloby and his band ride a tense wave of barely-restrained outrage. In ”Wake Up and See (That You’re Alive),” a tight little diatribe on hypocrisy, there’s a sneaking apprehension that the band is about to kick over the drum set and pin a guitar to someone’s forehead. Don’t worry, though; they hardly ever do.
Boloby performs Friday, May 23, at Churchill’s (5501 NE Second Ave., Miami; 305-757-1807). Hanging out for the fun are the Heatseekers, the Lids (Atlanta, GA), and Homer and the Sexuals. The show starts at 10 p.m., cover is 5 bucks and it’s an 18-and-over show. For more info, go to http://www.BillyBoloby.com.