This year has been a great year for me discovering lots of new music, or in some cases just new to me. One of my favourites I have discovered has been The Bobby Lees, who released their fourth album “Bellevue’ earlier this month.
We caught up with Mackey, the drummer of The Bobby Lees, to ask him about his musical journey and influences.
1)What is your earliest music-related memory? What do you remember being played at home when you were a child?
My earliest music related memory would probably have to be asking my parents to turn on either ACDC or Motley Crue in the car (those were my two favorite bands). At home I remember hearing the “This Are 2tone” compilation all the time as well as a lot of Taj Mahal.
2)What was the first record that you ever bought? Where did you get it and do you have any recollection of the experience?
That’s kinda tricky, being the age I am, the first record I remember buying was Back in Black on my iPod touch for my birthday. I can’t remember how old I was but I’m positive it was younger than 10. The first vinyl I ever bought with my own money was a little later on down the line, and it was Diary of a Madman by Ozzy Osbourne.
3) When did you really start to develop a passion for listening to music? How did that come about and what were you into at the time?
I think I grew up around so much music that I always felt it was something that was worth my time. In fact, because of the people I grew up in proximity to, I have distinct memories of being insecure about not knowing or liking enough music when I was younger. Music was always just this almost arbitrary part of my life, it wasn’t until midway through high school that I actually really found my passion for it I think. First with artists like DEVO, Oingo Boingo, Cyndi Lauper, and Television, and then later again with bands like Toots and the Maytals, The Selecter, Desmond Dekker and the Aces, and Fishbone. I specifically remember a certain point that I felt like I’d finally found something that I’d been looking for forever.
4)What was the first gig that you went to? Where was it and what was it like?
My family used to have a band called “The Five Points Band”, a lot of my earliest memories in some way involve gladly watching them perform live or rehearse. I think it instilled in me early on the notion that performing was inextricably linked to a happy life.
5)What are your memories of starting out making music? What was the first song that you learned to play?
The first song I remember learning how to play was one of my parents’ band’s songs: “Gingerbread Man”. The drum part is this really cool crossover thing that spans the entire kit and looks really impressive to watch someone play, however in actuality it’s pretty much just a cleverly implemented paradiddle. To you who are reading this I know that that might be meaningless jargon, all I’m trying to say is that when my dad first taught it to me my mind was blown and I would just sit at the drums and play it for hours after I got the hang of it.
6)What was your first band/musical project? What music was influencing you at that time? What are your memories of playing your first gig and are there any recordings out there?
Have been waiting to get asked this… The first real band I was in before this one was an act called “Porcelain Helmet”. We were a totally badass thrash metal act from when I was.. I think 15. I’ve always loved metal, rock and the like, but I’ve also always been a particularly obnoxious contrarian. So partially because of a fear of falling too far down the metal hole and becoming a metal core act (something I had a real disdain for at the time…also definitely was not in danger of happening), and pure impotent pride I was always trying to incorporate things from all different genres into my playing, especially if the genre was not very heavy. In retrospect I’m not sure my ‘artistic vision’ came across as my real shortcoming in that band was that I was not practicing my instrument at all and it showed. \m/ Either way we did record an album and it’s available on all streaming services.. for those of you who dare to be epic..
7)Which band/artist do you think has had the biggest influence on your music over the years? What is it about them that inspires you?
I honestly don’t know that I could point to any one artist as a main inspiration. DEVO’s certainly my favorite band always and forever, but in terms of specific acts that influence the minutiae of what I do it’s a real melange. I love DEVO so much not only because of their incredible and always somehow innovative music, but because of what has always seemed to me like total clarity of vision. Even as throughout the years the specifics of their visual and aural aesthetic would change and their lyrics would shift; it never felt like the changes were aberrations from their initial mission statement, but rather further explorations into what that mission statement could mean. Also.. they’re just so cool.
8)Who are some of your favourite current artists? What do you like about them
Not sure, I guess I’ve been listening to a lot of Alex G and Lomelda recently. I’ve been kinda sad. One thing that always interests me is how the implicit aspects of recorded music affects your emotional connection to it. For example how a sad song recorded on a microwave or whatever is, to me, more reflective of the song’s material than a real high budget setup. Sometimes. I also just really enjoy those specific artists’ songs.
The Bobby Lee’s fourth album ‘Bellevue’ is out now on Ipecac Records
Follow The Bobby Lees on Facebook/Instagram
Interview by Hayley Foster da Silva
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