The feud of the West Virginia/Kentucky Hatfield’s and McCoy’s has become American legend, having become synonymous with any long-standing, bitter feud. The story has been immortalized in countless television shows and movies, and most recently, both a mini-series and a reality show on the History Channel. This is no history lesson, but the McCoy brothers of Bobaflex have a connection to this piece of American culture, being descendants of that historical McCoy clan. Marty McCoy says that there is definitely no longer a feud between the families, but there is a connection that their ancestors may not have anticipated. “The way we do it now is through alcohol,” says McCoy. “Whoever pukes or passes out first is the loser of the feud at this point in time. I know a lot of Hatfields across the country and we wouldn’t know each other if it wasn’t this big, ‘ Oh, there was this feud between us 120 years ago.’” McCoy says that he also feels that the family connection has gotten them some press coverage that they may not have gotten if not for their historical lineage.
Not that the boys of Bobaflex haven’t worked hard enough to earn that press coverage on their own merit, and they have most definitely been through their share of rough times in the music industry. Started by the McCoy brothers in 1998, the band had released several albums and toured extensively, making a name for themselves as a hard-working band. Then their record label went bankrupt and there was an extensive battle for song rights and more. McCoy shares, “When a record label goes bankrupt, nobody knows what’s happening, not even the bankruptcy attorneys have any idea what’s happening with the music or the money owed and this and that. It was an absolute nightmare.” The band continued to press on, and were approached by some record labels to release an album, but were understandably worried that any label they signed with could go bankrupt, so they decided to start their own label, BFX Records. McCoy says that, “We were going to keep the doors open no matter what. We were going to have only one band! And we weren’t going to drop us or not put money into us when we needed it.”
That decision seems to have been a wise choice, as 2011’s Hell in My Heart spawned popular hits such as Chemical Valley, Bury Me With My Guns On, and a remake of Simon and Garfunkel’s The Sound of Silence. Their newest release, Charlatan’s Web, hit shelves on September 10th.
Recorded in Columbus, Ohio, McCoy says that the recording process was much more peaceful than their last record. “This album was really fun because with the last record, we were pretty desperate and didn’t know what was going to happen. This album- things had gone well enough that we had more time in the studio. It was more relaxed and everybody just wrote and it was just a blast. It was one of the most fun records I’ve ever made.”
The album’s first single, Bad Man, is already quickly climbing the charts. According to McCoy, the song is a “big middle finger” to all the naysayers out there. “ Bad Man’s about everybody telling you, ‘You’re over with, you’re not going to make it and its all finished and you’re being stupid for doing what you’re doing’….. One day you’re going to realize. You’re going to forget about where we were at and wonder what happened to Bobaflex and we’re going to blow up right in your face…..One day, you’ll realize that we’re badass. You can’t break us down,” he says with a laugh.
McCoy took some time to give some insight into a couple of other songs on the album as well. “Rogue is a song about being on the road and meeting chicks and them really falling in love with you and you’re like, ‘I gotta leave tonight and I won’t be back for six months. Don’t waste your time on me.’ It happens a lot! Like, wow, this chick is really there crying and I’m leaving and its like, what?! ‘I’ll only see you every six months and this is not something that you want to do. I’m begging you, don’t do this.’” School for Young Ladies is a somewhat unexpected addition to the album that McCoy says his brother Shaun wrote: “When he wrote it, I was like, ‘You’re crazy!’ and he sang it to me and told me the concept of the song and I’m like, ‘Are you out of your fucking mind?’ And then the song started to come together and I thought, ‘Yeah, you are out of your mind but in a really cool way.’ I REALLY ended up liking that song a lot.”
But the Bobaflex boys aren’t afraid of taking chances and stepping out of their comfort zones. “This album we took a few more chances. We THOUGHT we were taking a few more chances and then we listened back to the record when it was done and it ended up being just a straightforward rock record. It had a little bit of new rock in it, a little bit of old rock in it and definitely some metal tings…. We took more risks but at the end of the day it was just a really solid rock record. No tricks, nothing crazy. Just straight up rock and roll.”
Bobaflex is known for their amazing vocal harmonies. Some bands have to work at having such a tight vocal mix, but for McCoy it seemed like a no-brainer. “Growing up and all the bands that I liked- I just thought that was what it was supposed to be like. It’s like, what are you in the band for if you can’t sing? What’s the point?,” he says. “So it’s something that came natural when we started the band. It was something like, ‘Hey, if you can’t sing, you can’t be in the band!’”
The McCoy brothers, in addition to both playing guitar, share lead vocal duties with bassist Jerod Mankin. And of course, as we know, drummer Tommy Johnson wouldn’t be in the band if he couldn’t sing as well. The newest addition to band is guitarist David Tipple. The band was worried when their previous guitar player left, but McCoy says, “I was like, ‘What are we going to do now? Get Yngwie Malmsteen to play some licks on this record? What the hell are we going to do? And Dave just rolled right in and can sing like a bird. He’s an all around great musician and an all around great guy… I couldn’t believe how easy it was and I’m really happy that he’s in the band.”
The band prides themselves on their live performance and practice constantly when they are not out on the road. McCoy describe their live show as “All out assault… It’s like a well-oiled machine. Everybody sings, everybody plays. It’s something that you haven’t seen in a long time and maybe some of the younger guys have never seen before. It’s a rock and roll band. It’s not one guy and people hiding in the background. It’s five dudes that play a very important role in the live show and in each song and we like to show that off…. It doesn’t get stale. It’s not a bunch of rockers with their hair in their face, standing there playing some songs. It’s a high energy, live, fun rock show.” A crowd favorite is Bury Me With My Guns On and McCoy says, “I can’t wait to get that part of the set. I can’t even hear my vocals, they’re yelling it so loud. Beautiful part in the set.”
Bobaflex certainly has a hectic schedule, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have time to check out and support other acts. One of those bands that McCoy appreciates is a Cincinnati band called Foxy Shazam. He says, “That’s a band that I go see live and I’m like, alright, back to the drawing board… It’s a band that I FEAR live. They’re that good.”
“A few other bands that we’ve toured with a lot that I think are amazing and I think they’re going to be huge in the next year are a band called Royal Bliss out of Salt Lake City and a band called Wayland. They inspired me every time I see them play to put on the best who and eat healthy and workout and work on my vocals and guitar every day. It’s bands like that that I think, they’re going to be huge and I hope we all do it together.”
In addition to promoting their new album, the band will soon be heading out on tour with some mysterious “heavy hitters.” Says McCoy, “I’m not really allowed to say yet who it is…. It’s going to be coast to coast, six weeks.”
While we are anxiously waiting for that announcement, McCoy’s final words for the readers of Screamer are, “Call the radio stations and request Bad Man. We’re only as strong as our fans and we need you!”
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