Big Boy Bloater
With a new album called Luxury Hobo out on Provogue/Mascot Label Group, BBB delivers a set of new compositions backed by his band The Limits. In a general sense working the upbeat side of the blues, guitar man and vocalist Bloater talks to JLTT about the tracks and everything related…
JLTT: Greetings! The label sent the new album over to me and so which number album is this for you?
BBB: Well it’s the third one with The Limits that we’ve put out
So The Limits are pretty much played in and ready to go..let’s run through the tracks for the lowdown on those..we kick off with Devils Not Angels, a heavy brisk sound – what guitar are you using on that cut?
I’m using my Fender Stratocaster, the BloaterCaster and I used that guitar on all the recording on his release
What’s the history of that model?
It’s actually a Japanese import model, 2003? it’s had a few mods and pickups changed, wiring changed – so it’s grown into the BloaterCaster! I specifically went out to get a Japanese one as I had heard they were about three times better than the American ones. For half the price.
I like to take budget guitars and get them sounding better than a five grand Les Paul..there’s too much mythology about expensive guitars
Absolutely! I’m totally with you on that one. And if it’s a gigging guitar you don’t really want to take it outside if it’s worth thousands, do you?
What struck me right from the off on this record of yours is that the band do sound not like a standard blues band but more like The Attractions. With the organ, the jump beat…
(Pause) I’m glad you said that – it’s quite a compliment
This opener – had you told me that was a new single on the revived Stiff label I would have believed you..
And I’m a big fan of that era stuff so yes I will take that as a huge compliment, Pete
You obviously heard all the Nick Lowe and Lew Lewis releases from that time
Indeed and I did tentatively ask whether Nick Lowe could maybe produce us but he was too busy and nicely declined
I saw him about six months ago with one of my inspirations Bill Kirchen (Commander Cody guitarist – PS).he got up on stage and did Forty Nights. I know you’re not keen to be tagged as a bluesman or whatever, but people like him can step into any style and work it.
You have to admire an musician who can tur his hand to any kind of music, agreed
It Came Out Of The Swamp has got this flanged bass and loping beat – it’s a bit like a B movie film track. Or were you not going for that?
(Laughs) Ha! Yeah that terrible Fifties B movie feel, horror from the swamp type thing.I wanted to get that bass with a synth line alongside, as well, pumping away. The relentless it’s-behind-you, chased-from-the shadows
Yes, it’s like Tom Waits being chased through the undergrowth
Again another great compliment
Well your voice is often on the edge of Waits – the character and delivery is more important than any operatic purity
Absolutely correct, that is what I try to do with my songs and singing
Neat slide on there
Thanks, that is something I’m only now getting in to now, the slide guitar playing and I did have fun with that
If you get a passive volume pedal, pick a note and then bring up the sound you can get close to pedal steel
Ooh that’s complicated stuff, isn’t it?
I used to have this joke with Dickie Peterson of Blue Cheer that when the dinosaurs appeared in Jurassic Park they really should have playing their Out of Focus. Were you ever a fan of the US hard rock bands?
Not so much the American stuff, more the English acts really – not so much early Fleetwood Mac, more the Seventies groups for me, T Rex, Mott The Hoople and so on, really.
Cowell and co have never got acts like the Screaming Blue Messiahs
Very true. Well last day on Earth it will all come right in the end , though!
Now this track I Love You But I Can’t Stand Your Friends, very crisp tempo and almost a Stonesish riff but is this from real experience?
Do you know what? Not particularly but there are people who have hooked up with partners and been introduced to the friends and thought, how am I going to put up with this? Is this person worth putting up with all these morons? Personally I haven’t had much of this but I know people who have been there (Laughs)
Isn’t is a common dynamic that with some couples, one partner tends to dominate..
I did want to make the song blunt, no holding back there. No messing around or soft talk! And the riff is also blunt, to-the-point..yes, almost Stonesy as you say
The Devil’s Tail, slide, a choppy attack again. A kind of warning?
Hmm, this is really about what people will do to try and grab a piece of fame. Go to any lengths to have say a million hits on YouTube. You know, throw themselves off roofs and things, hurts themselves – just to be famous. Hence the line that you may was well stand on The Devil’s tail. So It’s about that fame-claiming YouTube generation
Shallowness. It’s everywhere. OK – I Got The Feeling Someone’s Watching Me. I would humbly suggest that this Waitsish moment is my favourite track on the set because it has its own atmosphere. Third person or do you feel this way ever?
I sort of wrote this about things like CCTV being everywhere. In any one day you are seen on hundreds of cameras, unwittingly. You are tracked wherever you go.That feeling that you’re always being watched.
I love CCTV. Those four blokes who committed 7/7 here in London– the Police could track whatever they did that day. So to me it’s not black and white
(Ironic tone) If you have nothing to hide, you’re all right aren’t you?
Til the Government changes….Luxury Hobo Blues, great cowbell on there. Is that a set-starter?
I haven’t thought of using that as set-starter, these songs in the main haven’t been gigged yet. I’m not sure where to put that in the pending tour setlist.
It has a New Orleans touch
Yes I guess it has, hasn’t it ? There are all kinds of elements in there, things the band did. It does have that cowbell and slow easy Southern feel, doesn’t it..
Robot Girfriend – excellent bassline
Oh yes he did a fantastic job on that
Were you ever a fan of The Cramps?
(Warmly) Yeah !! one of the very first things I learned to play on the guitar was Human Fly, that’s going back some time now. Their bass player was something else and again a lot of that dark humour
They loved their B movies, for sure. All Things Considered – sounds like you enjoy singing his one? Sounds like you do
Yes I do and actually it’s one of those songs that I could see a better singer doing something with it
Let’s ring Beth Hart and ask her to drop by!
Exactly! Someone like that would be the one. I love sing it, totally
It’s a good inclusion. On to Not Cool Man. Is it true that on a show you overran by a few seconds and a roadie told you off?
Yes – one of George Thorogood’s roadies. He was not impressed that we ran a few seconds over our time.
A nice clavinet sound on here by Dan
I don’t know what that is, he has one of those Nord keyboards and comes up with these tones. I do push him to come up with crazier and weirder sounds, to really push it
It’s a strange dynamic that clavinet and slide guitar with reverb always works – ask Joe Walsh
A happy coincidence, I think on this one – not really planned out as such
Tell me about Adam Whalley’s role here please
Producing..and he’s a real rock guy. Does some very heavy things. He has great wide-ranging taste in music. So helpful to have him come in with that second ear, y’know?
What have you learned NOT to do on stage?
I had a really severe bout of food poisoning once and with a show to do. I was actually throwing up between guitar solo’s.
What’s the message here? Watch the diet?
Yes, I’d been eating a really dodgy meal that morning..something to avoid!
Please give me three words about Matt Cowley
Professional. Talented. Happy
Funny. Amazing. Talented, again
Talented. There’s a theme running through this! Grooving. Cool.
So your album, overall – do you recall R L Burnside? When I heard him I thought I could probably enjoy this is a few years’ time because it has nothing to do with fashion or trendiness
I would have to go along with that notion..get on with the goddamn song!
Big Boy Bloater and The LiMiTs new studio album ‘Luxury Hobo’ is out now on Provogue Records/Mascot Label Group. To support the release the band will be touring the UK for the ‘Luxury Hobo UK Tour’ which will stop at the following venues:
SUNDAY 8TH MAY – THE GLEE CLUB, BIRMINGHAM – Tickets £12 Adv
THURSDAY 12TH MAY – SOUTHEND CLIFFS PAVILION – Tickets £14 Adv
FRIDAY 13TH MAY – THE HUNTER CLUB, BURY ST EDMUNDS – Tickets £12 Adv
SATURDAY 14TH MAY – THE FORUM, TUNBRIDGE WELLS – Tickets £10 Adv
SUNDAY 15TH MAY – 100 CLUB, LONDON – Tickets £15 Adv
FRIDAY 20TH MAY – THE OLD FIRE STATION, OXFORD – Tickets £12 Adv
SATURDAY 21ST MAY – THE RAILWAY, WINCHESTER – Tickets £12 Adv
THURSDAY 26TH MAY – THE MUSICIAN, LEICESTER – Tickets £12 Adv
SATURDAY MAY 28TH – MR KYPS, POOLE – Tickets £10 Adv
WEDNESDAY 15TH JUNE – GREYSTONES, SHEFFIELD – Tickets £11 Adv
THURSDAY 16TH JUNE – CLUNY 2, NEWCASTLE – Tickets £11 Adv
FRIDAY 17TH JUNE – CONTINENTAL, PRESTON – Tickets £11 Adv
SATURDAY 18TH JUNE – NICE N SLEAZY, GLASGOW – Tickets £11 Adv
SUNDAY 19TH JUNE – VOODOO ROOMS, EDINBURGH – Tickets £11 Adv
FRIDAY 22ND JULY – BEER & BLUES FESTIVAL, BAND ON THE WALL, MANCHESTER – Tickets £11 Adv
For more information visit Big Boy Bloater’s official website here: http://bit.ly/1Qu1s8T
(Feature Image credited to Gemma Hall. Thanks to Big Boy Bloater for taking part and to Lee Puddefoot at Mascot Label Group for all of his help with this interview)