Raised on the hard twang of Johnny, Hank, Buck and Merle, Bob Wire has developed his personal brand of rockin' country that has been filling dance floors for more than ten years. A guitarist and singer based in Missoula, Montana, Bob writes songs for adults who have a sense of humor, and aren't afraid to think for themselves.
Fans of Steve Earle, Dwight Yoakam, the Bottle Rockets, and other hard-rocking country artists have come to love the Bob Wire sound. It's a rootsy stew of traditional country, blues, rockabilly and swampy folk that drives a highly entertaining mix of lyrical subjects. Fourteen of these original nuggets comprise Bob's first solo album, "American Piehole." A self-recorded, self-released effort, the album features Bob's current band, the Magnificent Bastards. David Colledge plays lead guitar, Jack Barnings plays drums, and Ron Setzer is on bass. Setzer also helped produce "Piehole" with Bob, and served as the album's engineer.
Bob Wire and his orginal band, the Fencemenders made the rounds in Western Montana for ten years from the mid-90's to 2004, during which time they were voted "Best Local Band" three times by the readers of the Missoula Independent. They pinned back ears with their firebrand honky-tonk, opening for the Old 97's, Larry McMurtry, and Brad Paisley. In 2000 they released one CD, the rollicking "Waiting for Dark." In 2004 Bob left the Fencemenders to pursue a solo career that would allow him to record and promote his own songs.
Songs like "Laundromat," "She Took a Powder," and "White Trash Paradise" have the energy and drive to make it impossible to sit still, while the lyrics will have you cracking up while you dance. Other tunes, like "Tucson," "As For Me," and "Saigon" are more ruminative, yet still have that fresh, rhythmic drive of a band hitting on all cylinders.
Bob received a Special Award of Merit from Paramount Publishing in Nashville, for his song, "Too Tired to Cheat," which appears on the album. Songwriting has become a true passion for Bob, and he strives to avoid the clichÃ©s that litter the popular music landscape of today. He performs solo occasionally, peppering his show with jokes and bawdy comments. But the full force is in play when he performs with the Bastards at some Montana honky tonk like Missoula's Union Club, or the Bitterroot Brewing Co. in Hamilton. While not the road warrior he was in his early career, Bob is enjoying a steady calendar of gigs, bringing his loopy, tequila-tinged show to appreciative crowds all over western Montana.
From the Missoulian Entertainer, Thursday, May 4, 2006
by Joe Nickell:
There was a time when Bob Wire seemed to be everywhere. As front-man for Bob Wire and the Fencemenders back in the late â€˜90s and early â€˜00s, Wire often performed twice a week or more around Missoula and western Montana.
Publicly, heâ€™s been considerably scarcer in recent years; and the Fencemenders have officially broken up.
But donâ€™t think Bob Wire has stopped playing. If anything, heâ€™s been more focused on music than ever before.
â€œWhen I quit the Fencemenders in 2004, itâ€™s because I decided I really wanted to concentrate on songwriting and developing that part of my musical life,â€ explains Wire (whose real name is Ednor Therriault). â€œIâ€™ve been really focused on that ever since.â€
So focused, in fact, that although he is just about to release his first new album since 2000, Wire already figures heâ€™s got the material together for his next record.
First things first, though: This week, Bob Wire will release â€œAmerican Piehole,â€ a 14-track run of jangly honky-tonk tunes, all of them written by Wire himself and performed with the Magnificent Bastards, a backing band that includes guitarist David Colledge, drummer Jack Barnings, and bassist Ron Setzer.
â€œI considered calling the group Bob Wire and the Bob Wire Band featuring Bob Wire, but it didnâ€™t fit on the bass drum head,â€ Wire says.
Such quips sound like classic Wire, who is known equally for his tasty country music and his comic stage banter between songs. Wire knows all too well that his comic tendencies might make him seem less like Johnny Cash than Weird Al.
He says his newest album is, in a way, an attempt to balance that well-known irreverence with through-written music built around earnest topics.
â€œI try to write mature music for adults who have a sense of humor,â€ says Wire.
Indeed, sometimes these days, he just tries to write mature music. Take the song â€œSaigon,â€ which tells the tale of a young soldier in Vietnam who has just received a â€œDear Johnâ€ letter from his stateside love.
â€œI researched that song for over a year so I could get the details right, even though Vietnam is just a background to the song,â€ says Wire. â€œThereâ€™s nothing there thatâ€™s funny; itâ€™s a pretty straight story. Itâ€™s probably the closest thing to a folk song Iâ€™ve written.â€
Of course, a moment later, he canâ€™t resist to add a punchline: â€œToo bad Iâ€™m 30 years behind the times.â€
Wire admits he misses spending so much time bathed in the spotlights.
â€œAfter being off the stage a year and a half, I find I really need it,â€ he says. â€œItâ€™s a release that very few people ever know. It saves me a ton of money in therapy.â€
So catch Bob Wire when he returns to the stage, along with the Magnificent Bastards, at the CD release party for â€œAmerican Pieholeâ€ this Saturday, May 6, at the Union Club in Missoula. A special drink called the Magnificent Bastard will be available at the bar, and the first 200 people to arrive receive free beer cozies.
From the Missoula Independent, Thursday, May 4, 2006
by Jason Wiener:
Who Is Bob Wire?
Ednor Therriault orders beer and a double Mo burger for lunch. At least I think Iâ€™m eating lunch with Ednorâ€”the 46-year-old freelance graphic artist and father of two whoâ€™s dressed in shorts and Chacos on this spring-bordering-summer afternoonâ€”and not his alter ego Bob Wire, but thatâ€™s only because the guy across the tableâ€™s given me a simple criterion for distinguishing: â€œIf Iâ€™m wearing the hat, itâ€™s Bob. If Iâ€™m not, itâ€™s Ednor.â€
Still, every once in a while, despite the hatâ€™s absence, Iâ€™m pretty sure itâ€™s Bob sitting across the table, mainly because, as Therriault puts it, â€œBob will say things in public that I would not sayâ€”usually involving the word vagina.â€
As, for instance, when my interlocutor, whoever he is, gleefully relates how Bob Wire got Ednor Therriault in trouble by reciting a nugget from chucknorrisfacts.comâ€”â€œWhen Chuck Norris breaks up with a girl, he doesnâ€™t break up with her. He just punches her in the vagina, and she goes awayâ€â€”that made its way into some patter during a recent show at the Union Club. The reaction? â€œI had some woman read me the riot act after the show.â€ Reflecting on the incident, and Bobâ€™s tendency to crassly refer to genitalia in inappropriate settings, Therriault says, â€œYou know, itâ€™s just not worth it.â€
Maybe not, but itâ€™s unlikely Therriaultâ€™s Bob Wire persona will get retired anytime soon, since this Saturday Bob Wire and the Magnificent Bastards release their debut CD, American Piehole. The studio effort, coproduced by Magnificent Bastard bass player Ron Setzer, sports 14 tunes of straightforward, traditional country music driven by storytelling and a reflective equilibrium honed with Bob Wireâ€™s aesthetic sensibility: â€œEvery time I write a line or the music to it, I immediately think of how itâ€™s going to go onstage at the Union Club,â€ where Therriault spent scores of nights playing as part of Bob Wire and the Fencemenders, with whom he released Waiting for Dark in 2000.
While gigging with the former band (the Fencemenders still occasionally reunite, by request), Therriault explains, â€œI wound up becoming Bob Wire sort of by defaultâ€ because, at the bandâ€™s inception, â€œnone of us were going to be Bob Wireâ€¦But after playing live with that name people started calling me Bob Wireâ€”like Deborah Harry being called Blondieâ€”and I thought this is kind of fun to get up onstage and play this character.â€
Therriaultâ€™s story of hooking up with the Fencemenders, a project which Garth Whitsonâ€”now of The Countryistsâ€”shared the fronting duties, foreshadows Bob Wireâ€™s emergence. About six months after moving to Missoula in 1993, and a brief stint with the stalwart bar band Betty for Sheriff, Therriault hooked up with Whitson, who was then playing in a three-piece called Small Town Deputies.
â€œI put an ad in the Indy in the music section: â€˜Guitarist, singer looking for a band. Style is Johnny Cash, a stick of dynamite up Jerry Lee Lewisâ€™ ass and Hank Williams lighting the fuseâ€™,â€ remembers Therriault. â€œThese guys called me up. They just wanted to see the guy who had written the ad. They had no spot in the band. So I kind of tried to ingratiate myself into their bandâ€¦Pretty soon it imploded, and I kept on with Garth who was the drummer. So he and I found a harmonica player and bass player, and we formed the Fencemenders after that.â€
That was 1995. Bob Wire and the Fencemenders stopped gigging regularly in 2004, and Therriault sees Bob Wire and the Magnificent Bastards as more than a personnel change.
â€œThe Fencemenders have always played about 90 percent covers, some fairly obscure covers,â€ he says. â€œThe new band is almost inverse to that, about 75-percent original. Also, I look at the hierarchy a little bit differently. Garth and I pretty much ran that band, made all the decisions. I look at the new band as a solo artist and his backing band.â€
Taking that sort of control seemed essential to Therriault for achieving his â€œultimate goalâ€ of making a living as a songwriter. â€œI put [the Magnificent Bastards] together with the specific goal of putting together a CD of all original material, saying, okay, you guys can help me arrange the songs and bring them to life but hereâ€™s the songs.â€
Many of those songs, captured on American Piehole, wouldnâ€™t seem to fit well on the dedicated country music slots of the FM dial, which Therriault acknowledges.
â€œIâ€™m not really prone to wrapping things up in a nice little bow at the end,â€ he says. â€œPeople tell me that all the time, â€˜Why didnâ€™t the guy make up with his dad at the end of the song?â€™ â€˜Why didnâ€™t the guy get the girl?â€™ Thatâ€™s what you expect. I just want to challenge people a little bit.â€
He doesnâ€™t hear that challenge on contemporary country radio, which instead features what he describes as â€œfeminist soft-rock country, soccer mom empowerment tunes. Theyâ€™re all built around a bumper sticker, some clever phraseâ€¦I just canâ€™t write like that. Iâ€™m a writer at heart, with words.â€
That means, says Therriault, â€œputting together stories with interesting characters and a good story arcâ€”a beginning, a middle and an end.â€ And if stories about a Midwestern killing spree (â€œCold Blooded Killerâ€), or putting off an imminent reckoning with a self-destructive hell-raising streak in favor of one more day of crapulence (â€œClean Livinâ€™â€), or a soldier in Vietnam whoâ€™s so well-adjusted to dystopia that he doesnâ€™t want the war to end (â€œSaigonâ€), or even just a â€œRio de Meurte (River of Death)â€ in the mountains outside Oaxaca, Mexico, donâ€™t appeal to the people radio is aimed at, Therriault is unapologetic.
â€œI would rather fail at trying to get my stuff on the radio,â€ he says, â€œthan to learn how to write the stuff thatâ€™s on there now.â€
Still, he aims for commercial success, saying, â€œIâ€™m hoping the pendulum has swung far enough towards pop culture that itâ€™s going to come back toward something more authentic.â€ And either way, Therriault (or maybe Wire) isnâ€™t in an accommodating mood. â€œIâ€™m not going for the big demographicsâ€¦Personally, I consider myself a feminist, but I have a hard time writing songs from a womanâ€™s perspective. I gotta write what I know. I donâ€™t have a cock holster. Iâ€™m a guy.â€
Even if Nashville fails to move to Therriaultâ€™s position, Missoula suits him just fine. â€œI feel Iâ€™m very, very fortunate to be in a town, especially this size, where I can get away with playing mostly original music and people respond to itâ€¦Here, if you work hard and get together some decent material and have an entertaining show, it doesnâ€™t take long for people to start coming.â€
And as far as keeping a handle on his handle, Therriault has found a balance that suits him for now. â€œIâ€™ve tried to maintain some separation between Bob Wire and Ednor,â€ he says. â€œAnything to do with music, Iâ€™m Bob Wire; anything to do with getting paid, Iâ€™m Ednor.â€
Bob Wire and The Magnificent Bastards throw a CD release party for American Piehole on Saturday, May 6, at the Union Club. 9:30 PM. Free.
From The Missoulian, Thursday, Feb. 10, 2005
by Joe Nickell:
Bob Wire Restrings With New Band
Bob Wire has stopped mending fences.
Well, that may sound more harsh than is actually the case. But the popular local honky-tonk musician has amicably parted ways with his longtime band, the Fencemenders, and launched a new band.
â€œItâ€™s just a change of direction for me, just to focus on my own material more,â€ says Wire (aka Ednor Therriault).
â€œThe Fencemenders have three other really good songwriters in the band, and now Iâ€™m working on recording a CD of all-original material, so I decided to go out on my own.â€
If this sounds like a familiar tune, itâ€™s worth recalling that Bob Wire and the Fencemenders have broken up numerous times in the past, only to reunite for one-off shows that end up turning into full-blown, ongoing reunions. Most recently, the band played a tribute to Johnny Cash at Sean Kellyâ€™s last September.
Despite that on-again, off-again relationship, the band has been a staple of the Missoula scene - and, in particular, the Union Club - for a full decade. Their brand of upbeat country swing, rockabilly and honky-tonk has been a regular draw at area venues, and the bandâ€™s on-stage antics have been an important part of the groupâ€™s identity as well.
Although Wire insists that his new band will focus on â€œless bombast, less schtick,â€ itâ€™s hard to imagine him restraining himself when he takes the stage. For that matter, itâ€™s hard to imagine less schtick and bombast from a band called - ahem - the Magnificent Bastards.
â€œI guess really I canâ€™t avoid having a sense of humor about the whole thing, because the worst thing is to take this stuff too seriously,â€ admits Wire.
What he is taking more seriously these days is his own songwriting. With the Fencemenders, Wire says the mix was approximately 20 percent original music, 80 percent covers of classic songs. In the Magnificent Bastards, those proportions are almost exactly reversed.
â€œIâ€™m trying to make my avocation my vocation, so Iâ€™ll be peddling some songs to Nashville and such,â€ says Wire. â€œIf you donâ€™t live in Nashville, itâ€™s an extreme long shot; but Iâ€™m not willing to uproot my family to move there, so Iâ€™m just gonna do what I can do and see what happens with that.â€
As to the dissolution of the Fencemenders, Wire says it has been a fun run with the band, but it just felt like time to move on. The other members of the band have already been performing for some time in a Wire-less configuration as the Hayrollers.
â€œGarth (Whitson, longtime member of the Fencemenders) and I have been playing together 10 years, and when youâ€™re together that long you start to fall into patterns and default to the same styles,â€ he says. â€œI think this is good for everyone all around.â€
The Magnificent Bastards make their Missoula debut this Saturday, Feb. 12, at the Union Club. Admission is free.
Check out the artist's website:
2. Too Tired to Cheat
3. Thicker Than Money
4. White Trash Paradise
6. King of the Honky Tonk
7. Cold Blooded Killer
8. Dirty Paradise
9. Rio De Muerte
10. All Liquored Up
11. As For Me
12. She Took a Powder
13. Clean Livin'