CANTON — Generally, bands come to be in the most interesting ways. The Bogart Jones Band is no different.
Guitarist Ryan Rose explained, “That’s kind of a long story. … There is a bio on our website, www.thebogartjonesband.com, that details it pretty well, but in a nutshell, this version rose from the ashes of The Gary Richrath Band (guitarist and founding member of REO Speedwagon). Myself (on guitar), Wes Simmons (bass and lead vocal) and Tim Fiers (drums) were all in that band together. The three of us rehearsed with Gary’s (band) for roughly six months or so, and were working on writing and recording some Bogart Jones music, simultaneously. Once Gary’s health and some personal issues put that band on ‘indefinite hiatus,’ we kicked The Bogart Jones Band into high gear and finished writing and recording ‘14th & Willow’ (debut album), while trying to recruit additional musicians that had the same love for the music we were writing that the three of us have.”
The band members in this lineup have been together a little less than two years, but the band has been in existence, off and on, since the mid-‘90s. Simmons is the only original member who has been involved since its inception. Simmons, along with Ty Bailey (percussion) and Rose are from Fulton County. Fiers, Curt Caudill (keyboard) and Don Mabus (guitar) are from Peoria County.
How would they describe their music?
“We are hard to ‘pigeon hole’ stylistically and we wouldn’t have it any other way,” Rose said. “But if you wanted to know some of the comparisons that we get from folks that hear us … we get (compared) to the Allman Brothers sometimes. Little Feat has come up a few times, Lynyrd Skynyrd has come up a few times. Our sound is definitely rooted in Southern rock, but there are all kinds of different influences in our music. We have a lot of songs that don’t really have a Southern rock feel to them. We love blues, funk, ‘real’ country (as opposed to the ‘pop’ country that most radio stations play), vintage hard rock. We like to say ‘we make new music with an old soul.’”
They perform throughout the year, a couple of shows a month, usually, depending on the circumstances.
“We are kind of picky about the shows we do. We don’t do the usual ‘bar’ type of shows that a typical cover band would do, and we are trying to promote our music, so we try to make our local shows an event,” Rose said.
He said the band has experienced many highlights: “The release of ‘14th & Willow’ (20-some years in the making!), playing The Full Throttle Saloon in Sturgis, South Dakota, for an extended residency, which we are headed to do again this year. Opening for some incredible national acts and playing some great music festivals.”
Rose said it’s tough to narrow down where their favorite performance took place.
“Anytime we get to play together is a blast! Even rehearsals,” he said. “We all love what we are doing.”
Simmons says people attending one of their gigs can expect good music and a good time.
“We truly love playing together and have a good time doing it,” he said.
For folks interested in taking a piece of the band home with them, CDs are available for purchase at www.thebogartjonesband.com, iTunes, Amazon, most local music stores, Walter Brothers Harley Davidson, and at any of their shows.
While the band isn’t their full-time job, that’s the goal.
As for their future?
“The sky is the limit! We all hope to take it to the next level and make The Bogart Jones Band our full-time careers. Only time will tell, I guess,” Rose said.
For more information, find the The Bogart Jones Band on Facebook or visit www.thebogartjonesband.com.