Making Their Mark In The SoCal Music Scene
“I’m out on the streets again/I’ve been sleeping in my car/I got these worn-out shoes/ Just smoked my last cigar,” drawls the St. Augustine, FL, native known simply as Bo in this blues-rock chestnut, buttressed by a stinging guitar and a sturdy rhythm section held down by longtime musical partners, Bluesdrivers bassist Brian “Chewy” James and drummer J. J. Garcia.
That’s right, Bo & the Bluesdrivers play it like they’ve lived it, paying those hard-living dues, forming from a chance meeting after joining forces at an open jam hosted a decade ago by Chewy and J.J. Ten years after, they’re still together and tighter than ever.
“From the streets of New York/To the streets of L.A./It seems all the same/Day to day/I’ve been through the darkness/I’ve walked through the light/The streets are all the same/Night after night.”
The band have performed on special occasions in the L.A. area over the years at clubs and parties of friends, but more recently have started to develop a strong following that has seen them with consistent bookings all over Southern California.
All Access Publisher Debra Stocker recently sat down with the band to discuss their growth as a band, past individual histories, and their plans for 2015 and beyond.
AAM: How and when did the three of you decide to form Bo and the Bluesdrivers?
J.J.: Some years back Chewy and I hosted a jam at Pat’s Cocktails in Studio City. We met Bo after he had just moved from Florida and came in to jam. Funny thing is, he signed up and waited almost the whole night patiently to play. By the time he got up to play, he floored us and lit the place up and became a regular at the jams. After that, we started to play together from time to time, performing here and there around L.A. In the last couple of years, we have really started to get things going playing, writing, recording and taking the show on the road!
Chewy: We decided to form the Bluesdrivers after playing together many times at open jams back in 2002. We had Instant chemistry the first time we jammed and became great friends. We bonded over our mutual love of the blues and rock and roll.
Bo: We have been playing together since 2000 but we decided to take it to the next level in the past few years. We’ve always played several times a year – you know a party here a bar & grille there – but after we recorded our demo, we have decided to take it to the next level.
Chewy: The Bluesdrivers play great blues and rock with powerful grooves. The band has its own sound and great original songs! Bo’s guitar playing is outstanding and gets the crowd’s attention. We’re a three-piece band that looks and sounds huge!
J.J.: A strong musical work ethic and always striving to deliver!
Bo: I have a natural rhythm to my playing style and as a three-piece it’s only enhanced. Practice pays off! I’m passionate about my playing and try to play every song as though it is an encore.
AAM: To your credit as a band, it seems you’re doing well in the area of booking gigs and festivals, which is very difficult in today’s live music climate. To what do you attribute your success?
J.J.: A big factor is that we are willing to play anywhere and everywhere that makes sense. Live music is alive and well; we seek venues and clubs that are willing to book us and like the style of music that we offer. We are all hard-working, down-to-earth guys that don’t have any exceptions or feel we are owed anything. Last year we played a variety of great clubs, mostly in California and Nevada. This year was our best yet, branching out into casinos and festivals and planning more in 2015!
Chewy: Our success comes from playing lots of shows and kicking ass live! We have great original music that people are loving when they hear it the first time! The success also comes from being great friends and loving the music we play!
AAM: Let’s talk about your music itself. What kind of overall sound is the group going for?
Bo: I believe it’s in the name. Bluesdrivers . We are a blues-based rock band or maybe we’re a rock-based blues band. I don’t (laughs). We haven’t really gone over that. We just know what feels good to us when we hear it.
J.J.: If I had to pinpoint it and label the genre, it would be in the Blues/Rock style. We never said, THIS is the type of band we need to be. We just put a lot of our influences of all styles together and this is what came out.
Chewy: The sound is blues and rock. Bo has amazing blues tone and feel; J.J. and I add a heavy rock groove. We strive for making powerful and exciting original music. We have a great jam vibe live!
AAM: Bo and the Bluesdrivers have got to be one of the tallest bands we’ve seen in a while – in fact you guys all could’ve been basketball players if you weren’t musicians (haha). But in all seriousness, if you weren’t playing music, what do you each think you might be doing, career-wise?
Chewy: I would have been a pro wrestler!
J.J.: I think just what I have been doing forever, but with a lot less drums. Haha!
Bo: I’d love to be a chef/owner of gourmet BBQ restaurant if I couldn’t play music anymore.
AAM: What’s new on the recording front for Bo and the Bluesdrivers?
Bo: We are going to be back at it in the studio in 2015 and hope to have an EP ready by spring. I’m excited to see what the new year brings myself quite frankly.
J.J.: We did an EP last year with our good friend and amazing engineer, Patrick Burkholder, at Pawnshop Studios here in the San Fernando Valley. It sold roughly a few hundred copies just at shows. We put a track (from the EP) “Out On The Streets” on ITunes and CD Baby and all the streaming sites. In the Spring of 2015, we will have the EP for sale at all digital outlets and people can buy a physical CD directly from us.
Chewy: Plans to record more in 2015! We have lots of songs to work with.
AAM: Parting shots/thoughts for our readers?
Bo: As a band we are an evolving right now at a fairly rapid speed, so stay tuned to all the latest Bluesdrivers news on Facebook.
J.J.: Please “like” us on Facebook and download “Out On The Streets” for only .29 cents this month at CDBaby.com! Hope to see ya at the shows and thanks for your support! Happy and Safe Holidays to all!
Chewy: We look forward to a lot cool gigs in 2015. Merry Christmas!
Live Dates for 2015:
- 1/3 – Cooks Corner / Trabuco Cyn, CA
- 1/10 – Ponderosa / Menifee, CA
- 2/7 – Sue’s Tavern / Frazier Park, CA
- 2/20 – Arcadia Blues Club / Arcadia, CA
- 2/21 – Lakeside Sports Club / Helendale, CA
- 3/7 – Harry’s Night Club / Pismo Beach, CA
- 4/2-4 – TBA / Laughin, NV
- 5/30 – Indian Hills Blues Festival / Tehacapi, CA
- 8/8 – Fiesta Days Festival / Frazier Park, CA