There was a time that raw, unapologetic rock ‘n’ roll would seep through the speakers of transistor radios – fuzzed-out guitars and grimy gang vocals seemingly delivered straight from the garage, sticky floors and all. It’s also a time that would’ve welcomed Winnipeg’s The Bokononists – their sound, look, and swagger –with open arms.
Born in a Mexican restaurant from the crumbled remains of several highly-regarded local rock acts, The Bokononists united under a banner of six-packs and six-strings, beards and no-bullshit rock that steals from some of its purest offshoots – punk, surf, garage, and alternative.
Since 2008, the band has recorded a well-received demo album and released a much-discussed debut fulllength, both showcasing The Bokononists’ brand of lovingly-dubbed skuzz rock, and released a video for “Fascists Live in Black Hotels.” Compiled from candid live and studio footage, the video paints a clear picture of the group’s essence –who they are and what they represent.
Having attracted the attention of Tim Jones, head of on-the-rise local imprint Pipe & Hat, through the mutual connection of rock duo Mise en Scene, The Bokononists are now working on material for a sophomore release expected to drop on the label in late 2013. “We’re taking our time with this one,” says guitarist Bobby Dejarlais of the upcoming release, revealing that he and bandmates Jed Desilets (drums), Johnny Calderon (bass), and René Campbell (vocals/guitar) are delving into more experimental territory while
keeping their sullen sonic core of upbeat minor chords and live-off-the-floor energy in-tact.
With eight completed tracks already in-hand, the release is slowly but surely taking shape. Campbell’s lyrics are as sly, sarcastic, and tongue-in-cheek as ever, coyly exploring heartfelt topics with a nonchalant attitude and some smug bravado to boot. “There’s some weird shit in there,” the singer says in summation, though those close to the group would expect nothing less.
Having already left their mark on the beer-soaked stages of clubs across Western Canada and earned key slots at events like the Rainbow Trout Music Festival, Element Sircus, and Big Fun Music Festival, The Bokononists are set to spread their sound across as many crowds as possible throughout the coming year. “We leave it all out there so we can get everybody moving with us,” says Calderon about the band’s sets – and that’s the same whether it’s dozens crammed into a dark, sweaty dive or thousands beneath an open blue sky.
Between writing songs and burning up stages, it’s sure to be a busy year for this boisterous quartet, but also
one that will see them smear their skuzzy, raw take on rock ‘n’ roll across a far wider territory – and that’s
what it’s all about. Those looking to take a trip back to an era where the whiskey was potent and rock ‘n’ roll
was pure can jump in the van – and The Bokononists are driving.