More than a decade and a half ago, brothers Marty and Shaun McCoy assembled a group of friends in their native West Virginia to form Bobaflex, and it’s been hard work and drama ever since. What would you expect from direct descendants of the McCoy clan, whose feud with Kentucky’s Hatfields nearly started a second civil war in the 1880s?
The Nu Metal quintet (the name is a riff on Star Wars bounty hunter Boba Fett) started conceptually when Shaun McCoy met Aaron Lutz and Chris Drummond at Huntington’s Marshall University in 1997. The following year, the McCoy brothers solidified with the addition of bassist/vocalist Jerod Mankin, guitarist/vocalist Mike Steele and drummer Tommy Johnson. The band began a grinding road regiment that would decimate a lesser group, opening for the likes of Sevendust, Disturbed and Nickelback and hitting almost every major and minor festival along the way.
The big Bobaflex issue from nearly the start has been label-related. Primitive Epic came out on indie Eclipse in 2003. Then the band signed with TVT for 2005’s Apologize for Nothing and 2007’s Tales from Dirt Town, which saw Bobaflex’s sonic shift toward melodic Hard Rock classicism blended with their patented Metal fury. TVT’s eventual bankruptcy monkeywrenched the band for well over a year. In 2010, Steele announced he was leaving Bobaflex; his final contributions were on the Chemical Valley EP (on the band’s own BFX label) and 2011’s Hell in My Heart (their one-album association with Megaforce that featured their faithful-to-furious hit cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence”).
Since Steele’s departure — the first lineup change in a dozen years — Bobaflex has had three guitarists, the latest being Dave Tipple, whose thunderous riffage is all over the quintet’s latest album, last fall’s self-released and short but shredding Charlatan’s Web, featuring the leering Kiss-meets-Van Halen “School for Young Ladies” and the my-fist-your-cold-face dirge/anthem “I’m Glad You’re Dead.”
BOBAFLEX’s local area appearance Saturday is at the A&G (Animation & Gaming) convention in Covington, running April 4-6 at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center on the riverfront. Visit cartooncon.org for tickets and full details.