|Bo Walton, at the age of 5, began listening to his parents albums of Elvis, Eddie Cochran, Buddy Holly, Billy Fury and Jerry Lee and when he formed his first performing band at the age of 14, it was quite obvious how much that style of music had influenced him.
One fateful day, Bo met ex-Rockpile bassist John David. John recognized Bo’s vocal talent immediately and the two set about writing and recording their material; material that was influenced by the music John had been playing with Dave Edmunds and the songs Bo had grown up with from those old albums. Through this collaboration, Bo was fortunate enough to have legendary UK guitarists Micky Gee and Mark Knopfler lend their talents to numerous compositions. Bo has also composed works with the likes of Nik Kershaw, Chris Difford, Mark Nevin and Christopher Neil, to name but a few.
Despite being far too young to have witnessed the original rock ‘n’ roll genre firsthand, Bo grew up devoted to it. He all but wore out several of those aforementioned vinyl discs with the enthusiasm he had for emulating every word he heard, especially those from Elvis. Little wonder, then, that when he came of an age to be making music of his own, first and foremost it was the rock ’n’ roll path that he followed.
Early press releases declared that, with the advent of Bo Walton, rock ’n’ roll would “never sound the same”. The problem with making such a claim is that once rock ’n’ roll doesn’t sound the same, it’s no longer rock ’n’ roll. Of course, these days almost anything can be and often is called rock ’n’ roll, even heavy metal and hardcore punk. But to the purist, rock ’n’ roll is a specific genre, firmly rooted in 1950s America.
Bo’s music is full of joyful homages and references to legendary riffs and lyrical phrases. The song structures are in a classic vein, with clearly defined verses, singalongable choruses and deceptively complex guitar solos. Meanwhile, Bo’s vocal delivery is, by turns, smouldering and sultry and whoopin’-and-hollery. Thankfully, like his old-school heroes, Bo is also more than capable of holding a tune without resorting to today’s overused pitch-altering technology.
It’s only right that Bo should be moving slightly away from the current vogue for rockabilly and shaping his own sound, because this English singer/songwriter with a profound love of American rock ’n’ roll could soon be spearheading the second British Invasion.
Bo’s latest single, Lonely Weekend, was released on his own label, Jump Jack Records, on 28th February, 2013. It’s sure to get you all jumpin’…
It's follow the singles Only A Dream and He Ain't Got You. In August 2013 released the album "The Nik Kershaw Session". These Songs by Bo Walton produce by Bo together with Nik Kershaw. Nik play and sings with Bo at this songs.
2014 - the new album "Faster Than Time" release on 28th February 2014 at his own label Jumpin Jack Records. The album has 10 Rock'n'Roll songs inside.
|Who are your musical heroes, who are oriented to your music?
Who influenced you in this regard?
Obviously it'll come as no surprise that Elvis is a major musical inspiration to me. He was my ultimate musical hero when I was growing up, ever since I heard his debut album from my dad's collection in '77. I became a fan immediately and bought every piece of vinyl I could get my hands on! He had a massive impact on my musical style and heritage, without doubt!
You've also worked with Mark Knopfler, how much to benefit from such musical collaborations?
I think, for a new artist such as myself, any "name" you can drop can only help with profile building and, with a name such as Mark Knopfler, it certainly peeks the interest of serious music lovers. His association has certainly helped to get my music noticed in some very interesting and varied places. It's a real bonus for me and for getting my music noticed and I'm very grateful to Mark for his involvement.
I work on the German website of Shakin Stevens, what do you think about Shaky, how much he has influenced your musical style?
When I was growing up, my musical scope was fairly specific and I never really ventured "voluntarily" outside of the rock 'n' roll music I fell in love with from my parents record collection, although my brother and I shared a bedroom so I was often subjected to his Adam + The Ants records in the early '80's.There was quite a strong rock 'n' roll sound kickin' in back then and Shaky was certainly at the forefront of it in the UK. I appreciated what he was doing but preferred his ballads such as "A Love Worth Waiting For" and "Teardrops" until I discovered his Sunsets material a little later in my life. I think the guitar sound that the fantastic Micky Gee added to those earlier tracks, as well as on This Ole House, Green Door and Oh Julie was electric! A great rockin' sound - Marco Pirroni kinda had it too on some of those early Ants records, I just didn't really appreciate it at the time - I was too busy trying to be Elvis or Billy Fury!!
Have you ever personally met Shaky or attended one of his concerts?
I have met Shaky on two occasions - once at a business lunch and once at one of his concert appearances.
The lunch meeting was funny - it took place at a hotel in my hometown of Hereford and I seem to remember the waitress recognised him and was asking for an autograph almost before we'd even been seated! Of course, he obliged in his gentlemanly fashion and I don't think the waitress could believe her luck. She was so attentive throughout the whole lunch and we didn't want for anything the entire time.
The concert appearance took place at a venue in Skegness at a holiday park where my old manager was working as musical director. We watched the show from the side of the stage and exchanged a few words after the show. No lingering conversation - but he was as personable as ever. A real nice guy!
Your latest single, Lonely Weekend is produced by John David, what do you think about the collaboration. Is there also parallel to Shakys earlier productions from the 80s?
I have worked with John for many years and have always had such respect for him as as all-round musician, producer and songwriter. He has written, produced and played on some really great tracks. He knows exactly what I want in a record and knows just how to get it. He's a really great friend, too and my "go-to" guy for production.
There is certainly a link to those early '80's recordings of Shaky's - as I mentioned earlier, Micky Gee played on some or most of my debut album and both he and John were very much involved with Shaky from way back. John just knows instinctively how to make a rock 'n' roll record - it's one of the reasons we write and work so well together.
What are your plans for the near future regarding live performances and album? Have you also planned appearances in Germany and there were questions?
I am currently working hard on song selections and recording the next singles and album, but also rehearsing the band for the next batch of gigs. I have some nice gigs lined up and the band is sounding great - I'd love to come and play in Germany, so if you know of any venues looking, send them my way!
Would you have interest as the opening act on a UK tour of Shaky ? Darrel Higham had played 1999 in Shakys band on the UK tour.
Opening for Shaky on a UK tour would be awesome! To support Shaky on any dates would be really cool and I think we'd compliment each other perfectly. Shaky has some wonderful fans worldwide and is always so well supported, so aside from the buzz of playing to those large audiences, it would be fantastic exposure.
Incidentally, I received a nice personal message from Darrel Higham recently and he seems to be diggin' my music, which is really cool - he has a great sound so it's nice to know he's heard my stuff and enjoys it!
How important or what you think of the new kind of music distribution that runs more and more online and via download than with conventionally commercially? Would you press fit to your music style also allow for vinyl collectors fans?
I think the whole online music distribution thing, along with YouTube, facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites currently available to independent artists are fantastic tools, putting the power of promotion firmly back in the hands of the artist. Artists can now control all aspects of their musical output, from artwork and release dates to, most importantly, style and repertoire. Major labels have their advantages, sure, but it's important for an independent artist to have the freedom and control, both musically and financially.
I would love to release my music on vinyl - it's a fantastic medium and very much in keeping with my style of music. However - and here's where the major labels have the advantage - it's not the most cost effective way to get the music out there and, as a new artist with a very small budget, I'm better served putting my financial efforts into the recording and development of my new material. That's my primary objective, but who knows...? Further down the line, maybe?
Has the change of record company brought to you more freedom, and how you feel about the possibility that you will get there? Are the voice capabilities in a smaller label more than a commercially available major label?
The change of record label is the best move I've made, both musically and personally. Jump Jack Records is my own purpose-built label for releasing my own music my way and I am so happy with how well the first release, Lonely Weekend, has been received. With regards to "getting there" - well, I'll keep trying. Music is my passion and I get such a buzz out of writing, recording and releasing new music onto the scene. If it gets picked up and enjoyed by the general public, then that's great - singing rock 'n' roll is what I do best, so I guess it's my best opportunity to "get there" and, with Jump Jack Records, any decisions I make along the way from now on, right or wrong, are all my own choice.
It's harder with a smaller label to get heard, certainly - the majors have massive marketing and promotion budgets, but that all comes at a cost to the artist. I will just push harder with each new release and hopefully, before too long, we'll attract the attentions of the national radio stations both in the UK and overseas - that's the goal, anyway!