It is with honor that we at the Daily Rock Report Louisville Rock & Metal Hall of Fame announce our very first inductee, Bobby Burns, the driven, and musically clever mastermind, visionary and founder of PRIMER 55.
Released January 25, 2000 by Island Records, Primer 55’s debut, ‘Introduction To Mayhem’ has proven to leave an eternal stamp in modern music history, maintaining staying power among fans with songs such as ‘Loose’, ‘ Freak Love’, ‘Dose’, ‘Set It Off’, ‘The Big F**k You’, and other groove metal hybrid based cutting edge tunes carefully and uniquely arranged by Burns.
The album is permanently embedded into hard rock and metal history having been sort of an “Introduction” to the 2000’s portion of the then rising alternative metal / Nu-Metal revolution.
Led by Bobby, with the swagger of some sort of musical modern alter-ego of General George S. Patton, the music of Primer 55 provided a flare to the industry. His vision of ideas melted and stirred into a soulful mixing pot of punk, metal, hip-hop with a powerful element of body twitching groove that listeners of the genre simply could not deny.
Not just some dime-a-dozen guitar player, Burns knows his way around the mixing knobs, wrinkles and pockets of the recording studio due to the fact that he has a superior ear packaged with a strong vision.
Primer 55’s sophomore effort, (The) New Release, dropped on August 14, 2001, peaking at #1 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart, and #102 on the Billboard 200. The single ‘This Life’, peaked at #37 on Mainstream Rock Tracks.
In 2003 Bobby would join forces with metal heavyweights SOULFLY, accepting an offer to fill the role of bassist, a gig that many well-known metal bass players would have begged, clawed and killed for just for a secure shot to play with one of the most relevant metal musicians of all time, Max Cavalera.
Soulfly released four studio albums with Burns over the course of seven years. An admirable feat of mental and physical endurance for anyone working with Max Cavalera, and his managing wife Gloria. The couple has developed a sort of reputation among industry insiders as being difficult to deal with. Just ask Max’s former Brazilian band mates SEPULTURA. When Max and Gloria left them behind after feuding over power struggles, Max even left his brother, Igor Cavalera behind. A bit ironic for a guy being all about “family”.
So where does Bobby Burns get his unstoppable determination to keep pushing forward with all he has? There is this little theory I have, called the Muhammad Ali Effect.
The story goes, and in my opinion, is one of truth, that after the Cassius Clay (who would later change his name to Muhammad Ali), returned to the city of Louisville after winning the World Olympic Gold Metal for Heavyweights, representing our country and planting the seed for what would grow into something much larger than just simply being a boy from Louisville.
Ali, after giving the USA a reason to swagger, especially his hometown, walked into a local eatery in the downtown Louisville area, Gold Medal around his neck, and was told that “Colored’s were not allowed, despite being a National Sports Hero. He probably did not even consider the thought of being barred, Louisville was already a much more evolved melting pot and known for its racial relations, which became a model for many cities, and every south of the Ohio.
Ali was furious, the Gold Medal, in his mind had been reduced to nothing more than a chunk of worthless scrap metal. He walked onto the Second Street bridge, feeling defeated as he walked along the walkway, and angrily feeling defeated, tossed the Gold Medal into the Ohio River.
He would go on to never give up ever again. To give all he had for what he believed. In a bout with millions of Americans calling him a traitor, facing prison, he pressed on. He would not bow down, he told the world, someone would have to kill him. They didn’t. Ali, now a long time sufferer of Parkinson’s disease, has not let that deter him still to this very day. In recent years, I personally have seen him in attendance at several University of Louisville sporting events, representing his city. He never gave up on Louisville or himself.
Somewhere lodged deeply in the sediment of the Ohio River is something nearly as symbolic, which transcends any one life and is responsible for being the source of unlimited hope and determination. The Holy Grail of the Ohio River. Those living in the city drink the tapped water and live off of it. Call me crazy, call me what you will, THE GREATNESS is within an incredible number of local natives and citizens. Many who are iconic and world-famous. I personally cite the great Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson, my literary hero, as a prime example.
Those living in the Louisville, Kentucky area will have a chance to see PRIMER 55 on September 19, 2015 at a cancer research funding event called ‘HORNS UP AGAINST CANCER’. with all proceeds funding the well-established ‘F**K CANCER FOUNDATION’. It just may be the bands final show ever, “or at least, the last Primer 55 show for a very long time” Burns said recently stating that new vision, with a new direction have emerged from the mind of the musical genius.
Bobby Burns talks about playing what could be last Primer 55 show in Louisville…</div>
By: Donnie Hardin
To: Danny Wimmer Presents, (promoters of festivals such as Rock On The Range, Louder Than Life)
I have been a Deftones fan ever since I saw the Southern California band open for KISS all the way back in 1996. The concert was at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky, a noisy, cracker box-shaped basketball arena built for the college basketball dominant Kentucky Wildcats, which was opened in 1976. It is a dreadful venue to see any kind of concert. It was built so that its basketball crowds were especially loud. Therefore, has terrible acoustics for loud music. Anyway, that did not matter when the energetic, fresh groundbreaking act known as ‘Deftones’ took the stage amongst a sold-out crowd. As a musician and fan, that day kinda of changed my life.
Deftones have not let up and have built a stellar career as hard rock / metal icons. So now… it is 2015, and if you have not noticed, there has been a most definite resurgence of alternative metal bands, from a genre that dominated from 1997-2003, and which many people refer to as the ‘nu-metal era‘. It was 2014’s Korn that really sparked things, having co-headlined with metal hot-shots, Avenged Sevenfold on the Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival. Members of Avenged Sevenfold were the first to admit that following Korn was a “tough act” after the performances they belted out on that tour. Korn went on to play at 2014’s ‘Louder Than Life‘, as they were the band a good majority of attendees came to see. A major success. So keep it going.
Deftones are the same kind of band people want to see play a big festival. Their innovative sound, style, and years of hard work have constantly, and steadily, built one of the strongest fan bases in North America.
I am not alone in my feelings about the Deftones. Especially here in Louisville, where the band has played several times and has built a strong following.
Deftones are currently adding the finishing touches to a new album, which they expect to release sometime this fall. Through May and November they are slated to tour and play various summer / fall festivals internationally. They are the perfect festival headliner, and after hearing many fans suggest this very idea, I have taken it upon myself to write this little op-ed piece or whatever you want to call it.
For a brand new festival such as Louisville’s Louder Than Life, where in its first year, last year, brought such bands as Korn. Judas Priest, Hell Yeah, Mastodon, and Flaw to name a few, it is so very important that organizers keep the momentum going with appealing to the hard rock and alternative metal crowds.
Deftones are exactly the kind of band that the young festival needs which appeals to the modern rock crowd, as is the band Flaw, which just happens to be based out of Louisville and has resurfaced, and is preparing to take the nation by storm. Flaw, the former Universal Recording artists who released their 2001 debut album ‘Through The Eyes‘ and then their sophomore follow-up, ‘Endangered Species (2004), will be headlining the Reawakening Tour (May-June) and has released a brand-new upbeat, energetic track titled ‘Bleed Red‘ exclusively on Sirius satellite channel Octane.
Of course, at the time of writing this article, I have no idea what plans management for these fine acts have in mind at the time Louder Than Life 2015 will occur, in fact, I don’t even know what the dates are for this upcoming years event. I am just pleading with organizers to look into these two bands. If they have an opening in their schedule which makes them a possibility, go after them with all you have!
A) Absolutely, there were many. Most memorable was in the 5th grade, I was in a TAG school and a few classmates and I in my music class performed ‘I want to hold your hand’ by the Beatles in front of the whole school. I was really nervous but at the same time I fell in love with the rush from being on stage and the connection to the audience. I knew at that moment I wanted to pursue it.
Q: Do you remember any of the songs or scales you would practice on that your mother taught you or worked with you on? What instruments were you introduced to at this early age? Did you enjoy playing any of them?
Q: Who was the very first album that was bought for you? Who was the first musical act that you remember really being a fan of? (Mine was Michael Jackson – Thriller) And at any point of your childhood did you ever own a Michael Jackson jacket? If so was it the red or black one?
Q: In the late-eighties you began going to Military school in Virginia, which you would graduate from. During this time of your life, who was Christopher Volz? What was he like, what did immerse himself in? Did you read or write a lot in high school?
A) I wasn’t the most politically correct child. I remember getting a lot of demerits in military school. I liked to push the boundaries and question authority, which wasn’t very popular in that atmosphere as you can imagine…. I remember this one kid in my squad was failing badly in rappelling class and it was making the whole team look bad. So I decided to sneak out past curfew and bring him to the training area so I could teach him like a friend instead of a drill instructor. We got caught returning to the dorms and I took the fall for it, but he ended up passing the class and the squad made it through the course! As far as the writing aspect, I was always writing poetry and doing well in English throughout that whole time period.
Q: Let’s fast-forward to 1995, you had family in the state so you decided to try living in Kentucky. What did you think for the first week or two of living in Louisville, Kentucky? Did you like it?
A) I grew up on the east coast, and it will always be my home but I fell in love with the city of Louisville really quickly. There is a lot of really cool things to do, a large music scene, a ton of history, and the people were much more friendly than the normal east coaster…….
Q: During this time period, (1995-1997) what music were you listening to? What did you listen to most? Was there a band before FLAW and what style of music were they attempting to play? Do you still keep in touch with any of those guys?
A) I was in a band in NJ called ‘Terminus‘, we played a lot of shows in that area and had a full length demo but it never went anywhere really serious. We played a similar style of hard rock with layered vocal melodies and some screaming. I hear from a few of those guys now and then but not very much. One of them went to dental school and moved to Baltimore and another played guitar for a signed hardcore band called Fury of 5. Back then I was listening to a lot of Alice In Chains, Pearl Jam, Deftones, Limp Bizkit, Korn, and Faith No More…..as I still do to this day.
Q: What made you walk into a music store and glance at the bulletin board to see that some guys were looking for a singer? Why were you in the music store in the first place?
A) I actually picked up a LEO (a Louisville entertainment newspaper) from the music store, I was in they’re looking at acoustic guitars and to get one of those papers because I knew they had a large musicians classifieds section in the back. I knew that was probably one of the best ways to get connected with a band that needed a vocalist, and it was! (back then the internet hadn’t been created for public use yet).
Q: You called the number on the flyer, which is said to have been Jay Daunt’s pager number. Obviously, he returned your call and you guys arranged to meet up. What were those very first moments of meeting Jay like? What did you think about him? (Did he seem like some really cool guy that could play guitar good?
A) I called the number on one of the ads and it turned out to be a pager so I left my number and Jay called back that same night. We decided to meet up at his place and I brought along a demo of work that I had vocals on with me. I arrived at his house and he was living in Old Louisville (historic neighborhood in downtown Louisville) with about 7 other University of Louisville students, it was a pretty laid back college party atmosphere. I let him check out the songs I brought and we started writing music together that night. Inner Strength was actually written the next day. .
Q: So there was you, Jay and Ryan in the band, you went through a series of drummers, wrote material and recorded and exploded onto the Louisville music scene in 1997. Do you remember the very first show you guys played? Did you play all original music?
A) I believe our very first show was at the old Shockers in 1997 right off campus. We played all original songs for about 40 friends.
Q: FLAW would take charge of the scene by 1998-99, having built a loyal and passionate fan base. In 2000 you would sign to a major record label, Universal Records. You would record an album with Tool producer David Bottrill, make a couple of videos which aired on MTV, were given a tour bus and would get on the bill for Ozzfest 2002, the same tour that Drowning Pool’s vocalist, Dave Williams, tragically died on their bus? What was the mood like for the bands in the days after that incident? Did you have a chance to get to know him at all?
A) I will go on record saying that I wasn’t involved in the decision to let Jay go. Sometimes shit happens and we were always able to sort it out the next day. He was missed during the touring cycle and during the writing process for the 2nd record.
Q) Eventually FLAW would be dropped by Universal, and several line up changes were made over the next several years. You formed a successful band called Five-bolt-main, you recorded a solo album, and in 2012… you did the vocals for an electronic song called ‘Blistered’ with NPA? How did this come about? Where was this recorded?
A) I had to keep going, regardless of the circumstances that Flaw was in. I had an amazing time writing, touring, and recording both, the Five Bolt Main, and solo stuff. Music is a constant for me and no matter what, I will always continue. That being said, I am glad to be back with Jay and Ryan on this new venture with Flaw! The song with Nick came about because he was putting together a compilation CD of his favorite artists and he contacted me through Facebook. I wrote a piece to his instrumentals and traveled to Philly to record. We actually tracked my vocals in a studio built into the back of a Karate dojo.
Q) In November of 2013, the T.T.E. line-up of FLAW would re-unite at least and play Gobblestock at Phoenix Hill Tavern on the same bill as Primer 55 and Incursion. What was the mood before the show and immediately following the performance? Was there that feeling of magic that had been missing for years? Explain what that night meant to the future of FLAW.. which I will ask about next.
A) That was very exciting for us, as well as a little nerve racking because we hadn’t been on stage together as that unit for a very long time. The place was packed, the crowd was psyched, and we had a really great time. It was the beginning of getting Flaw back on track the right way. We are really turning over new leaves this time, doing what we should have done last time, and appreciating our opportunity more than before. The lineup we have now is by far the strongest Flaw has ever been and we aren’t holding anything back this time!
Q) A couple of weeks ago, FLAW’s (manager?) Scott Frazier stated on Facebook that Big, Big Flaw news was coming within the next few weeks. Now, obviously you cannot comment on whatever deals are being discussed, etc.. but is there any time frame for this highly anticipated announcement? What can you tell us? What does it mean for the future of FLAW, and being in the studio off and on currently, if you were to make a wild guess, when do you think Flaw fans could finally get their hands on the next FLAW cd?
A) What I can tell you right now is that we are signed to TKO for booking, a national booking agency that is going to get us out on the road here in the states and back overseas. We are entertaining several offers from record labels and are trying to narrow down the best deal we possibly can. We are working with Grammy winning producer Skidd Mills on this new album and couldn’t be more pleased and proud of the work we are doing together. We are looking at a late summer/fall release for the new album, and should be making announcements to the public in detail over the next few weeks!
Q) As someone who knows the band personally and has seen the good times combined with the drama and bad times for the band, I can honestly say that I could have never imagined FLAW being as professional, mature and about the fans as much as you have been all the way through this incredible stint since that Gobblestock show.. for you personally, what do you look at differently? Do you look at the autograph seeking FLAW-lover different than you did in 2002? Just a look through several photos of band interaction with fans, it seems to be all smiles, all the time and you carry yourself with some mysterious positive force. Describe who Chris Volz is today, what is important to him?
A) I have always been interactive with the fans and put all of my heart and soul into music. If anything has changed it has been my maturity and experience level in this industry. I have learned the good and bad, and how to deal with both things in a professional manner. I am honored that I have been able to play music as a career for over 15 years and grateful that people have connected to my lyrics the way I hoped they would. Music is therapy and we all need as much as that as we can get. I am still the same person I was back then I just have even more drive to continue to express myself through music, melodies, and words. I want to be there to help introduce the new generation of musicians into this industry the right way, teach them what mistakes not to make, and in the process healing myself through expression of my soul. I can’t wait for you guys to hear our new record and the people we have become. Flaw Family forever! OTSS! See you soon on The Reawakening Tour!
Tour Dates For The Reawakening Tour With Special Guests, Seasons After…