by Girl Behind the Lens – Daiyu Tang
Location: Bo’s farm on the outskirts of Hathian
Readers… I got a limo ride!
Yes, that’s right, the Hathian Observer sent me and a small crew out here to interview Bocephus James Remmington, who they had assured me was a big time musician. My editor had described Bo as a ‘Childhood star who had his fame die out before being reborn in Hathian’. This sounded a little odd, anyone reborn in Hathian was probably a gangster, some kind of religious cult, or probably a Hopper. Anyway, management claimed that the Record Store in town had been instrumental to Remmington’s rebirth and wanted me to explore his roots, motivations and so on in an interview. With little time to prepare, my background research was fairly limited, but here’s what I can give you readers…
- Remmington has released three albums, all of which found critical and sales success at the top of the Country charts, including going platinum
- His latest titled album, ‘Beer Shits and Tear Stains on My Pillow’ had this stupid title but was also apparently very well received. Reader, I don’t know about you, but I’m glad Hathian has an EDM and House scene!
So I found myself stepping out of the limo with this scant research and seeing a large house, surrounded by fields, animals and land. While I didn’t know whether this apparent success was through hard work by Remmington or perhaps had some darker, Hathian-style undertones, I’d do my best to find out for you.
Anyway, did I mention the limo? It was like being Alice, falling into the rabbit hole of another world of wealth and excess, but without to be honest the immediate feeling of danger that some of our Hathian ‘bling’ gangsters exude.
Shall I describe Remmington? Of course! He rode up on a horse reader, can you imagine that? It was kinda like an American version of Mr.Darcy for a moment and as my pictures hopefully indicate later, Remmington isn’t that hard on the eyes, although I confess that the rough and ready beard wasn’t totally my thing. He wore a cowboy hat, mirrored glasses and as mention had a well looked-after, but bushy beard and moustache, matched against jeans and a typical (at least to me!) countryside looking chequered top.
So, me and the crew dismounted and after being greeted by Remmington, who insisted we call him ‘Bo’ he led his horse to the stables while we lugged camera equipment and other bits and pieces inside. This was for a livestream on the Observer’s website, with this written piece coming later to catch those luddites who don’t know how to watch a livestream or who were out causing mayhem somewhere.
The crew setup the camera equipment, microphones, chairs and lighting and left me alone as their ‘star’ (don’t argue it readers, when you’re one of the only ones, it makes you a star) reporter to poke around his house while he got himself ready for the interview. For the livestream, the editor wanted a good impression of the Observer on the music star and really reader, this was the Observer rolling out the red carpet. We’d even brought him branded mugs… (lol). So anyway, with the sound of animals in the background I perched on the chair and eyed the man sitting opposite me. He looked strangely nervous as if having some green reporter in front of him was something unusual… Can you imagine that? A musical star being nervous of me… this for sure proves that wearing black makes you awesome, (try it sometime readers). Anyway, I found it made the interview easier as this was probably the first time that someone was more nervous than I was. Below you can see a picture of our setup…
So, I’d settled myself in and then considering the editor hadn’t really given any defined topics I asked him about his music. His responses were, at least at the start, stilted and didn’t match up with the lyrics and sharp mind I’d assumed the singer of platinum albums should have.
GBTL: “Can you tell me a little bit about your music to start with Bo? Help those on the stream and later in the paper understand a bit more about you and how they link?”
BO: “I.. I am me…I am my music…the music of the blue collared… Where you are now, this isn’t a Cattle Ranch in a small town in Georgia, but it’s my home and this is the real me, all I have ever known…my dad was a rodeo star….and a cattlemen….my mom…was a whor….a hard working woman who ran things in his absence.”
Reader, I was surprised at this backstory and thought at the time (but didn’t want to press) that he might have admitted to an unconventional mother figure there.
GBTL: “Ok, so that’s an interesting connection. Your music reflects the upbringing you had, the work your folks put into their livelihoods? Did you father push you towards music or was it something that you found yourself… what would you say was the trigger to get your career started?”
Bo: Music?…No it was my way of getting away from my mom and her dictatorship…she could never keep Ranch-hands on board….I started with a fake IDs and got into the honky-tonks and bars…At first it was hard nobody wanted a fifteen year old singing but…My talent caught on….and I started riding Greyhounds around Georgia. My mom never noticed my absence…she was always ‘busy'”
Clearly, the young man’s response directly linked back to the mother figure… who had taken on through his subsequent answers a domineering and arrogant personal by the way he described her. A woman who hadn’t noticed when the young Bo had started singing in bars with a fake ID and started to become successful.
GBTL: “Ok, so domineering mother figure… Same here by the way, but we always grow out from under the shadow right and you definitely have! So, you started singing young and then started on the road, getting experience in more and more places… there must have been a point when you were however noticed by your parents? You’ve not mentioned your dad yet, is he still alive? If so, what does he and your mother think of what you’ve achieved so far?”
Bo: “Dad? Oh he’s prouder than hell…Mom? Well she eventually caught on and I was her cash cow… but as is common with childhood stars, once I hit puberty fully my voice dropped I started to grow stubble. This meant my label dropping me and my mom threw me out and I ended up here… My dad, he’s reached out… he’s retired from the rodeos and we talk often but my mom denies my existence””
GBTL: “Well, that seems mighty unfair, surely that kind of change is like uh… Miley Cyrus or something… child star to grown up star… Seems unfair they dropped you… So ok, may I ask and I do apologise for being under-prepared, but how are things going now? You’re clearly back on the radar, but maybe you could tell me a bit about how things are now for you?”
I was interested in what had changed for him, how had he fallen and then rebuilt himself. This tale, rags to riches and back down and up again was fairly common in the cinema, but it was good to hear that it had happened in real life as well.
Bo: “Well you know the thing with Miley and other females in the business who get into it young, puberty comes and most of the time their voice stays relatively the same with men you have a distinct squeaky sound, then you hit puberty and your voice drops. Take Johnny Cash for instance, he had a story about him walking into his house one day singing and his mom turned and said ‘Who’s that singin’ and John said “That was me momma’. His voice had dropped and he wasn’t recognised. Mine did as well and they didn’t think having a man who could sing like Cash was marketable in this modern clap track garbage they push on us now. You asked me Miss as to how I’m doing these days? Well I just bought this 186 acre farm…and I got That there limo outside gives you an idea. I’d say I’m doin’ mighty fine…I like to think of myself as the real country music revival.”
Huhh, I hadn’t though of it that way before, but I guess that’s why there is a Boys Soprano Choir and when I was at school we, as girl, just sang straight through, vocal coaching the only thing extra. Anyway, he was pleasant to talk with, so I continued the interview, enjoying not feeling any risk, just having fun with questions.
GBTL: “That makes sense, seems unfair, but I guess it is what it is and by the way, even I like a little bit of Johnny Cash or Kenny Rodgers from time to time, so there’s always a market right! I can see the success here, so I’m guessing you’ve got your energy and sparkle back right? Why don’t you tell me about you a bit more, I can see you must be keen on hunting? The thing above me, it’s a monster!”
Bo: “Yea, crocodile….twenty-five hundred pounds and he damn near fuckin’ killed me but I got him in the end. I grew up hunting and fishin’ with my grampy and dad…I keep up on it….between running this farm between tours fishin’ and huntin’ well they keep me grounded…keep me humble…too many people in my world lose themselves…I can’t imagine that…coming home off the road getting covered in cow shit and filth and grime…buying the locals a round or 6….riding miles wranglin’ my steers for the slaughter….I almost enjoy it more than my career…I know my talents were a gift though and I took advantage of it…I would have been a fool not to”
As I followed up with, I am not a fun of hunting animals, never-the-less, the beast was impressive and around the house were other signs of the hunt. It was good to find a hook to draw him into a more open conversation…
GBTL: “So, can I ask, is everything round this house yours? You got the bear and the others? What was your hardest hunt? Then once you tell me that, can you describe more that link between your music, hard working music as you described it, and now? You’ve grown up so how has your musical style changed? The title of your latest album… it’s a bit of a shocker isn’t it?”
Bo: “That polar bear, right as we closed in an artic storm closed in on us, we almost died… So anyway, Yea’ that last album was just a more or less late night jam sesh in the studio, fucking around trying different stupid song ideas that weren’t supposed to take off… but here we are and yea they’re all mine. I have traversed coast to coast top and bottom of this country hunting animals native to specific parts…I love deep sea fishing that sword fish out on the hall gave a fight worthy of Tyson.”
He pointed me to the guns he had behind him, apparently a small part of his collection.
Bo: “My music, how it links to me? No matter how wealthy this makes me no matter how famous I get, my home will always be here on the farm doing God’s work, farming. As George Strait once sang, ‘I was a young troubadour when I rode in on a song, I’ll be an old troubadour when I’m gone’. So I’ll always be closer to the blue collar side of society and these white collar chumps, most of the time those folks grew up with silver spoons in their mouths. They’ve never lived like me and my people have, worrying about if we’re gonna be able to go to bed with a full stomach or go to bed hungry, if the gas and lights are gonna get shut off… That might not be my reality anymore but I’ll never forget my roots!”
I could feel that it was time to draw the interview to a close, but I thought I’d be a bit cheeky reader and ask for song…
GBTL: “Everyone should like a humble story, especially if it’s connected to your place of birth or hometown… I like that kind of story, hard work should pay… easy work is not worth it, nothing good is achieved if it’s too easy. Ok, we’re getting a bit close to time, so I guess here in Hathian you have some people to call out, besides your folks is there anyone else you want to remember to our audience? Then perhaps if you have any closing thoughts we’d love to hear those… perhaps before… a song maybe? Love to hear that voice stretched a bit!”
Bo: “And I heard, as it were, the noise of thunder
One of the four beasts saying,
‘Come and see.’ and I saw, and behold a white horse”
There’s a man goin’ ’round takin’ names
And he decides who to free and who to blame
Everybody won’t be treated all the same
There’ll be a golden ladder reachin’ down
When the man comes around
The hairs on your arm will stand up
At the terror in each sip and in each sup
Will you partake of that last offered cup
Or disappear into the potter’s ground?
When the man comes around
Hear the trumpets hear the pipers
One hundred million angels singin'”
Well, his voice, was great, truly readers. If you like that kind of smokey, gravelly voice (and he did go through lots of cigarettes during our interview!) then he’ll really get to you. I think Hathian could be quite lucky to have someone of his fame and talent living in it and as we walked out of his house he told me about the charitable initiatives and potential donations he might make in the town. We can only hope he follows though. An attractive man, a flawed family and a person convinced of their talents and need to keep working, for as they see it, God and the gifts they were given. What do you think Hathian? Will he make it back to the top, or will something or someone be a hunt that he can’t win?
– GBTL –