For fans of the band The Boneheads, Monday, Jan. 9, will be a red-letter day: The lads will be celebrating the release of a new CD at with a show at 8:15 p.m. at Slates Restaurant and Bakery in Hallowell.

Made up of Bob Colwell (keyboards, vocals), Scott Elliot (bass, guitar, vocals), Roger Sampson (guitars, vocals), Dickie-Doo Hollis (drums, vocals) and Steve Jones (guitar, vocals), The Boneheads have been around for quite a few years and have put out a number of albums. The band also has opened for the likes of B.B. King a couple of times (in Augusta and Portland at the State Theatre). In a recent phone interview with Jones, I asked the guitarist singer-songwriter about the show in Hallowell.

Q: What’s this going to entail?

Jones: Well, I think we’re going to do an acoustic version of the band due to the space limitations there — which should be interesting and fun. We enjoy doing those, as well, and we’ll be pushing our new CD, which I just picked up today.

Q: Oh, what’s it called?

Jones: The name of the album is “Cheer Up” — that will be kind of a CD release/mid-winter celebration, I guess.

Q: Now what number album is this for you guys?

Jones: Seven. We officially released our first album in ’90 or ’91, but we were together a little before that. Me and Bob had started playing as a duo in ’89 or something like that — we always called it “the world’s largest duo” because we had all our friends come and show up and sit in with us, so that was really the nucleus of the band starting, I think.

Q: Will “Cheer Up” be available at that gig?

Jones: It will be, yup, and it’s in Bull Moose as of now — it got sent out today.

Q: I’ve listened to the MP3s that Bob emailed to me to help me prepare for our chat today, and it’s amazing how you can tell that you guys have been doing this for a while: There is a tightness to it, even though it still feels …

Jones: A little haphazard?

Q: Yeah, that’s nice — I like that description.

Jones: Yeah, we’ve always flirted with that — between falling apart and being together and dynamic.

Q: But I mean there is a familiarity there and a joie de vivre that is very palpable, for sure.

Jones: Absolutely. Thank you!

Q: Now, do you do many acoustic shows?

Jones: As the Boneheads, we have in the past done a handful, and we all do acoustic shows separately in solos and duos. There’s a lot more of that work available these days than full-band work. So we’re all out doing various projects a lot of it being acoustic, yeah.

Q: Let’s talk about the songwriting side of The Boneheads. How does that work?

Jones: Well, with this album it was the first time we’ve tried this approach: We actually showed up with no song — zero. We just would show up at the studio and begin the process of joking around and catching up and shoot the (crap). We’d either be jamming on a musical idea or somebody would say something that would crack us up. We would write that down, and it would just generate from there. So all these songs are all written as a group on the spot.

Q: Spontaneous composition!

Jones: Yeah, right! So all the songs you hear, you hear the day they were conceived and recorded.

Q: Now is this procedure one you enjoyed enough that you’d want to do it again, or was it like “Oh, I’m glad we’re only doing this once!”

Jones: I would do it again, although I think probably to not put restrictive rules on the creative process would probably be the best bet because you might get a handful of great songs that way and you might get a handful of great songs just individually people bringing in songs, as well.

Q: Is the latter what you’ve done in the past?

Jones: That’s what we’ve done in the past, yeah. Quite often Bob would have a song kind of blueprinted out to some degree and bring it in, and we’d all flesh it out and work on the arrangements together. Or I would bring in a tune or Scott would or whoever. It’s always been very much a group effort in terms of the arrangement and sound and product of the song. But with this (album), it was an interesting way to go about it and very fun for us to do after being together all these years. You know?

Q: Is there anything you’d like to pass on to the folks reading this article about the special acoustic show at Slates?

Jones: Well, I just hope people come out. And I’d also like to thank all our long-term fans that we’ve had all these years. It’s been a nice ride, and we appreciate people sticking with us all this time.

Q: That makes me wonder, how much longer do you want to do this, as The Boneheads, that is?

Jones: As long as it remains fun; it seems to be lasting that way!

Q: Well, after listening to the new songs it’s obvious that you guys are certainly enjoying yourselves.

Jones: Yeah, we sure do. We have fun!

Lucky Clark has spent more than 45 years writing about good music and the people who make it. He can be reached at [email protected] if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.


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