On October 25 local Rockabilly act The Lohrwoods’ released their video for ‘Treat Me Right’ at the Pig’s Ear in a ‘variety show’ format with burlesque performances in between the contagiously fun rock and roll.
The show hit capacity around the 11pm mark and the dance floor was squeezed especially tight. We spoke to vocalist and upright bass player Rob Foreman about both the band and the event
Can you tell me about the genesis of The Lohrwoods?
We’ve been together over three years now with a couple lineup changes in the beginning. This particular incanarnation has been together the longest and it’s for a good reason.
I first called the group ‘Lohrwood’s Trio’ for my grandpa Lohrwood Foreman. It is a real name. Unique, but very real. A google search yields plenty to do with the band, but if you dig deep enough you’ll find gramps on Ancestry.com, born in Virginia. I didn’t make it up, folks!
After a while folks just called us ‘The Lohrwoods’ not really understanding what I had based it on, and it stuck. Somebody once told us we’d be better off with a name like ‘The Toasted Westerns’, but no thanks. Imagine how many greasy truck stop yellow-page listings that would bring up on google.
‘Until we meet again…’ is our first record. ‘Treat me right’ is our first music video. We took our time. I like to think we make up for that with our live show.
Were you always interested in the rockabilly genre? What are your musical influences?
I went through every style of music that could be played on an electric bass starting in high school with Grunge, Punk, etc., and into roots-based styles. Funk slap, walking blues, and fretless Jaco making everyone cry on the thing.
I wasn’t shy about exploring music of any form, as long as I could play my bass along to it. I guess you could say I got ‘into’ rockabilly when a childhood friend from California told me she was listening to a group called ‘Batmobile’ (Rotterdam/Breda Psychobilly c.1983).
My musical taste was, for lack of better terms, ‘maturing’ into roots music, so other “Psychobilly” bands didn’t appeal to me. They just seemed like punk bands with upright basses singing about zombies.
Batmobile stayed true to roots with their sound and did their favourite Elvis songs their own way, and I respected that. Check ‘em out. So there I was, beyond teen angst years, still wanting some excitement from my music.
I saw Catfish Willie and the Buckle Busters at Ossia. They played every Wednesday and I used to walk in and stare at Diamond Dave slap the upright bass and I knew it’s what I wanted to do. He works in the Bata Library kids, so if you’re reading this and see Dave tell him my hat’s off to him for me will ya? Thanks.
Ryan Weber of the Weber Brothers was another major influence. Those guys just looked cool ya know? I come from a skateboarding background and I’ve noticed that my devotion to style has crossed into my music. Nothing is cooler in skateboarding than landing a trick and making it look easy. That’s style. I treat my onstage performance very much in the same way.
Anyhow, while saving up money for my first doghouse bass, I would practice on my couch with my electric bass at my right hip and attempt the slap technique I saw Dave Ryan and others doing (ahem Bill Black, I can’t forget to mention that guy), and essentially taught myself through watching the masters.
What’s been your favourite show so far as a band?
The most notable event I think would be the Megaspeed Car Show in Toronto. Held in the Toronto International Centre near Pearson, we were hired to be this kooky acoustic rockabilly act that sort of busked in different areas of the convention centre. It was huge.
We didn’t find much success in the tuner area, they had their own music playing out of every trunk-fitted-ten-thousand-dollar stereo system in that wing. Instead, a booth could hire us for an hourly rate to play and attract people. It was great. It worked for us, and we had a lot of repeat customers who sold more when we were there.
We even got to exchange some brief but kind words with Henry Winkler (the Fonz!). Candy Clark (Debbie from American Graffiti) was there too. She loved her some Lohrwoods! Clubs, pubs, bars, and dives; we’ve done it all.
What was the impetus for making your new music video?
It was actually our friend Kate LeDeuce who owns Atomic Film and Design Shop, she posted on Facebook earlier this year that she was filming music videos for three lucky artists who, in ‘first come first serve’ order would get a high quality, completely free music video.
She’s handled the image for the Lohrwoods for some time now, having done countless posters, artwork, logos (and even guested on stage with us), so I jumped at the opportunity.
‘Treat Me Right’ was the last one picked out of the three. Check out her page on Vimeo for high quality music video works for Andrew Shedden and Missy Knott.
Our music video was fun to make. My good friend Jeremy offered his ‘58 Chev and himself for the video. Andrew Shedden makes a cameo, Evie Blue and I did an impromptu photo shoot with the car that day, and we ate pizza at The Pig’s Ear!
Oh, and we used a green screen. Super pro. We’re very happy with the results and intend to work more with Kate and Atomic Film and Design for album art, merch, and wine with dinner.
One of the biggest draws to the show was the addition of the burlesque performers, Evie Blue and Honey Davidson, why did you want to make this apart of the show?
I’ve had a real interest in vintage this and that since before I could grip a G chord. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. The Lohrwoods played a show in Burlington once with Ginger St. James aptly named ‘Varietease’.
She had burlesque, stand up comedy, a mind reader, and great music. It’s something you don’t see a lot of anymore. It’s a show; I’m into putting on a show. Anyone who’s seen the Lohrwoods knows that. I wanted to add more to the stage.
My partner (Evie Blue) is like-minded in her tastes and what she thinks is cool and sexy, so we decided together to make it happen. Kate from Atomic also has experience working with burlesque, so she really helped take things up a notch. We are extremely happy we did it, too. It was a very successful night for us all. It was FUN.”
What’s does the future have in store for The Lohrwoods?
More shows. More variety shows. More entertainment. It’s what we do, and we aren’t slowing down. With the release of this record we’re going to keep playing gigs until every last record is sold, and then do it some more.
This won’t be the last you’ve heard of The Lohrwoods. ‘Until We Meet Again…’ is the title track of the album and is the last song on the record. It’s to remind you that we aren’t done with ya.
In Ojibway there is no word for goodbye, only ‘see you later’. I like that. Baamaapii. Until we meet again. The Pig’s Ear liked it so much they invited us back three months in a row beginning in February. February 21, March 21, and April 18. Planning has already begun for the ‘variety’ aspect of things. Hope to see you there!
Whether you’re a die hard fan of the rockabilly genre, or just looking for a good night on town, The Lohrwoods are a band that knows how to treat their audience right.
Find more on The Lohrwoods at facebook.com/thelohrwoods