besides his own music Bo helped bands in the studio & live….check our record collections..the mavis,pray tv,
magic dirt,bored,powder monkeys, freeloaders, feline touch, the swarm, brokenhead..plus many more
thank you BO
Bo’s inherent musical knowledge was remarkable, he laos he knew the trivial bits as well. As founder of the 60s Appreciation Society he also really knew his 60s music as diverse from Syd Barrett to Simon & Garfunkel, not mention film music also.
Here’s Bo on The Purple Haze Archive Series of podcasts discussing & illuminating on popular 60s folk duo Simon & Garfunkel.
Bo is sorely missed.
Thanks for your comments Paul and Nick. I’d encourage anyone to add their recollections of Bo here so we can get a full picture recorded of all the stuff he did.
I mixed loads of gigs in the 90s for lots of pretty ordinary bands at the Punters, Evelyn, Tote, Arthouse, Empress, etc, etc (and sometimes some really good ones!) and if I turned up to do the support band and Bo was there for the headliner I knew things would be set up properly and however dodgy the PA and mics we’d be getting the best sound out of it we could. Vale Bo, a big presence in all senses.
I first met Bo at an Endeavor Hills coffee house he ran, back in 1980. The coffee house was called “Waves”, and it was a part of a house with a toilet, kitchen and a couple of “lounge” rooms. The coffee house operated every other Friday eve from 6 until whenever. Bo would set up his Vase amp, have a mic (with a sock over the head. Each fortnight it was a different colour). Sometimes there would only be Bo and myself that would get up to do some solo numbers. Sometimes we would do a few songs together. Bo had a steel stringed acoustic with stickers all over it. The action on the guitar was atrocious, and when I tried playing it, my fingers were sore for hours after. But Bo played it well. We talked a lot between brackets. We discussed Bob Dylan, Monty Python, Politics, religion, animals, musical instruments, football/cricket. Anything really. One night, Bo suggested we get together for a jam somewhere. He told me how he was part of an unemployed group that did stage shows about being unemployed (how apt, I thought). They were known as the Avenue Players. Anyway, 1 evening during the week, I rolled up to Bo’s house in Doveton (or his mums house) with 12 string and harmonica in hand. We played some songs, I played Bo some of my original writings (I was only 16 then, and my songs were a bit “over the top”). Bo played me some of his songs. Then he played some bass. We recorded the entire session. We kept playing and talking until his mother told us to quieten down. Bo invited me to the “Avenue Project”, a place where unemployed people got together in Dandenong. This was where the “Avenue Players” got together to rehearse, write songs and sketches etc. It was here I met the Avenue Players, then consisting (full time) of Bo, Rob “Tex” Norris, Dave Melville, Roger Bailey, and other people that came and went, with some names now escaping me. They were about to do a show down the coast somewhere (Dromana I think), and Bo asked me to play some guitar, and maybe get involved. The Fawklands War was also on at the time, and Bo was very anti war. So as well as doing unemployment issues in the show, he wanted to do some political points on the war. This, and the fact that I was all of a sudden part of the Avenue Players kind of got the other member’s noises out of joint. Looking back I understand why. During the show, Bo would walk out on stage with a army jacket and beret on and shout “Queens Army 8, Argentines 5. Next update in 15 minutes”. The audience (mainly young people) would laugh, with a slightly confused look. It greatly amused me.
Anyway, after some time, I was accepted into the group, and not long after, I moved into a share house with Bo and Tex in Frankston. Here, we played music, wrote music and sketches, formed a band, broke up the band, reformed another band, and Bo would record EVERYTHING!!!! We had drums, bass, amps, electric guitars, acoustic guitars, tin whistles, harps, and Bo’s handy cassette recorder. The old house had a bedroom underneath, which we transformed into a rehearsal/recording area. In a way, this was where Bo really plied his recording knowledge. We would put in loops, play with effects, use all types of weird and wonderful instruments. And while the rest of us were smoking some interesting herbs and sucking down different types of alcohol, Bo would decline all our kind offers, preferring to partake in an apple cider on occasion.
As part of the Avenue Players, we toured all over the place. The best one that I recall was the Morwell tour. We played at a community hall one night at a place called Budgerie (which we decided was really pronounced Buggery). There were hippies everywhere, so Bo blended in very well. There were 2 coldrons bubbling away on gas rings with stew. Help yourself to some lovely vegetarian stew they said. What they didn’t say was that one was full of magic mushies. Without going into detail of how, Bo ended up quite stones. Bo also hooked up with a young lady that night, who had a full leg plaster cast on. We lost Bo that night, but found him in the morning. He was still a bit “dazed”, and told us the story of how he and the lady friend were trying all night to get things “on”, however were thwarted by the full leg cast. Bo was quite upset, having been “amorous” all night without any success. The rest of us were crying with laughter.
I moved out of the house after a few years, but we kept in contact, kept writing songs, and kept each other informed. If I was ever down or wanted to get something off my chest, Bo was my beating board. He would listen to my rants, offer some solace, and then we would play music.
The last couple of times I caught up with Bo and Tex were fantastic. 1st time, we went to a pub for lunch. I had a mate with me that had never met either of my old mates. He was in stitches listening to us 3 recalling old times. He said to me later that he had never met more genuine mates that Bo and Tex. The last time was around 6 years ago when I picked Bo up from Northcote, and we went around to my parents house for a BBQ (Tofu Snags for Bo, naturally). My parents really liked Bo too. Even though Bo (when 1st introduced to my mum and dad) had hair down to his arse, and wore all these peace badges and dresses very peculiar, mum and dad just liked him straight off. During the last time we got together, we just laughed and chatted. No instruments that day. Just chat between the 3 of us, with others listening on. This is how I will remember my mate, Robert U “Bo” Boehm, formerly of 23 Hillcrest Road, Frankston, and proud founder/member of the Avenue Players.
Tony “Anton” Bowes
I met Bo, a few times in the 80’s, mostly in Skillshare. But since no-one else has mentioned it, I thought it was worth posting that Clowns smiling backwards is the one of the bands that feature on the Spill records compilation “Kraftworks” from 1999.
I only have the promotional copy, but the mp3 of Clowns smiling backwards doing Kraftwerk’s “Hall of mirrors” can be heard on the above website
bo was a gentleman, a music scholar, and an artist of the sweetest kind. devoted to music…a rare breed…sad to think i’ll never see him again…but, as they say, at least there’s the music…RESPECTAMUNDO!
I did a radio show with Bo on 3PBS FM back in 1988-9 – The Embryo Show early Pink Floyd Show – we played the Syd Barrett Opel album within weeks of release – Bo had an amazing Syd Barrett collection with articles back to 1966. Sadly Missed. RIP Bo
Back in the mid-90s I stumbled upon a band mid-week at the Evelyn(!) playing a weird and totally exhilarating mix of psychedelic, dubby, industrial shoegaze and they totally changed me. That band was the semi-legendary Clowns Smiling Backwards.
Bo changed my entire understanding of what a live band could sound like when he mixed my first band some time in the mid 90s. He not only cared, but was passionate about making a bunch of broke dudes with pawnshop instruments sound (as much as possible) like a world-class band. Well, I don’t know about world-class, but it sounded great to me. There’s nothing like a $100 3/4 size kids drumkit booming liek a Bonham-esque hammer of the gods!
After that first chance meeting he became out go-to live engineer, mixing us at all the usual suspects around Melbourne at that time, and accompanying us on a memorable, if shambolic, interstate tour.
I will never forget the look of excitement on his face when we asked him to mix us at The Hifi (by far the biggest PA I have ever played through)!
We recorded a few compilation tracks with him at the now-gone Sublime studio in Brunswick (RIP, also) – a process which it would not be an exaggeration to say changed my outlook on music and therefore life.
Bo brought the enthusiasm and love of sound of a true creative engineer to the live (and studio) mixing desk in the tradition of the dub greats.
Bands come and go, and years after I stopped working with Bo we would still bump into each other in the street and at gigs. He would often have a book or cd or tape that he thought would interest me – a beautifully unexpected and selfless gift (memorably, bootlegs of the very first Austalian tour by the Cure, and long-lost live recordings of another short-lived band of my own).
Bo remains a touchstone of my creative life, a truly inspiring artist and human being.
This is fantastic to read all these memories about Bo and the waves Coffee house that he always ended up playing my favorite in Knock Knock Knocking on the waves coffee house door instead of Knock Knock Knocking on Heavens door REST IN PEACE BIG BROTHER
Thanks for the obit, Mr. Wilson, eloquently put!
At several gigs – Punters Club and others – where I was using woefully underpowered, mid-range gear, with lots of voices going up the same pipe, Bo somehow managed to magically get my sound clear, phat and punchy. Not to mention, just a damn nice and intelligent guy to talk to.
He is, and will be missed.
Thank you Bo for hep with recordings in the early days, you were a pleasure to work with!!
thanks for the enthusiasm you’ve given the Melbourne scene!
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