The Wild Side of Bob Burgos
The association between "Wild Bob Burgos" and rock'n'roll goes back more than three decades. Bob, who is of Spanish extraction, grew up in South East London, England and by the mid sixties he had taken up playing drums - but before he could get started professionally, he met up with a local tattooist, who asked Bob to work with him in his tattoo shop at weekends. Bob's main ambition was to play in a rock'n'roll / rhythm & blues band, but he needed to make some money to buy himself an instrument and somehow bought a guitar and then later a cheap drum kit. Bob did so well in the tattoo shop, he was asked to work there more and more. And whilst waiting for the customers, they ended up tattooing themselves for practice. Bob finally left the tattooing business to concentrate on his musical career, as he had now bought himself an instrument, covered himself with tattoos, and was ready for the road to rock'n'roll.
His roots lie in the feelings of traditional blues, early rock'n'roll and raw Chicago electric blues that were flooding the London airwaves, cafes and most jukeboxes around at the time when Bob was in his teens. South London was bustling with rhythm & blues and rock'n'roll bands by the late Ssxties - and Bob's first band "Intec Sounds" was to be the beginning of a long and rockin' career to follow. Bob was also playing with various bands around at the time including band members from The Yardbirds, The Overlanders and Joe South's keyboard player, plus many other bands that came and went with the times, including The Count Bishops. Stage Fright, Kick Start, And Chief Whip & The Mayor Of Wapping'S Rock Rebellion.
In the early seventies, influenced by his old pals John Walters from the Alan Price Set and Ernie O'Malley from The Long John Baldry Band. Bob became an established session musician playing with many artists in pubs, clubs, dance halls and even cabaret, but rock'n'roll was the only road that Bob wanted to follow. In the mid seventies, South London was rockin' every night of the week with bands playing to packed pubs full of Rockers and Teddy Boys - this was to be the beginning of the rock'n'roll revival that shortly followed. Bob and some old friends were soon jamming along with whoever was playing at the time and so the band "Shotgun" was born. Shotgun went on to record many albums with Bob and many European tours took place as the revival got under way.
Bob soon became known as the "Tattooed-Sledgehammer Of Rock 'n' Roll", because of his many tattoos and his sledgehammer beat and was soon recognised as probably the best rockin' drummer on the rock'n'roll scene with his great depth of playing experience and styles. Bob's drum solos were always wild & explosive as he ripped through songs with so much energy, passion and feeling that the only name you could call him was Wild Bob, and so everyone did.
As the revival boomed, Wild Bob was soon booked for sessions with Tony Vincent's band C.S.A., and Jim Carlisle, who later became stable mates for the legendary Billy Goat label. Whilst gigging constantly throughout London, Wild Bob met up with some other rock'n'roll musicians and formed a band called Matchbox in 1975. This band also had a lot of success with European tours and recordings worldwide, which meant Bob was constantly away touring all over England and half way round the world. Huge music festivals to sell out audiences followed, and it was in 1977 that Matchbox backed the great Chuck Berry on stage in Holland, with over 22,000 people attending. These were the glory years for Matchbox when their first two albums went gold throughout Europe and Scandinavia and who later became a huge success on the rock'n'roll scene - their popularity growing to the point that they were doing performance after performance, day in and day out, touring across the world, cutting records and having major hits that demanded more travel. This naturally took its toll being away from his family and when Wild Bob's father passed away, he went home to be with them. No doubt he felt guilty that he had spent so much time on the road away from his family and he needed time to decide what direction his music was taking him. As he worked his way through the depression of losing his father, he realised that rock'n'roll had become his entire life and rockin' was something he had to do.
Rock'n'roll had him in its grasp and he soon joined the piano rocker Freddie 'Fingers' Lee, and the ball started rolling again. He began writing and playing sessions with Freddie, Matchbox, Shotgun, Stuart Coleman and numerous other artists and was soon to be called upon to back American artists on tour in Europe - artists such as Charlie Gracie, Gene Summers, Mac Curtis, Janis Martin. Clarence 'Frogman' Henry, Buddy Knox, Ronnie Hawkins. Ray Campi, Micky Hawkes, Jack Scott, Hayden Thompson, Johnny Preston, Ronnie Dawson, Johnny Legend, Eddie Fontaine & many more. After extensive touring, Wild Bob began writing his own material, and record companies from all over Europe were releasing his albums, recorded with several members of Shotgun and other musicians that Bob worked with. This band was later to become "Wild Bob Burgos & His Houserockers".
As time went by, most of the bands he knew and worked with were playing and recording with the aim of reaching the pop charts and the true feeling and purpose of authentic rock'n'roll was being forgotten... this wasn't what Wild Bob wanted, and so he began to lead his own band The Houserockers playing authentic 50s music the way it was meant to be played. Several more singles and albums of Wild Bob's music were released in Britain and on the continent by many more different labels and all sold extremely well. After many more tours and appearing on countless radio and television shows, Wild Bob teamed up with Screaming Lord Sutch as one of his Savages and again, more recording sessions took place using highly accomplished players including Wild Bob Burgos, Matthew Fisher, from Procol Harum and Darnell Kellerman from The James Brown Band. Several records were released, one of which was written by Wild Bob and Shotgun's Ray Neale, entitled 'Loon'A'Billy Rock 'n' Roll', which was later to be the very beginning of what grew to be "The Official Monster Raving Loony Party".
Wild Bob was on the road with Lord Sutch and the Savages for many years and in between gigs Bob was also playing with various bands including Freddie 'Fingers' Lee, The Dynamite Band, The Downliners Sect, The Cruisers, Dave Travis Band, The Wild Angels and many more who were around at the time and, of course, Shotgun who were around at the very beginning with Bob and who would remain with him for many years to come. Again and again, many tours went by, and albums released with Wild Bob on drums backing up Freddie Lee, The Wild Angels, Shotgun, etc., which meant that Bob was always in demand as a top rockin' session man.
In the Eighties, the rock'n'roll revival was still very evident, as up and down the country new venues were opening up and Europe was fast becoming an international stage. Whilst touring these venues, Wild Bob met up with many musicians and was soon asked to form a band that was to be called The Rapiers. It was now 1983, and after several successful gigs in Europe, The Rapiers recorded their first EP which was Shadows inspired... a very successful record that led to the band becoming a carbon-copy of the Shadows themselves, but this wasn't to Wild Bob's liking as he yearned to be back playing authentic rock'n'roll and rockin' Blues. Eventually the band's stage image was for all the group to be dressed in matching suits, and this was the last straw for Wild Bob and also the perfect reason for him to leave in the mid Eighties. The last thing that Wild Bob wanted was to wear a suit, because he was a rocker with his own image and being the rebel that he is, soon left.
As the Eighties rolled along, Bob worked with many more bands, including Johnny Angel & The Nomads, and recorded several singles and an album that also sold well. Still writing and recording his own material, Bob was always in demand, and again was often asked to play with popular British artists: Screaming Lord Sutch, Heinz Of The Tornados, Geno Washington, Tommy Bruce. Don Lang, Billie Davies, Wee Willie Harris, Brian Poole of The Tremeloes and many more that he worked with on stage and screen... the list is endless!
Bob's involvement with Shotgun, Freddie Fingers Lee, The Savages. The Wild Angels & Matchbox continued to blossom as more records and CDs were released and more tours lined up to promote them and again working with dozens of 50s and 60s celebrities on huge shows across Britain and Europe. On one occasion in the early Nineties, Bob was asked to fly out to Paris to back, yet again, the legendary Chuck Berry on a television show and live concert that turned out to be one of the greatest highlights of Bob's career. Bob has worked with Chuck on several tours throughout the 80s and 90s and is still continuing to work with some of the greatest rock'n'roll stars of the 50s such as Bo Diddley, Bill Haley'S Comets. Ray Charles And Jerry Lee Lewis, to mention a few, Bob's ambitions had been completed, but he still continues throughout the 90s to write, record and play his own music that is always raw and rockin' with no frills attached. Bob's song writing abilities have even led to artists such as Bill Haley'S Comets, Billy Lee Riley And Gene Vincent'S Blue Caps - not to mention Screaming Lord Sutch, Shotgun, The Wild Angels and Matchbox, recording his songs for publications. Bob has also appeared on over a 150 albums with estimated world sales of several millions. Throughout his career he has always been involved with recording studios doing session work and his own album material, from which he has released several solo albums to date.
Raw rockin' blues coupled with pure 50s rock'n'roll was, and still is today, Wild Bob's main influence and his success as a solo artist continues with his own band "The Houserockers" who remain one of Britain's true rock'n'roll outfits that still pump out authentic rockin' roots music. What makes Wild Bob Burgos so special is apparent from the contents of his albums and when you see him on stage thrashing away at the drum skins or singing a frenzied vocal, his music really comes to life and takes on an existence of its own. Wild Bob is one of the most indemand session and stage rock'n'roll drummers in Europe and is also one of the best rock'n'roll songwriters, combining simple driving rhythms with hard-hitting lyrics.
Maintained by Marijn "The BlackCat" Raaijmakers