Bobby Bergeron: Keeping NOLA Alive

Written on

March 10, 2015

Bobby is humble with a good enough sense of humor that you feel comfortable talking to him almost instantly. That was my first impression of him and it has proved to be true as time went on. We met when I had enough time and resources to be a “DJ” on Core Of Destruction radio. He hosts two shows there, “OUT OF BOUNDS” on Mondays at 9 PM EST/8 PM CST/7 PM MST/6 PM PST and “PARANOIZE RADIO” on Thursdays at 9 PM EST/8 PM CST/7 PM MST/6 PM PST. Bobby is also the bassist of a band from New Orleans called A Hanging and is the founder of a local magazine dubbed Paranoize ‘Zine. It was a fun and insightful interview that I think you will enjoy reading.

Question

DUMB! I have seen you use that phrase a lot. What's that about?

Answer

It's how I express displeasure instead of using profanity! But I say it like a child throwing a tantrum.

Question

I am a big fan of profanity. You tend to use it a lot when you're drunk or as it relates to sports....

Answer

Yes.... Saints games on Sunday.. lots of beer and caps lock and profanity and shots of Fireball Whiskey.

Question

When the fixation with sports start and who are your favorite teams?

Answer

Well, I was brought up a New Orleans Saints fan and that's the only team I follow really. I usually stop watching football when the Saints are knocked out of the playoffs, though the 2009/2010 season when they won Superbowl 44 was one of the greatest moments of my life!

Question

Does your love of music and sports compete with each other or just sort of go hand in hand?

Answer

Nah not really.. Saints games are on Sunday afternoons, so the only time there's any interference is if I'm nursing a hangover from a show the night before, but then again that's when I try the ol' "hair of the dog" method.

Question

You're pretty entangled in the NOLA scene from what I have read in the CoD chat and heard on your radio show some nights. How did that come about?

Answer

When I was in my teens and discovering thrash, a friend turned me onto the metal and punk shows on the local college radio station and they played a lot of local bands and would always mention when shows would happen. Around that time I got reacquainted with a friend who I hadn't talked to in years because his parents split up and he moved to another part of town. He had become a "punk" and was telling me about all the shows he goes to and offered to let me crash at his house and him mom would drop us off at shows at a VFW Hall is a really shady part of town. From my first show, I felt welcome and part of something awesome. A couple of years later, I decided to get more involved the scene and started my first 'zine with a couple of friends, which was called Thrashcore and just immersed myself in the underground music scene of the late 80's.

Question

Since that time, what can you honestly say is the most memorable gig you have ever been to? Can be memorable in a good or bad way, just one that left a deep impression on you.

Answer

There have been so many, it's hard to pick one! One of the most important was when Eyehategod played in a gutted out restaurant, powered by generators while most of the city still didn't have power a few months following Hurricane Katrina. Mike IX was fresh out of jail, and everyone was just happy to be alive and with friends.

Question

That definitely would have left an impression on me as well. Speaking of which, how did Katrina change the music scene down there, if at all?

Answer

Well, venues were lost, the most important being the Dixie Taverne, and bands split up because members ended up all over the country and some just planted roots where they ended up and never came back home. Though from that, new bands formed, new venues popped up and the scene stayed alive!

Question

That's awesome! So you mentioned your earlier mag, Thrashcore. What happened to that and how did Paranoize come about?

Answer

Well, after a few issues of Thrashcore, I was doing all the work while the other contributors were taking credit, so I just let it die and started my own 'zine, Paranoize, in 1991. After a few false starts, I finally got the first issue out in 1993.

Question

What's the main focus of that zine and how can readers get a hold of an issue?

Answer

The main focus is metal, punk, hardcore, etc. bands from New Orleans and bands from the region that play here enough to be considered adopted local bands. It's free in the New Orleans area wherever I leave a stack laying around, or you can read PDF versions at paranoizenola.com. If you don't live in the New Orleans area and want a print copy, there is ordering info there as well. Or if anyone just wants to mail cash, send $2 to:

Paranoize
P.O. Box 2334
Marrero, LA 70073-2334

Question

Wonderful. Aside from writing and being part of the fanbase, how many bands have you had your hands in and what is the story behind A Hanging?

Answer

Well, I was in my first band in my teens. I played rhythm guitar and we were a thrash band called Homicide. After several different line-ups we ended up changing the name to S.I.K. and our sound was a bit more widely influenced (the other guys were getting into the funk-metal thing that was popular at the time, where I was getting into death metal and grindcore). We recorded a demo in 1990 and a track for a compilation 7" in 1991 titled, "New Orleans Scene: Allow No Downfall," which also had songs from a local hardcore band called The Detrimentz, an early version of Crowbar when they were called The Slugs, and Soilent Green back when Glenn Rambo was their vocalist. In 1992, that band split up and I kind of just stopped playing music, though I did stay involved with the scene by doing Paranoize and eventually booking shows at the Dixie Taverne.

In the summer of 2008, I locked my keys in my truck on my lunch break at work. I called pop-a-lock to get my truck unlocked and I got a call back from a number I didn't recognize and the voice on the other end asked, "Is this Bobby from Paranoize?". When I said yes, he said, "call pop-a-lock back and tell them you found your keys". It was Bobby Last from a local punk/hardcore band called Face First. He was in the process of re-forming the band and asked me if I knew any bass players who played fast music. When I told him that I want to play fast music, but didn't have a bass or a rig, he told me he had one up at the room and invited me to jam with them. I went up there not expecting to actually join the band, but a week later I was shelling out hundreds of dollars on a bass amp and an 8-10 cabinet that I still play to this day. Anyway.. a couple of years later, I got word that A Hanging's bass player quit. I have known those guys (and, at the time, girl...) as individuals a LONG time, and if I was at their shows I'd be hangin' out with them anyway, so I figured I'd try out for them. It wasn't so much of a "tryout" as it was them being happy to have a friend in the band. I juggled both bands for awhile until Face First broke up and I decided to just stick with A Hanging instead of finding another side project. 2 years later our vocalist quit because she just got busy with work and life, so we decided to stay a 3-piece with our guitarist handing the vocal duties. We finally recorded with this line-up this past fall and are in the process of releasing a couple of EP's and a compilation track out of that session.

Question

Nice! So you just kind of fell into it with that band. So which do you favor playing, bass or guitar?

Answer

Well, since I've been playing bass for so long it feels funny playing a guitar now, with the little strings and the short neck and whatnot. Feels like a toy!

Question

Hahaha! I can understand that. So you are also self-taught with all the instruments that you have picked up?

Answer

Yep! Never took lessons, just learned by ear and following what the other guitarist is doing. I couldn't tell you what notes I'm even playing.

Question

What kind of sound do you usually go for when you play?

Answer

Dirty and somewhat distorted, but not to where you can't hear what's going on.

Question

You said you listened to what other guitarists are doing. Are there some players that heavily influenced your sound and/or method of playing?

Answer

Dan Lilker (Nuclear Assault/S.O.D./Brutal Truth) would be an influence definitely. Not that I think I sound like him or anything, but when you listen to anything that he's ever played on, the bass never buried.. you can definitely hear him loud and clear, but its not obnoxious or out of place!

Question

That is true. It is one of the biggest struggles for bass players. Finding that medium. Let's talk about CoD for a minute. How did you get inducted into that little cult?

Answer

Well, I got started doing Paranoize Radio on Blogtalk after being coaxed by another DJ who had a show on Mondays by the name of Annie Christ. Lizard was one of the regulars in the chatroom there for her show and started checking out my show too. He eventually started his own show, Stoned Insanity and eventually ended up on Brutal Existence Radio. I started hanging out there and was even offered a show, but they didn't have any time slots that worked for me. Well, there was drama over something silly or something and Lizard and another DJ there, Grave, got canned, so they both started their own station, Core Of Destruction, and asked me if I wanted to join them. I claimed my spot on Thursday nights (8 to 10 PM Central time) and a few years later the 8 to 10 slot came open on Monday nights, so I claimed it and started another show, Out Of Bounds where I play whatever I want, while on Paranoize Radio I stick to metal, punk, hardcore, etc. from New Orleans and the Southern U.S.

Question

Which show do you enjoy doing more, Paranoize or Out Of Bounds?

Answer

I can't really say I like one more than the other. Out Of Bounds is pretty self explanatory... I jump around playing different genres or sometimes I do a show where I just play all thrash metal or I play an entire show made up of cover songs. With Paranoize Radio I expose the world to New Orleans bands and let everyone in New Orleans who may be listening know what shows are coming up and I always play a block of those bands that are playing over the next couple of weeks, kind of an audio version of Paranoize 'Zine.

Question

Do you feel a generational shift in how people approach music in New Orleans than they did in the 80's or even the 90's?

Answer

I've never really given that much thought. A good bit of the people in the scene have been involved for quite some time, so there are a LOT of people in their 30's and 40's and hell, even some in their 50's or fast approaching still playing heavy, intense music.

Question

Do you think that the younger generation is intimidated by that or are they generally encouraged and accepted?

Answer

Definitely accepted and encouraged! There are always new faces popping up at shows and good bands full of younger folks that start up.

Question

Any favorites that you would like to give an honorable mention to?

Question

Nice! I recognize some of those names. Will have to check out the rest. Did you ever get to tour?

Answer

Unfortunately, no. The reasons being work issues, and also none of us own a van or a vehicle big enough to fit all our gear in, and touring in separate vehicles wouldn't really make sense. We have played a music fest up in Monroe with Sheeple, haarp, Omean, and a bunch more, but we borrowed Sheeple's gear, and they borrow our gear when they play down here. That's the extent of our "touring". The band did play up in Little Rock, Arkansas once before I was with them.

Question

Must have been a different experience. I wanted to ask about your writing style for the zine. How do you approach that aspect of the musicverse and how do you go about editing other people's work that is done for you?

Answer

As far as my reviews, I usually keep them 2 or 3 sentences tops. Just get straight to the point whether I like something or I don't and try to at least describe it. The only time I edit other peoples work that is contributed is for space, because I try to keep Paranoize around 20 to 24 pages. But even then, I'll try to experiment with different fonts instead of cutting anything out if I don't have to. Other than that, besides correcting a stray typo here and there, I just copy and paste what is sent to me.

Question

I think that style keeps things a bit fresh too. When people try to get too lengthy, they get burnt out after awhile. So, what's the future looking like for you and your projects? Just gonna keep on doing what you've always been doing basically? Any new announcements that you would like to use this space to promote?

Answer

Yeah, just gonna keep doin' what I do. A Hanging has a few shows coming up and hopefully some new music coming out in the next few months, though no definite details to report just yet. Look us up on Facebook, ReverbNation, and Bandcamp. A new issue of Paranoize is in the works and will hopefully be out in the next month or so.

Question

One last question. If you were on a deserted island and you had choice of only drink to bring with you, nothing else, what would it be? Also, you're naked. Go.

Answer

Clean drinkable water! While I'd love to say something like "Jack Daniels!", I'd eventually get thirsty and you can't really drink salt water. I'm sure the last thing I'd be thinking about on a desert island is getting shitfaced! Or maybe I would. OK, so if the scenario was that there was a source of clean water, then it would be Jack Daniels. I'm not sure where me being naked comes into play, but no matter what I drink, I'd still be naked.

Question

And that is why it was a trick question. But on to the more serious final question, do you have a certain motto in life that you follow as a general rule that gets you through all the bullshit that is thrown your way?

Answer

One of the regulars at Dixie Taverne was this elderly black guy that went by the name of Broadway Joe who always spat out one-liners, like a ghetto Yoda. The one that stuck with me was "It ain't what ya do, it's how ya do."


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Founder and Editor. Conquering one genre at a time while blurring the lines. Words are my art and the world my canvas.