This is NOT your daughter's country music. Raised on the hard twang of Johnny, Hank, Buck and Merle, Bob Wire has developed his personal brand of rockin' country that has been filling dance floors for more than ten years. A guitarist and singer based in Missoula, Montana, Bob writes songs for adults who have a sense of humor, and aren't afraid to think for themselves. Fans of Steve Earle, Dwight Yoakam, the Bottle Rockets, and other hard-rocking country artists have come to love the Bob Wire sound. It's a rootsy stew of traditional country, blues, rockabilly and swampy folk that drives a highly entertaining mix of lyrical subjects. Fourteen of these original nuggets comprise Bob's first solo album, 'American Piehole.' A self-recorded, self-released effort, the album features Bob's current band, the Magnificent Bastards. David Colledge plays lead guitar, Jack Barnings plays drums, and Ron Setzer is on bass. Setzer also helped produce 'Piehole' with Bob, and served as the album's engineer. Bob Wire and his orginal band, the Fencemenders made the rounds in Western Montana for ten years from the mid-90's to 2004, during which time they were voted 'Best Local Band' three times by the readers of the Missoula Independent. They pinned back ears with their firebrand honky-tonk, opening for the Old 97's, Larry McMurtry, and Brad Paisley. In 2000 they released one CD, the rollicking 'Waiting for Dark.' In 2004 Bob left the Fencemenders to pursue a solo career that would allow him to record and promote his own songs. Songs like 'Laundromat,' 'She Took a Powder,' and 'White Trash Paradise' have the energy and drive to make it impossible to sit still, while the lyrics will have you cracking up while you dance. Other tunes, like 'Tucson,' 'As For Me,' and 'Saigon' are more ruminative, yet still have that fresh, rhythmic drive of a band hitting on all cylinders. Bob received a Special Award of Merit from Paramount Publishing in Nashville, for his song, 'Too Tired to Cheat,' which appears on the album. Songwriting has become a true passion for Bob, and he strives to avoid the clichés that litter the popular music landscape of today. He performs solo occasionally, peppering his show with jokes and bawdy comments. But the full force is in play when he performs with the Bastards at some Montana honky tonk like Missoula's Union Club, or the Bitterroot Brewing Co. In Hamilton. While not the road warrior he was in his early career, Bob is enjoying a steady calendar of gigs, bringing his loopy, tequila-tinged show to appreciative crowds all over western Montana. From the Missoulian Entertainer, Thursday, May 4, 2006 by Joe Nickell: GET WIRED There was a time when Bob Wire seemed to be everywhere. As front-man for Bob Wire and the Fencemenders back in the late '90s and early '00s, Wire often performed twice a week or more around Missoula and western Montana. Publicly, he's been considerably scarcer in recent years; and the Fencemenders have officially broken up. But don't think Bob Wire has stopped playing. If anything, he's been more focused on music than ever before. "When I quit the Fencemenders in 2004, it's because I decided I really wanted to concentrate on songwriting and developing that part of my musical life," explains Wire (whose real name is Ednor Therriault). "I've been really focused on that ever since." So focused, in fact, that although he is just about to release his first new album since 2000, Wire already figures he's got the material together for his next record. First things first, though: This week, Bob Wire will release "American Piehole," a 14-track run of jangly honky-tonk tunes, all of them written by Wire himself and performed with the Magnificent Bastards, a backing band that includes guitarist David Colledge, drummer Jack Barnings, and bassist Ron Setzer. "I considered calling the group Bob Wire and the Bob Wire Band featuring Bob Wire, but it didn't fit on the bass drum head," Wire says. Such quips sound like classic Wire, who is known equally for his tasty country music and his comic stage banter between songs. Wire knows all too well that his comic tendencies might make him seem less like Johnny Cash than Weird Al. He says his newest album is, in a way, an attempt to balance that well-known irreverence with through-written music built around earnest topics. "I try to write mature music for adults who have a sense of humor," says Wire. Indeed, sometimes these days, he just tries to write mature music. Take the song "Saigon," which tells the tale of a young soldier in Vietnam who has just received a "Dear John" letter from his stateside love. "I researched that song for over a year so I could get the details right, even though Vietnam is just a background to the song," says Wire. "There's nothing there that's funny; it's a pretty straight story. It's probably the closest thing to a folk song I've written." Of course, a moment later, he can't resist to add a punchline: "Too bad I'm 30 years behind the times." Wire admits he misses spending so much time bathed in the spotlights. "After being off the stage a year and a half, I find I really need it," he says. "It's a release that very few people ever know. It saves me a ton of money in therapy." So catch Bob Wire when he returns to the stage, along with the Magnificent Bastards, at the CD release party for "American Piehole" this Saturday, May 6, at the Union Club in Missoula. A special drink called the Magnificent Bastard will be available at the bar, and the first 200 people to arrive receive free beer cozies. From the Missoula Independent, Thursday, May 4, 2006 by Jason Wiener: Who Is Bob Wire? Ednor Therriault orders beer and a double Mo burger for lunch. At least I think I'm eating lunch with Ednor-the 46-year-old freelance graphic artist and father of two who's dressed in shorts and Chacos on this spring-bordering-summer afternoon-and not his alter ego Bob Wire, but that's only because the guy across the table's given me a simple criterion for distinguishing: "If I'm wearing the hat, it's Bob. If I'm not, it's Ednor." Still, every once in a while, despite the hat's absence, I'm pretty sure it's Bob sitting across the table, mainly because, as Therriault puts it, "Bob will say things in public that I would not say-usually involving the word vagina." As, for instance, when my interlocutor, whoever he is, gleefully relates how Bob Wire got Ednor Therriault in trouble by reciting a nugget from chucknorrisfacts.com-"When Chuck Norris breaks up with a girl, he doesn't break up with her. He just punches her in the vagina, and she goes away"-that made it's way into some patter during a recent show at the Union Club. The reaction? "I had some woman read me the riot act after the show." Reflecting on the incident, and Bob's tendency to crassly refer to genitalia in inappropriate settings, Therriault says, "You know, it's just not worth it." Maybe not, but it's unlikely Therriault's Bob Wire persona will get retired anytime soon, since this Saturday Bob Wire and the Magnificent Bastards release their debut CD, American Piehole. The studio effort, coproduced by Magnificent Bastard bass player Ron Setzer, sports 14 tunes of straightforward, traditional country music driven by storytelling and a reflective equilibrium honed with Bob Wire's aesthetic sensibility: "Every time I write a line or the music to it, I immediately think of how it's going to go onstage at the Union Club," where Therriault spent scores of nights playing as part of Bob Wire and the Fencemenders, with whom he released Waiting for Dark in 2000. While gigging with the former band (the Fencemenders still occasionally reunite, by request), Therriault explains, "I wound up becoming Bob Wire sort of by default" because, at the band's inception, "none of us were going to be Bob Wire...But after playing live with that name people started calling me Bob Wire-like Deborah Harry being called Blondie-and I thought this is kind of fun to get up onstage and play this character." Therriault's story of hooking up with the Fencemenders, a project which Garth Whitson-now of The Countryists-shared the fronting duties, foreshadows Bob Wire's emergence. About six months after moving to Missoula in 1993, and a brief stint with the stalwart bar band Betty for Sheriff, Therriault hooked up with Whitson, who was then playing in a three-piece called Small Town Deputies. "I put an ad in the Indy in the music section: 'Guitarist, singer looking for a band. Style is Johnny Cash, a stick of dynamite up Jerry Lee Lewis' ass and Hank Williams lighting the fuse'," remembers Therriault. "These guys called me up. They just wanted to see the guy who had written the ad. They had no spot in the band. So I kind of tried to ingratiate myself into their band...Pretty soon it imploded, and I kept on with Garth who was the drummer. So he and I found a harmonica player and bass player, and we formed the Fencemenders after that." That was 1995. Bob Wire and the Fencemenders stopped gigging regularly in 2004, and Therriault sees Bob Wire and the Magnificent Bastards as more than a personnel change. "The Fencemenders have always played about 90 percent covers, some fairly obscure covers," he says. "The new band is almost inverse to that, about 75-percent original. Also, I look at the hierarchy a little bit differently. Garth and I pretty much ran that band, made all the decisions. I look at the new band as a solo artist and his backing band." Taking that sort of control seemed essential to Therriault for achieving his "ultimate goal" of making a living as a songwriter. "I put [the Magnificent Bastards] together with the specific goal of putting together a CD of all original material, saying, okay, you guys can help me arrange the songs and bring them to life but here's the songs." Many of those songs, captured on American Piehole, wouldn't seem to fit well on the dedicated country music slots of the FM dial, which Therriault acknowledges. "I'm not really prone to wrapping things up in a nice little bow at the end," he says. "People tell me that all the time, 'Why didn't the guy make up with his dad at the end of the song?' 'Why didn't the guy get the girl?' That's what you expect. I just want to challenge people a little bit." He doesn't hear that challenge on contemporary country radio, which instead features what he describes as "feminist soft-rock country, soccer mom empowerment tunes. They're all built around a bumper sticker, some clever phrase...I just can't write like that. I'm a writer at heart, with words." That means, says Therriault, "putting together stories with interesting characters and a good story arc-a beginning, a middle and an end." And if stories about a Midwestern killing spree ("Cold Blooded Killer"), or putting off an imminent reckoning with a self-destructive hell-raising streak in favor of one more day of crapulence ("Clean Livin'"), or a soldier in Vietnam who's so well-adjusted to dystopia that he doesn't want the war to end ("Saigon"), or even just a "Rio de Meurte (River of Death)" in the mountains outside Oaxaca, Mexico, don't appeal to the people radio is aimed at, Therriault is unapologetic. "I would rather fail at trying to get my stuff on the radio," he says, "than to learn how to write the stuff that's on there now." Still, he aims for commercial success, saying, "I'm hoping the pendulum has swung far enough towards pop culture that it's going to come back toward something more authentic." And either way, Therriault (or maybe Wire) isn't in an accommodating mood. "I'm not going for the big demographics...Personally, I consider myself a feminist, but I have a hard time writing songs from a woman's perspective. I gotta write what I know. I don't have a cock holster. I'm a guy." Even if Nashville fails to move to Therriault's position, Missoula suits him just fine. "I feel I'm very, very fortunate to be in a town, especially this size, where I can get away with playing mostly original music and people respond to it...Here, if you work hard and get together some decent material and have an entertaining show, it doesn't take long for people to start coming." And as far as keeping a handle on his handle, Therriault has found a balance that suits him for now. "I've tried to maintain some separation between Bob Wire and Ednor," he says. "Anything to do with music, I'm Bob Wire; anything to do with getting paid, I'm Ednor." Bob Wire and The Magnificent Bastards throw a CD release party for American Piehole on Saturday, May 6, at the Union Club. 9:30 PM. Free. From The Missoulian, Thursday, Feb. 10, 2005 by Joe Nickell: Bob Wire Restrings With New Band Bob Wire has stopped mending fences. Well, that may sound more harsh than is actually the case. But the popular local honky-tonk musician has amicably parted ways with his longtime band, the Fencemenders, and launched a new band. "It's just a change of direction for me, just to focus on my own material more," says Wire (aka Ednor Therriault). "The Fencemenders have three other really good songwriters in the band, and now I'm working on recording a CD of all-original material, so I decided to go out on my own." If this sounds like a familiar tune, it's worth recalling that Bob Wire and the Fencemenders have broken up numerous times in the past, only to reunite for one-off shows that end up turning into full-blown, ongoing reunions. Most recently, the band played a tribute to Johnny Cash at Sean Kelly's last September. Despite that on-again, off-again relationship, the band has been a staple of the Missoula scene - and, in particular, the Union Club - for a full decade. Their brand of upbeat country swing, rockabilly and honky-tonk has been a regular draw at area venues, and the band's on-stage antics have been an important part of the group's identity as well. Although Wire insists that his new band will focus on "less bombast, less schtick," it's hard to imagine him restraining himself when he takes the stage. For that matter, it's hard to imagine less schtick and bombast from a band called - ahem - the Magnificent Bastards. "I guess really I can't avoid having a sense of humor about the whole thing, because the worst thing is to take this stuff too seriously," admits Wire. What he is taking more seriously these days is his own songwriting. With the Fencemenders, Wire says the mix was approximately 20 percent original music, 80 percent covers of classic songs. In the Magnificent Bastards, those proportions are almost exactly reversed. "I'm trying to make my avocation my vocation, so I'll be peddling some songs to Nashville and such," says Wire. "If you don't live in Nashville, it's an extreme long shot; but I'm not willing to uproot my family to move there, so I'm just gonna do what I can do and see what happens with that." As to the dissolution of the Fencemenders, Wire says it has been a fun run with the band, but it just felt like time to move on. The other members of the band have already been performing for some time in a Wire-less configuration as the Hayrollers. "Garth (Whitson, longtime member of the Fencemenders) and I have been playing together 10 years, and when you're together that long you start to fall into patterns and default to the same styles," he says. "I think this is good for everyone all around." The Magnificent Bastards make their Missoula debut this Saturday, Feb. 12, at the Union Club. Admission is free.