The Rocks Off 200: The Bailout Bureau's Mysterious "Bob Bovary"
Welcome to The Rocks Off 200, our portrait gallery of the most compelling profiles and personalities in the far-flung Houston music community -- a lot more than just musicians, but of course they're in there too. See previous entries in the Rocks Off 100 at this link.
Who? For better or worse, I can't answer that question. Like Houston's most famous recluse, Jandek, The Bailout Bureau refused to divulge details about his true identity to me. When pressed for a name, he told me just to refer to him as "Bob Bovary."
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Bovary, whose project the Bailout Bureau is a one-man tour de force of post-punk and experimental weirdness, quietly began uploading music to Bandcamp in early 2012, but has been honing his craft in his bedroom since his teenage years.
"When I was younger, I was involved in a horrific accident that wiped out any hope of playing sports again; it left me with little to do than screw around with the electric guitar I'd begged my parents for," he explains. "I accumulated all sorts of gear and experimented with MIDI, pedals, different DAWs, etc."
"I even had music on iTunes at one point. Thank God no one will ever find it," he says, piling on a bit more mystery.
Home Base: Bovary's magic happens in a pretty unexpected place: a tiny, vintage bedroom circa 1939. Hipsters the world round salivate, no doubt. His work develops only there, however, as he tells me that his favorite favorite venue is the internet.
Asked to elaborate, he explains, "that way all the songs are carefully mixed, packaged, and uploaded exactly how I want you to hear them. Total control."
He also quells any hopes of hearing his music on stage in the future. "I hate playing live. I wish I loved it, and I wish I were good at it, but I'm not."
Why Do You Stay In Houston? In what seems to be an unfortunate rarity, Bovary is not a Houston native. He came for the job market and low cost of living, then stayed for the arts.
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"I had no idea how vibrant a culture I would find here," he remembers, with a bit of reverence. "I love this city. There's absolutely nothing pretentious about it, and at the same time, it's home to some of the weirdest, most fearless, experimental artists and musicians I've ever met."
More with The Bailout Bureau on the next page.