Combining America’s favorite chocolate-covered salmonella poisoned treat (the Bon Bon) and that which blows everyone up (the Bomb) might not occur to you right off the bat, but then, you’re not in BonBomb now, and you never have been.
The name may be superficially cute and charming, but it also speaks volumes about the band who go by it. How many acts do you know who would even dare to work, “Listen to the words we the people say/No more wars Mr. President” into a poppy, energetic dance number? Clearly, there are two sides to BonBomb, and the band is more complex than they might have you believe.
Skewing musically toward the late-’80s/early-’90s alternative scene and combining it with a dance punk electricity, BonBomb made their first appearance on stage in fall of 2002. Wilson (vocals/guitar) and Raul Mederos (bass/ vocals), had worked together before, but it was only with the inclusion of drummer Hank Yaghooti that BonBomb was born.
After releasing both The Sedated Nations and Is Who We Are Right Now, We Are… in 2004, the band went on to land a slot on the 2005 Bamboozle by winning their round of The Break contest. They later won the grand prize, the specifics of which, by all accounts, have yet to be determined.
I recently had the chance to chat with the band via speakerphone at their rehearsal space.
It’s a pretty diverse band musically. What do you each bring to the table?
Wilson: I grew up with all types of music. My family is from South America, so I grew up with a lot of Spanish and a lot of jazz. I was into rock and roll at a really early age. I think I was four when I got my first Kiss album. I just always liked the energy and energetic music like Bad Brains, Dead Kennedys and stuff like that. I love The Cure and Siouxsie And The Banshees and stuff. The Clash. I just love music.
Raul: I started to look at music a lot differently after I met Wilson and after we started making music together, and a lot of the influences that Wilson named I have to agree with. We just got into everything at the same time when we started to play music. We both have been playing for so long, everything just comes out naturally.
W: It’s not just one influence. This music comes out of us just growing up around music. We’re not trying to sound like New Order or Joy Division or one of those bands, but we do have influences from that type of music.
Hank: When I met these guys, I wasn’t even listening to that kind of stuff at all. I was actually listening to a lot of rock stuff. When I first started listening to music—which was very late, actually—probably toward the end of high school, I was listening to mainstream rock. When I met these guys, they opened my eyes to new stuff and some different, really cool genres of music, and that helped me improve my skill. I guess that’s where a lot of the influences come in; music as a whole.
What are the crowd reactions like at your shows?
W: They either hate us and walk out, or they just stare at us. At shows, I want people to dance, and they stand there and watch us, but they stick around for the whole show. It’s usually positive. If they don’t like us, they just walk out. We get lucky and get good people coming to our shows. Good energy.
H: People are really excited about us. When they listen to us, they get really excited because we’re something new, we’re something different, we’re fresh and it’s something they’ve never heard before. It’s usually ver y positive when people come up to us after the show. When we get people that don’t like us, I don’t think it’s because they don’t like the music, they just don’t listen to that kind of music. It’s usually a very good response.
R: One incident was we played this one show where we were invited to play for some benefit and there were five nu metal bands and us, and we really didn’t fit at all, but by the end of the show, people were really into it and bought CDs. It was really surprising to us because we didn’t know why we were there, but it was still good with everybody, what we did.