Boss Rhino: Longtime rockers release first EP

by Jared Curtis

Bellingham has a long and storied musical history. Bands have come and gone over the years, signing record deals, moving away or simply fading away. But since 2006, Boss Rhino has continued to support the local scene and after years of numerous local shows the band is finally ready to release their self-titled EP on Friday, July 24 at the Green Frog.

“We started playing around 2006 when James and I started jamming,” said Aaron Jacob Smith (guitar). “We had played around a bit and one night we had a show and Kevin Robinson was going to fill in on drums, but the show got cancelled, so we never got to play together.”

Shortly after that cancelled gig, Robinson, this time playing bass, and Boss Rhino – Chad DeRoux (vocals), Smith (guitar) and James Guzman (guitar) – joined forces for good and have been rocking faces off since 2010.

“It’s been great, I knew these guys before so it was a no-brainer to join the band. We’ve been living the rock and roll lifestyle, which means paying to play everywhere,” Robinson laughed.

With the songs finished, Boss Rhino was heading into the studio, but problems quickly arose.

“Just as we were heading into the studio, our drummer decided to pursue other options, so we were scrambling to find a replacement on such short notice,” Smith said.

With studio time booked and ready to go, Robinson took over bass and drum duties for the recording process.

“I kept telling the guys I was looking for drummers, but really I wasn’t because I wanted to play drums on the tracks,” Robinson laughed. “It all worked out in the end and I think we created a really cool album for our fans to enjoy.”

Although Robinson pulled double duties during the recording process, he won’t be able to play both instruments live at the same time, so the band is bringing in their friend Matt Z from The Dt’s to play bass for the upcoming live shows.

“I’ve been playing in bands with Matt for a long time, he’s a great friend and I’m glad he is going to play some shows with us,” Smith said. “Plus, it was an easy choice because he knew all the songs.”

The band recorded the self-titled EP with Michael Cloud at Funk Schwey Studios over two days.

“It was a lot of work, but it was also a great time. Michael did a great job and we also had Dave Crider (Estrus Records) stop by as the voice of reason,” Smith said. “Putting out an album is a huge learning curve, so I’m glad it’s over, but I learned a lot and I’d totally do it again. It’s got to be easier the second time, right?”

Although the band worked through a lot of album names, they decided to go self-titled. The EP  will be released on translucent gold vinyl (with digital download code) with cover artwork from artist Jim Blanchard.

“Jim was so great about helping out, he created the cover of the album as well as the T-shirts,” Robinson said. “We wanted Jim’s artwork as big as possible, which is why we went with vinyl packaging.”

Now that the EP is finished, the band is looking forward to seeing old and new faces at the record release show on Friday, July, 24.

“It’s been a while for fans to see the band live, so we hope everyone comes out and has a good time,” Smith said. “The show is late enough, so you can put the kids to bed and come out for a great rock and roll show.”

Robinson agrees.

“This has been four years of blood, sweat and tears in the making, so it’s going to be one hell of a party with some fun surprises,” Robinson said. “We hope everybody is ready for some knock down, drag out, straight forward rock and roll.”

LIVE SHOW: See Boss Rhino July 24 at The Green Frog. For more about the band, see www.facebook.com/TheBossRhino. 

Published in the July 2015 issue of What’s Up!