With pop divas like Whitney Houston and Deborah Cox in its stable, Arista Records seems like an improbable home for The Bogmen.
But the Long Island-based rock sextet’s irreverent view of the world, as seen in its debut album “Life Begins at 40 Million,” isn’t lost on the label’s executives.
“People who are middle of the road don’t get it,” singer-songwriter Bill Campion said recently. “The label thinks we’re a little bit off, but they appreciate what we do.
“(Label president) Clive Davis, I think he saw the second wave and he was able to get into the alternative realm. He wouldn’t have signed us if he didn’t think we had something to offer.”
The Bogmen do it all: They’re funny, dark and shocking, like in the tongue-in-cheek social commentary of the opening track “The Big Burn.” On “Dr. Jerome (Love Tub, Doctor),” they bring new meaning to the phrase “exploring your inner self,” mocking psychiatry in one fell swoop.
Campion said he gets his offbeat characters from any source he can get his hands on.
“From there, I try to build on small truths,” he said. “They’re based on at least one-fourth of the truth, anyway.”
With time to spare between gigs on its U.S. tour, Campion has written a new song, “The Bowery Bar,” about a disturbing new trend: The re-emergence of the Studio 54-like scene in New York.
“That drives me nuts, the special-treatment thing,” he said. “Then they have the guts to charge $5 for a Budweiser. And it’s all tied in with fashion. Haven’t these people learned? Studio 54 didn’t last, and there’s a reason why: It’s absurd.”
The Bogmen are on the brink of something big, but Campion said they need a lot more help if radio doesn’t embrace them like quirky labelmates Crash Test Dummies a few years ago. Some stations are picking up on “The Third Rail,” in which a parent fears for their child’s sanity.
BWF (before we forget): The band’s second Arista album, “Closed Captioned Radio,” was released in January 1998.
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