Last week, I had the opportunity to sit down and speak with Marty McCoy, frontman for the band The Lonely Ones. We talk about the band’s transition from their well-known name Bobaflex to the debut of their new group The Lonely Ones, the band’s most recent cover of Queen‘s iconic track “Flash“, the group’s plans for releasing new music off of their upcoming record, the impact of COVID-19 on the music industry and live scene, and so much more. Read the exclusive interview with Marty McCoy below!
ST: Hello everybody! This is Sydney Taylor and I am here with Marty McCoy of the band The Lonely Ones. I appreciate you taking the time out of your afternoon to speak with me today! It’s a pleasure to have you on the site.
MM: Thanks for having me! I really appreciate it.
ST: I just want to dive right into it. I know that you and the rest of the guys are definitely not new to the music industry and/or are more familiar to some as working under the Bobaflex moniker, but, The Lonely Ones are a relatively new group and I know you guys recently formed last year. What made you guys decide to leave behind Bobaflex completely and focus on creating a new name, a new brand, and starting off completely fresh?
MM: Quite a lot of things. My brother, who was a huge member of the band Bobaflex, his daughter turned thirteen years old. He loved being in the band and everything but he really liked being home. There were a few things that he said where we could see it coming for about a year. He would say, “I want to be at every volleyball game, I want to be at every piano recital” and we could kind of see it coming. We supported his decision. Like I said, he loves being home and he loves being a dad; he loves every bit of it. So, we felt that coming and we decided [that] it didn’t feel right to stay Bobaflex without Shaun, being one of the huge founding members of the band. He had a lot of creative input and he was a lot of the drive behind the band, so, it just kind of felt like if he’s not gonna be there… it felt like Tommy and I were the only two original members left and as far as Bobaflex goes, we had done some really great things together… we’ve also done some really messed up things together. There’s some people we had made great friends with and then there’s people that saw us as enemies, so, if we’re going to do something with the band, let’s start fresh. The things that we did great in Bobaflex and that we learned – let’s really push those to the limits, and the things that we did not do that were big mistakes, those bad things – let’s never do them again.
ST: What has it been like to go through the phases of being a new band again? You guys have plenty of traction from the past of course, you guys were in Bobaflex for over a decade so you guys were tied to that for a while. But has it been refreshing to be more creative and build up this new entity?
MM: Absolutely. At first it was very upsetting. We put so much time into the prior band, we built a lot of things, and it was really going well. Crowds were huge, we’re selling records, and radio’s embracing us… so that was depressing for sure. It was like, “Oh, now it’s all over.” Then once we got over that, the seven stages of grief, it was exciting. It was really exciting to start something new, and especially for Jimmy and Jake. They were in Bobaflex for a while but this is their baby from the ground up. For them to be able to be… not that in the other band we would ever tell them that ‘this is how it’s done’, but they didn’t push their agenda as hard as they would now. So now it’s us four, we’re the original members from the ground up and it is exciting. It’s a new chance. It’s like breaking up with your girlfriend and moving to a new city. After you’re done being sad, it’s like… there’s new restaurants, there’s new people.
ST: Right! There’s more to what you guys are creating than what you had been doing for so long. You guys had just released some singles earlier this year before the world went to hell… you guys released two debut singles which were entitled “The Lonely Ones” and “Eternal Sadness.” How did it feel for you guys to release those two tracks? How do you think the overall reception was? As this is some of the first music that your audience is hearing from the new title and the new concept.
MM: We were really proud of it. With the pandemic and COVID-19, we had this magical schedule worked out where there was a single every ten to twenty days so we were going to bombard people with new music and hit the road… but just as we were getting ready to take off, the whole entire world shut down. So, that was a little like… “Well, that’s our first hurdle guys. Welcome to the music industry!” But, the good thing about having that fanbase that we had, the Bobaflex fanbase, is that everyone’s been super cool and just followed us. Like, “Okay, we understand why the band is no more.” But, everyone was really excited and just followed us over. There were a couple of people that said we sucked without Shaun, which is cool, we knew that was going to happen. But most people have been SUPER supportive, it’s just been great. We were excited to get those songs out. We put them out as fast as possible, shot those videos, and… I can’t even remember, the whirlwind of trying to get those videos out. 24 hour days working and working, but when it was done, we were super excited to have it out and the fans were just… open arms. Starting a new band, we got lucky because we’re not starting from square one, we’re starting from square four or five. It’s been a pretty cool transition and it’s got legs – we’re gaining new fans every day. As soon as the world opens back up, maybe the sky’s the limit.
ST: Haha… like you said, welcome to the music industry! I feel like everybody has some sort of hurdle they have to get through and this is definitely not wanted and it’s very tough. But, I think that you guys are going to have a good fanbase and a great place to start once we get past this.
MM: Yeah! At first it was like… “what are we going to do?” But then we realized that everybody is home. They have nothing else to do besides watch Netflix and maybe watch our videos, so let’s just start putting them out. While people are bored out of their minds, which I understand – I am too – let’s just give them something new every couple of weeks so they at least have something to look forward to while they’re sitting in the house and it’s really worked. We’ve got a lot more eyes on it because in the first… it got scary in the first couple of weeks, couple months. It felt like the black plague was coming, like we’re all gonna die. And I felt that we better get this music out before everyone’s gone. I don’t smoke cigarettes anymore, but I smoked cigarettes for twenty years so… this probably is not gonna be good for me. Let’s get this music out before something really terrible happens to one of us and it worked. People were sitting at home and waiting on new music. Nobody else was releasing new music at the time so we kind of had all eyes on us.
ST: Yeah! You guys released those singles in March which is when everything started to happen and a lot of artists didn’t really hop on that bandwagon of recording and releasing new music as soon as possible yet. Everyone was just in a state of shock, so you guys really hit it at the perfect time to not really have a lot of competition in releasing new music at that point.
MM: Exactly. It was the luck of the draw. Sometimes things like that happen. Usually we get caught with our pants down and have nothing. But every now and then, the stars align.
ST: In just hearing you talk, it seems that you guys are really embracing your past. I know sometimes when band’s go ahead and start a new project like this, they hate being associated with what they were doing in the past. They want the focus to be on what they’re doing now which of course is still the goal, but I really like the fact that you guys are still welcoming the old fans with open arms with this new project.
MM: It was so much fun and it was such a huge part of our lives. We met wonderful people and we got to live the dream. We didn’t have jobs, we didn’t have to go to work, we played music for a living. We got to travel the country with our brothers and our best friends, it was wonderful. Like I said, I was very sad when it was over. I understand what’s more important: family. My brother is the greatest dad in the world and it’s what makes him happy, you know? We totally understood, but it burned and stung a little bit. As Bobaflex we will still play three to four shows a year and release new music here and there because it was so much fun and we had so much support from fans. It’s not something that we can pursue like I want to pursue 24/7 like The Lonely Ones. To be honest, myself, Tommy, Jimmy, and Jake… this is what we do. I’m not gonna get up on a roof, I’ll fall off. This is what we do, we’re musicians. But, we were lucky enough to have this wonderful fanbase that was always open arms and supportive and it just moved over the line.
ST: You guys also just released a brand new cover of Queen’s “Flash”! The theme song for Flash Gordon which is such a an iconic song and is honestly a little bit forgotten in Queen’s catalog. What drove you guys to want to not only record that particular song but release it when you guys did?
MM: That’s a good question! So, the bass player Jimmy – he’s the man. I love that dude, he’s like the best band member. I can call him at three in the morning and he’d be like, “I’m on my way!” He came up with the idea. When there was some personal stuff going on in my life, I was pretty down in the dumps. You can tell from some of the songs that are going to be coming out in the future. I was in a pretty dark place in my life, and the music was reflecting that. Jimmy had the idea.
In Bobaflex we did “Sound of Silence” which is really good, we did the “Hey You” Pink Floyd cover which is one of the most successful songs that we’ve ever done as far as getting new eyes on the band. He [Jimmy] goes, “We can’t go backwards, we have to challenge ourselves, we have to go forward… and we quite frankly need something that has a little bit of sunshine in it because your dark ass is writing all these very sad, depressing, and angry songs.” So I asked what he had in mind, and he suggested “Flash” by Queen. I said, “Dude, are you crazy? How will we do that? There’s me, and there’s Freddie Mercury. We are not on the same level here.” He goes, “Nah, you’ll be fine.” He talked me into it for an hour on the phone. He was back home in Washington state and he was talking to me for an hour, two hours, something like that. I told him, “No, no, you’re crazy. If we blow this, we’ll be laughing stocks.” When he finally talked me into it, after two hours I hung up the phone and said, “Okay, fine. We’ll just give it a shot. It’s your band too, let’s see what happens.” He said when he hung the phone up the realization hit him like… “God, I can’t believe he said yes. We’re actually going to have to do this!”
I really have to give it to Jimmy, he was really the captain of the ship on that one. It took us a little while to get the music down because all of the parts in that song are all different. It’s a movie soundtrack, the tempo’s all over the place. You could be playing the same patterns but they’re faster because this part’s more exciting, this part it’s slowed down. The tempo was all over the place. Once we finally got that down we felt pretty good about that. It was time to tackle the real problem, the vocals. So, we sat down and worked out everybody’s harmonies. It took us probably a minute-and-a-half to two minutes singing it acapella to where all the stress went away. When we hit that, “Flash! Ah-ah!” in one room, no music, just acapella… I thought we might be able to pull this off. That’s how it went down. I was kicking and screaming the whole time so, I gotta give it to Jimmy. He dragged me across the finish line.
ST: It’s such a great choice for you guys to cover. I don’t know about you, being a fan of music, but I always love seeing bands cover tracks that are a bit outside of their wheelhouse. Taking a song that is not 100% what you guys do all of the time but recording it, making it your own… choosing that song is still in the rock genre, you have that melodic aspect of Queen in your originals as well, but to cover that song and doing it so much justice, even with the production as well, it was really commendable.
MM: Thank you! Well, there were two reasons. Like Jimmy said, we had to challenge ourselves and everybody’s doing cover songs right now so there were several reasons why we did it. Everybody’s doing cover songs, and we wanted to do a cover that ends all covers and people will get back to writing original music. If we do this well… nobody’s going to touch it. Number two, they’re talking about doing the movie again. All new soundtrack, all that kind of stuff, so if we can swing in on that and already have… ’cause they’ve already been in talks about it for years and I’m a HUGE Flash Gordon fan. I think it’s like the greatest movie of all-time. People say it’s cheesy and I’m like, “Oh god, I don’t see it. I don’t know what you’re talking about.” It’s a wonderful movie. So, that was kind of the plan too. Kill two birds with one stone. We wanted to let people know when we put that song out. The funny part was… people are going to watch this video because they’re going to think there’s no way this is any good. We’re going to get a lot of eyes on this song because people are going to think this is going to be terrible, there’s no way they can do this. We were talking to an industry veteran the other day on the phone and he said the exact same thing. He said, “I was sent this song by a mutual friend and I thought ‘I can’t wait to see this train wreck pile of shit.’ This isn’t going to be any good.” But then he called us up and saying we did a great job on the song. It was one of those things… it was a ‘show your muscles’ kind of thing. If we pull this off, we can let people know that these guys can play. These guys are serious, they can play, whatever happens to this band in the future, we know that they can play. And if they remake the movie, maybe we can slide in on that soundtrack.
ST: Yeah! I had no idea they were even thinking about that. A great idea for you guys to get your foot in the door now.
MM: That was the plan. Let’s get in on the ground level.
ST: You guys have been recording and releasing new stuff as well. Do you guys have any… well, you hinted towards it earlier when you were speaking about some of the other songs you guys have coming up soon… but can we expect a full record from you guys later this year?
MM: Yes! The record’s done. The record’s been finished since the beginning of March. But, that’s another thing too. The music industry has changed so much that people are listening to Spotify, and Apple Music, and Google Play and all that stuff. When you put out a full record… we will put out a full record… but our plan was to put it out a single at a time so we can stay relevant. You get a couple weeks, “I love this new song!”, or a month and then another song comes out. My argument was… what did you look at on Facebook fifteen minutes ago? I don’t have any idea. There’s so much information. To put out a record, “Oh, that’s a cool record”, they may listen to the full record, they may not. They’re bombarded with so much information. It’s not really their fault. But if you keep hitting them with something new, something new, here’s something new… then you turn around and they’ve got the whole record and they’re fans of the whole record and none of the songs slip by the wayside. And we will sell these [the record] at live shows and stuff like that for the people who like to hold it in their hands but those people are few and far between. Everything’s done. We’ve got music in the pipelines and we’re just gonna release it one at a time. It’s kinda like you got someone a gift bag, and you take everything in the gift bag and wrap it all individually and hand it to ’em separately.
ST: That’s honestly the way to do it nowadays because like you said… it’s interesting to see just how much the industry has changed in the last five years, let alone decade. That’s how a lot of people are doing it and I think like you mentioned, attention spans now are just so short and it’s very hard to capture people’s attention. So, I think that’s a great plan for you guys and that you’re going to catch more fans that way.
MM: I think so too. It keeps us on people’s radar. Like I said, it’s nobody’s fault. It’s just the world we live in. There used to be a bunch of oil salesmen that ruled the world and some guy came up with electricity and changed all that. It’s just the way it works. I read the article about the CEO of Spotify that pissed everybody off but… he’s not wrong. Spotify wants you to stay on that platform, so they reward people who release music incessantly because they don’t want you to leave the Spotify platform and go over to some other platform because it’s business. So, he’s not wrong. The days of letting out a record every two to three years… I mean, I’m a huge Tool fan but it’s like, I’ve got to wait another twenty five years to get a Tool record? They’re like my favorite band in the world but… put out a record! I know it takes a lot of time, and it’s hard to do, and it costs money. I get it. But, I am into the bands who are putting out music constantly. Something new, something new, oh look, something new. If I don’t like this song, maybe the next one I’ll like. It’s just kinda the way it is. You’re on Facebook scrolling through, that social media kinda world and things are comin’ in so fast. It’s insane to keep up. That’s why you have everyone sharing fake news and all these things. ‘Cause the information is coming in so fast… even an intelligent, tech savvy person… it’s hard to navigate the waters of all this information that’s coming in. It’s wonderful and dangerous at the same time. So, the music industry, as soon as you think you’ve figured out something it changes immediately. Like, “Wow, we really did really well with this single. So we’re gonna go to the same channels and just replicate what we did two months ago.” It’s like… it could very possibly be different two months from now. You never know.
ST: Even with talking about the music industry changing and things coming in cycles; you mentioned the Spotify article… my favorite artist is Alice Cooper and I think about his discography and he was releasing records in the ’70s every year. People strayed away from that and now things are coming full circle because that used to not be so out of the ordinary with record deals. Obviously that has changed. But to release a record every year for a decade wasn’t out of the norm.
MM: Oh yeah. He was a workaholic. Imagine touring, and shooting videos, and then finding the time to write a new record, finding the time to record that record. I mean, he was a work horse; he was a beast. Sevendust was doing that for a while. A lot of things with Sevendust… they taught us a lot of things. They took us on our first major tour and taught us how to play live and I watched a lot of things that they did and I don’t directly nick what they’re doing but I kind of watch what they’re doing and the things that they do great; we definitely take that into consideration when we’re making our decisions. What would Sevendust do? ‘Cause they’re still here and they’re still kicking ass and they’re still selling out shows – still putting out great records. And they do put out a record probably once every year, year-and-a-half, something like that. It’s always good. But those guys are like workhorses like crazy, 24/7, Sevendust. Those guys just work, work, work. That’s the way you gotta do it. It’s like a sexy construction company. Even though we have cool long hair and tattoos, you gotta build porches everyday or you can’t pay the bills.
ST: I’m very excited to hear all the singles you guys have coming up as well. It’s definitely the way to package it nowadays. You had mentioned, and I even saw on some press releases and just following you guys – you do have some dates that are still not postponed or cancelled for this fall. Do you think they’re going to happen? Are you remaining hopeful that everything will go as planned?
MM: The Madison, Wisconsin and Gainesville show in October was just now cancelled. So, I feel like it’s going to be a domino effect. Which sucks, but this is a serious virus. I know it sucks for us that we can’t get out and play and our livelihood is at stake and being wildly threatened and… I don’t know what to do at this point in time. It’s pretty scary, but at the same time people’s health and people’s lives are very important and it’s hard to… what’s the risk vs. the reward? If the scientists are telling us it’s not time for concerts then it’s not time for concerts and that’s just the deal. It’s like when you’re a kid and Disney’s closed. There’s nothing you can do about it. It sucks, it really sucks, but I think they’re all gonna be cancelled and I’m just hanging on. I don’t wanna force something and get a bunch of people sick, so we’re just waiting to see what the doctors and scientists tell us and then we do what they say.
ST: I had seen an article as well from the founder of Lollapalooza, that big festival that happens every year in the U.S. He stated too that it’s of course about the safety of the patrons and the audience but also something that I didn’t even think of, and a lot of people haven’t either, is the insurance of venues and how a lot of insurances still don’t cover COVID-19 or are in the beginning stages of doing so.
MM: Wow. I mean, this has happened in history before but who saw this coming? Nobody saw this coming. Well, Bill Gates saw this coming. He also saw computers coming. He’s a lot smarter than most of us. But when it first started happening I was like, “Oh wow, that sucks, we don’t get to play shows” and then I started watching the domino effect; the ripple effect. Now radio stations don’t have advertisements, they’re in trouble. Now these advertisers are in trouble. Now the people that are in the music venues are in trouble… it was just this huge ripple effect. I guess I did realize it, but to see it in real time happen, all the people being connected and everything. The world shut down. Everybody in the world said shut the doors, close it down, everyone’s in trouble, nobody knows what we’re gonna do, everyone’s businesses are in trouble. That’s the one thing that makes it… not such a hammer to the head. ‘Cause everyone’s going through it. I’m not special. I’m not the one carrying the burden. It’s no ‘why me, why me.’ Everyone’s going through it. I care about people. My thing is, we have to do what we have to do to make sure that the human race can come out on the other side without millions and millions of deaths. It sucks but here we are. What do you do? You put your mask on, you wash your hands, and you don’t go to concerts.
ST: If there’s one thing too I’ve learned about fans and artists is that when this is all over I feel like we will come back even stronger than before. You can’t deny the connection that we have with music and live music and we as a human race can’t ever live without that. It will come back and be stronger than ever.
MM: I think so too and I think there’s going to be an underground uprising of rock bands, of American rock bands. I think that, you know, with the big venues and the 20,000 to 30,000 [capacity venues] and things like that being cancelled, what’s going to start opening up are the smaller clubs and the smaller venues are going to start opening up first, and there’s gonna be a wave of bands that are going to catch that wave of rock and roll and there’s gonna be a huge surge in underground rock bands. I hope that I’m on that wave.
ST: I hope so too. Before I let you go, at the end of every single one of my interviews I ask five rapid fire questions I call the Metal From The Inside Five. You can answer them fast, if you want to think more about them you can too. Number one, if you weren’t working in the profession you’re currently in, so being the lead singer of Nonpoint, what would you be doing?
MM: I’d own a restaurant. I love to cook, so I’d own a restaurant. I don’t know if it’d be a very successful restaurant but I would like every single thing on the menu.
ST: What is something you wish everyone knew about you?
MM: I love cats. I think everyone’s starting to know that about me but I think cats are like the greatest creatures on the planet. They’re just hilarious. I love dogs too, I love all animals. I just think cats are the funniest things ever. I have a cat tattoo, I don’t have any tattoos of human beings on my body. I just feel connected to cats. [Laughs]
ST: If you were stranded on a desert island and you only had three records that you could take with you to listen to, what would they be?
MM: Tool ‘Ænima’, Pink Floyd ‘The Wall’, Guns N’ Roses ‘Appetite For Destruction.’
ST: What is one piece of advice that you would give to your younger self?
MM: Stop smoking. Don’t smoke cigarettes and work out ’cause you’re gonna get older. Work out and moisturize.
ST: If you could have one super-power, what would it be?
MM: To heal the sick. I wouldn’t be a jerk about it either, I’d just be like, “Ah, alright, you’re fine.”
ST: Awesome! Well, thank you so much for taking the time out of your afternoon to speak with me. I am very excited to hear everything that you guys have coming up and to continue to follow you guys on your journey as we get through this and get onto the other side. I really appreciate speaking with you today.
MM: Thanks so much for thinking about our band and having us on. We appreciate it so much. Keep your ears open, the next single is called “Real Big Trouble”, not sure when it’s gonna come out but it’s a jammer.
Thank you so much for checking out this interview with Marty McCoy of the band The Lonely Ones!