Bob’s Country Bunker returns to stage after a 3-year hiatus

By John Benson

Feeling as though they didn’t want to burn out or fade away, the members of Bob’s Country Bunker decided a while back it would be best to take a break. However, after a three-year hiatus, that included plenty of fan requests for a reunion, the trio — Joe Shelby (vocals, guitar), Matt Shelby (drums/vocals) and Matt Anderson (bass) — has finally announced a show scheduled for Saturday at Cedars.

“After playing for probably 14 years or so, we felt like we weren’t really going anywhere,” said Joe, a 1995 Girard High School graduate. “So we hung it up for a little bit and we all did our own things. We are all married and a couple of us have kids. I have another band, Sirens Everywhere, that plays more often.”

That said, the itch to restart Bob’s Country Bunker returned earlier this year.

“I think enough time has passed for it to be fun again and interesting,” Shelby said. “Of course I missed the live dates. We had a reputation for playing some pretty raucous type shows, where the crowd was always into it.”

Formed around the turn of the century, Bob’s Country Bunker grew a national following with its DIY spirit and fiery live shows. Joe said the group’s sound is best described as hillbilly garage rock with its last studio effort being 2003’s “Wellwater.” Careerwise, the group is known for fan-favorite tunes such as “Can’t Get You Off My Mind,” “Pretty Darling” and set closer “Psycho Billy.”

As for the set closer at Cedars, Bob’s Country Bunker, which doesn’t have an opener, has something special planned for its reunion.

“We’re going to play pretty much everything we’ve written, and we’ll have some new covers to keep it interesting,” Joe said. “We are doing a half-hour special set at the end with Pete Drivere of The Infidels. It’s something we did maybe 10 years ago and people loved it. We only did it that one time so we figured if we’re going to pull this off, maybe try to do something special. That’s what I came up with. He’ll be joining us on guitar for like a Crazy Horse thing.”

Joe said the plan is to cover Neil Young’s “Cortez The Killer,” “Down By the River” and “Roll Another Number [For The Road].”

Naturally, the question everyone wants answered is whether this reunion show marks the return of Bob’s Country Bunker moving ahead?

“You know, beyond this show, we have no plans,” Joe said. “This may be a one-time deal. If we have a lot of fun, which we probably will, maybe we’ll keep it going. But I don’t know.”

He quickly added, “This band will never completely go away unless one of us dies. We always sort of bring it back around every now and then, you know.”

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