During the late sixties and seventies Bob travelled a lot, mostly by thumb but also boxcar and freighter ship. From Norway to Morocco, Greece to Holland, France to Germany, the UK and the Channel Islands. He lived in the London of free concerts in Hyde Park, the Who playing the Albert Hall with Chuck Berry and the untimely passing of Jimi Hendrix and Brian Jones. It was also the time of the newly minted albums Nashville Skyline and the songs of Leonard Cohen, albums playing in all of the flats in South London.
Back in North America, he worked in the nickel mines of North Ontario and the migrant worker fields of California. That was the California of Sonny Barger and the Black Panthers, the SDS, Angela Davis and Altamont. He jumped boxcars to travel free through the American South, Texas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia finally making his way back to Montreal during the 1971 FLQ crisis where he was greeted by the sight of tanks in the streets.
He worked as a hod carrier in Germany, a bricklayer in London, a coal handler for the Jersey Coal Company as well as an accountant for the electricity company. He was a hard rock miner in Sudbury, a migrant worker in California, and a seller of fresh flowers on Highway 101. Finally he settled in Toronto to work in the financial district as an Executive Headhunter.
In 2010 Bob started writing songs and in August 2011 entered Studio 92 in east end Toronto to begin working on what would become his debut album, "Breaking Time". He was at a time of life when most people are winding down and thinking of retiring; instead he headed to his garage, re-christened it the Singing Dog Studio and began working up songs on a beat-up old Yamaha that had been gathering dust for 25 years.
John Keats Album Release March 19, 2016
Bob Menzies will release his fourth studio album…JOHN KEATS, March 19, as an independent release. It is the folk-rocker’s second album recorded in Nashville and produced by Larry Beaird at Beaird Music Group.
Bob’s first two albums BREAKING TIME (2013) and ONE MORE HIGHWAY (2014), both recorded in Toronto, were full of tight, rocking songs laid down over the driving guitar of Russell Gray. His next two, CITIZENS OF NASHVILLE (2015) and the current JOHN KEATS (2016) marry folk-rock with Nashville country to pay homage to the country rock explosion of the early seventies.
The title track is a tender ballad about the Romantic Era’s greatest poet and his last moments and then the album rumbles through such disparate elements as blues, rockabilly and folk, all supported superbly by some of Nashville’s top session musicians.
Bob Menzies is a Vancouver Island based singer-songwriter with previous careers that included a railway employee, factory worker, vagabond hippie, unpublished novelist, farm worker, president of a union local, accountant and executive headhunter. He now lives in the seaside town of Sooke, BC.
Bob Menzies is a singer-songwriter born in The Netherlands, raised in Montreal and now living on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. "An inveterate wanderer who remains a restless spirit, he harkens back to some of our long-lost musical heroes: the troubadours, the storytellers, the minstrels. Both his debut album “Breaking Time” (2013) and his follow up “One More Highway (2014) spin stories of all manner of rogues, ne’er do wells, and lovers, echoing the folk balladry of a Bob Dylan, the singer-songwriter tales of a Chris DeBurgh and the country sounds of a John Prine." - Jaimie Vernon, President, Bulleseye Records M
Producer, Acoustic Guitar: Larry Beaird, Beaird Music Group, Nashville, Tennessee
Co-producer, Acoustic Guitar, Composer, Vocals: Bob Menzies
Drums: Eddie Bayers
Electric Guitar: Troy Lancaster
Bass Guitar: Eli Beaird
Steel: Justin Schipper
Keyboards/Piano: David Dorn
Keyboards/Piano: Howard Duck
Fiddle, Mandolin: Tammy Rogers King
Backing Vocals: Tania Hancheroff
Tracking Engineer: Jimmy LeBlanc
Vocal Engineer: Rob Lane
Mixing Engineer: Dave Brough
Mastering Engineer: Phil Demetro, Lacquer Channel Mastering, Toronto, Canada
Photography: Linda Jean McDermott
Album Design: Bob Menzies
Most of these songs were written in a house overlooking the Sooke Basin, an inlet off the Straight of Juan de Fuca that lays between the US and Canada in the Pacific Northwest. The outlier in the pack is the song JOHN KEATS that was conceived in Rome on the Spanish Steps and born in Toronto a year and a half later, about the same gestation period as for an elephant. Songs need be out when they come. I had twenty-five to thirty songs to choose from, all written since the previous album, and who knows if I made the right choices. I have learned not to second guess too much, because I want to keep on going. I guess like most songwriters you keep writing like a gold-miner keeps mining for gold, looking for that nugget, that card that is "so high and wild you'll never have to deal another"(Leonard Cohen - THE STRANGERS SONG). But I have goals and a big one is to record a new album every year until a) I run out of ideas (not likely) or b) I run out of money (also not likely, since I'll record in my garage and learn whatever I need to, to do it) or c) I run out of time (that's a definite since we all run out of time at some point). I may tour for this album and call the tour SEE ME BEFORE I PASS AWAY, since so many of my contemporaries (in age not in acclaim of course) seem to be leaving this mortal coil around this time. I any case, since I started this gig in 2011, I have recorded an album in 2012 (Breaking Time), 2013 (One More Highway), 2014 (Citizens of Nashville) and 2015 (John Keats). 2016 is here, so expect another one. I feel privileged to be able to do this, so I offer my humble gratitude to one and all, especially the Universal Life Force, whatever that may be (perhaps Stephen Hawking will find it before he leaves us - go Steve!)
Bob Menzies, 1604 Dufour Road
ooke, BC V9Z 0T5
Phone number: 250-642-3552