Billy Campion met Bill and Brendan Ryan in the late 1970's. Sharing a passion for music, they started a band, The Plummers, with Campion on vocals, Bill Ryan on guitar and Brendan playing keyboards. During college, the group picked up bassist Mark Wike, drummer Clive Tucker and percussionist P. J. O'Connor. With this lineup, the band called itself The Bogmen, in honor of what Campion called its "tribal, huntish" sound.
The Bogmen got their "big break" from Lonn Friend of Arista, who was introduced to the band through Mark Wike's brother, David. Wike approached Friend at a party with a Bogmen demo tape, warning Friend that they were the best unsigned band in New York and that "If he didn't sign them, someone else would." Friend flipped over the tape, and soon after signed The Bogmen to a two-record deal for nearly $1 million. It was the first and last band Lonn Friend ever signed.
Billy Campion said he was worried about how the band's live sound would translate when recorded. "I was worried that it was going to be too slick," he said. "And in the end, I felt it was." Still, Arista founder Clive Davis was pleased with the final product, especially "Suddenly," a tongue-in-cheek Motown knockoff.
The first album, Life Begins at 40 Million, was released on Aug. 29, 1995. Although it sold a respectable 50,000 copies, it faded too quickly to catch radio programmers' ears. The band secured opening tour spots with the likes of Barenaked Ladies and Shane McGowan, former lead singer of The Pogues. There were also several unintentionally hilarious dates with the heavy metal group KISS, which Friend arranged so the band could see what it was like play larger venues.
When "Suddenly" came out, a video appeared on MTV, and radio programmers were finally responding. But the band and Friend said they felt that Arista executives were already losing faith.
Opting for an edgier sound with their second record, Closed Captioned Radio, was a decision that would ultimately derail the band's major-label career. Released on Feb. 10, 1998, Arista felt that The Bogmen no longer sounded like the band they signed. With no marketing support from the label, the album sold about 10,000 copies and quickly disappeared.
The band hung in, playing on the East Coast to big crowds for much less money. Clive Tucker and P.J. O'Connor dropped out and,after picking up new drummer Derek Finan, The Bogmen self-released their final album, Home Recordings in June, 1999. After a few more gigs, the band officially called it quits later that same year.
Hard feelings and hard luck left this group of once-close friends estranged, and any hope for reconciliation seemed slim. In the end, it took a terrible tragedy to bring them back together. On 9/11, like many Americans, the band members and many of their fans suffered personal losses. In response, The Bogmen reunited for two shows at New York’s Irving Plaza in December 2001. The concerts were primarily fueled by the loss of Kristy Irvine Ryan, newlywed wife of Bogmen keyboardist, Brendan Ryan. Kristy was the Vice President of Secret Smiles, a charity dedicated to providing anonymous gifts to families in need. The concerts not only provided some much needed comfort to everyone involved, but became a vehicle to honor Kristy and keep her generous spirit alive by donating proceeds from the show to her charity.
While all of The Bogmen have moved on to other projects, they are still aware of the huge hold they have on their loyal fans. In honor of the 5th Anniversary of 9/11 and their original reunion concerts, the band reunited once again in December 2006 for three great nights at Webster Hall and The Bowery Ballroom to benefit the newly created charity, Kristy's Smile.
Because of the overwhelming response to the 2006 reunion concert, The Bogmen have reunited every December since. In 2008, they even staged two summer shows at famed L.I. venue, The Stephen Talkhouse, in addition to the winter gig.
During the 2008 winter show, the band played "Oceans Apart," their first new composition since 2001, and promised a new album for all the Bog die-hards. Stay tuned...
at Stephen Talkhouse
no demos currently online..
sorry no gigs currently booked..
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