Friday, July 3, 2015


Guest post today from longtime Missoulian, Total Friend and former TF Organizer and party/camper host, Irish American and soul patch wearer, Dennis Lynch. Now of Portland, OR for the record. I lugged a lot of staging with Dennis, and saw him barbecue a lot of burgers and generally just enjoy the guy's company. I think he's also got the distinction of being the Number One Fan for the Oblio Joes, so it figured to ask him to write something up when we secured the Obes


What is there to say about the final Total Fest and one of the best bands to ever grace the stages of Missoula? I had a feeling that the Oblio Joes would resurface for this event and I was asked if I would do the write up for the Obes and I was more than happy to oblige. I gave this some serious thought for a few days because I could probably write for hours about memories of shows and general drunken debauchery. The more I thought about it, I came to realize it wasn't the stories that we have about our friends in the Obes but it was the story of the Oblio Joes that made them our friends.

He sincerely means it.
One of the things I was most proud of in the Missoula rock scene from the very early 90's all the way through today was that, save for the hippy dippy jam bands and phony bluegrass bands that abound the Garden City, was that we were never pigeon holed for a type or a style of music. The beauty of shows booked at Jays Upstairs or the few other fall back bars for bigger shows was that we were blessed to an evening of multiple styles of rock. I have very fond memories of shows with Humpy, Fireballs Of Freedom, Sasshole, The Banned, VTO to name a few. There were so many bands at the time that crossed the Rock spectrum yet our lives were all intertwined. We were a large family. We stood up and stood out for each other and it bled from band to band and person to person.

I remember Andy Smetanka telling me a story of sending a split 7" single with Humpy and the Oblio Joes to Maximum Rock and Roll for a review and they at first would not review it because the Obes weren't "punk" and Andy giving them a lesson about punk not being safety pins and Liberty Spikes. It is about DIY ethos and being true to your music and standing behind what you write and perform. That my friends is punk rock. Not a chord or a scream or a leather jacket. It's your soul.

Roll on, Kentucky Moon. Picture by Becky Hensley.
The Oblio Joes embody that. Over many, many years and 7 or 8 albums with a few 7" singles thrown in, these guys blew out some serious songs and more than several Anthems near and dear to a lot of Missoulians hearts and ears. While bands came and went, some moved on to hopefully greener pastures and some just disappeared into the closet of past Missoula Rock and Roll lore, the Oblio Joes continued to build a base of fervent fans and new believers at every show. It was not uncommon to walk into a local watering hole and see the stage crowded with people trying to out sing the lyrics to many an Obes song or some drunken lout jumping up on stage to belt out a few chorus' with the band (I may have been guilty of that once or twice). These were hardly just shows, they were events. While new bands were popping up and old bands moving to the side, the Obes were stalwarts of the old guard but inspiring the future of local music.

There is a picture from the last "official" show at Caras Park that I am so happy to still see every once in a while. Now, I can't take credit for making it but I was happy to steal it and hold it up very high because the Oblio Joes truly did change my life. They not only showed me what Rock and Roll was about but they showed me what it could be and they will not be denied their place because they didn't wear the uniform of the rocker that some zines and the old school establishment told the masses to wear. They wore the uniform of the Oblio Joes and they wore it as a badge of honor and pride. Having them re-unite for the last hurrah of Total Fest just makes sense.

And it makes me happy. I am only sad that they will only have 30 minutes to make you smile and not 3 hours to play every song they ever wrote. Either way, it will be an event.

And it will change your life. It changed mine.

(Dennis Lynch, July 2015)

1 comment:

Krispen Nelson said...

Awwwwww... what a beautiful love letter, Dennis!