WAiT iS OVER!
MEGAN BOBO AND THE RAMOS BROTHERS
THEiR NEW CD LET iT OUT
MAKiNG MUSiC THAT MATTERS
BY BRiAN LUSH
was only a matter
of time before I came around to missing
the Southern half of California
Sure, a staggering unemployment rate and an economy in the toilet has
the Golden Stateís once shining reputation, but that was where
ROCKWIRED got its
start and hanging out with friends on Sunset Boulevard and attending
the KEY CLUB were a blast. Coinciding with this publicationís fifth
anniversary is the return of one of the first bands to ever come our
NEVERWONDER. In late 2005, NEVERWONDER reminded me of why I chose this
with the release of their raucous self-titled debut. They were just the
rock darlings that you knew had something special with their rock n
approach. Then-lead singer JOY PEARSONís gravelly purr could match PAT
snarl for snarl any day of the week. Working around JOY was the raw
assault of ax-man FLINT MAVIS and that ever-so-reliable and undeniably
funky-ass rhythm section provided by the brothers RAMOS Ė VINCENT on
DRE on drums.
to the band in Southern California
and beyond was immediate and intense
as the band tore through melodic pop rock odes to love and life gone
Industry awards from publications such as ALL ACCESS, MUSIC CONNECTION
of course were hard won and well deserved. Things were on the up and up
lead singer JOY PEARSON stepped away to pursue a solo career.
Nine times out ten, that
wouldíve been it, but
the RAMOS brothers Ė being the committed rhythm section that they have
since birth Ė werenít about to abandon ship.
fairly short order, NEVERWONDER recruited a new singer Ė
a girl from Iowa
and a former AMERICAN IDOL contestant by the name of MEGAN BOBO. The young sprite of a
chanteuse with huge doe eyes
and wild, blonde, curly locks has a voice bigger than the Los Angeles
area and that voice proves to be the perfect vessel for the RAMOS
new guitarist SCOTT RAMSEY to build a brand new sound around. After
of toiling in the studio amid line up changes and financial hardship,
NEVERWONDER has done what they have always managed to do Ė come out
time they have done so with a brand new album ĎLET IT OUTí and a whole
lease on life. The first time around, NEVERWONDER was an exercise in
chords and feminine fury. With LET IT OUT, proudly displays a pop
that was noticeably absent the first time around. Now, the RAMOS
brothers have abandoned
four-to-the-floor rock n roll in favor of getting a groove on. SCOTT
guitar is indeed present but works as a means of giving BOBOís
room to swirl.
couldnít get on the phone fast when receiving word
of the release of ĎLET IT OUTí. I first spoke with MEGAN BOBO over the
Here is how it went.
This CD is a long
time in the making. How do you feel about the finished work?
MEGAN BOBO: Iím
definitely excited about it. It has been about two and a half years
now. It has
been a lot of hard work and when you know that itís time, itís time.
no surprise and there is no big anticipation just because youíve
it so much. Now, itís time for everybody else to like it and hear it.
how I feel about it. There are mixed emotions. There is excitement and
itís like ĎDuh! It was going to happen!í Itís definitely an overall
You and the rest of
the band come from completely different places when it comes to music.
RAMOS brothers are really rock n roll and youíve got more of an
sensibility that the former singer didnít quite have. How easy or
that to balance in working together?
Nothing is ever easy when you get more than one opinion or a bunch of
in one room. I would never use the word easy because when you are
album Ė especially a seventeen track album Ė you are writing that much
together collaboratively. Weíve got different opinions along with
genres and different styles but overall at the end of the day, we came
mutual understanding that the vocals have to be the best sounding that
be. When people listen to music, they listen to the vocals and the
If we are going to be a pop or popular band, that is essential to our
songwriting. It all came down to what sound my voice sounded the best
singing so we worked around our differences that way. I think itís
weíre not in that regimented indie rock sound. I think itís great that
trying to be mainstream and get our music out there as much as
And that has been
biggest surprise for me as a listener. In the beginning, NEVERWONDER
gritty rock band and now you guys are this excellent pop band.
constructed around the singer. Do you agree with that or no?
MEGAN BOBO: Yes.
Coming from when you first met me three years ago after having done
IDOL, there was obviously a platform and a foundation there Ė this
rock sound. We came to a mutual understanding as a band, after we
the new guitar player and after we sat down and tried to write songs
music needs to have room for the vocals. Before that, the vocals
showcased the way that they couldíve been. That was a goal of ours Ė to
definitely showcase the vocals and weíve definitely done that on this
Talk about how
began for you as an individual.
MEGAN BOBO: Thatís
kind of a difficult question because itís not like a moment that
one day. It was a combination of different things. When I was a kid I
sing and I was always in choirs. It was the AMERICAN IDOL experience
really reassured me. It validated everything that I felt I was capable
and that I could make it on a mainstream level as a singer and an
That was when I took it more seriously and really wanted to work on my
get up there with some of those other big names. So that was pretty
Did you ever
yourself within the construct of a band or did you always see yourself
ďdivaĒ for the lack of a better word.
MEGAN BOBO: I
donít think that the two things are mutually exclusive. I definitely
they can go hand in hand with the right people and the right
Overall, looking at the big scheme of things, a vocalist focuses on the
and on their singing part and each musician focuses on their instrument
the end of the day, it highlights the singing and I think that all of
within the band can acknowledge that because there isnít that ďdivaĒ
personality there. There doesnít need to be because there is no need to
overshadow or to involve egos. We agreed as a band to have the vocals
showcased, so I donít look at it like two separate entities Ė a diva
band Ė because BEYONCE has a band and TINA TURNER has a band. Look at
EYED PEAS and FERGIE! Theyíre a band. Same with NO DOUBT and GWEN
donít see them as divas. I consider them a part of a band. I think you
the best of both worlds, definitely.
Talk about each of
the members of the band. What do you think each of them brings to the
that makes it all work?
MEGAN BOBO: SCOTT
RAMSEY is our new guitar player. He is very similar in personality to
that they are both leaders and are both very focused and are both used
in charge in some sense of management or knowing how to guide people.
been able to find his role in the band and be able to work well with
else like him. Now, the band doesnít have just one person that is the
leader. We have two people that can lead. Thatís not to say that DRE
donít lead. SCOTT knows how to sit back and he knows how to take
brings a lot to the table. He can build connections and can talk to
has a business sense but at the same time, has a fun sense, which is
for getting anything done in a band. DREís personality is really
because heís got a lot of humor and heís really laid back. He can
the positive in things which is really good. My personality is wanting
things seriously but at the same time I want to enjoy every moment of
Overall, the four of us do well together.
songwriting process within the band.
MEGAN BOBO: Predominantly,
we do things together. The musical arrangement and the structure starts
either a riff or a vocal melody or a drum beat. That is how it goes. We
whatís in the room and then we work on it. Once we get the verse and
and the bridge structure, then youíve got yourself a song and we
from there. I do all of the lyrical writing and the melody lines and
do all of the musical arrangements and all of the other key essential
the song. Together, we get some songs.
In terms of being
lyricist for the band, was that something you always did, or was that
that came as a result of being in NEVERWONDER?
MEGAN BOBO: Itís
definitely from NEVERWONDER. I walked into it not having any kind of
experience. I noticed that all of the lyrics on the first album were
JOY PEARSON as well as the melody. It was a responsibility of the
vocalist so I
learned and I liked to do it. It became something that was my thing. Just like I wouldnít tell
a bass player how
to play his part, he wouldnít tell me how to sing a line. In this band,
have your own little roles and responsibilities.
It had to be
fascinating to be able to tap into that gift for the very first time.
Was it or
was it not?
MEGAN BOBO: I
donít know if fascinating is the word. Itís more a thing about learning
structure and learning the formula and having different things to talk
Itís like I can talk and you can hear me talk and I have a story to
listened to music my whole life. It just comes natural and it just
easier. Itís just a matter of getting the formula down.
With that being
what do you think inspires your songwriting?
MEGAN BOBO: Itís interesting
because I think I write differently from a lot of other songwriters. A
songwriters have a book of lyrics and they can hear a song and go and
some lyrics to that song. Iím different in that Iíve got to hear the
first. I need to feel the emotion. A certain guitar lick or a bass line
drum beat creates a certain emotion and that ends up inspiring me on
song is going to be about and what it makes me feel like. It can also
things that are going on in my own personal life that create that
is where I get my ideas. When I wrote some of these songs, I was
the time and when I sing it now, I can remember the feelings of how I
I wrote it. Iím not there now, but I can relate to how I felt at that
When I sing the song ENOUGH, itís so sad and heartfelt that when I sing
of those feelings come back.
What songs off of
this album resonate for you the most and why?
ENOUGH is definitely one of the stronger ones. That ones is really
unemployed and just worrying on a day to day basis that you have no
over what is going to happen tomorrow. People have no idea how much
their world until they have none and then youíre devastated. Simple
not having enough money for gas to meet with the band and rehearse
problems. I wasnít going to rehearsal for two months because it was a
gas that I couldnít afford. Another song would be THE EDGE which is
about a family member. Everybody has that family member that just
consistently. No matter how much you help them they are just constantly
on the edge. They canít make things better for themselves. There is
kind of struggle or difficulty. That resonates with me because I have a
member thatís like that and you are just baffled by it. Why is this
always struggling? Why? The rest of the songs I think are happy. I hope
How are live
going at the moment?
MEGAN BOBO: We
havenít really done any live shows for the past six months because for
four months, we have been in the studio on a daily basis. We are
this thing to the tee. People have been waiting for this album for
years so we
want this to be perfect. We want this to be amazing and thatís what we
putting all of our effort and energy into at the moment. The live shows
the backburner at the moment, but our CD release is this upcoming
NEVERWONDER, what has been the biggest surprise for you?
MEGAN BOBO: The
willingness for each of the members to kind of step out of the genre of
rock and the
willingness to be open to
being mainstream and the willingness to be thought of a s a pop band.
DRE come from fifteen years of doing rock music so the willingness to
minded and try new things and to really push this as far as we can is
surprising and good at the same time.
What would you
someone to come away with after theyíve heard this CD?
MEGAN BOBO: I
would really like for someone to come away thinking about how the music
them feel and what the words meant and how it applied to them. All too
you hear songs, you repeat these stupid words and they mean nothing to
youíll remember the melody and it means nothing to you. It was either
cheesy, or it wasnít really an instrument that was being played but a
sound and it doesnít create anymore thought other than on the surface.
very superficial. I would like people to walk away from this CD
thinking we are
a band that puts a lot of thought into who they are, what they are and
they want and how they want their listener to feel. If they can just
thinking and feeling good, then thatís great.
(Moments later, I got a call from VINCENT
and DRE RAMOS, the rhythm
section and founders of NEVERWONDER. If any member or members could put
wild and winding history of NEVERWONDER into perspective, there is one
these two who are quite
possibly the least complicated brother partnership in the annals of
Here is how the interview went.)
NEVERWONDER is your
creation. What is your take on all of the twist and turns and line up
that have happened in the past five years?
VINCE RAMOS: You
know, thatís a great question! Sometimes you have to go through a lot
changes to come up with a great ingredient and a great product. Iím
of the mix of people that we have right now such as MEGAN and SCOTT.
a pleasure. It took a long time from the old NEVERWONDER to now. It is
is. Weíre excited about the new album and being able to push forward.
the time that you have to spend in order to make a great album and
we did. We werenít going to settle by just putting anything out for the
it. This is what it is right now and weíre excited about it.
been a ride. After having such an awesome vocalist like JOY and the
music that we were playing and then meeting another phenomenal singer
MEGAN and also having to mold ourselves into a different style of
kind of cool. We took this thing in a direction that we had always
take NEVERWONDER in. Not just rock but a little more funkier and more
and soul oriented Ė more than what NEVERWONDER ONE was. I think right
weíve got some stuff now that is gonna make your booty move. I think
Me having the
hindsight that I have, hearing both NEVERWONDER MACH I and MACH II if
the approaches are obviously very different yet, it feels like the same
despite the line up changes.
VINCE RAMOS: Itís
great that you can hear that. Youíve listened intently to the band for
many years and the rhythm section has a lot to do with it and the
pattern of the guys behind it Ė that stuff was still there with MACH I
probably hidden a little bit because the guitar was more upfront. It
stronger guitar sound whereas now SCOTT is wrapping his guitar around
and the drums and vocals as opposed to being all upfront. Our intent on
album was to make MEGAN and the songs as best as they could be and not
shine and overplay. We wanted to make great, friendly, poppy songs with
all over. If it gets a little groove in, great! If it gets a little
great! Weíve got a song on this album where itís just MEGAN on a piano.
from real groove, to real soft with a piano. MEGANís got a huge voice!
voice is amazing! Weíve been lucky in our careers to have worked with
vocalists and to able to find one time and time again. It makes doing
lot easier. It would be difficult if we had a bad vocalist.
The CD is just a
away. Whatís all going through your head in anticipation of its release?
DRE RAMOS: Iím
anxious! I want everybody in the world to hear this thing. We put a lot
into it. There are a lot of good songs on it and there are a lot of
ideas. To be honest with you, I think itís some of the best stuff that
ever put out. Itís where I want to be right now. A lot of times you
say things like ĎWhat I was thinking didnít come out on the CD! It was
like that in my head but it never really came out right.í This album
even better than what was in my head. When we were writing these songs
like ĎOkay, these are great ideas! Here it comes!í and now itís even
I had actually anticipated. Iím really excited for everyone to really
feel what DRE is saying. Itís the best that weíve ever done
collectively as a
group and individually for sure. Iím really excited for the fans to
hear it and
Iím really excited for the old NEVERWONDER fans to hear it and the new
I hope they understand that when you have a new vocalist, you gravitate
that vocalist and enhance their vocals instead of trying to push the
through them which may not be them. In that regard I know weíve done a
job. Weíre really excited about that. Thereís no fear, no trepidation,
we do the right thing?í. Weíre really pleased with the outcome and we
everyone to listen to it. Weíre very proud of the product that is
and we believe that people are going to really like this.
In going back to
bandís shift from this gritty rock sound to this top-notch pop sound
have now, how easy was it to get everyone on the same page creatively?
VINCE RAMOS: It
was very easy for the most part. There was one hiccup in the road. In
previous to NEVERWONDER, we were in a band that was groove-oriented and
band didnít last. Groove is in our blood and in our soul so this is not
difficult at all. When we started auditioning a new lead singer to
our guitarist at the time FLINT MAVIS was super onboard with bringing
into the band. He really took a leadership role with that and made sure
MEGAN was welcomed and wanted in the band. DRE and myself had a sit
down with FLINT
and said ĎLook
FLINT, our music is going to change. Itís not going to be as guitar
and super heavy.í MEGANís voice is different from JOYís and itís
itís world-class. Weíve got to make sure that we surround it and we do
right. As we started writing songs and it became apparent that it was
want to go in a more guitar rock direction which isnít a bad thing.
very good friends with FLINT.
He even appears on the album on some of the tracks. We had to make a
that MEGAN was encapsulated with a great guitar player that fit her
SCOTT RAMSEY was that guy. FLINT
stepped back and stepped away which was the honorable thing to do and
the band better. Itís not because he wasnít a good guitar player. It
better with SCOTT.
with SCOTT a while back and I remember that he was thinking along the
NIKKA COSTA in terms of how he wanted to bring MEGAN out vocally.
VINCE RAMOS: That
was the idea along with people like JOSS STONE and TAYLOR DAYNE Ė
high energy and groove oriented. I donít know if we nailed that totally
definitely nailed it to where people are moving and grooving and
about the music. Itís a good time record: fun and exciting. There are
songs and life-altering songs but mostly itís an upbeat record.
Talk about MEGAN
what she brings to the table that makes it work.
DRE RAMOS: As a
person, MEGAN is a fun person to be around. Sheís cool to have drinks
have dinner with. Sheís the life of the party. She doesnít like
things. Sheís a very positive person and she can handle criticism. Her
very positive. Vocally, what I think sheís brought to the table is
unbelievable. Iíve seen her in the studio after one take and you are
ďwowĒ! Sheís just an all out performer and knows how to prepare for
what she is
about to do.
me, simply put, she is a professional. She understands what she wants.
says, she has a great personality and people are drawn to her and we as
are close and that is the special part. Weíre actually friends outside
band mates. If she needs something, weíll help her out or if we need
sheíll help us out. Weíre close in that way. Itís a family-oriented
thing. She does not like negativity which is strange because a lot of
thrive on negative energy so that they can write about those things -
MEGAN canít. I think sheíd rather dwell on the good things in life
the bad things. Thatís why the album turned out being up beat and fun.
wanted that and that is her personality shining through the album. This
MEGANís first full length album and instead of telling MEGAN what to
allowed MEGAN to be who she is. When we did that, it made us grow.
How about SCOTT
RAMSEY Ė your new guitar player?
VINCE RAMOS: The
thing about SCOTT is that he is a very professional musician. He
the idiosyncrasies of being in a band. Heís really a great guitar
knows how to fill the spot instead of overplaying. Heís a good person
has a great heart and he really wants to be the best that he can be as
and translate that into a band setting and not be an anchor. Heís just
person overall. He writes good stuff and he understands the goal of the
He fits in very well like a nice piece of machinery. We couldnít have
complimented our sound. Heís a good guy and very mindful of things and
to try different things. He never shuts any ideas down and is very
Iíve played with quite a few guitar players and heís one of them that
at the top. I canít say anything bad about SCOTT.
actually a phenomenal guitar player. When we mouth something, heíll
things when weíre like ďplay thisĒ or ďplay thatĒ. Some guitarists get
high-horse and say Ďnoí. They cop that attitude but SCOTT doesnít. He
each member to express their ideas through his guitar, which says a lot
What songs off of
this CD resonate for each of you the most and why?
VINCE RAMOS: In
the process of recording it, you didnít know that some songs were going
out as good as they did. As youíre writing and recording them, they
favorite. HELP ME is the first single off of the album. We think that
hooks all over it. It came out of a situation where DRE decided that he
to do a certain thing on the drums and that was how the idea was
all wrote it together. There is some real camaraderie on that song. It
band building moment and it came out phenomenally. ENOUGH is a song
built up from my bass line. It took a little bit of time to work and we
that it turned out really good. When we tested it live, people really
gravitated toward it. Because of the message and because of the time
a song at the right place and right time because of the economy. The
about people losing their jobs and pushing through life. That song is
resonating with people right now. Letís see how thing go in the next
song that gets to me is LET IT OUT. Itís got a great groove and itís
great bass line and the drums are pretty slapping. Itís got a really
and the vocals are great on it. Itís a really fun upbeat song. SPINNING
another one that has turned out better than I had actually thought.
NEVERWONDER, what has surprised you guys the most? What didnít you
VINCE RAMOS: You
always think that the music is good and you hope that everyone is going
it and with the first NEVERWONDER, we got a good word out about the
of the press that weíve garnered has just exceeded our expectations.
from here to Europe is amazing and sometimes it feels weird to think
of these people like what youíre doing and weíre just a band in L.A.
I know weíre doing
the right thing with this album. You want people to really like your
when they really do like it, it blows you away.
would you like a
person to come away with after hearing LET IT OUT? Your first album in
years, I might add.
agree with what VINCE said. Iím not surprised by the response but Iím
by the amount of it and the amount of sales on the internet. I guess
ago I would have thought that the response wouldnít be that big and
think that the internet would be as powerful as it is now. Looking back
I was probably thinking like the record companies were.
VINCE RAMOS: I
want them to walk away thinking ĎDamn! This independent band put a lot
and soul in their music and this is a kick ass record and they didnít
corners. They played from their hearts and itís a great, good time
people to feel excited for the band. I want them to have good time with
and I want them to share that album or a song with people and go ĎCheck
band out! Theyíre great!í Word of mouth is still the best kind of