Bo and the Locomotive
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Bo and the Locomotive

St. Louis, Missouri, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

St. Louis, Missouri, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Rock Indie




"Paste Magazine's #1 Band in Missouri"

Bo and the Locomotive has a well-crafted indie sound that easily earns the number one spot. Each member plays their role seamlessly, creating a record that has a variety of mellow and up-tempo songs.
- Paste Magazine

"St. Louis' Bo & the Locomotive Is Poised for the National Stage"

Every great band has a story about the time it turned the corner, when something magical happened that brought its members' dreams of creativity and stardom just a little closer. Perhaps a record label fat cat takes notice of the group performing at a local dive bar. Or a talent agent catches a musician busking in the park. Or a local news station starts a band down a path of progressively bigger gigs just by having the group perform on a morning show.

Or maybe it all starts on Craigslist.

"I was looking for nude models for my private drawing sessions," Bo Bulawsky explains.

"Goth twink is what you were looking for, Bo; don't be silly," Peter Garea interrupts.

"Anyway, he responded and wanted to be my nude model," Bulawsky continues. "Turns out, he also was a band manager."

See also: Bo & the Locomotive Plans Preview Party for First Album Since 2011

While this story about how Bulawsky and his group Bo & the Locomotive got to know manager Garea isn't completely accurate, it demonstrates the solid bond that Bulawsky and Garea have forged since meeting nearly two years ago, during a holiday show at Off Broadway.

"I saw Bo's set and saw him perform in a way I had never seen before," begins Garea, telling the truth this time. "People were singing along, and Bo was just stunning. I knew something was happening here. We met two days later at a laundromat and discussed what his plans were and my goals for him."

Bulawsky, who had been manager-free since forming his band in 2011, wasn't sure how to take this sudden interest from a guy who doesn't even live in St. Louis. Garea had moved from the area some time ago, and is now a talent scout with Esther Group in New York City.

"For me, it was weird because I don't know any bands in town with a manager. Or if they do have one, it's a friend, and they want to get into the show for free," Bulawsky says. "You could just tell he was serious about it, and it wasn't some, 'Hey, let me be your joke manager who won't do anything' thing. He also bought me a smoothie."

"And then I turned around and expensed that shit on Bo," Garea snickers. "He doesn't know until now because of my shady accounting. Sorry, Bo."

Garea and Bulawsky's rapport may seem unconventional, but it's fully rooted in respect and drive -- something that has helped propel Bo & the Locomotive's upcoming album, It's All Down Here from Here, Bulawsky's first since 2011. With this release, Garea, whose agency also works with big names such as the Gaslight Anthem and the Violent Femmes, believes that Bulawsky's band has proven it's ready for a national stage.

"We wanted to create something that's just bigger than St. Louis, and this can be," Garea says. "We have a vision for this project, and while it may take time, as a team, we know what we want and where it can go."

Bulawsky asserts that Garea's confidence and New York methods are leading the band down the right path.

"Having Peter around has challenged us to go a little further than we think we can, change the way we think about the band a little bit," Bulawsky says. "Sometimes it feels kind of unnatural, at least from the way we're used to doing things in St. Louis. But in the long run, I think we're taking the right steps to make the whole thing move forward."

Moving forward has included swapping out and adding a few band members, which has changed the dynamics of the group's sound onstage and in the studio.

"It feels like starting over for all of us," Bulawsky says. "The foundation has always been there, but we can do a lot of things soundwise we were never able to do in the past -- parts that we could never play, new arrangements, instruments coming in and out."

"The guys have to push and pull each other creatively, which definitely has been happening and is a total positive," Garea adds.

Bo & the Locomotive will host a listening party for It's All Down Here from Here at the Luminary on August 14, during which supporters can hear tracks from the album, learn about the creation process from Bulawsky and St. Louis producer David Beeman, contribute to the album's pressing and check out work from Canadian album artist Daniel Murphy. Garea believes the whole package could be what puts Bulawsky and friends on the country's radar.

"I want to make Bo into a national touring act," he says. "There's a ton of competition out there, but I really want to champion this project and only see it growing and growing." - Riverfront Times

"Straight from the Horses Mouth: Sean Moellers DayTrotter Review (PASTE)"

We’ve thought it for years now, but Bo & The Locomotive continue to be one of the best bands in St. Louis, and this new batch of songs does nothing to diminish our fondness for them. Most are these delicate and gloomy slow burners that are played out during nights of stunning star play in the sky and a crisp bite to the air that causes people to shiver and pull it in—their limbs and their thoughts. - Paste Magazine

"World Series Playlist"

N/A - Mashable


This session, by St. Louis' Bo and the Locomotive begins with a statement that seems to mean much more when it's coming from them. In their hands, the thought that time's got us in a bind, is something like testimony that we're all able to nod at solemnly. With an immediate pull, we're awash in sentiment that digs deep, that brings so many things to the forefront and we feel like we're sputtering. It's as if we aren't aware that time's got us by the neck until someone else points it out just so, with the choicest of words, with the simplest turn. So many of the people that I know continue to struggle with getting themselves that ideal situation, with getting themselves to that very precise place that they've always wanted to be in with their lives.

They don't like the idea of dealing with the sloppiness that's dealt and they hate the thought that they need to take something, warts and all. They aren't getting any younger and they're still waiting for those signs that will tell them what they need to know. Meanwhile, still feeling young enough, it dawns on them that they're getting close to 40 and that's a number that is a bit constricting for anyone. You start hyperventilating when you're staring at that number. You get a sweaty brow and upper lip and your heart races. You're feeling like you're decaying. It's all so obvious now. You're on the outs, before you were even able to get anything going.

Bo and the Locomotive have some insightful responses to such a flash of mortality. Lead singer Bo Bulawsky sings, "You always wanted more/And you never shut that door/It's never been enough/To just wait around for love/If you only want one thing you had better get that thing." Bulawky, Andrew Arato, Steven Colbert and Evan O'Neal write songs that ponder the loss that's evident daily, even if it doesn't feel like loss of any kind at the time. It will catch up to you. These are songs that literally shake with concern about the dwindling of light and about the uncertainty of what's to come. As Bulawsky sings, "Sometimes I'm not so sure about anyone anymore/But I guess it's hard to tell who's going to hell."
- Sean Moeller

"One-take Video Release"

Before Paste Magazine told the nation so, it wasn't presumptuous to say Bo and the Locomotive is one of the best reasons to get excited about St. Louis music.
The band's lyrical integrity and palpitation-inducing hooks have marked Bo and the Locomotive for both local and national attention. The band's lineup features Bo Bulawsky (aka Bo Jackson), Andy Arato, Steven Colbert (really) and Evan O'Neal. Bulawsky and Colbert had played together before. And although Arato had known Bulawsky for years, both he and drummer Colbert were intrigued when Bulawsky asked them to learn how to play their instruments for the band.
"Bo told me when we first started that he didn't want someone already kinda in the groove," says the band's bassist, Arato. "He wanted someone that didn't have experience. He wanted someone that had to figure it out."
"A blank slate," Bulawsky murmurs. Bulawsky's speaking voice is more like a backing guitar than a power chord. When he agrees with Arato, his voice is so quiet that the playback on the voice recorder has to be turned up to the maximum volume in order to hear it, which is a surprise. As a frontman Bulawsky is confident and commanding. He delivers his lyrics with an assertiveness that makes them impossible to ignore. Arato further describes Bulawsky's theory: "It makes sense. Even now, I don't have a limit. I don't have a thing in my mind that I'm trying to fit into. I just do what sounds good to me."
They might cringe at being number one in Paste Magazine's "10 Missouri Bands You Should Know" -- Arato admits "We don't try that hard" -- but the honor is bringing listeners to the band and turning ears toward the Midwest. For Colbert, the mention is just "icing on the cake."
Colbert sums up what it's like to be in Bo and the Locomotive, in words that should ring true for any band struggling to find their own definition of success: "What we do, we attempt to do, as well as we can do. The songs we play, we try to play them the best we can. And I think as long as you do that, you're on the right path. There's nothing we can ask more for ourselves."
Not bad advice from a former "blank slate." - 88.1FM KDHX

"In-Studio Performance"

t's been a bustling last year for Bo and the Locomotive. Their long player "On My Way" comes on the heels of two EPs and a tour that took the trio to such musical meccas as Austin and New Orleans. Recorded at home in St. Louis, the album has a present and amiable feel lacking from many releases as of late.

Bo Bulawsky (little know facts: Bo is a former KDHX audio production intern and son of Larry Bulawsky of St. Louis band Magic City) and his two best friends, Andy and Steve, dropped by the KDHX studios to lay down a few tracks of their breezy but slightly dark pop. They maintained their relaxed feel culling songs straight from their recent debut. The warmth and glow present on the record seeped through in the sanative folk of "My Only Concern" as well as on a re-imagined version of "I'm Not Your House," the closing track from "On My Way." The band also featured the dichotomy of askew lyrics and sunset melody on "Time." Hopefully this is just the first of many stops on the journey of Bo and the Locomotive. - KDHX 88.1FM

"Song: Harder With Time"

This is the perfect lazy summer song. The music is easy to listen to, the vocals are nice and drawn out, and nobody is wearing a kooky hat to show how fun they really are. Everybody, pay-what-you-want for the Golden Arms EP and just be cool. - Lions and Vultures

"Tour Interview"

Bo & the Locomotive is gearing up for the release of its first full length, On My Way; it's out July 30th. The band is, in fact, exactly on its way, having just returned from a tour that took Bo and his band through the South. There were especially successful shows in New Orleans and Austin, camping in Florida and that cat piss was in Houston. These sorts of relatively short tours are the best and worst thing about playing in a band with aspirations for an audience outside St. Louis. It's a chance to meet other people in your shoes, hone your show and get music into fresh ears, but it also tends to require some marginal problem solving for basic necessities such as food and shelter.

Front man Bo Bulawsky went through the highlights, the lowlights and lessons and shared some snapshots from the road. - Riverfront Times

"Undercover Weekend Interview"

My apologies to all the good people at AUCW, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask a question about On My Way. I found it to be a staggeringly gorgeous, relaxed, and expansive work of striking depth. Since the record goes down easier than a 1811 Chateau d’Yquem, what did you find inherently difficult about the creation of the record, and how did you reconcile it?

Wow, thank you. Creating the record was really fun. I had all the songs done, and visions for how I wanted them to sound. My biggest difficulty was getting them to sound in the monitors the way they did in my head. In some cases I succeeded, and in others I failed. I recorded it myself at home using lots of borrowed recording equipment, which attributed to the relaxed feel of the recording process. I was able to wake up whenever, get out of bed, and go about my business at home. I could work all hours, on my own time, and take breaks whenever I wanted. That being said, I also treated it as if I was in a studio at the same time, and I worked as if I was trying to make a client happy. In the end there are always things you wish you’d done differently, but overall, I feel good about how it turned out. - Music of the Hour

"Show Review"

Bo and the Locomotive was a pleasant surprise of an opener. Bo Jackson (who is adorable), seemed to get the crowd settled in with a pretty joyful demeanor and reasonable, non-gratuitous use of vocal and guitar looping. Self-described as mid-fi bedroom pop, I’m not too familiar with this young band yet, but I think they very well may be a nice, clever addition to the scene. Start with their track, “I’m Not Your House,” if only for the fantastic title. - I Went To A Show

"Pop-up Shows"

Local music scene up-and-comers Union Tree Review and Bo and the Locomotive took to the streets of St. Louis earlier this week, performing pop-up shows in support of their dual album release show on July 30 at the Firebird.

Playing two songs per set, the two bands stopped by a requester's home, Sasha's Wine Bar, the MetroLink stop at Big Bend and Forest Park Parkway, on the rooftop of the parking garage on the Delmar Loop, Hausch Blackwell L.L.P., invaded Pretty Little Empire's practice space and completed the day with a final performance at Tower Grove Park.

When the musical conglomerate played a pop-up show atop the parking garage directly across the street from the RFT offices, we went over to have a listen and sweat a little, and ended up following them around for the rest of the afternoon as they made some more stops in the city. - Riverfront Times

"Music Video Debut"

And now, the most entertaining two minutes and 45 seconds of your day.

Bo and the Locomotive, fresh off the release of its excellent full-length debut, On My Way, recently went on a tour that took the band to, among other places, Columbus, Ohio. There, it met with Thunder Down Country Productions, the group responsible for recent music videos for bands like Mayday Parade, Miss May I and Attack Attack. Videographer Kevin Cross is a long-time fan of Bo's work, and the group took some time out to shoot a video for "Give Me Something." Face licking, beer-shotgunning and the many moods of drummer Steven Colbert await you below. - Riverfront Times

"Album Release Show"

As the bar television played the action classic, “Break Point,” Bo Bulawsky launched into his set with the Locomotive. Bulawsky’s stage presence was reserved, yet he playfully interacted with the audience with an endearing force. During his first song, Bulawsky entered the crowd to sing a verse with the excitement for the release of his debut album “On My Way” apparent.

With the occasional prop of his glasses, Bulawksy dipped and dived with his guitar through his set; his nasally vocals seemed most salient to the performance. Many lyrics like “I left the forest to be with tourists” drew cheers from the audience and even more drinks were raised to Bulawsky’s delight.

Members of the Union Tree Review joined Bulawksy for his last song, but only after giving Bulawksy a pie to the face. Through the remnants of whipped cream, Bulawsky turned the Firebird into a dance party with a rendition of Miley Cyrus’s “Party in the USA” featuring background dancing from the Union Tree. Bulawsky quickly segued into his “real” last song, which seemed all the more grand with two bands backing the elated singer. He walked off the stage on cloud nine. - KDHX 88.1FM

"Ears of Panda - Bo and the Locomotive"

"Just know that the young man sincerely has talent, more than those who play in the same genre..."
- Ears of Panda

"Bo and the Locomotive"

All too often, the phrase “singer/songwriter” conjures images of a sleepy troubadour, singing songs about the country while absently plucking an acoustic guitar. It’s the same way “construction worker” brings to mind an overweight, balding, and bestubbled man in work boots, munching a sub sandwich on the back of a pickup truck. A “construction worker” is only just that — one who constructs things — just as a “singer/songwriter” should only be thought of as one who writes and sings their own songs. This ham-fisted analogy is an attempt at pointing out that Bo Bulawsky, lead singer and songwriter of Bo and the Locomotive, is very much a “singer/songwriter,” but defies every traditional connotation of the word.

Bo towers on stage. His scruffy affect and beat-up converse would certainly fit in on a lineup of the trendy noise-wave glitch-folk indie rockers. The casio keyboards and guitar amps and assorted floor toms of Bo’s live performances seem familiar enough — but the songs he sings and writes have a level of emotional vulnerability simply not present in the groups he shares a pigeonhole with. The amount of expression exerted by his warbly voice, the first and second person pronouns in his lyrics, the overwhelmingly melodic tack of the songs, all sum to a delightfully significant meaning. The lo-fi “bedroom” sound of his recordings are as necessary as they are intentional; the assorted and uncollected tracks I’ve heard are as personable as they come.

In the end, it’s not the label that matters. But to think of Bo as the exception to the “singer/songwriter” rule is a pleasant rebellion against the all-too-common mislabeling of such musicians by what they look or sound like, instead of what they actually do: write songs, and sing them. - St. Louis Secret Sound Society


Bo and the Locomotive - It's All Down Here From Here (Self-Released)

Bo and the Locomotive - On My Way (Self-Released)
Bo and the Locomotive - On My Way Single Cassette Tape (Whatever Forever Tapes)
Bo and the Locomotive - Golden Arms EP (Self-Released)



Momentum is on Bo and the Locomotive's side. In just over a year, they have successfully created a following out of nothing. Originally a solo project, Bo and the Locomotive has re-emerged as a full band from the city of St. Louis with a fire in its belly. They combine familiar feeling tunes with off-kilter melodies, balancing on the edge of traditional and experimental. They specialize in making you feel happy, sad, apart, and together all at once Ă˘â‚Źâ€œ making their live show captivating, if not addictive. With several tours in 2012 to support their self-recorded debut full-length On My Way released in July of 2011, garnering love from Paste, Daytrotter, and European radio. On the cusp of the release of their second album, Bo and the Locomotive is poised to take on the challenges of notoriety that they have been working so hard to achieve.

Band Members