What About Bob?


Part hillbilly, part beatnik, part ball hog, part tug boat, Bob Wire wears many hats in his pursuit of entertaining the masses.

As a musician, Bob hit the scene in Missoula, Montana around 1993, where he moved from Seattle just as grunge was breaking. No one in Seattle wanted anything to do with a guy who wore vintage cowboy shirts and played old songs by Buck, Johnny, Hank and Merle. So Bob came East and settled in the mountain-ringed railroad town where his daddy grew up.

Shortly after arriving, Bob placed an ad in the local weekly: “Singer/guitarist seeks band. Style: Johnny Cash shoves an M-80 up Hank Williams’ ass and Elvis lights the fuse.” He soon got a phone call from Chip Whitson, who invited Bob down to the club to see his three-piece band, the Small Town Deputies. Chip told Bob they weren’t looking for a fourth, they just wanted to see who wrote the ad.

Two years later Chip, Bob and Chip’s brother Garth recorded the ten song cassette, Tremblin’ In My Boots, as a rockabilly experiment. Before they could take it any further, Chip was snapped up by a lucrative show band, and Bob and Garth formed Missoula’s legendary Fencemenders. That band went on to rule the scene in Missoula for nearly ten years, being voted Best Local Band by the Missoula Independent reader’s poll twice (it would have been three times if Bob’s bass player and wife had bothered to vote!)

In 2005 Bob formed a new band, the Magnificent Bastards, and in the next five years wrote and recorded three CDs of original material, in a style he dubbed “Maximum Honky Tonk.” He continued to play clubs and festivals throughout western Montana, and was named Missoula’s Enterainer of the Year in 2007.

Throughout the years, Bob maintained contact with his good friend Chip. During a fortuitous summertime lunch at Waddell’s burger joint in Spokane, they decided to write a Christmas album together. They spent the summer writing songs, and Bob recruited a handful of musicians in Missoula to help them record in the fall. During a songwriting session at Chip’s Spokane home in September, the two friends even wrote a duet, “I Can’t Believe It’s Christmastime Again,” designed specifically for Bob and his wife to sing. The song also features Bob’s kids, Rusty and Speaker, playing bass and viola, respectively.

Off White Christmas was recorded in Missoula in Bob’s home studio, the Hilltop Basement Recording Complex and Grille.