The multi-instrumentalist and songwriter almost single-handedly performed the album Call to Arms, released last year on Balls Out Records. The most glaring exception is guest vocalist Lemmy Kilmister from the British metal band Motorhead. The collection of classic rock tunes never stray far from Boetz's major influences. "Well, I was raised on rock and that's what's gonna come of me," he says. Indeed, strains of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Molly Hatchet and AC/DC inject the album with a bash-it-out attitude of rebellious rock and Boetz couldn't be happier with the results.
Boetz plays a heavy '70s-influenced, no-frills, blues-based brand of bar rock and doesn't try to stray far from that standard "Highway to Hell" path. Boetz defiantly admits there's nothing experimental or arty about his music. "Man, I'm doin' the same thing musically now that I always have, and always will. That's the message of Call to Arms," he says. It's Boetz's primal battle cry to go back to the old-school ways of rock.
With Kilmister's vocals added to the album's title track, international heavy metal press and radio have been open to giving Boetz some spins, and the appearance was the lucky culmination of a friendship Boetz forged with the gnarly Motorhead bassist. Since both are unabashed fans of straight-ahead rock, the two hit it off instantly.
"We are kindred spirits," says Boetz of the rowdy Kilmister. "We met several years ago at the Masquerade and just hit it off." Boetz's former band The Brass opened for Motorhead and the two musicians bonded over beers backstage. "And we've been goin' to the titty bars ever since," Boetz says.
"We both play real, honest rock 'n' roll, and I hate to say it, but we are a dying breed," he says. "So, that's why I'm out on the road, playin' the stuff I love. And that's why Motorhead has been around so long."
Since February '99 Boetz says he has barnstormed the country with his namesake band playing "anywhere and everywhere" to get his music heard by as many fans as possible. "We're just trying to get the word out that we are rockin' like the bands of the old days. A lot of kids have never seen a real heavy band before and it's cool that we can oblige."
The Boetz headquarters in Atlanta is the 9 Lives Saloon, he says. "It's the only real rock 'n' roll club we have in Atlanta now." When Boetz and band hit Luby's stage Saturday night, the muscular guitarist promises to bring a healthy arsenal of rock. "Yeah, we go in any club with a definite take-no-prisoners approach," he says. "And in many ways I like playing in the suburbs better than the big city anyway. There's a lot of real people out to have a good time and there's no pretense involved. I like that."
Most of the followers at Saturday's show will be oblivious to Boetz's other side, the not-so sensitive artist. "Music is just another art form," he says. "I enjoy expressing myself, whether it's on a little stage somewhere or in my art." His commercial art has graced race cars and ad campaigns for some very un-rock 'n' roll uses. Samples are available at www.boetz.com, the graphics-heavy website he maintains.
"Man, rock 'n' roll comes in all kinds of flavors," says Boetz, a true soldier in for the cause. "I'm just not gonna dilute my art or music anytime soon. It's what comes from my heart, so it's real."
Ernie Boetz plays Sat., Feb. 9, at Luby's Sports Bar, 1098 Herrington Road, Lawrenceville. 678-442-0088.
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