Experience has always been a huge part of the way people approach the creation of music-it’s the bedrock of most modern artists’ work. But some people seem to possess enough experiences to fill a handful of lives, and Les Bohem is certainly one of those individuals. In the early ’80s, he spent time huddled within the Los Angeles music scene as part of both Gleaming Spires and Sparks. Eventually, though, this rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle faded, and Bohem took up screenwriting-resulting in his writing such films as “A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 5,” “Dante’s Peak” and “Daylight.” He also had a hand in the production and writing (along with Steven Spielberg) of the mini-series “Taken,” for which he won an Emmy.
Some of his songs have been recorded by artists such as Emmylou Harris, Freddy Fender and Randy Travis. He’s had several short stories published and is currently working on a new series for Hulu called “Shut Eye,” starring Isabella Rossellini and Jeffrey Donovan. And in the midst of all this activity, he’s managed to work in time to write and record his debut solo record, called “Moved to Duarte,” which is set to be released Dec. 9. The music flows between gentle folk persuasion and more emotionally routing experiences.
On his new song, “Bruce Springsteen Dyes His Hair,” Bohem explores a complicated narrative that uses humor and subtle wordplay to highlight our tenuous grip with reality and the relationships we hold most dear. His voice cascades over a gently plucked acoustic guitar while dense strings wave and tremble in the background. An electric guitar eventually emerges and streaks across the track like a stray bit of distorted lightning. He builds everything in a classical folk mold but never once feels weighed down by its boundaries-the echoes from his voice and the pained emotion woven through each syllable create a moving and tangible sense of experience and motivation.
There’s a certain fatalism inherent to the track, but it’s not born from a despondent perspective, but rather from an understanding of what lies ahead. As Springsteen once said, “Everything dies, baby, that’s a fact, but maybe everything that dies someday comes back.” Bohem is working from a similar outlook, although his voice is completely his own. This malleable singer-songwriter viewpoint allows him the opportunity to explore this mix of light and dark narratives without falling victim to their intrinsic emotional gravities. By stripping our idols of their mystery, Bohem has revealed the beautiful details in both his work and that of his influences.
Joshua Pickard covers local and national music, film and other aspects of pop culture. You can contact him on Facebook, Twitter or by email. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.