Bobby Volare. Who the hell is Bobby Volare? This was a
question posed by a recent poster to our web board here at Swing Music Net.
Before all of our intensely researched biographies here on the site lose any
semblance of the credibility accorded them by numerous scholars and students
let’s clear the air here; Volare, while not a world-renowned figure in most
jazz, pop, or lounge singer circles, is one of the most humorous song
With his satirical and twisted sense of humor, Volare was doing Volare song parodies long before the general public knew
Weird Al Yankovic as Weird Al. However, his act goes well beyond where others stop. Writing and singing humorous song parodies and relying on his wry, twisted humor is only the beginning; add a titanic ego, an inability to hear what anyone is saying to him (or about him,) just enough truth
to appeal to your intellectual side, and then you get a better idea of why his act and comedy still has relevancy in these days of karaoke on Wednesdays at the local pub.
After viewing the websites of more serious lounge singers and self proclaimed pop icons, than we ever care to see again, we came to the conclusion that there really is no one out there like Bobby Volare... including Weird Al Yankovic.
The ego is a strange thing. We all have them, but to those knowledgeable and enlightened to such perils of human absorption, most of us try to keep them in check. It is those of us who possess the capability of becoming instantly bored and annoyed with such a lack of dignity in those around us, that really understand that part of Bobby Volare's comedy. And it is just that outrageous, overblown, titanic ego that allows us to see a little bit of Bobby Volare in many of those we come in contact with, including a host of lounge singers and cheesy, self proclaimed pop icons that you can find all over the Internet. It is this coupling of fantasy and reality, twisted humor and truth, that makes Bobby Volare so darn bizarre and funny. The best part is, the Bobby Volare ego is so overstated that even the egomaniacs eventually figure out it's all part of the act.
Fortunately Bobby Volare's alter ego, Dean Opperman, has forever had the savvy to not take the whole thing too seriously himself. So much so, that up until late 2004, the twisted humor and song parodies of his character, Bobby Volare have been as locked away in a closet as Benny Goodman’s 1938 Carnegie Hall performances were initially reported to have been.
What this has to do with jazz and/or
swing (loosely interpreted) is Bobby Volare’s
knack and nerve for crossing almost as many musical boundaries as the great Ray
Charles. The difference of course being that looking through Bobby Volare’s dark
glasses is like looking through a kaleidoscope of past, present, and future
people, places, and things that all revolve around his monstrous ego and uncanny
ability to make his audience believe they were his creations to begin with.
Much of the twisted humor in the song parodies of
“The Bobster” were written about timely events and places specific to his direct
location at the time. However, the comedy in this present day parodists performances still
through like moonshine over a Kentucky night. You can never be quite sure if his act
and words were twisted in a way to make you wonder twenty-five years later, or
if he really is what he once claimed to be; Bobstrodomus. Songs like I'm So Sick Of Michael Jackson, Unforgivable, and Pack The
Knife make you wonder.
Dr. Demento was, and is, the Peter Piper of twisted humor and discoverer of comedy
parodists like Weird Al Yankovic (often mispelled Yankovick.) Even without the knowledge of Volare's
hilarious ego, Demento selected Lock The Snackbah as #3 on his
Funny Five in April of 1983. Dr. Demento had been playing Volare's comedy
parody of the song, originally recorded by The Clash, since January of the year.
It came to rest in Demento's Funny 25 for the year 1983.
Here now are some
select excerpts from the liner notes of Bobby Volare’s first and only CD to date. The release is called
Smashed Hits and Golden Chi-Chi's. Fortunately, or
as the case is, Bobby Volare’s idea for the logo on his first "best of" release was
nixed at the last minute.