In memoriam: Rodney “Bo” Richards; 1978-2006

by Jay Ovittore

Rodney “Bo” Richards was to me a friend, a co-worker and a bandmate. More importantly, Bo was a brother. He was a person I could count on in a pinch and lean on when things went bad. Bo was the other half of the rhythm section, my other half when we played together in the Five L’s. When you play in a band with someone, it is like being married to them, a tight relationship, a familial bond. You share a space in time, a creative space where minds and ideas meet and melt into one intangible groove. I spent the last five or six months with Bo, every day, while he worked for my small company and gave me his all. He had an impeccable work ethic and vast knowledge. He put his heart into the job at hand and gave me every ounce of energy he had. He had the kind of knowledge only Bo could have. One time, during a show in Greenville, his bass head had a short in the input and could not be fixed. He played that night through that very bass head, rigged with a 2×4 and some duct tape. That was the Bo Richards way.

Once Bo called me at seven in the morning to tell me some news about Jack Links Jerky.

“They got new flavors, man. I had to call and tell you.”

Seven in the morning. Beef jerky. That was the Bo Richards way.

When I think about him, I think of the famous line from Risky Business “Sometimes you just have to say what the fuck.” That is how Bo led his life, but still he cared greatly about the things he allowed into his heart. He cared about his family, his friends, music, cars, racing and, most importantly, his son. I love my child, but this man showed more love for his son than anyone I know. Underneath that leathery skin and a shyness that could be mistaken for aloofness there was a soft and caring soul, one who always had your back and who cared about all of his people in his own way.

Yesterday I sat and listened to the album we created together over the course of a year. All I could do was cry. His talent showed prominently and, like in all aspects of his life, he was the backbone and the glue that held the thing together.

I will miss that sweet music, but I am thankful we got to play together. No one can take that away from any of us. It is forever.

Henry Rollins once said that when you lose someone or something you care about, part of you dies. Well part of all of us who knew Bo has died, but I say the memories are forever. If you knew Bo, you know how I feel. There is so much more I could share with you all, but those are the memories I will keep as just that, memories.

Bo, this is only a sliver of what you meant to me; you meant so much more to all of us, each in our own way. I love you man. I miss you already. I still have your back, and I know you still have mine. You have all of our backs, just like always. We will all miss you dearly my friend, my brother. Rest in peace.