Robert Michael Cotter, aka Bobb Cotter, aka Art Reco, vocalist of West Virginia’s 80s Hillbilly hardcore legends th’Inbred passed away late on Saturday 8th February 2020 due to complications following a stroke on Tuesday 4th February. Bobb was 60 years old.
While being rarely mentioned in the punk rock history books, th’Inbred blazed their own unique trail out of the wilderness between 1984 and 1988, with a 1984 demo followed by releasing their own classic DIY 7″ EP ‘Reproduction’ in 1985. They quickly signed to California’s Toxic Shock Records after a recommendation to the label from Jello Biafra, and released two massively under-rated albums ‘A Family Affair’ and ‘Kissin’ Cousins’ in 1986 and 1988. They also undertook three U.S. tours with RAW POWER (1985), DIRTY ROTTEN IMBECILES aka D.R.I. (1986) and RHYTHM PIGS (1987) before calling it a day.
Their brand of jazz infused hardcore, 50% political and 50% lampooning the conformity of the punk scene they were part of, featured Bobb’s lyrics that were central to the band, delving into ideas about Anarchism and the Situationist International that saw them educating their largely teenage audience as well making fun of them. Their jazz intros segueing into passionate hardcore punk with Bobb’s persona of Art Reco pulling faces and contorting like an Appalachian Jello Biafra on stage. They were regulars and workers at the Underground Railroad and the all-ages Dry House at 123-125 Pleasant Street in Morgantown, with Art’s distinct graphic style adorning flyers for gigs with everyone from the OFFENDERS to CORROSION OF CONFORMITY.
After th’Inbred, Bobb immersed himself in the world of Mexican wrestling and horror, first producing his own fanzines and then eight books on both subjects, including The Mexican Masked Wrestler and Monster Filmography, The Women of Hammer Horror and the Complete Misfits Discography, straddling his interest in wrestling, horror and punk rock.
After getting their first EP in 1986, and then the albums, I’d written to th’Inbred in the late 80s for an interview. We kept in touch and I later wrote a full history of the band for the zine in 2003. A few years later they asked me to design an anthology CD for Grand Theft Audio in California, but before this could come to fruition the label folded and the band were ready to call it a day. I contacted Alternative Tentacles about the possibility of a release and I was honoured to help them finally release their CD as well as two LP set ‘Legacy of Fertility’ in 2009.
Th’Inbred remain one of my favourite bands of the 80s and had a big influence on me as a kid. I hadn’t heard from Bobb for a few years, but it was great to see him getting his books out, and I was shocked and saddened to hear of his sudden passing.
Bobb Cotter: June 22nd 1959 – 8th February 2020