How did this all start?

It was a BiG! time

Originally a spinoff of Alt-Western Pioneers Ice House Road, BiG! thebandbig Tobe Fare has come into its own as a 21st Century Alt-Rock (with a nod to Folk) Powerhouse. 

Tobe Fare features the songwriting, “broken” vocals, and guitar mayhem of Gary Hawthorne (a veteran of Modern Logic, Yesterday’s Boy, Cowgomoo, Neon Kings, Ice House Road), the hard hitting drums, Cajone, percussion, and vocals of Adam JR Stoffel (Pale Blue Dot, Ice House Road), and the stylized bass lines (and groovy suits) of Bryan Mac MacKenzie (Someday, JRB) 

As the story goes, JR and IHR had lured Gary back into music after several years of retirement, and when Bobby Sims (lead vocals/songwriting, IHR) needed to take time off to pursue his occupation of Bull Wrangler, Gary decided to just go out and do some solo shows to keep from going crazy. 

Booked at Plaza Azteca in Waynesboro, VA, Gary called JR to grab some PA to play the show. JR asked if he could just bring the PA and sit in on the set. Gary said “that would be cool… do you have a Cajon? I love Cajons…” JR said that he would have one by then. And He did. 

Totally unrehearsed, arrangements came to fruition on the spot. JR’s Cajon and Gary’s guitar sonically complemented each other, and caused audience members to wonder where the other musicians were… There was magic in that set. So much so, that representatives from Wild Wolf Brewery asked them to play there. “What is the name of your group?” “…uh… um… big?” referring to the sound. And BiG! was born, as an acoustic duo. 

As BiG!, Gary and JR played weekly, wherever they could fit. Original songs with some fun old covers, some Blues, and lots of old folk songs – jacked up to 11, and played with honesty and fervor. 

They had a passion for the blues and tried to fit in with that genre as much as possible, even entering Blues competitions. However, the Blues was not the end-all to the BiG! sound, and by the time they got into the Studio 607 to record the (as yet unreleased) first BiG! record, they were drifting somewhat afield of “the Blues” yet a good half of that album would fit nicely into a Blues review show. 

However, it was not to be. The concept was that BiG! would release the Acoustic Album, and then over time, morph it into an electric Alt-Blues album, featuring Rob Jones (IHR) on Bass and Keys. Rob however moved out of the area, and Gary wasn’t happy with the concepts and mixes of the acoustic album. JR wanted to make more noise than the Cajone allowed. Gary wanted to feed back again. BiG! wanted to make a ROCK record. 

Enter Bryan Mac MacKenzie, an old friend of Gary’s and occasional contributor to BiG! (when we thought that we would be a four piece with bass and keys) and IHR. He also wanted to make a Rock album (or any album for that matter) and agreed to jump in and hang on with the BiG! posse. 

We had no idea that the name BiG! would be an issue with even finding our music in the 21st century. But it WAS. TERRIBLE. HORRENDUS. With the release of “small” BiG! had entered the game, literally with one hand tied behind their backs, and the other holding the hand rail. 

After 2 years of complaints about not being able to locate our music, something had to be done. A name change was necessary. Since we had been tagged “thebandbig” on social media, we decided the easiest thing to do was go with that as the name of the band, even though it SUCKED. Sucked with a capital S-U-C-K. 

Then Omicron hit. We’d already weathered the other variants, by releasing a video single and a single recorded (at Studio 607, during lockdown under strict covid rules), all to find out that we couldn’t just change the name on “small” to thebandbig and be done with it. We’d have to re-record. 

When Omicron canceled our one remaining gig, we put it to a vote. Do we move forward or just sit and spin? We opted to move forward. Re-arranging, re-writing, re-recording… and re-branding. There will still be a little blues, and a little folk, but it will be in much smaller doses. The guitars will be a little more distorted and effected, and we will be bringing in a wee bit of synthesizer (mostly Hammond B3 Synth. Check it out in "People" and "Brand New Day") The drums will be louder and sometimes not in 4/4 time. And the Bass… well the bass will still be the bass. But NO 1-5 ping pongs! (inside joke) so now for your pleasure and ours, may we present the band -- Tobe Fare (pronounced to-be-fair) named after JR’s favorite line in one of his favorite Canadian TV shows. 

We promise that Tobe Fare will hold nothing back and will continue to be passionate -- from a whisper to a scream, and try to make the world a little better, one song at a time. 

Please enjoy our website (and the music therein) and pardon the construction. This is and will forever be, a work in progress.