Lobo's Biography

Lobo on stage
Roland Kent LaVoie a.k.a. "Lobo"

Roland Kent LaVoie, aka Lobo, is semi-retired and currently living in Florida with his wife Susie. "People don't know me much or the way I look and that's OK. To this day, most probably think I'm some group." Over a four year period in the 1970's, Lobo made the singles chart 14 times. Top 40 hits seemed never ending. His folk-countryLobo circa 1971 flavored "I'd Love You To Want Me", "Don't Expect Me To Be Your Friend" and "Me And You And A Dog Named Boo" won positions in the nation's Top listings on "Adult Contemporary" radio stations.

Lobo was born in Tallahassee, Florida on July 31, 1943. He is one of seven children raised in Winter Haven, Florida which is in the central part of the state. "I never met my father." "I knew that my mother had sung in a big band. I never questioned her about Dad. It seemed something not to talk about." Years later he learned that his dad had been a big band guitar player. "I never had any lessons, and nobody in my family was interested in music but my older brother Roger, who has had some country tunes recorded." "Some kid down the street showed me what he knew on a worn Doboro. I had a paper route, and when I had learned enough chords to sing with, I bought a little amp and an electric guitar, a Stratocaster, it was. It was such a fancy guitar that I was asked into this band."

In 1961 he was asked to joined his first band "The Rumours". He was 18 and in the first rock 'n' roll band in Winter Haven. "We'd play The Rays, Silhouettes, Runaway and tunes by The Ventures." Jim Stafford and Gram Parsons were in the other band in town called "The Legends". Later on when both bands had disbanded, Stafford and Parsons would join LaVoie in a revised version of "The Rumors". Parsons died at a young age and Stafford would later be co produced by LaVoie resulting in the chart topping hit "Spiders And Snakes".

As a child he wanted to be a veterinarian but after attending St. Petersburg Junior College and in 1963 the University of South Florida, he decided to enter the music field.  He joined the band "The Sugar Beats" with Bill Denman on Bass, Rick Emmert on Drums, Bill Ellington and Lobo on Guitar. That's when he met producer Phil Gernhard. That was the start of a relationship that would create a dozen hits in the 1970's. His first record was with the Sugar Beats in 1964 called "What Am I Doing Here?" backed with "Have You Ever Had The Blues" released on a regional label in Florida. It sold 500 units and brought the group to college stardom. The limelight didn't last long as the group fell prey to the draft. Kent served in the Army Reserve.

Then in 1966 Lobo's second recording came while, for a short time, he was with the group "US Male", which included former "Impacs" band member Jay Angelo. They released a single under the band name "The Uglies", "It's Gonna Be So Hard" backed with "Is This Guy" again released on a regional label.

From 1967 through 1970 Lobo was a member of the band "Me And The Other Guys" which was fronted by Frank "Dutch" Walton. This is when Lobo met Billy Aerts. Billy was in the band a short time before he was drafted and sent to Vietnam. This relationship would later produce several albums in the 90's. Me And The Other Guys included Billy Aerts, Chuck Doughtery, Kent LaVoie, Leon Massey and Dutch Walton. While Lobo was with this band in 1967 they recorded a single "Runaround Girl/Everybody Knew But Me" released on the Boss record label. Lobo did not sing on this recording.

In 1969 he again hooked up with producer Phil Gernhard and recorded his first solo release on the Laurie label called "Happy Days In New York City" backed with "My Friend Is Here".
It was while working the Tampa bars in 1970 with the band "Me And The Other Guys" that things came together. "I was talking with a New York publisher who said that the songs that were happening were taking a "me and you against the world" stance." "So I went about trying to rhyme something to me and you, me and you." He looked up to see his German shepherd named "Boo" just outside the sliding glass door. "Me And You And A Dog Named Boo" went on to be a monster international hit thus beginning a career that produced 20 million record sales world wide. "We knew it was a hit the moment we taped it. Phil had worked on The Royal Guardsmen's 'Red Baron' hits. He was afraid that "Me And You And A Dog Named Boo" was so gimmicky that I would be labeled a novelty act, a one shot Joe. "Think something up." he said, "because that name will get you typecast and fast." So, we decided I should hide. Lobo was cute. It meant 'wolf', like lone wolf which was something I could identify with but unless you circa 1971understood Spanish, it had no substance to it. All the reviewers declared Boo a hit, a natural hit. We made no mention of being a group, but writers went on about the weird name this sure shot group had."
This was followed by his first album titled "Introducing Lobo". This album was followed by a few minor hits. "They put out "I'm The Only One" with "She Didn't Do Magic", my least favorite song I have ever written." California Kid And Reemo followed. "It was written by a couple of my back up singers. One of them, Robert John, had his own hits later with "Sad Eyes", "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" and such. I had no feelings about it. It just felt like a reworked "Boo". While working on his second album "Close Up", his record company was changing distributors, moving from Ampex to Bell records. In the confusion, the album "Close Up" was lost and never released. It was around this time that Billy Aerts returning from Vietnam would join Lobo's road band from 1971 to 1972.

In 1972 came the release of his second album "Of A Simple Man". This was followed by his biggest hit and Gold record "I'd Love You To Want Me". "I had been listening a lot to Nilsson's "Without You" and Mac Davis "Baby Don't Get Hooked On Me". That's where the cut's slow drowning guitar sound came from. Not thinking we first pitched it to The Hollies as a follow-up to their "Long Cool Woman". It would have been major for them, but they objected to the 'blood goes to my feet' line. They didn't like the phrase and wanted half the writing credit to change it. My ego said shove it. And as it turned out, that song revived my career. If The Hollies had taken it, things could have gone radically different for me". "I'd Love You To Want Me" earned Lobo the German "Golden Lion of Luxemburg" award ranking him the "Top Artist of the Year" in 1974.

Another top ten single followed, "Don't Expect Me To Be Your Friend". "I was singing from my heart about how hard it is to just be friends with someone whom you've had deep feelings for. It wasn't expected to be that big of a hit. When it happened, I became somehow a legitimate act."
In 1973 the album "Calumet" was released. The big hit off this album is the classic "How Can I Tell Her". Lobo sang "How Can I Tell Her" on American Bandstand in September of 1973. This album generated 2 top thirty hits in 1973 and 1974.

For his 1974/75 tour Lobo decided to change his road band and use the musicians that played on his records which included Roy Yeager on drums, John Mulkey on bass and Barry Harwood on guitar. This was the exit of Billy Aerts, but he would return in the 80's and 90's to be a major force in Lobo's music.

In 1974 came an unusual album for Lobo. Up until this time, most of the songs were written by Lobo. The next album "Just A Singer" was an album of covers. The top 50 hit "Rings" came from this album.

1975 found Lobo's return to the top 30 with "Don't Tell Me Goodnight" from the album "A Cowboy Afraid Of Horses". In late 1975 came the release of "The Best Of Lobo".
In 1976 Lobo's contract with his record label was up and he was searching for a new label. Unhappy with the US record industry, his next album "Come With Me" never saw a US release. It was only released in Europe. This is classic Lobo. All the songs were written, and for the first time produced by, Lobo. Lobo was no stranger to producing. In 1972 he co-produced Jim Stafford's smash hit "Spider's and Snakes".

In 1977 Lobo signed with Curb records and 2 singles were released. None charted but "You Are All I'll Ever Need" did get significant radio airplay. In 1979 Curb records moved Lobo over to MCA and Lobo's return to the charts came with "Where Were You When I Was Falling In Love". This was followed by the release of his first album in 3 years simply titled "Lobo". In 1980 Curb again moved Lobo to another label, this time Elektra. Two singles were released but only "With A Love Like Ours" received air play. It was at this time that Lobo just couldn't do it anymore. He had just signed a multi-album deal with MGM/Curb. He asked to be released from his contract and the record company granted his release.

In 1981 Lobo formed his own independent record label "Lobo Records" and signed country artist Narvel Felts and Kenny Earl. Lobo would occasionally record himself and returned to the charts in 1981 with "I Don't Want To Want You", written by his brother Roger, which charted on the country charts. Three more Lobo singles followed, all charting on the country charts. One of the last releases on the Lobo label was a song by the group "Wolfpack" which included Lobo, Kenny Earl and Narvel Felts called "Bull Smith Can't Dance The Cotton-Eyed Joe". He also produced chart topping hits for country artists Joe Stampley and Christy Lane.

In 1985 Lobo Records became Evergreen Records and Lobo's next single "Am I Going Crazy" was released. This was followed by the last single by Lobo, a duet with Robin Lee, "Paint The Town Blue", which scored big on the country charts. After this Lobo went into semi retirement at his home in Florida.

In 1989 Lobo released an album in Taiwan called "Am I Going Crazy" which was produced by Billy Aerts. Throughout the 80's Lobo and Billy had worked together writing songs while Lobo was in Nashville. From this point on Billy would become Lobo's manager and producer. They would tour Asia throughout the 90's.

In the 1990's came the release of Lobo's material on compact disc. First on Curb with "Lobo Greatest Hits", then on Rhino with "The Best Of Lobo".
Then in 1994 Lobo signed with an independent label called Pony Canyon out of Singapore. He  released 5 albums in three years, the first being "Asian Moon". This album contains all original tracks plus re-recordings of "I Don't Want To Want You" and "Am I Going Crazy". This album was followed by "Classic Hits" in 1995. A collection of standard favorites which included some of his earlier hits and several new recordings of classic hits like "The End Of The World", "Dream Lover", "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow" and many more. There are also three well known Asian melodies that English lyrics have been written for and traditional Chinese instruments have been recorded and mixed into the tracks which results in a very unique sound for Lobo. Lobo released a video Laser Disc of music videos called "Golden Hits".

Lobo was touring Asia quite frequently to sold out audiences. He played in Ho Ci Min City, Vietnam to the largest audience ever to see a pop star perform.

In 1996 came "Sometimes". This was again an album of mostly new original songs. This album got very good reviews in the Asian trades. Check out the links page for one of them. His next album came in 1997 called "You Must Remember This". This is a collection of old standards. This album is released in vocal and instrumental versions. Although these albums are recorded in Nashville, they were only available in the Asian market with the exception of a few tracks that were released on Curb Records CD "The Best Of Lobo" in 1996.

In October 1997 Rhino records released all of Lobo's Big Tree albums on CD in Germany. "Introducing Lobo" and "Of A Simple Man" were released on one CD. "Calumet" was released including bonus track, some unreleased songs and some early versions of other songs. "Just A Singer" and "Cowboy Afraid Of Horses" were also released on one CD.
In early 1998 Lobo's record label, Ponycanyon was a casualty of the Asian Stock market crash and closed shop, which left Lobo without a recording contract.  His CD's are now becoming very hard to find as stocks are sold out.

Lobo again went into semi-retired to his home in Florida.

In 1999 came the release of a Japanese compilation of Lobo's Greatest Hits. This collection featured the never before release song "New York Hold Her Tight".

In January 2000, Lobo signed with a German label for a CD containing previously released songs plus new tracks. Lobo again went back in the studio with Billy to record the new tracks. We can only hope that this leads to more new recordings. The new CD "The Very Best Of Lobo" was released August 17, 2000. Lobo also wrote and recorded 2 Christmas songs that were released in Europe on various compilation CD's.

In April of 2001 two new compilation CD's were released. "Simple Man" which is just a reworked copy of "The Very Best Of" and another "Very Best Of" CD with the newly recorded track "Caribbean Disco Show".

In 2002 saw the release of more compilation CD's across Asia. Of note is the "Greatest Hits 2002" released in Taiwan containing "Who'll Stop The Rain" and "Different Drum".

In 2007 Lobo started work on his new CD "Out Of Time". He recorded this in his home studio, playing all the instruments. He went back to the beginning, recording the songs the same way he originally wrote them. The CD contains his classics plus a few new songs. The CD was finished and release in January 2008.