This month Modwest highlights customer Ednor Therriault. Therriault has been a Modwest customer since November 2004. We're crazy about Therriault's work and happy to showcase him along with his alter ego, Bob Wire. Therriault hosts several websites with Modwest including Bob Wire Music, his blog Bob Wire Has a Point (which also appears on Make it Missoula), and the site for his new Christmas album Off White Christmas.
by Jennifer Stephens
"Let's have a credit card Christmas" wails Bob Wire in the background as I listen to the new album, Off White Christmas, written and performed by Bob Wire and Chip Whitson. "We can start over clean, I'll file Chapter 13 next Valentine's Day." Electric guitar, drums, and a riff reminiscent of "Jingle Bells" kick off the next song, "Santa's Getting Bigger," which entertains while commenting on the state of American health. Chip Whitson's harmony rounds out the country-rock sound, maybe best described as an auditory version of the Griswold's "Christmas Vacation." I can just see Cousin Eddie now ...
Last Thursday, I interviewed Ednor Therriault (pronounced "terry-o"), aka Bob Wire, to discuss his new album as well as his long history with Modwest web hosting. While listening to Off White Christmas, part of me finds it hard to believe that Therriault's stage presence, Bob Wire, is housed in the same body as the creative introverted family-man. Therriault's description of Bob Wire as his "larger than life" id is apt. "Bob Wire is an educator," Therriault explains, "who says what everyone's thinking but is afraid to say." Therriault is friendly, gregarious and eager to share his story about how he found his way to Missoula, why he's still here, and how Modwest helps him to promote his multiple business faces.
A Marine Corps pilot's son, Therriault moved all over during his childhood but had Montana connections which eventually drew him to the state. While attending the Seattle Art Institute in the mid-80s, Therriault connected with fellow non-traditional student Tim Ryan, from Montana, due to their common age (25-year-olds in a sea of 18-year-olds) and Montana connection. Through Ryan, Therriault cultivated many new Montana friendships. By the early 1990s, he says "Seattle had lost its small town feel due to an influx of gangs, drugs, and guns at school" and by then Therriault had more friends in Missoula than in Seattle. "Assured that [he] would eventually outgrow Missoula," Therriault moved to Missoula in 1993 which Therriault describes as "putting on an old worn leather jacket that perfectly fit." Within two months of moving to Missoula, Therriault met his wife-to-be while playing in his new band Betty for Sheriff.
In 1995, Bob Wire and the Fencemenders was formed. Since he was the front man, Therriault was often referred to as "Bob" and the name stuck. Since then, Therriault's whole family has taken on "Wire" names: Barb Wire (Bob's wife), Rusty Wire (Bob's son), and Speaker Wire (Bob's daughter). My favorite is the grandmother: Byrdona Wire. Therriault's wife insists, however, that Bob's portrayal of Barb is not who she is.
Besides his musician gig, Therriault is an author, graphic designer, and web designer. He is currently working on a novel after publishing his first book, Montana Curiosities, last year in paperback and Kindle editions.
Therriault's most recently hosted website with Modwest, offwhitechristmas.com, promotes Therriault's CD of rock 'n roll Christmas music. An online presence is important to Therriault in order to market his work worldwide. He notes that it's especially important for his CD, "which is full of original music that's an antidote to all the tired old Christmas songs that get trotted out every year."
We wrap up this customer profile with snippets in Therriault's own words regarding why he hosts his websites with Modwest.
Why did you initially host with Modwest?
I like to employ local businesses, but this decision was more pragmatic. With Modwest being right downtown and not tucked away in some cinder block building out by the airport or in some generic office park in Billings, I can walk right into the office and talk to the IT boys, the support techs, hell, chat with the owner about home brewing, if he's around. Accessibility is important to me. That, and the occasional free t-shirt.
Why do you continue to host with Modwest?
They know me. They know my local footprint. They come to my shows, they've bought my book. They have a good sense of the things I'm trying to achieve with my work, and they are unfailingly gracious and helpful whenever I get myself in too deep with website design and management. Which is often.
Describe one specific event that typifies your relationship with Modwest.
This fall, at the recommendation of my good friend at Modwest, Jonathan, I decided to have all my websites consolidated under one hosted account, ednor.com. I would be able to do this using domain aliases and redirects, and save money on paying for all the separate hosted accounts. While I use the computer and internet extensively for my various writing, recording and design projects, I've always been willfully ignorant when it comes to designing and deploying websites. Still, I knew what I was proposing was going to be a complex mofo.
I took two classes this fall at the Lifelong Learning Center in Wordpress and SEO strategy. Now I have just enough knowledge to be dangerous. Like most artists, I can be temperamental and moody. But through all the frustration of launching two new websites and revamping and resituating two others, the guys behind the stick at Modwest customer support went way above and beyond the call of duty every time I emailed/chatted/phoned tearfully for help. Aaron, Jeremiah and Walt basically functioned as a tag-team with my account. They were all intimately familiar with my sites and what I was trying to achieve, and went to great lengths to solve my problems and keep me from blowing my stack. It didn't matter if it was a misplaced database or a forgotten password, they were always eager to provide help and guidance, always with some well-placed, reassuring remarks. Jonathan, John, Tom, everyone I know there is whip smart but also very tuned in to the human aspect of what can be a very nonhuman industry.
A few weeks ago, at the end of his meticulously-crafted, lengthy and illuminating email describing the various behavioral ticks (and solutions to those ticks) of my Off White Christmas site, Aaron said, "I can honestly say that for once I'm looking forward to hearing some Christmas music."
Try getting that from HostGator.
Special Note: If you live in Missoula, Montana, you can catch Bob Wire live tonight at The Crystal. He'll be performing a set at the Holiday Variety Show. Billed as "Local Live Family Friendly Fun," the show will feature sets from David Semmens, Eden Atwood, and Bob Wire. Tickets are still being sold at The Bridge through 6 p.m. tonight. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for students/seniors/military, and children under 4 are free. The ninety minute show starts at 7:30 p.m. with doors opening at 7:00 p.m.