Today’s Feature – June 26-27: Bob Schneider

June 30, 2008 at 1:00 am (Today's Feature)

It surprised me to hear that Austin, Texas rocker Bob Schneider first came to fear our PEV hometown of Baltimore. The guy’s style, his music, hell his whole aura has that rugged folk-rock feel; the type of artist who only needs to pick up his guitar and boots in order to head out on tour. A bit of tough guy with a touch of madness. And while he did survive a plane crash, that isn’t the whole story with Bob Schneider.

Just check out his record, “When the Sun Breaks Down the Moon.” It’s an album with the pure, rough stuff – “I think of myself as an entertainer, a singer, a songwriter, so if anyone is looking for this kind of polished video product, they’ll be disappointed.” The work is honest, pulls no punches and apologizes for nothing. If you simply give the collection a quick sampling, you’ll hear Schneider flow from one style to another, all while keeping it tied together under one folk-rock umbrella with original lyrics and memorable riffs.

Schneider, who is also one of the most decorated singer-songwriters out of Austin (with over 30 Austin Music Awards), can wow you with more than just music. He designs his own album art, packaging, posters and even T-shirts. Just look into his web site, or go check out a few local galleries for his work. It’s impressive. And get out to a live show where Bob mixes it up on stage as more than just a musician. The man is there to entertain (just watch out if he starts mentioning something about crystal meth). While he’s not touring, he’ll be preparing a new studio record as well as re-recording the collection, “Lonely Land” and pulling together a new DVD. Get into the XXQ’s to learn more (and why Schneider now holds a spot in his heart for the home we call Baltimore).

XXQs: Bob Schneider PensEyeView.com (Richie:):So, where’d I catch you right now?

Bob Schneider (Bob): At home, in Austin.

Richie: Growing up, what kind of music were you listening to?

Bob: Country… a lot of country. My dad played hits from like the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. So a lot of that too. He played guitar as well.

Richie: Did he help give you that push into the music business?

Bob: He taught me how to play when I was three, but as far a career, no. When I moved to Austin to play music, he was not too happy about that.

Richie: That conversation didn’t go over so hot, huh?

Bob: Um, no. He wanted me to get a career. Then once they came and saw me and realized I was good at it, they have been supportive ever since.

Richie: Tell us about the beginning of your career, when you first started out.

Bob: It was pretty exciting, you know. Pretty fun. Especially when you’re starting out and it’s new and it’s not really your job, it’s your dream. It was cool.

Richie: Was there a certain point when you realized that music was going to be an actual career?

Bob: No, I was never going to do a “career”. When I was in college, I got the buzz to do it. I decided to move to Austin, try it for two years and see what happens. If it didn’t work, I’d try something else. I’ve been doing it ever since.

Richie: What college did you go to?

Bob: At that point I was going to the University of Texas – El Paso.

Richie: When you sit down to write music now, is there a certain atmosphere or environment you surround yourself in?

Bob: Um, well, I mean… I need to be alone, usually. The place doesn’t matter so much. Just a place where I can be alone to write.

Richie: What can fans expect from a live Bob Schneider performance?

Bob: Anything really. Hopefully, they’ll be entertained, that’s my main goal. I use a combination of you know, drama and comedy and stuff you can dance to, ballads. I mix it up. Some nights I lean to the funny stuff. Some nights I lean towards the dramatics. It depends really.

Richie: With goofing around, have there been any embarrassing live performances?

Bob: I might say something that seems “wrong” sometimes, because I think it will be funny. Like, Monday night I played a gig and I started talking about taking a bunch of crystal meth and chopping off my own cock. And I realized we had this girl who was playing violin, who was like this musical prodigy, she was actually on stage at that time. So, I was really embarrassed that I said that – Not that I was embarrassed about what I said, but that I said it with her there. I just forgot that she was on stage. That’s the only time I feel bad.

Richie: What can fans expect from your latest release, “When The Sun Breaks Down The Moon”?

Bob: What can they expect? Well, basically it’s just a collection of demos for songs I did. Most the times when I write songs, I’ll record it as well. I think of myself as an entertainer, a singer, a songwriter, so if anyone is looking for this kind of polished video product, they’ll be disappointed. But if they are interested in seeing the rough, kind of baby covered in that “juice” that’s covered on kids when they come out of the womb (laughs)… what is that stuff called?

Richie: I don’t know. Like the afterbirth or something. I’m having a daughter in the end of June so I’ll let you know?

Bob: No (laughs). When they pull the baby out, and it’s covered with “goo”… anyway, it’s like that. That’s what the songs are like. Is this your first kid?

Richie: Yeah.

Bob: You nervous?

Richie: Um, yeah, a little bit, so yeah. But excited!

Bob: I have a two year old boy and it’s the best. Well, that will be awesome, congratulations.

Richie: Thanks. Any advice for me?

Bob: Just know it’s going to be rough business, it’s not easy. But having said that, it’s all worth it. You may find it will be tough on your relationship. You may find that you are used to being the most important thing in your wife’s life. Now that isn’t going to be the case. Again, the kid is going to be the most important thing in your lives.

Richie: Does your son like to listen to you play music?

Bob: Yeah, I play all the time.

Richie: Think he’ll pick up the music bug as well?

Bob: I think kids, in some degree, become kind of what you are… but I hope I don’t fail as a parent (laughs)… to the extent that he won’t need to play music to be ok… which is what I do.

Richie: How have your friends and family reacted to your success?

Bob: They are all real supportive about what I do.

Richie: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about you?

Bob: I think that they’d be surprised to hear how mellow and normal I am. Where my music tends to be dramatic, crazy and I say a lot of crazy stuff. People tend to think I am this crazy rock n’ roll type of party guy, which is not the case.

Richie: How is life on the road been for you?

Bob: The worse part is being away from your friends and family and your town. But the best part is being able to play music… which is like a double edged sword. Which every time I can’t help but to think about the Louis CK bit about the double edged sword. You remember that?

Richie: I know him but don’t know the bit, tell me.

Bob: He’s funny, you should check him out on the web. But he was just talking about how everything is a double edged sword, even a single edged sword.

Richie: In all your travels, which city, international or US has been your favorite to play?

Bob: I don’t know, probably my home town. There are great cities all over to play. I mean, New York, Seattle, Portland, Chicago, Madison, I mean the list goes on an on. But Austin is great. I’ve been lucky to have a lot of success here. So, probably Austin.

Richie: When you are not performing or playing music, what can we find you doing in your spare time?

Bob: Well, I try to spend as much time with my son. But then I work, I’m kind of a workaholic. The lions share of my time is working. But the little spare time I do have, I hang out with my son. If there is any tiny time I do have, I may catch a movie.

Richie: Ten years down the road, where are we going to find Bob Schneider?

Bob: My goal is to end up in Vegas, playing the Belagio, Ceasars, one of the those places. Two shows a day, five days a week, making the big bucks.

Richie: So, what’s next for you?

Bob: We are getting ready to record a polished studio record. We are re-recording “Lonely Land” which I can’t seem to get through to Universal Records so we are just going to go in and do it. And then we are working on a DVD, as well. Then just playing solo, which tends to be more mellow.

Richie: Well, thanks Bob that’s great. Thanks for taking the time to talk with me today.

Bob: No problem, thank you – Hey, where you at?

Richie: I’m in Baltimore.

Bob: Baltimore! I love Baltimore. It’s weird because the first time I ever played Baltimore, we were loading out the night after the gig – first of all, I was scared to death of Baltimore (laughs). But we are loading out in this alley behind the venue which was poorly attended, years ago which is shared with another venue across the alley, but in the same alley where we are at and this door flies open! These dudes come out in like a brawl, like out of a f–kin’ Looney Tunes cartoon. Where everyone is just punching and cursing and pushing. I was just like, this is a rough, rough time. Then, a few years ago, we went back and walked around. It was really nice and really beautiful and the people were nice. It was great! Then “The Wire” came out and I love that show. I love that town.

Richie: Yeah man, everyone in Baltimore loves The Wire.

Bob: It’s a great show.

Richie: Well thanks again Bob, I appreciate it.

Bob: Take care.

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