The World According to Bob
Bob Schneider spent 10 years establishing his reputation as the wildest showman in the “Live Music Capital of the World.” Then he cut the crap and got down to the serious business of being himself.
By Richard Skanse
When Bob Schneider answers a question, he frequently opens with a point “A.”
“A,” he’ll begin, explaining why touring these days is a more tolerable experience than it used to be, “we’re not traveling in a van. When you’re traveling in a van, it makes everything more difficult …”
He’ll then ride the topic out for another couple of minutes, listing or detailing other relevant factors (e.g., “Plus, I’m just having a lot more fun playing the music I’m playing now …”), but it’s worth nothing that there is never a specific point “B.” He either lets point “A” blur into a loosely related tangent that takes on a life of its own, or says all he wants to say with point “A” and moves on to a new topic.
Few things about Bob Schneider seem to make sense, but this does. Any music fan in Austin who’s ever tried to keep up with the guy’s career as he habitually jumps from one band and musical genre to another will tell you it’s entirely within character for him. For as surely as Bob has spent the last 10 years building a reputation as one of the most dynamic and popular showmen in the “Live Music Capital of the World,” he’s also become somewhat of a local poster boy for Attention Deficit Disorder.
Many of the things that go into making Bob “Bob” seem contradictory, but his hometown popularity and chronic restlessness are entirely dependent on each other. It’s the constant need for change that keeps Bob wired and at the top of his game, and it’s because of his success that his short attention span is such a local in-joke. In a town as music friendly as Austin, lots of musicians band-hop and test-drive different styles. But when Bob shifts gears, people here take note. And, more significantly, they follow him wherever he goes. Sometimes it takes people a little while to figure out exactly what he’s doing and catch up to him, but once they do, Schneider’s latest band inevitably ends up being the hottest night out in town.
He’s a one-man phenomenon, the pied piper of Austin who’s fronted four of the city’s most popular bands in recent memory — Lonelyland, the Scabs, the Ugly Americans, and Joe Rockhead — and released the best-selling album in the 19-year history of Waterloo Records, the city’s premier music store. “You can call me Bob,” goes the punchline to “Batman,” a poplar song in his live set, and it’s a testament to his familiarity in Austin that people do not say Bob Schneider, but just Bob. Like Waylon, Willie, and Doug. Bob.
When people call you by your first name, they figure they know you. They make assumptions about who you are: some good, some bad. People in Austin assume they know Bob Schneider, but their assumptions are as predictably varied as the many guises Bob has worn and cast off over and over again. He’s the sexist pig who dates one of America’s best-loved sweethearts. He’s the foul-mouthed frontman of the city’s most notorious party band, and the guy who sings that pretty “Metal and Steel” song that’s been on heavy rotation on KGSR (FM 107.1) ever since the White House was just a pipe dream for George W. He’s the hardest-working man on the local music scene and a lazy bum who owes his success to his famous girlfriend. He’s the nicest performer you’ll ever meet after a show and a bit of an aloof jerk. He’s a genius, he’s a hack.
Bob’s heard all of these, and readily allows that if he too were watching Bob Schneider from a distance, he might make some of the same assumptions himself. Some he might agree with, others get under his skin, but for the most part, he maintains a detached attitude of, “eh, whatever.” It goes with the territory of being a public figure, a rock star. And Bob Schneider has assumed himself a rock star since long before anybody else bothered to assume anything about him at all.
ANATOMY OF A ROCK STAR, Part 1
Give the People What They Want
It’s a Friday afternoon in May, and Bob Schneider and band are doing a soundcheck at Austin’s storied blues club, Antone’s. He knows the room well, having spent the better part of the last three or four years playing this stage two or three times a week. Bob has played Antone’s so many times, in fact, that parts of the club look like a shrine to all things Schneider. To the right of the stage, just behind the soundboard, a wall is adorned with a giant circular logo for Bob’s old band the Ugly Americans. Below it is a sign for another band of Bob’s, the Scabs, picturing the group in their trademark Reservoir Dogs-style black suits over the legend, “It’s your world and we’re just here to rock the shit out of it.” Over at the merchandise counter, an entire shelf is devoted to Scabs and Schneider paraphernalia. If not for the Doug Sahm and Stevie Ray Vaughan portraits balancing things out, the joint could be mistaken for Bob’s answer to Dollywood.
But for all the countless occasions Bob has played here over the years, tonight’s show is special, a sort of homecoming. Bob and Antone’s — and the rest of Austin, for that matter — haven’t seen much of each other lately because he’s been on the road supporting the major-label re-release of Lonelyland, the solo album makeover that introduced Bob’s music to the Austin City Limits and AAA radio set and sold an impressive 15,000 copies as an indie release (mostly at a single record store). Needless to say, his fans are overdue for a fix, and the club will be packed. People will begin lining up outside hours before Bob takes the stage at midnight. “His absence has only fortified the hometown crowd by leaps and bounds,” says Antone’s general manager Brad First. “We’ve been getting calls all week about this show.”
Tonight’s performance is billed as the Bob Schneider Show, essentially an electrified version of the Lonelyland band Bob started in early ’99 as an outlet for the more introspective, singer-songwriter type songs he was writing that didn’t fit either the Ugly Americans or the Scabs. Now, with the Ugly Americans defunct and the Scabs seemingly on the brink of being phased out as well, the Bob Schneider Show is a catch-all affair. The set tonight will be heavy on the side of what one might call grown-up Bob songs (identified as the ones loosely reminiscent of Sting and Bob’s musical idol, Tom Waits, or more specifically, the ones not explicitly about the female anatomy and sex acts), but still loaded with enough hard funk and blue material from the back catalog to keep the kids happy. This is a paramount concern for Bob, and always has been. His motives have matured a lot over the last decade, even over the last year, but the primary goal for every show remains unchanged: “Give the people what they want.”
Brad First, who had a hand in managing both the Scabs and Bob’s older band, Joe Rockhead, notes that Bob’s commitment to crowd-pleasing has been intact since day one. “Certain things about his act have gotten refined a little bit since then,” he says, “but he was always a showman, jumping around and always very aware of how important it is to bring the audience into the performance onstage with you: not to perform for the air over anyone’s head, but right there at the crowd.”
Joe Rockhead was not Bob’s first band upon his arrival in Austin at the end of the ’80s, fresh from dropping out of the University of Texas at El Paso after guest lecturer Terry Allen told his art class that studying art was a sorry excuse for not actually doing it. During his first few years in Austin, while he was working at a couple of different T-shirt screen printing companies, Bob figures he moved in and out of maybe 10 bands “that came and went in the blink of an eye.” But Joe Rockhead was the first to stick, the first to be successful enough for Bob to quit his day job. When he talks about the band today, some eight years after the group broke up, Bob lights up like one recounting a first true love.
“I poured my heart into that band, and at the time it was definitely the best thing I’d ever done,” he says. “I totally believed in it, and I was heartbroken when the band broke up. It was just devastating to me. I put so much energy into that thing, I thought it was the coolest band in the world.”
He wasn’t alone. “Joe Rockhead was the best band to ever come out of Austin,” says Wayne Sutton, former guitarist with the recently disbanded Sister Seven. Sister Seven — then known as Little Sister — arose out of the early ’90s Sixth Street funk scene at the same time as Joe Rockhead. Both bands (along with Soul Hat) were mainstays at the Black Cat, and as Sutton remembers it, trying to keep up with Bob Schneider and gang could be brutal. “Joe Rockhead was the band you didn’t want to play before, and you never wanted to have to follow.”
Joe Rockhead was also a band you didn’t want to have to clean up after, thanks to Bob’s habit of preparing food like hot dogs and peanut butter sandwiches onstage and throwing them out to the audience. “I just did it to be special,” he says simply. Such gimmicks — he favors the word “tricks” — quickly became a hallmark for Bob, who maintains that he’s always believed that “presentation is 98 percent of what makes rock ’n’ roll great; content, two percent.”
“When I got here in the ’80s, there was a ton of bands doing the craziest shit in the world,” he recalls. “I’d go see Miracle Room, and they’d have power tools and cut open metal trash cans onstage, which would sent out hot, deadly shrapnel into the audience which could have blinded people. And bands like Crust, where the guy would like, fuck a cow skull and burn his testicle hair off with a Bic lighter. That was the shit that I loved. I was never that crazy. I didn’t want to shock anybody to death — but I did want them to have a good time. That’s been key all along. The thing that separates good from great is pretty huge, but I think the thing that separates great from truly great is super small. If you go that extra step, it makes all the difference in the world. I want every show to be something that people will tell their grandkids about.”
If any single Bob performance lingers in people’s minds that long, it will likely be the Joe Rockhead reunion gig in October 1999. They reformed strictly to do the honors of closing the last night of Sixth Street’s legendary Steamboat, where they had moved their residency shortly before breaking up in 1992 after their crowd grew too large for the Black Cat.
“They tore it down,” marvels David Cotton, who booked bands at the Steamboat for 18 years. “They rehearsed for about a month for that one show. Bob brought in a lot of food — tomato soup and I don’t know what else, but after the show there was three inches of goo throughout the building. And Bob was buff for that show, too, like he’d gone into training for the show. His energy was amazing — he’d run up the side of the walls like a skateboard kid.”
“I had forgotten how powerful that band was,” Bob says. “And how angry I was at the time when I was writing all those songs. All of those songs were totally based on anger — just me screaming about how pissed off I was at everything. I definitely wouldn’t want to be touring the country playing in a band like Joe Rockhead now, because it’s not who I am now. But I look at the lyrics that I was writing back then and they’re as good as anything I write today.”
What was he so pissed off at the time that inspired those songs? “The same things that piss me off now,” he laughs. “When you’re young, you’ve got a lot of energy and a lot of piss and vinegar anyway, and I was always really concerned with being right. And if you spend all your time concerned with being right, you’re going to spend most of your time completely pissed off at the world, when the fact of the matter is the world is the way it is and it’s perfect the way it is. But I didn’t really see eye to eye with the world, and maybe as I’ve gotten older I can appreciate the way the world is a little bit more and see the beauty of it.”
Or, as he puts it more succinctly in one of the strongest tracks off of Lonelyland, “The world exploded into love all around me / And every time I look around me / I have to smile.”
ANATOMY OF A ROCK STAR, Part 2
Bob’s Wild Years on the Road to Lonelyland
The pretty blonde propositioning Bob is not the first young woman to confront him moments after he’s finished his two-hour set at Trees, a mid-sized venue in Dallas’ Deep Ellum district. But she’s by far the most insistent. “Bob, do you think I can just have a little kiss? My boyfriend says its ok …” Bob, in an awkward moment, smiles and politely declines. “I don’t feel comfortable doing the kissing thing,” he apologizes. “I do hugs!” She persists, but he holds his ground and eventually pushes his way back to the merchandise counter, where he will sign autographs for half an hour until the club’s bouncers start clearing out the stragglers.
A week later, over dinner at Green Mesquite BBQ in Austin, Bob grins a little shyly when the incident is brought up, but shrugs in a way that says he’s used to it. “With any band, if you an pick up a guitar and go into a club and play for five people and one of them’s a girl, at that stage of the game you’re turning people away — though you’re usually not unless you have a girlfriend,” he explains. “For the last four years I have had a girlfriend, so I’ve had to turn a lot away.”
Such was not always the case, however. Bob has never hesitated to admit that hormones — coupled with a deeply rooted lack of self esteem — were the prime motives for his initial pursuit of rock ’n’ roll.
“Basically, I’m writing songs so that people will love me,” he says frankly. “That’s the only reason I do it. And the cool thing about art is you can take liberties. When I’m writing songs, I always make myself the good guy and the other person the bad guy. And nobody knows. They’ll go, ‘Oh, he’s such a great guy!’ But am I a great guy? No, I’m just like everybody else. Everybody’s got their dark side, and everybody’s got their good side — they just show one more than the other.”
Bob was born into a musical family, the son of a professional German opera singer. When Bob was 2 years old, he moved with his parents and younger sister from Ypsilanti, Michigan, back to his father’s native Germany. They briefly moved back to the States a couple of years later so that his father could study under a voice teacher in, of all places, El Paso, but the family was back in Germany again before Bob entered junior high. Bob (who is fluent in German) would later return to El Paso on his own after two years of college in Munich, choosing UTEP for the final year and a half of his college career “because they accepted me.”
If Bob inherited a performance gene from his father, though, a love of opera did not come with it. “I was forced to go to a lot of opera, which when you’re a kid really sucks,” he explains. His calling was rock ’n’ roll, which he first turned to with his junior high band the Warriors for the same reason any other boy slamming into puberty ever wanted to be a rock star: girls. “The reason I play music is because I was too afraid to ask a girl out,” he says. “I figured I’d just play music and then they’d ask me out.” It worked, and by the time he got to Austin, Bob knew how to work it like a pro.
“He was kind of a womanizer,” laughs Cotton, who continued to work with Bob after the Steamboat closed when he began booking Lonelyland’s Monday night residency at the Saxon Pub. “I don’t think Bob ever had a lot of male friends. That never interested him at all, but there’s always been four or five girls waiting in the wings for Bob. And Bob works that angle, too. On the guest list at early Scabs shows, pretty much all the beautiful girls got in free. Which made sense, because in rock ’n’ roll, if a bunch of beautiful girls show, everyone else will come — including more beautiful women.”
Bob’s rep as a ladies man during the ’90s went hand in hand with what he now calls his party stage. “I definitely use to party quite a bit,” he admits. “I think everybody does when they’re younger. My whole life I’ve been really curious, and I’ve wanted to try out all the new experiences that life has to offer. I think drinking and doing drugs and stuff allowed me to experience a lot of things that I don’t think I would have experienced had I not done those.”
“I don’t think Bob was ever physically addicted to liquor,” offers Cotton. “And I don’t think he ever did cocaine, unlike most of us in the ’80s. He was just a guy that would drink beer in the morning and go all night, and he could keep up with everybody. He’d be up till dawn.”
Between the women and the all-night parties, Bob was living out two-thirds of the rock ’n’ roll fantasy that he fully expected to be completed when the Ugly Americans, the band he initially thought of as a side project during the last days of Joe Rockhead, secured a national record deal with Giant Records. The reality check was a harsh one. The band was dropped by the label before their album was ever released, and even after Capricorn Records picked the band up in 1996, scant attendance at shows and marginal-at-best record sales made it painfully clear that the world outside of Austin didn’t care. “It was horrible,” Bob says with a grimace, equating the experience of touring with the band to “banging your head against the wall. It really sucks all the fun out of playing music when you’re on the road for weeks and weeks, and at the end of that time, you’ve played for maybe 50 people.”
Not helping matters any for Bob was the fact that the Ugly Americans were really only one-fifth his own band, and four-fifths the other guys’. That set-up was fine for a side project, but not what he wanted from a full-time gig. “I just wasn’t crazy about that band at all,” he says now. “But I stayed with the Ugly Americans only because we were signed and only because we were putting records out … I was only doing it because I wanted to be successful and sell records and be rich and famous.”
None of that happened, though, and in 1996, Bob, staring down a potential mid-life crisis at the ripe old age of 30, had himself a moment of clarity. His problem wasn’t with all the fame he had yet to achieve. It was simply that he wasn’t having much fun anymore. The first step he took towards fixing the situation was to stop his drinking. According to a 1998 Austin Chronicle article, Bob checked himself into a Colorado rehab facility shortly after recording the Ugly Americans’ first album. “That’s something I don’t like to talk about,” he says today, simply noting that he doesn’t drink at all anymore.
“After awhile, it just got to be a little self-defeating,” he says. “I think I kind of grew up a little bit and realized that it wasn’t any good for me. And when it stopped being fun, it was like, well, what’s the point of doing this if it’s not fun? Because I want my life to be fun. I want to have as much fun as I can. So I made the decision to slow down, be good to myself, and try to be nicer to other people. And it’s been good.”
As impressed as he was with many of Bob’s “chaos-barely-under-control” performances with Joe Rockhead, Brad First readily points to the “sobriety factor” as the turning point in Bob’s career. “He’s much more focused now,” First says. “Back then, there were times when some of his shows stank, because he was just too smashed to play or perform well. Now he’s very health oriented. He works out and he watches his diet because he knows that’s all a necessity to be able to endure the kind of road work that he’s doing and stay healthy.”
Around the time that Bob was going sober, he began to rustle up a new side project, the Scabs, which would theoretically allow him the freedom to express any creative idea he could possibly dream up. “The whole notion on the Scabs was, there was no idea that wasn’t valid,” Bob says. “If I had the notion to play Sesame Street covers or do songs about anal sex or songs that mentioned the word ‘pussy’ in it — whatever. I did it all. If I wanted to do weird rock opera spiels or really sappy ballads or songs that made no sense, it didn’t matter.”
Nor did it matter to Bob that the first couple of Scabs shows received even less fanfare than say, an Ugly Americans gig in Iowa. The night before the Scabs began their Monday night residency at the Steamboat, Bob and co-conspirator Adam Temple (a fellow Ugly American) played a warm-up gig at the Hole in the Wall. “We played two Scabs songs. One was called ‘Hot Beer and Cold Women,’ and that went over like a lead turd. And we played a song called ‘I Fucked Your Daughter in the Ass, Boy’ — acoustic style — and right when I announced the title of the song, this table of four women immediately got up and left the club. And when we were finished, nobody clapped — no response whatsoever, except wide-eyed bewilderment. And then some old drunk at the bar turns around and says, ‘I like it!,’ then turns back around and keeps drinking his tequila.
“We walked off stage,” Bob continues, “and I felt extremely nervous about playing our first gig at Steamboat the next night.”
But the more he thought about it, the more Bob came to like the idea of playing music that could offend people to the point of clearing a room as opposed to playing rooms that were empty because nobody bothered to show up in the first place. It proved he was making a statement. “A lot of the material we were playing early on was sketchy,” he admits with a laugh. “But at the same time, I really believed that a lot of the material was done truly in the sense that we were doing something that was great art, and that it was good for people. We just really felt that Austin needed to be woken up, that it needed something that was annoying and shocking.”
As the Scabs’ notoriety grew and more and more people started coming out (and they came in droves once the band committed to all dance music, all the time), it became apparent that people either loved the Scabs, or hated them — and Bob liked it both ways.
“The worst thing that I can possibly think of being is ‘pretty good,’ like average,” says Bob, his face curdling on the word. “I got that a lot with the Ugly Americans. People would come up to me and say, ‘You guys were pretty good.’ It’s like, ‘Fuck you!’ Either love it, or hate it. And that’s what I liked about the Scabs. There was very little in between.”
Apart from touring commitments with the record label and a few shell-shocked early audiences, the transition from the Ugly Americans to the Scabs was fairly seamless, particularly after a series of personnel changes left both bands identical in all but name. Bruce Hughes, Bob’s co-frontman in the Ugly Americans, was the last member to cross over. “I always thought the Scabs really, really sucked until I joined,” Hughes says with a laugh. “Then it turned into one of the coolest things I’ve ever done in my life.”
Bob still calls the Scabs the best band he’s ever played in, too, but after it evolved from an anything-goes project to a hardcore party band, it left him without a proper outlet for the more serious and mellower songs that he’d by then decided he really wanted to sing. So in 1998, after releasing the Scabs’ debut, Freebird, and the Ugly Americans’ swan song, Boom Boom Baby, he recorded a quiet little solo album called Songs Sung & Played on Guitar at the Same Time and premiered an early version of his acoustic Lonelyland band at Stubb’s. The response to the record was promising — garnering Bob some of the first positive press reviews of his career — but even after a move to a Sunday night residency at Steamboat, Lonelyland simply couldn’t compete with the 900-strong sell-out crowds the Scabs were drawing at Antone’s. In early 1999, some 20 people showed up for what was supposed to be Lonelyland’s farewell show, and Bob called it quits for his solo career.
Two months later, after sitting in one night with Stephen Bruton’s songwriter’s circle the Resentments at the Saxon Pub, Bob changed his mind. He secured a Monday night residency at the intimate club, reformed Lonelyland (now featuring Bruton on guitar, Bruce Hughes on bass, David Boyle on keyboards, and Mike Longoria on drums), and subsequently found himself on the fast track to the most successful and personally rewarding phase of his career to date. In December 1999, he released Lonelyland, the album, and the world exploded into love all around him. The following year would bring him and the Scabs nine wins at the Austin Music Awards (and 10 in 2001, including Musician, Songwriter, and Band of the Year), bragging rights to Waterloo Records’ best-selling album of all time, and, ultimately, a major-label deal with Universal Records.
ANATOMY OF A ROCK STAR, Part 3
The Sandra Factor, the World, and Beyond
If ever there was a time when Bob Schneider might be entitled to put on a few rock star airs, it would be now. But the Bob Schneider walking around today signed to one of the biggest record labels in the known universe is a lot older and wiser than the punk who signed with Capricorn five years ago, punch drunk on naive dreams of fame and fortune. When he arrives for a four-hour photo shoot under a sweltering Austin sun on one of his few days off from the road, he is a model of Zen patience, gamely following the photographer’s every instruction with nary a fidget, complaint, or rolled eye. His only hint at vanity is the moment when he joking tells the photographer that his only two concerns are his chin (a pronounced characteristic Bob shares with Jay Leno), and that he doesn’t end up looking fat.
Other than that, Bob is nothing if not convincing in his lack of illusions about himself in the wake of his recent successes. When he signed to Universal, impressed by their commitment to re-releasing Lonelyland as is, and their promise that he could continue to release “non-commercial” records on his own, one of Bob’s first thoughts was not so much the prospect of selling a million copies as it was the relief it’d be to not have to go to Waterloo one or more times a week to hand deliver more CDs to them.
Bob is also keenly aware of the fact that, at least as of now, the local success of Lonelyland has yet to translate on a national level. The crowds on the road have been encouraging, but the lead single, “Metal and Steel,” after a strong opening on AAA stations, has yet to make a significant impact on radio outside of Austin’s KGSR (which was a supporter of the album well before Universal picked it up). Since its re-release in early March, Lonelyland has sold in the neighborhood of 25,000 copies, most of them still in Austin — but Bob remains optimistic about his label’s support. “If that was like the Bee Gees or something, the record would be over,” he says. “But most of the people there are so behind the record, they’re like, ‘If it takes a year or a year and a half to get this thing rolling, we’re going to stay behind it.’ Now, it’s only been two months, so we’ll see what happens in six months or a year, but they seem fully committed. And I think they’re going to come through.”
Bruton, who has worked with more than his fair share of promising young stars in his career (including Kris Kristofferson and Bonnie Raitt), thinks Bob is wise not to assume his success at this point is a done deal. “It hasn’t happened yet,” he says. “It’s in a building phase right now. But I think that the way things are happening at Universal, he’s got a better chance than most now if they stay behind the record and have good luck with the songs — and the songs are there.”
In light of the album’s slow start on the national scene, Bob is understandably wary of what his publicist calls “the Sandra Factor.” On the local level, Bob’s year-and-a-half-old relationship with actress Sandra Bullock (whose late mother, incidentally, was also a German opera singer) made for little more than a footnote to his already established career and a few gossip column inches, but he’s acutely aware of the danger of playing that card for national exposure. They started dating, he casually notes, unprompted, after she came to him looking for music for her 2000 film Gun Shy — a gig that landed him on both The Tonight Show and CBS’s The Early Show singing his soundtrack contribution, “Round & Round,” long before Lonelyland was even a glimmer in Universal’s eye. “They’re pretty good,” opined anchor Bryant Gumbel after the band’s performance, no doubt to Bob’s chagrin.
“Here’s the deal with the whole Sandy thing,” Bob says with a sigh. “A, it’s nobody’s business who I date and what they’re like. And, it’s a little annoying because I worry about people who don’t know me and have never heard me play any of my music making an assumption about who I am based on who I’m dating. I worry about somebody thinking, ‘Well, the only reason that I’m hearing about him is because he’s dating a famous personality.’ Which is something I do. If I see someone who’s with someone who’s a celebrity, I instantly write that person off, even if I don’t know anything about them.
“So, I don’t know what’s going to happen,” he continues. “If my relationship lets people be exposed to what I do, then that’s great. And if it stops people from checking it out because they make up their mind about who I am because of what my relationships are, then that’s something I can’t control.”
It all goes back to people’s misconceptions about him, which Bob knows will never change. Regardless of the Sandra Factor, he knows people, particularly peers and critics, who have never seen him perform will always be suspicious of his success. He knows people who don’t know him will always read his shyness around strangers, even outspoken fans, as aloofness. And he knows a song like “I Fucked Your Daughter in the Ass, Boy” will likely forever be misinterpreted as a work of sexist misogyny when, as he explains it, it’s a fantasy about being able to bypass all the schmoozing that clogs one of life’s most awkward relationships, so that a guy and his girlfriend’s father can be “honest and real when they interact with each other, and really relate.”
He shrugs it all off. All that matters to Bob Schneider right now is the fact that he’s finally figured out what works for him and what doesn’t work for him. “I’m not exactly sure what I want to do,” he says. “But I know what I don’t want do. And the real big thing is, I’m not doing anything that I don’t wanna do anymore.
“Music to me used to be about getting people into bed, it used to be about becoming famous, it used to be about selling a million records, it used to be about being signed,” Bob continues. “Now I’ve been signed, and I’d still like to sell a million records, don’t get me wrong — but the thing that’s changed is that I don’t think anything’s going to change if I sell million records or not. Nothing that matters is going to change. The only thing that might change is more people might know who I am outside of Austin. But a far as my happiness with who I am? That won’t change at all.
“That’s what I think when I look at Kurt Cobain,” he offers. “I think that guy was one extremely unhappy guy, and when he got everything he thought he wanted and he was still completely unhappy, I don’t think he knew what to do. I think he thought his life was helpless and so he killed himself. So, I don’t think that stuff matters like I used to, when I first started out and it was really important to me. My goals are the same. I still want to be famous. I still want to be really successful at what I do. But the reason for having those goals has now changed. Now, I just do it because it’s fun to do it today.”