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A Conversation With Bobby Bare, Jr.
by
Samuel Barker
January 3, 2001

Soil

Samuel Barker: To begin with, introduce yourself, name and duty.

Bobby Bare, Jr.: Bobby Bare, Jr., singer, songwriter, van driver.

Samuel: Driver?

Bobby: Driver of the van, just like Mike Watt.

Samuel: Front man/driver, that's rough...So, what made you guys decide to do this short jaunt?

Bobby: We love Texas. Texas is, if it could be our home, it would be. It's our favorite place to be if we're not in Tennessee.

Samuel: Being from Nashville, how has this band's sound become what it is?

Bobby: Well, they sell a lot of AC/DC albums in Nashville. I swear to God, I really saw Black Flag in Nashville in 1985. And also, Jason and the Nashville Scorchers are from Nashville, TN. Neil Young made 3 or 4 albums there, so did Dylan. There are a lot of rock n' roll things going on there.

Samuel: Yeah, I was surprised where I was there at the people I saw. I was expecting the stereotypical view of everyone wondering the streets in cowboy gear with acoustic guitars under their arms, but it was nothing like that.

Bobby: Right.

Samuel: Well, it's been a while since the last album came out, and even longer since you guys recorded it, are you working on anything new at the moment?

Bobby: I've got a record deal with Bloodshot, and I'm doing a country album with some of the guys from Lambchop. They're really just a bunch of guys from Nashville that I've known forever, but the only way anyone would know who I was talking about outside of Nashville would be by saying Lambchop.

Samuel: Are you going to tour on that?

Bobby: I'm going to tour on that, but it will be with the Bare, Jr. band, but yeah, I'll tour on that.

Samuel: How's the songwriting for Bare, Jr? Is it still just music you write?

Bobby: Yeah, I'll come in with a real basic song and we work with it from there.

Samuel: Well, I hear there is no more dulcimer player, as well as other members...

Bobby: Tracy left the band because he wanted nothing to do with rock music anymore or the lifestyle. He's selling insurance now and doing his music, but he didn't want to be on the road anymore, it just wasn't the life for him. Keith and Dean, the drummer and bass player aren't here because, well, partially because...well, first of all, they devoted five years of their lives to my musical career and now I'm doing this Bloodshot record and I'm not using them, I'm using other people for creative reasons. I want dress things up totally different and see what happens. So, why should they devote their life to my career if I'm going to go pay other musicians and let them make money off my songs.

Samuel: So, since Tracy left, have you added another guitarist?

Bobby: No, Teel is the same guitarist.

Samuel: I mean have you added a second lead guitarist?

Bobby: No.

Samuel: So Teel is in charge of all the leads now?

Bobby: Teel likes doing the leads. Most of the dulcimer stuff sounded like a guitar anyway, so it's not too far of a stretch.

Samuel: Yeah, I was blown away by it. I know on album I was like 'this is a pretty good lead player' but to see a dulcimer playing it, I was like 'oh shit!'

Bobby: It's a novel thing. It's kind of a...novelty...it's a gimmick.

Samuel: How was the tour with Aerosmith, and how did you guys get hooked up with Aerosmith?

Bobby: We have the same booking agent. It was exciting. We went all over America and got to see Aerosmith every night.

Samuel: Did a lot of Aerosmith fan get into your music?

Bobby: A lot of them did, it was different in every town. A lot of times we were sitting right next to the urinal line so we were playing to people waiting to use the urinals. And on other nights it was a full 2000 person rock concert.

Samuel: Did you guys play the main stage on any of the dates? I know you guys played the side stage here in town.

Bobby: Side stage every night.

Samuel: I was interested to see that you got nominated for a Grammy at age 7, what was that for?

Bobby: That was for country duet of the year in 1974. I sang with my dad and we got beat by the Pointer Sisters. Freaky-dinky.

Samuel: Very few people can say that they got beat by the Pointer Sisters, especially for...

Bobby: Country duet by the Pointer Sisters.

Samuel: That's a song I missed somewhere, the Pointer Sisters doing country.

Bobby: Yeah.

Samuel: Seeing that you've been involved in music so long, has it ever been hard to keep from burning out on it?

Bobby: No, it's challenging when everyone gets angry and quits, but this is what I do. People come to see the songs, they come to see the songs performed. We just happen to be the people performing them. It's gets frustrating, but it's what I do. This is it. I love the challenge of 'Boom! Here are two new guys, go with it.'

Samuel: Does it help getting new people in the band to put a fresh spin on things and keep the sound revolving.

Bobby: Yes, it's so fresh, and it's a pleasant, pleasant challenge. A lot of uncertainty I'm not used to, so that's exciting as well.

Samuel: With your dad being Bobby Bare and veteran of the music business, has his feedback helped you in anyway deal with this?

Bobby: It doesn't help, because Dad just says 'they're musicians, it doesn't matter, you're the star.' And I say 'No Dad, I'm trying to do a band thing.' And he's like 'Yeah, yeah. I don't know why you ever let them have an opinion anyway.' So I have to say 'Well, I respected their opinion and I want them to feel involved if they're going to dedicate their lives to my career.'

Samuel: Right.

Bobby: He's from a different era.

Samuel: Yeah, he's from the old cut-throat Nashville.

Bobby: He's a dictator, and he can afford to be because he's the star and he's the one who has been there since 1958, you know?

Samuel: So what are you future plans for 2002? Anything special planned?

Bobby: Well, I'm going to finish the Bloodshot album in January, then do the major label album in February, and then move on to...I really don't know. We're playing SXSW I know that.

Samuel: So you're just taking it as it comes?

Bobby: Yeah.

Samuel Barker is Senior Editor. Contact him at suma@rockzone.com.

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