Q&A with Bob Schneider

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According to eonline.com and ukhairdressers.com, Bob Schneider has been romantically linked to Sandra Bullock. So whatever you think about his music, it comes down to who's dated Sandra Bullock. And you haven't. But never mind the Bullocks. The Austin music veteran was also a member of the Scabs and has a regular gig at the legendary Antones. So there.

lawrence.com: Are you driving or are you being driven?

Bob Schneider: I'm driving.

But you're in no danger?

No. Not any more than the usual.

I can't condone being interviewed while driving, but I guess you have to be the one to make that decision.

Okay.

Are you currently on the road? Well literally you are, but are you touring?

No, I'm in Austin. I'm just playing a couple gigs in Houston tonight and tomorrow.

What keeps you in Texas?

I love Austin. It's a great city. I have a lot of success here. I can play locally and earn enough money to support myself. Mainly I stay here because I love it. And of course my band lives here and I've got lots of friends.

Past Event

Wakarusa Music & Camping Festival 2004

  • Saturday, June 19, 2004, midnight
  • Clinton State Park, Clinton Lake, Lawrence
  • All ages / $40 - $105

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What's your favorite thing about Austin?

The people are really nice.

How often are you able to play in Austin?

I've played as often as 11 times in 12 nights in Austin, but normally I play at least once a week in Austin when I'm at home. But I play sometimes up to four or five times a week when I'm at home. It just really depends. I have a residence gig that I've been doing for about five years. I play every Monday night at the Saxon Pub when I'm at home. And I was doing Tuesday nights as well at a place called Antone's. And then I book kind of bigger shows on the weekend. But it varies. So anywhere from one to five shows a week.

Do you ever run into Matthew McConaughey?

Uh, no. I never have. I don't think he lives in Austin anymore. I think he moved a long time ago, actually.

Did they boot his drunk ass out?

I don't think he got booted out. I heard he had a house and then he sold the house, but I think that was many years ago.

What do you want to tell me about your new record, "I'm good now." It's about being dead or something? Or alive?

About being alive?

Your website commentary says that it's about things being good since you died.

The record, like all my stuff, is just about life in general and the relationships I have to people in the world and the world itself, and the relationship I have with myself. It's mostly, ya know, dealing with that, dealing with being alive and being a human being on the planet. But the title track, the narrator in that song is saying that that's what he wants written on his tombstone. He wants that ("I'm good now.") inscribed on there.

How much of your music is autobiographical?

None of it's autobiographical. Actually I did write one song one time called "Orlando" that was autobiographical, but everything else is just made up. I borrow bits and pieces of my life and other peoples' lives, and then I'll just make up the rest and then try to make it rhyme, and then I usually try to make things more dramatic than they actually are. And I also try to make myself look good so people will like me. I try not to make myself look like a big dick, which I can be in real life. So I try not to put that in my songs too much.

You're less concerned about that on your website judging by your choice of photos.

I don't even know what's up online.

There's a series of photos from your musical past that you make audio commentary on, and during your "Joe Rockhead" era you talk for a while about your silly hat. But you never mention your hair or "beard."

Oh yeah, the hair. That was in. I think I was going for a Mike Patton from Faith No More look.

Could be.

That was a funk band, and that was a regulation funk haircut - short on the sides, ponytail on the back. I may try to bring that back, actually.

You won't have to bring it back in Texas. During your "Bitter Lemon" era, you cultivated a Scott Baio look. It's really quite uncanny.

Uh, no. (laughing) I don't know. It's possible.

Schneider Loves Chachi.

That was pre-acid.

Does the same stuff that inspires your music inspire your artwork?

They kind of come from the same place. I just love to make them. I like to create things. The cool thing about making music and art - you don't need a lot of tools to create something. If I wanted to make a bridge, I'd need concrete and steel, and it's heavy to move that crap, whereas with a song all you need is a pen and paper and a guitar, and maybe something to record it on. But it all comes from the same place. I love the act of creating things. It's a very exciting process where one minute there's nothing there and the next minute there's something there. And then you can go around and tell people that you actually are responsible for it even though I'm not necessarily convinced that's the case. But I'm more responsible than maybe someone else, so I can claim it as mine and show it off to people or whatever.

Do you still encounter pissed off Scabs fans?

Oh yeah. There's people all the time that wanna hear Scabs stuff, and people beg me to bring the Scabs on the road, and I won't do it. I tried to bring the Scabs out once. For three weeks we did a little tour of the States. We had the police on the bus twice. One of the guys got his arm broke. We got banned from HoJo's. There was a grand theft incident, grand theft auto, that luckily the police didn't find out about.

These were band members?

Yeah, they're criminals and they're drug addicts in that band. And I love - the band is amazing, it's the best band I've ever played in. But I don't like to travel with those guys 'cause I don't like the idea of going to jail. So I restrict those gigs to local gigs - Austin, sometimes we'll play Dallas and Houston, but they're too dangerous to travel with. I do play Scabs songs. When we play the festival in Lawrence we'll be doing some Scabs songs.

Are you looking forward to coming back to Lawrence?

I love Lawrence. It might be my favorite place to play outside of Austin. I don't know what it is, something about the Bottleneck. That's like a real club. The f*cking green room is f*cking insane. They used to have mattresses up there. They just took the mattresses out.

No more futon?

They've got some bench and some seating up there now. They used to have these old f¢cked up mattresses that obviously - hopefully - in my imagination they've been used to have sex on, and who knows what else. But, I don't know. That club - I really believe that certain places have energy, and for whatever reason, that Bottleneck has a great sexual, cool f*cking beautiful energy. Every time I play there it feels really magical for whatever reason. ... And I like walking around Lawrence. I love that town. I got my haircut at a place called Headmasters and everybody there was gay, and they call the place "Headmasters," which I thought was the funniest thing I've ever heard. So I don't know. The place has got a good vibe. I dig it. I'm really looking forward to coming up to that festival.

You guys were on Leno. Is his head enormous?

I don't remember his head being enormous. The thing that I remember about it was that he is like the nicest guy you will ever meet in your life. And he's like one of the funniest guys I've ever been around. He's naturally hilarious. But we were hanging out. We got there at like 10 o'clock in the morning for soundcheck and he was already there. I guess he's like a workaholic. He gets there really early and stays there all day. But he came around to all the dressing rooms, and we're like nobody, and he didn't know who we were, but he went around and was talking to everybody. He was so funny. Of course then when he gets up and does the monologue, that shit is just not funny at all. But in real life, the guy is just truly, wonderfully nice, and really hilarious. After meeting that guy I was like, "Well, it's obvious why this guy is as successful as he is." He's just a really talented, nice guy. But I don't remember his head being big or anything.

What's your favorite Playstation 2 game?

Definitely Tiger Woods. It was Tony Hawk until I got the Tiger Woods 2004, and that thing kills me.

I've got '03.

'03 is good. '04 is even better.

The sound effects are so soothing.

Oh, I love that game like crazy.

Have you played Tony Hawk Underground?

Oh yeah. I get that the day it comes out and play it til I'm done with it. I mean, Tony Hawk was definitely my favorite for a long time. Still, the greatest game of all time, though, is Legend of Zelda, as far as I'm concerned. That game had a profound spiritual effect on my life. It was a life-changing event, playing that game.

After all this time in Austin, you must have some feelings about George or Jena Bush.

I don't know anything about those people. All I know is what I've read in those Michael Moore books, and it's a little scary. But who knows if that stuff's correct or not. I don't know what Michael Moore's agenda is, but the whole thing seems a little bit sketchy. I've always been distrustful of all politicians. They're kinda like lawyers. They're really fun to hang out with and they're really likeable people, but what they do is pretty dirty business.

Hey, we're going to be a nonsmoking city as of July 1. Any thoughts?

I think that is super ultra totally f*cked up. And I don't smoke. I quit smoking six years ago. I think that is so lame. I think it's so f*cking lame I can't even f*cking begin to tell you. I'm sorry. That's the way I feel, but I feel that way about drugs. I think that all drugs should be legal, and people should be allowed to do drugs. Same with cigarettes. Mesa, Ariz., is the same thing, by the way. You can't smoke anywhere in Mesa. I played an outdoor show in Mesa, Ariz., and you could not smoke. Outside. You can only smoke in your car or in your house. Is that what it's going to be in Lawrence?

You can still smoke outside. But eventually you'll only be allowed to smoke in the nicotine gulags. Those are still in the planning stages though.

So you can still smoke outside, just not in the clubs.

Clubs, bars, restaurants - no public building.

Well, restaurants I can see why you shouldn't be allowed to smoke, but how can you enjoy an alcoholic beverage if you can't smoke if you're a smoker?

Apparently other places have been doing this for a while, and they've become veritable Utopias.

I take the Bill Hicks' stance on smoking and nonsmoking.

And that is?

He's like, "I would quit smoking, but I don't wanna become a whiny maggot like you nonsmokers." I don't know. I can't do Bill Hicks. It won't be funny. It'll just sound like I'm angry.

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