Biographical Notes, Part
Seger thought he was old
when Night Moves came out. "I was 31 or 32 when Night Moves
came out. I remember a member of my band used to say he was
going into country music someday because they don't care how
old you are...and once you are beyond Teen magazine in rock,
you are history." April
13, 1986. Robert Hillburn, L.A. Times. "Bob Seger returns in
the eye of the storm."
"Of course it feels funny
being 41 and rocking. But I actually felt more embarrassed
about it when I was 31 --
then I really felt old. But it was nothing compared to when
I was 18. At 18, I wanted to get big enough so that I would
make maybe 20 grand a year between the ages of 25 and 30.
After that, I figured, I would be burned out and go travel
through Europe. The revival shows in the '50s and '60s
didn't make me feel very optimistic about the future of
rock. Even when they featured people I really admired, like
Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley, it all had the air of a last
hurrah. I'm happy it didn't turn out that way, that they're
still viable." May 14,
1986, Stephen Holden, The New York Times. "Bob Seger's View
of Life and Loving"
1986: "Now that I'm in my
40's, I worry about the physical toll of touring, so I'm
trying to keep myself in top physical condition. I'm also at
the age when I'd like to have a child. If and when that
happens, I'd like to do what John Lennon did with his second
child and be there for the kid the first five years. In the
meantime, I'm going to keep performing as long as it feels
relevant and I feel I can give it my best."
Stephen Holden, May
14, 1986, The New York Times. "Bob Seger's View of Life and
1986: "Now I'm 41 and I've
never had a family and I have to come to terms with that...I
look around and see friends of mine with 15 year-old sons
and daughters...I think I really missed that whole thing
doing what I do." Richard
Harrington, August 17, 1986, Washington Post. Bob Seger:
Rocking On, With the Voice of Experience.
On having It's A
Mystery rejected by MTV:
"It's simply age
discrimination. I hate to say it, but it's the only thing
that I can think of." Roger
Catlin, Hartford Courant, Spring, 1996
Seger told writer Roy
Trakin that he voted for Reagan in 1984."...only because I
thought Mondale wasn't a good enough leader. I always vote
and you've got to take the one you've voted for. I didn't
think much of Carter, either, so I voted for John Anderson
in 1980." Roy Trakin,
Seger appeared onstage
with Dukakis in Michigan campaign appearances in
The Seger Work
Seger believes in hard
work "because tomorrow someone's going to come along and
we're just going to be irrelevant."
August 17, 1986, Washington Post." Bob Seger: Rocking On,
With the Voice of Experience."
Seger has often mentioned
the advice he got from Freddy "Boom Boom" Cannon:
"He said, 'Do your best,
'cause it's only gonna last two or three years.'"
Kira L. Billik (AP),
January 1996, Traverse City Record-Eagle. "He's older now
but he's still running against the wind."
Graff: Growing up in the
'50s, Seger witnessed "an era when pop stars, even Little
Richard, were old hat after two, three years.'' Growing up
poor, he adds, instilled a drive "to make sure I had that
big stack of chips I could fall back on before I kicked back
at all." Gary Graff,
October 1994, Detroit Free Press. "His New Wife And Child
Have Become Rocker Bob Seger's Focus"
"We've never followed
trends. We've always done what we've done, and I've seen em
come and go for 20 years. In the late '60s, I was
intimidated by Alice Cooper, but I never painted my face. It
wouldn't work if I did change: I wouldn't feel
"Rock and roll has always
seemed like work to me -- a good, honest solid way to make a
living. I put together my first band in high school, the
three-piece Decibels, in order to help earn money for my
family and spending money for school clothes. Rock and roll
was helping to meet my basic needs. And the music I listened
to on the radio kept me feeling positive and hopeful in the
same way." Capitol
Press Release for The Fire Inside
"Sometimes I do get
nostalgic for the really good times I had in high school.
Ever since then, I've been working for a living, supporting
myself and I've always had the bills and everything over my
shoulder. This last six months is the first time I didn't
have to worry about money. After high school, it was work
work work. For the next four and half years, I worked six
nights a week, five sets a night, until I made my first
record. And then when I made that record we started
Morthland, July 1977, Creem. "Bob Seger Conquers the World
(And About Time!)"
Seger on all the
Detroit bands of the 60s -- Stooges, MC5, Mitch Ryder, Bob
Hodge and Catfish, the Rationals, SRC...
"I think those bands came
and went because they just didn't have the stamina to go all
the way. Either that, or in some cases, it was drugs.
There's only three acts I can think of that really kept at
it, kept pounding away. that was Glenn Frey, Ted Nugent and
myself. The others just burned themselves out."
John Morthland, July
1977, Creem. "Bob Seger Conquers the World (And About
You Can't Miss That
"California is just a
place to go to work now. I tried living there a bit when I
was married to Annette and I wouldn't want to do it anymore.
I thought having a lot of entertainment around me would
inspire me, but it didn't work that way. It was deadening."
Susan Whitall, August
24, 1991, The Detroit News. "Long Way Home"
"You feel like a
workaholic because everybody talked about it, everybody was
concerned about it, everybody was dealing with it all the
time. Back here I can work, and then I can come home and put
it away. " Susan
Whitall, August 24, 1991, The Detroit News. "Long Way
"We have a little place in
Florida, but my wife's already put her foot down on that
one. Because at my age, Florida looks pretty good -- in
about three years, I'll be 54 and I might be looking hard at
those golf courses. But nope. We're gonna send our kids to
elementary school down the street (in Michigan.)"
Brian McCollum, March
8, 1996, Detroit Free Press. "Detroit Never
manager lives ten miles from me, and he's probably my best
buddy." Roy Trakin,
On his friendship with
Frey: "Glenn and I used to [get] together in the
Sixties and do stuff like go see Planet of the Apes totally
ripped. He sort of idolized me 'cause he was just a kid --
maybe 18 -- and I was all of 23, with a string of local
hits....I was always kinda the heavy guy, while Frey liked
the Byrds and Beau Brummels, all that sweet stuff and
harmonies that the Eagles do now. I was always telling him
to 'heavy up,' but I guess he'd done okay."
Rolling Stone, July 29, 1976
"It was the golden rule,
really right on down the line. Never steal, never lie. And
always pay those bills. Never miss a bill and always watch
your money. Always be good to people and you'll get it back
and always look for the good in people, and ignore the bad
if you can. You know, that's just the way she brought me
up." Dave Marsh, June
15, 1978, Rolling Stone. "Bob Seger: Not A Stranger
"I was conditioned
throughout my first ten years in the business never to
expect anything. And my mom hammered into me, "If you're a
pessimist when the good things happen, you'll be that much
happier and won't be disappointed when they don't."
Timothy White, May 1,
1980, Rolling Stone. "The Fire This Time"
Because his mother was
"cynical about a lot of things," Seger "always expected the
worst. And I battled that, because she was my chief parental
inspiration. I've had to battle that for a long time. So I
have those moments, but I try to overcome them, I try to
beat them down. And I just don't write when I'm in that
frame of mind." Susan
Whitall, August 24, 1991, The Detroit News. "Long Way
On his friendship with Glenn Frey
"We were real good friends
when I was like 20, and Glenn was 17. ..he was one of our
biggest boosters. I remember when they weren't even the
Eagles yet, they talked Linda Rondstat into doing 'Big
River' and a couple of my songs from my Mongrel album...and
he was always boosting me in California, saying we gotta
rock like this, because Glenn was really the rocker in the
band initially...and then Henley got really deep into rock
and roll as well..." Radio
Interview: In the Studio with Redbeard for Against the Wind.
"I really try to leave
everything on the stage. I really do. I think it's a lot
healthier. I've seen a lot of people take themselves way too
seriously in this business. I don't really even have that
many friends in this business. Outside of the Eagles, I
don't have anybody I know really closely, and I never have."
Steve Morse, September
11, 1980, Boston Globe. "Bob Seger Runs Against the
"[Ann Arbor] was really conservative when I was a
kid, it was Eisenhower-ish when I was a kid. My father was a
Republican and my mother was real strict as far as honesty
and as far as paying the bills. That was hammered all the
time: you must pay the bills at the end of each week, and
don't spend too much, and all that. That's heavily
ingrained, even today." May
1979 radio interview.
It's not my purpose to
focus on the past or expose private matters. The music is
what matters, and in that regard, there are some aspects of
Seger's relationships with women that have been front and
center in his songs. His long relationship with Jan, and the
ending of that relationship, formed the basis of much of his
work, just as his new family is central to his current work.
Seger was married for one
day short of a year in 1968. He has referred to it as a
foolish, impulsive marriage. He was married a second time in
1987 to Annette Sinclair, an actress (Thief of Hearts and
Weekend Pass) and model (Pontiac commercials). They divorced
a year later. He married Nita Dorricott in 1993.
On breaking up with Jan after 11 years:
"The same thing happened
to my brother, George. He was married the same amount of
time, and it just dies. Those things happen. Maybe if I had
a more normal life, it would have lasted longer. I don't
know....When I first met Jan, she was 20 years old. When we
broke up, she was 31. I think I was a little more set in my
ways because I was seven years older and I knew exactly
where I was going and what I wanted to do...we tried very
hard to make it work." Roy
Trakin, Creem, 1987?
The breakup "sent me off
into unknown territory. I was always used to having someone
there, was really used to Jan. I didn't have that anchor
"After 13 years of
relationships, it's very strange. The best way I can
describe it is the line in "The Aftermath" -- 'It's a cold
hard scene, the singles thing, losers everywhere. And it
hurts to the bone." Gary
Graff, May 4, 1986, The Detroit Free Press. "The rock of
Gary Graff, writing in the
Detroit Free Press in October 1994, asked Seger about work
and family life:
After his mother died in
1989, "I really started to think, 'Who am I doing it for
now? Both my parents are gone; is it just for me?' And then
when Nita came along, and then Cole, it was like 'OK, this
is another new change, and I don't want to blow it. So I got
serious about that.'" Gary
Graff, October 1994, Detroit Free Press. "His New Wife And
Child Have Become Rocker Bob Seger's
Seger's son Cole is named
after producer David Cole.
"I want (Cole) to feel
what I didn't feel when I was a kid, which is a great sense
of affection and stability."
"I've just changed my
whole value system; I know what's important. I want to be a
good dad. I want to be a good husband. That's my top
priority. And if I can still do my work well, great..."
Gary Graff, October
1994, Detroit Free Press. "His New Wife And Child Have
Become Rocker Bob Seger's Focus"
Originally, Seger thought
a family might possibly be an intrusion on his work, "but
it's a focuser. The things that don't mean so much become so
clear, and if the song isn't quite good enough and you're
beating yourself up over it, you say, 'Next.'"
Kira L. Billik (AP),
January 1996, Traverse City Record-Eagle. "He's older now
but he's still running against the wind."
"I love being a dad. It's
the best thing that ever happened to me."
Fred Shuster, February
2, 1996, Los Angeles Daily News, "Still the same enduring
rocker Bob Seger finds a niche in the '90s"
"I'm a very lucky guy.
I've got a great wife and two great kids, and I can't
complain. If it all ends today, I can't complain. I've done
well." Kira L. Billik,
January 7, 1996, Associated Press. "Seger hits the road -
with diaper bag."
"I've always had a social
conscience, but suddenly when you have kids something that
used to just get you upset now becomes an outrage. The
future becomes an issue -- not yours, but theirs. Yours is
inevitable, but you're a guardian of theirs. What kind of
world are we going to leave them?"
Tower" Internet Pages, 1996
"I read this thing by (columnist) Bob Greene, who is a good
writer. He wrote about his little girl. He said, 'I was
afraid this would change me, but all it's done is make life
better.' He sold me on it." Steve
Morse, Boston Globe, September 25, 1986. "Bob Seger Ready to
Turn the Page."
Another selling point has
been the recent first baby born to Alto Reed, longtime
saxophonist of Seger's Silver Bullet Band.
"He's just thrilled to
death. We actually had to hold him down and say, 'You can't
fly home to Miami anymore.' He'd have one day off and would
fly down to see his kid. He was wearing himself out."
Steve Morse, Boston
Globe, September 25, 1986. "Bob Seger Ready to Turn the
In the early 1990s, Seger
visited Katmandu in support of the Special Olympics. Here's
what he wrote about his trip, as told to Gary Graff in the
Detroit Free Press, in the article "Seger finally goes to
"A few weeks ago, I was in
Katmandu, the capital of Nepal, visiting King Birendra Bir
Bikram Shah Dev. I didn't expect to end up talking about my
music with a monarch, but at one point, out of the blue, the
king leaned back and asked, 'What made you write that song,
"I gave him the same
answer I've given many interviewers.
"When I was 5, my dad
would show me National Geographic. When I was 8, Sir Edmund
Hillary and Tenzing Norgay climbed Mt. Everest for the first
time. I always was fascinated by exotic places, and I wrote
the song from the perspective of someone who yearned for a
place as far from America as anybody could get, someplace
exotic and distant...
"I found visiting Katmandu
a bittersweet experience, however. There is, of course, the
great beauty of the Himalayas and of the Buddhist temples,
as well as the spirituality of the people. But there is no
disguising the fact that this is a third world country; it's
the fourth poorest in the world...one in five children is
dead before age 1; the average adult life span is 42
"What made the trip most
worthwhile was working with Special Olympics. We had such a
great time with the kids...I worked with 14-year old Min
Sejuwal, who is from a town in the Mu Gu province west of
Katmandu. He was such a great kid. His father was a leper
with no hands who died when Min was a year old...
Gonna Tell My Tale, C'mon
Is Seger writing an
autobiography? One e-mail message I got reported the rumor
that he was. In a way it makes sense: Seger loves to read
biographies, and from childhood to stardom he's forged the
kind of life that makes good reading. Not only that, but --
judging from the number of hits to The Seger File -- there's
a large base of people out there wanting to read about
On the other hand, if he
really were writing an autobiography -- or cooperating on a
biography with a writer -- it seems like someone would have
reported on it...and I've read and heard nothing about this,
except one stray rumor.
Besides...where would he
find a thoughtful co-author with a respectful and
encylopedic knowledge of his career and an abiding interest
in his music? Hmmm?
Caves and Barbed Wire
In a couple of interviews,
Seger cites Ted Nugent as having given him some seminal
advice in a cave in Festus, Missouri, where they both had
been booked to perform. Seger, still a struggling regional
star, was upset about playing in a cave. The sound was
terrible. But Nugent would stand for no self-pity. "No
crybabies in rock 'n' roll," he reportedly advised. Seger
later told Bob Costas that the peptalk helped him keep going
through the early, tough years.
Seger File reader Judi Hay
was at the concert and adds this report:
"It was really
good, as I recall, except as you can imagine, the sound
wasn't the best. I went with my boyfriend at the time who
remembers that Bob Seger played the song "The Stealer"
Seger was a virtual unknown at the time and so
there weren't even that many people there. Probably no
more than 100! Maybe even less
We all sat around on
blankets on the concrete floor
There was this
local guy around town named Leland Ogle who fancied
himself a bigtime concert promoter who put the whole
Nugent and Seger have
since gone down vastly different paths, Back in the late
1990s, Nugent commented on Seger to writer Gary
"I'd love to write some
music that would really show off Bob's voice," Nugent told
writer Gary Graff a couple of years ago. No hint on what
type of song Ted thinks Bob ought to be singing...but it
strikes me that writing songs that showcase his voice is
kind of what Seger had been doing for, oh, about 30 years.
Nugent has tried to talk to Punch about the subject, but
according to Nugent, Punch "has created a barbed-wire
defense network against all things Nuge,which I think is
cute. It makes me that much more intense."
On the issue of CDs versus
LPs, Seger reportedly misses vinyl -- especially the fact
that vinyl has a side two. "Yes, yes, yes! Because you've
got a chance to start another side, like you've got two
starting points. I miss albums in general. They had a warmer
sound on the bottom end of some stuff. I think digital
recording is a little harsh." The
Mr. Showbiz Interview Archive: Bob Seger, by Gary Graff,
November 17, 1995.
"I'm getting more and more
into computers with recording, and I work with drum
computers now as I write. What I see in computers is a great
way to organize and communicate. My engineer David Cole
always has his out. If he's in England working with
somebody, I can e-mail him. It's great."
The Mr. Showbiz
Interview Archive: Bob Seger, by Gary Graff, November 17,
Seger has a 1,100-acre
grain farm in Michigan that loses money. "One of the reasons
I didn't want to play at Farm Aid was I thought it might be
hypocritical. I think we're probably getting some of that
aid now." Jack Curry,
Spring 1986, USA Today. "Bob Seger sings blues no
In 1992, Seger was stalked by a 29 year-old woman who
believed Seger looked at her in a 1987 concert and
mesmerized her. She wanted Seger to be a character witness
in a custody hearing involving her children. Seger obtained
a restraining order, preventing her from coming within 100
feet of house. June
24, 1992, Detroit Free Press. "'Mesmerized woman is after
In 1987, Seger received a star at the Hollywood Walk of
Fame, in front of the Capitol Records Tower building. His
handprints and signature were added to the Rockwalk on
Sunset Boulevard in 1994.
Columnist Bob Greene on Seger and Springsteen: "...the
things Springsteen has been celebrated for -- singing about
the real America, reaching emotions buried deep, connecting
with the true concerns in ordinary people's lives -- Seger
has been doing longer and better than Springsteen has. But
he has never been celebrated in the way Springsteen has been
celebrated from the start." Bob
Greene, 1986, Chicago Tribune. "Bob Seger: Still the unsung
hero of American rock."
The website for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame includes
lesson plans to hyelp educators integrate history and music.
The first lesson plan is entitled "Historical Revisionism"
and requires students to analyze the lyrics of Seger's
"Revisionism Street." An excerpt:
seldom perceived by students as an ongoing
process....This lesson will introduce a dynamic quality
to history, one which indicates that history is the
product of...non-objective historians...
"The student will be
1) Analyze the song
"Revisionism Street" by Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet
Band and identify its overall meaning...
2) Explain how
revisionism operates in the real world, the way Seger
John Mellencamp, with some wrong-headed advice as to why
Seger ought to play the same song endlessly in concert, even
though a lot of fans like me would just go nuts if Seger
would once and a while reach back and play something
"People pay for a
couple of tickets, a lot of money, and I know why they're
there. They're not there to see me be self-indulgent and
play nine out of 12 songs off of this record and go, 'Oh,
I forgot to play 'Pink Houses.' They wouldn't like
"I went to see Bob
Seger once, and he didn't play 'Ramblin' Gamblin' Man.' I
walked up to him after the show and said, 'You didn't
play 'Ramblin' Gamblin' Man.' He said, 'I haven't played
that in years,' and I said, 'I don't give a ... That's
the song I wanted to hear. It was a good thing I didn't
have to pay, or I would've been mad.' I don't want anyone
to feel that way about me, y'know?"
Reuters, January 1999. "New label, album energize veteran
rocker John Mellencamp."
In Playgirl's first issue,
Seger was listed as one of the ten sexiest men in
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