the Seger File
- The 2011
Updates (Jan -July)
- Nine Years
Seger File's Birthday Party
more unreleased tracks
more unreleased tracks
Into the Vault --
more unreleased tracks
to the Vault -- 18 More Unreleased Tracks
Vault --31 Unreleased Tracks
but Unreleased --Unreleased Seger from
of Fame Photos
- A collection of great
Seger's Greatest Hits
- Greatest Hits
- The Promised Live
- The Promised Studio
- Seger on the
Bob Seger Collection --(Australian Greatest
- A Very Special
- Other Album
Seger Tribute Album
- Sing Your Own
- Perfect Albums?
- Check the
- Who Picks the
- The Lonely
- Ballad of the Yellow
It To Me, Santa
- If I Were A
- Bombs Away
- Chances Are
- My Take on Chances
- Reaching Number
- Released on Singles,
But Not on Albums
- Covered by
- Written By Seger,
Recorded by Others
- Night Moves
- Old Time Rock and
- Like a Rock
- Real Love
- Fire Inside
- Night Moves
- Turn the
- It's A
- Chances Are
- Ten for Two
- The Cobo Hall
- The Palace
- Who Does the Song
- Ancient History
- How Seger Sees
- Singer or
Seger and Victory
- The Mystery
- How the Song Became An
- Good Song, Great
- Bad Press, Bad
- Through the Lean
- Bob's View
- Insults and Dead
- Fix Or Repair
- Early Days
- Places He
- More Dues-Paying
- Lead Singer Vs. Guitar
- The Slow Road to
Requisites of Greatness
- Theories: Why It Took
- "You Are Now Leaving
- What Is Success?
- Early Bands
- The Town
- The Omens
- Democracy Rocks
- Later Bands
- Bob Seger and the Last
- The Bob Seger
- Julia/My Band/Borneo
- Muscle Shoals
- The Silver Bullet
- Related Bands
- Alto Reed
- Detroit? Ann
- We Even Sang the Parts
the Instruments Were Playing
- A Father
- Fire and the Memory of
- All the Wild, Wild Good
- Interests and
- Predicting the Future,
Then and Now
- On Growing
- The Seger Work
- You Can't Miss That
- Friends and
- Let's Dig Up Something
Gonna Tell My Tale,
- Of Caves and Barbed
Tours and Shows
Primo, R&R Farm, Suds Factory and Chances
- The Agora
- On the Road
- Jackson County
- Pontiac, the Michigan
Jam and Other Victories
- Seger in the
- The 1983 Tour
- The Last
- They'll Never Be in The
Arena, But They Get to Write the Reviews
- San Francisco
- Vancouver (Canada)
- The Set List
- The Set List
- The Set List Analyzed
- Bringing the
- Tour Notes
- Thirsty for
- A Review of the
- Palace of Auburn
- The 2006-07
- A compilation of e-mail
messages. Some favorite are:
- -- Hope
to see you tonight
- -- Motor
- -- The
- -- The
7-Eleven and the Winter Olympics
- -- He
gave me a strange look
- -- Now
that we're older
- More great letters.
- -- Seger,
- -- My
Dad, Bob and Charlie
- -- I
work for General Motors
- -- Seger
and Mohammad Ali
- -- The
last thing I hear from Bob Seger
- -- Road
trip to Ann Arbor
- -- I
never spoke to Bob, but he always spoke to
New Email Pt. II
- -- Bob
at the Roseland Inn
- -- Seger
- -- Backstage
with a bad pass
- -- Put
the car in park
- -- Starry
- -- Cool
- -- The
bridge from Motown
- -- The
Seger-starved masses plead for tour
- -- The
Stories and Misc. Email
best thing you could say
days of baseball and Bob
with the lighter
"The Lonely One"
Inks SimTour Deal, Gets
Seger Cam is back online
Michigan Jam 2
Medicated Top 20
Money for Music
Back to Work
- A guide
to surfing The Seger File at work.
the Seger File Is Here -- Getting Over Bob
April 1, 2005 --
Reissues, Rare Tracks and
Great Reads -- A Segerfile Round-Up.
This week's reissue of
Rhino's Burt Bacharach tribute album provides another
glimpse of Seger.
Personally, I never got
the whole Burt Bacharach thing. With a few exceptions --
like Dusty Springfield's "The Look of Love," and Love's
cover of "Little Red Book" -- most of Bacharach's songs
struck me as pretty lame.
In fact, Love, Seger
and The White Stripes contribute the only good tracks on
this disk. The rest of the CD is largely drek.
B.J. Thomas's rendition
of "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head" was bad enough the
first time around. Hearing it again makes me wish
something much heavier, like an anvil, would land on his
It gets worse. Tom
Jones' smarmy "What's New, Pussycat" should be digitally
encoded so that it can never be played again. And the
only good thing about Herb Alpert, who ruins "Walk On By"
here, was the whipped cream girl on the album
It would be hard not to
shine in this company, but Seger's track would stand out
anywhere. He covers "Do You Know the Way to San Jose?"
and turns it into a classic.
The hit version, by
Dionne Warwick, is one of the worst top-forty viruses in
history. Hear it once on some easy listening station and
you'll be humming its inane melody all day.
Yet Seger makes this
song real. When he asks "Do you know the WAY," he hits
the last word with the yowling energy of a hellhound --
think of "When you WERE a young girl" from his cover of
"River Deep, Mountain High." With Warwick on vocals, this
song was never more than a ditty. Seger brings genuine
You get the sense that
he really wants to get to San Jose, and that it's not
just some city in California. With Seger at the helm, San
Jose becomes a metaphor for something else -- the
mountaintop, maybe, or a life well lived. You can tell by
the depth of the vocals that Seger is going to keep
searching until he finds it.
Seger rips the bridge
to shreds, putting the Carpenters' version to
- L. A. is a great
- Put a hundred down
and buy a car
- In a week -- maybe
two -- they'll make you a sta-arr!
originally released in 1977, when Seger was still rockin'
his way up, so he's in top voice here.
Searching for San Jose, and not afraid to ask for
The Rhino re-issue
comes with a commemorative booklet with some nice
snapshots of Arthur Lee, Bob and the other artists. No
whipping cream girl, sadly. But The White Stripes version
of "Baby, It's You" really cooks.
True Sailing Is
Next up, and due for
release in May '05 is "Love
U 2 Times," a
tribute to The Doors. As you know, Seger rarely
contributes to these compilation albums, so getting two
in two months is a real treat.
In this case, the track
list is mostly filled with younger bands and artists --
Maroon 5, Fountains of Wayne, Aimee Mann, Nara Leao,
Lucero -- but Seger is joined by a few stellar veterans
including Tom Waits, Randy Newman and a previously
unreleased track by Janis Joplin.
Through a radio station
friend, I was able to hear a few preview cuts --
unfortunately, Seger's track is not among the previews.
But Joplin's cut is fantastic.
She belts out "Hello, I
Love You" with incredible energy. You can tell she's just
fooling around while the tape happens to be running, but
somehow that makes it even more powerful.
Similarly, Tom Waits
takes the already devilish "The End" into a whole new
level of hell. In contrast, Randy Newman's ironic wit is
mainly wasted on "When the Music's Over."
"Horse Latitudes," is bound to be one of the most
unusual. Who can forget Morrison wailing "Awkward
instant, and the first animal is jettisoned!" Lots of
drama here, but not much melody -- it's mainly a
talking/shouting kind of thing. The press release says
Seger was given this cut because of his howling on
Live DVD -- Missing,
These peeks and
glimpses of Seger are the good news. The bad news is that
we won't be getting the real look we've been waiting for
-- by which I mean Seger's concert DVD -- for quite a
while, if at all.
"Hey, Detroit!" -- the
long-awaited concert DVD with Seger footage from Cobo,
Germany, Madison Square Garden as well as Ann Arbor and
some black and white Hideout clips -- has been taken off
the release list, according to Punch's office.
The problem, once
again, is technical difficulties. "All the footage was
digitally remastered and almost ready to go," according
to Punch, when a technical problem in the editing suite
destroyed the only remaining uncompressed files.
The source videotapes
were in sad shape to begin with, explains Mike Boila from
Punch's office. Once they were digitized, the source
tapes were ditched. "In retrospect, I wish we'd hung on
to them," Boila said. "Also, we probably should have
backed up the disk. But you never expect something like
The glitch occurred
when Kid Rock paid a surprise visit to the normally quiet
editing suite. Kid sauntered in, belting out a verse of
"Cadillac Stiffy," his autobiographical song about the
loneliness of being on the road. The shock caused Boila
to knock a bottle of salad dressing onto the Avid editing
"I was trying to eat
healthy," Boila said. "I wish now it had been a
cheeseburger. Spilling a burger wouldn't have shorted
everything out and fried the memory like that." Indeed,
salad oil and computers don't mix. "There was smoke
coming out of the hard drive," Boila said. Though it was
an accident, Rock reportedly feels terrible about it.
With all the source
tapes and the only digital copy gone, the chances for a
concert DVD anytime soon are slim.
Hope is not entirely
lost, however. "There's one film canister left," said
Boila, "with two hours of 16 millimeter footage that is
really killer stuff. Seger really rocks."
Somewhere along the
line, however, the canister got dropped. "It was sitting
in a mud puddle in back of the office for about ten
years," Boila said. "After that, a family of raccoons had
it. We discovered it when some local kids started using
it as a frisbee. We had to buy it back from them, which
took several years to negotiate."
Now Punch has regained
the rights to the film. Unfortunately, at some point
during negotiations the canister was put into a box
marked "Master Tapes. Valuable. Do Not Discard." That was
the last it was ever seen.
"We're still looking
for it," Boila said. "It's got to be around here
Seger Makes Good On
"Promise," Delivers "On Your Own"
As we all know by know,
when 2003's Greatest Hits 2 was released, Seger took two
tracks that were meant for his new CD and moved them to
GH2. He said at the time that he'd have to write new
songs to replace them.
One of the
replacements, we now know, is a soul-flavored track with
a Memphis feel called "On Your Own."
You can hear Seger
having fun on this cut -- at least, you can hear it once
you listen to the unauthorized sample we've obtained.
How a thing like this
could slip through the tight Seger Security is beyond me.
I'm certain it did not come from the good folks who work
at Ocean Way Nashville. By the way, did you know that the
studio is actually owned by Belmont University, and that
all the employees are actually university employees?
Anyway, as a special
treat, here's this year's Low Bandwidth Special -- a tiny
taste of Seger doing "On
Throw the Book At
Of course, before you
can throw it, you'll have to buy it.
Some who follow the
Seger File have noticed that I've been disappearing now
and then. A couple of times the site has gone untended
for four or five months. Email doesn't get answered, or
gets answered late with apologies and vague mentions of
Funny how that happens.
It's also funny How the Night Moves -- which not
coincidentally is the title of what I hope will be
considered one of the best rock and roll books in recent
memory: Seger's long-awaited and just-released
Was there a ghostwriter
involved, you ask? Well, gee -- maybe. All I can say is,
it's a very well written book. If you like the Seger
File, I'm sure you'll like How the Night Moves. By
All The News That
That's the Seger
round-up for today, April 1, 2005. FYI, there are still a
few unclaimed copies of Dee-PAH
here on my desk. If you don't have yours yet, stop by the
Seger File Headquarters (or your local branch office) and
pick one up. You'll be glad you did.
on the first day of April. As in April 1, 2005. Yep,
that's good old April 1.
Seger Inks SimTour
Deal, Gets Ready to Rock
Doncha Ever Feel
Like Going Insane When the Fiber Optic Beat Goes
For months or years,
the ultimate Seger question has been: "Are You Going to
Now, we finally have an
answer -- and as the saying goes, there's good news and
The good news is, Seger
will soon be playing in a major American city near you.
The bad news is, Seger has decided not to
Which is true? Both --
thanks to the deal finally reached between Seger and
SimTour, the Clear Channel/Whole Earth Company spinoff
specializing in live simulcasts.
While in New York for
the Hall of Fame ceremony, Seger and Punch worked out the
final details in their year-long negotiations with the
high-tech concert promoters.
Percy Smith quotes Punch as saying, "We've resisted this
for a long time, because we wanted to be sure the quality
was there. The fans expect a Seger show and we wanted to
make sure they'd get one." Percy
Q. Smith, April 1, 2004. MusicTech. "Seger
Joins Neil Young, Stones on High Tech
SimTour -- whose
themeline is "How Long Is Your Cord?" -- essentially
allows performers to play at remote locations and be
heard live in arenas full of screaming fans. The music
quality is the same as if the performer were actually on
Seger is quoted in the
article as saying that SimTour is the only option that
works for him now. "I'm 58. Doing a 50-city tour --
that's grueling when you're 30. I'm at a point where I
don't want to do it physically. I don't want to take the
time away from my family. At the same time, I don't want
to disappoint my fans."
Seger File has always claimed to be a website about the
music, not the man. So in that sense, a SimTour seems
fine with me. We get the music, Seger gets to spend time
with his kids. Win-win.
Punch said this would
be an "honest" SimTour -- meaning fans would know in
advance that Bob was actually not in the building.
Previous SimTours by other artists have been done on the
sly. Neil Young was the first to openly acknowledge using
the technology. Young's "Greendale" show is currently
being SimToured around the country.
"It's great for
something like Greendale, because it's so theatrical,"
Young told Entertainment Now recently. "It gives the
audience something to watch, while I sit at home and play
rocker has performed every single show on his current
tour from his home studio in Half Moon Bay. 'When it's
showtime, I go down in the basement and do my thing
for two or three hours. And the fans go nuts in
Boston, or Houston, or wherever the concert happens to
be,' Young says. 'I've got a realtime fiber optic
feed, so I can see the crowd. I can hear what they're
shouting and I can shout back. I can see the signs
they hold up. I've got thirteen views I can choose
from. I can do everything but smell them."
"Young's Crazy Horse
band is also 'touring from home' -- drummer Ralph
Molina has performed most shows from Singapore and the
rest of the band is scattered in studios across the
country. But they hear each other in real time, just
as the crowd in the arena does.
"Bridgette Barlee, a
55-year old Neil Young fan sporting a well-worn
Cinnamon Girl t-shirt, agrees. 'Face it,' she says.
'We're in a huge arena with a million other fans.
Unless you're in the front row, you can't see who the
hell's on stage. I'm here to party.'"
Debt News, April 1, 2004. "Young
stays home, and some fans should
similar article echoes that sentiment. "'Sure, there's a
guy on stage with a hat pulled down over his eyes playing
guitar and pretending to sing,'" Young says. 'The
audience knows it's not me, but it gives people something
to look at. I thought of just having an elephant on
stage, but that turned out to be too expensive. What
happens on stage is just an act, anyway, so who cares?
It's the music that
Gruff, Missing Byline, April 1, 2004. "What's
Next? WebCam Groupies? Actually,
Before Young came out
of the closet, most acts who SimToured pretended to be
there in person.
McCartney hasn't left England in ten years,' one
industry insider was quoted as saying. 'And Rod
Stewart is currently 'on tour,' but if you saw him
these days, you'd probably cross the street. The last
time I talked to Rod he was 300 pounds and needed help
"'These acts hire a
look-alike to mime the words while he sits in a studio
somewhere. In Stewart's case it's not even a
look-alike -- it's a guy who looks the way Rod used to
look. The audience has no clue. They go wild anyway.
It's dishonest.'" Rick
Jackets, Northern Expresso, April 1, 2004.
Raises Ethical Issues, But Most Fans Are Too Drunk Too
The way I see it,
the question for Seger fans is this: Does it matter
how long Seger's cord is? In the old days a microphone
cord was maybe twenty feet long. Seger sang into a mic,
electrons moved through a cord, the sound reached our
ears. We loved it.
These days, the cord is
3,000 miles longer and made of fiber optics. But the
process is the same. Seger, microphone, cord, audience.
The only thing missing is the visual. Hey, I usually
close my eyes at concerts, so I can swim into the sound.
And the Seger shows
will be even more "live" then most SimTours, according to
sax player Alto Reed.
"'A lot of
acts build in a three-second delay and run the whole
show through ProTools 9,' Reed says. 'A week before
the concert, they take all your songs and put them in
memory. So the computer knows exactly how your songs
are supposed to sound. Once the show starts, if
somebody's off-key, or you hit a bad note, ProTools
automatically corrects it. It guarantees every song
comes out exactly the way it's supposed to. You can
even program in little flaws so it doesn't sound too
Stewart's current tour
is widely rumored to be heavily ProTooled. "Those high
notes in Maggie May? Digitally enhanced. That's ProTools
all the way," says one audio technician familiar with the
process. Indeed, Stewart was recently embarrassed when
the orginal sound file of his vocals -- minus digital
enhancements -- surfaced on Internet websites under the
title "Every Picture Tells a Hoary, Disgusting Story,
to Alto Reed, Seger's show will not be
didn't want to do any of that, and Bob doesn't want to
either. We want it to be real,' Reed said. 'Besides,'
he laughed, 'we don't hit bad notes.'"
ManFromUncle.com, April 1, 2004. "Silver
Bullets Not Worried About Spectre of
addition to being honest, Seger's high-tech tour will
also be historic. For the first time ever, all the
concerts on the SimTour will be held on the same night.
The company will use software written just for Seger,
called SimulChop, to pipe the live show into 50 arenas
"'After the Hall of
Fame,' Seger said, 'I realized I didn't want to go
through this 50 times. So Punch said, 'Let's do it all on
the same night. One concert, fifty venues. It just makes
'I'm told the
average venue holds something like 30,000,' Seger
said. 'So when you think about it, that's a million
and half people. That's like three Woodstocks all in
one night. It's the largest concert ever held'"
The SegerFile, April 1, 2004. "Bogus
News Stories Have Fooled Too Many in the Past, So This
Time I'm Making It More
to Punch, "After we decided to SimulChop everything the
same night, the only question was where Bob would
actually be playing."
"'I didn't want to sit
home and play, because you don't get the right feeling,'
Seger said. 'Finally I said, okay, I'll do one live show
on stage in front of a real crowd. And you guys SimulChop
that show to all the other cities."
And what's the lucky
venue? Pine Knob? The Palace? Nope, for the one real
show, Seger chose the FargoDome in North Dakota. "People
in Fargo really know how to rock," Seger said. "I've
known about that for way more than ten years."
The best news is that
the concert will be soon -- as soon as the new CD is
"I'm working on the
last word of the last line of the last song," Seger said.
"It should be done in a couple of months. A year at the
most. Two years tops. Or not."
Bob Seger. Web Site
Parody, April 1, 2004. "When
I Said Thanks to All The Internet People, I Meant The
Other Two Sites."
Reaches "Dee-Pah" Into Vaults for Ancient Live
For a while
now, industry outsiders such as myself have
wondered how long Capitol Records would wait for
a new CD from Bob Seger. Apparently, the new
faces in Capitol's hip boardrooms have decided
eight years is enough, as they announced the
release next month of "DEE-PAH" -- a live album
of vintage Seger that Capitol originally
rejected in the early 1970s. The CD, which
includes a commemorative booklet and poster, can
now be reserved at Amazon.com.
The good news
is that the wait is finally over. DEE-PAH will
be a treat for fans who hunger for Seger's
rougher, rawer earlier days (myself included).
The DEE-PAH concerts were recorded in 1971 and
feature the last live performance of the Bob
Seger System, as well as tracks by Seger with
Teegarden and Vanwinkle.
The bad news,
I suppose, is that the CD may signal a rift with
Capitol, since Seger has long opposed releasing
background for those who came in late: Seger
signed onto Capitol in 1968 and issued four
albums. But the Capitol crowd in the late 1960s
consisted of old guys more interested in The
Lettermen than rock and roll. The label's lack
of interest turned Seger's early albums into
instant cut-out bin fodder. After Mongrel died,
Seger was ready to bolt, but he owed them one
more album, so Bob and Punch conceived the idea
of DEE-PAH -- a live album recorded at Hill
Auditorium in Ann Arbor and at the Chillicothe
Rock Festival in Ohio.
The music was
never recorded with the intent of being
released. The Hill Auditorium show was actually
taped at the request of System drummer Pep
Perrine, who wanted a personal souvenir of the
last System show. The promoter of the
Chillicothe festival -- mindful of the highly
successful Woodstock album -- decided to record
the Ohio festival (without the band's
permission, it turned out) hoping to cash in
with a soundtrack of his own.
resurrected: Seger's live album from the 1970s.
To reserve a copy at Amazon.com, click the
Punch had to
sue to get the tapes, but eventually DEE-PAH was
put together and delivered as Seger's fourth
album, fulfilling his contract. Capitol took one
listen and said "No way." Ultimately, Brand New
Morning was issued instead.
afterward, Seger left Capitol and recorded three
albums on his own label, which was picked up by
Warners. By then, a group of young turks had
taken control at Capitol and they quickly
invited Seger back. Then we all lived happily
ever after, until recently, when a new group of
young turks began pawing through the
The irony is
delicious. Thirty years ago, Seger wanted to
release DEE-PAH and Capitol didn't. Late last
year, the players reversed themselves. With the
wait for Seger's upcoming CD stretching into its
eighth year, it was Capitol arguing to release
the material, and Seger who was
however, legally belong to Capitol. Clearly,
someone at the label has decided that it's
better to make a few bucks and risk Seger's
wrath, than to keep waiting for new
the first time Capitol has rejected and then
released a Seger album -- see the item below on
how the label originally rejected both Live
Bullet and Night Moves.)
that, of course, is insider baseball. The real
question for fans is, Does DEE-PAH deliver?
To which I emphatically respond: Indeed it
It's a short
CD at just 33 minutes -- but every one of them
is springloaded with vintage Seger. The title,
as you've certainly guessed, comes from the
stellar howl at the end of "Heavy Music" -- the
final track from the Hill Auditorium concert.
The Ann Arbor crowd goes wild and Seger prods
them on with the famous refrain: "Deeper! Going
dee-pah! Faster, look around." This is the
"Heavy Music" of the System, not the retooled
"Heavy Music" that the Silver Bullet Band later
played at Cobo. Both are classics, but the
original retains the raw, erotic, garage-rock
sound of the single.
The CD is
worth it for that track alone. But the rest of
the set (or what we hear of it) also delivers.
Knowing it's their final show, the System plays
a high-gear, no-holds-barred set that includes
"Song to Rufus," "Ivory," "Innervenus Eyes" and
"2+2=?" This last song rings out with urgent
authority, given that this was the height of the
Vietnam antiwar movement.Who would have thought,
back then, that the same song would be just as
urgent and meaningful today?
Auditorium cuts were probably meant to be Side
One of the orginal LP. The tracks are tight,
fast, hard-hitting and sonically very clear. All
in all, some great cuts from a great
Of course, I'm
biased. I was there -- June 10, 1971, getting
high on Seger and holding hands with my high
school girlfriend. Can life get any
The Ann Arbor
show ended one chapter for Seger. By the time of
the Chillicothe Festival, three months later, he
was already touring with Teegarden and
Vanwinkle. That show was equally amazing. The
one-day outdoor festival was essentially a hot
August Saturday of scorching sun, beer, grass
and midwest rock and roll. Seger came on early
in the evening and played his solo Brand New
Morning set -- just him, a stool and a
Onstage in Ann Arbor and
Ohio: The CD comes with a commemorative poster.
(Click to enlarge.)
Michigan band, SRC -- soon to become Blue
Sceptor -- came on last and played a dynamite
set climaxing with "Gypsy Eyes." By now it was
fully dark and the Quackenbush twins had the
crowd on its feet. That seemed to be the end,
until suddenly Seger was back. I don't know if
it was planned, but the festival became a Battle
of the Bands at that point. SRC had the crowd on
the ropes and then Seger came back and delivered
the knockout punch. I know, because I was there,
too. (Don't hate me because I'm lucky. Hate me
because I was young and had nothing better to do
than hitchhike around the midwest and go to rock
Chillicothe half of DEE-PAH is a bit truncated.
"River Deep, Mountain High," which drove the
crowd nuts, is not included -- probably because
a similar version was already on Mongrel. On the
other hand, a ragged version of "Lookin' Back"
was included and probably should have been
Hot night in Chillicothe:
Seger rocks the crowd.
But there are
a couple of gems. One is "Driving Wheel" the Tom
Rush ballad that Seger frequently covered. The
second is "Leaning On My Dream" -- another
antiwar song from the System, adapted here with
an organ solo by Skip Knape and a beautifully
crisp vocal by Seger.
the night's highlight -- a ten-minute version of
"Lucifer" that closed the festival -- was
omitted in favor of "God Love & Rock 'n'
Roll." That track, a Skip Knape song, is
essentially the same version most collectors
have heard from "Ten for Two," the John Sinclair
concert. Given the limits of LPs, it probably
wasn't feasible to include the extra-long
"Lucifer." But what a bonus track that would
make for a future CD.
The other cool
thing about DEE-PAH is the booklet. This is the
first time Capitol has taken a stab at anything
like a boxed-set booklet, and the results are
outstanding. I won't give away all of the
surprises, but two of the most interesting
images are the orginal front and back of
Ramblin' Gamblin' Man, before the conservative
folks at Capitol decided Botticelli's Venus was
too racy for America's youth and changed the
naked lady into a blue-robed ice queen. No
wonder Seger left the label!
The original artwork for
Ramblin' Gamblin' Man. Preview copies of the
"Venus" cover sell for over $100 on
collectors who have hoarded bootleg copies of
DEE-PAH (although rare, it's been in circulation
off and on over the years), the booklet provides
a reason to plunk down your $17.95 for an
love the background stories. According to the
booklet, the unofficial censor at Capitol at the
time was a man named Richard Fineman. He was
notorious for screwing up album art and was
known by the derogatory nickname "Dr. Fine." The
little note from Seger on the back of RGM
("Thank you, Dr. Fine") is meant to be sarcastic
-- as in, Thank you for screwing up the cover of
my album. One can only guess how many tens of
thousands of sales were lost thanks to Capitol's
squeamish art department.
One can also
only guess what the release of DEE-PAH means for
Seger and Capitol. Have they given up waiting
for a new CD? Does DEE-PAH fulfill its destiny
by fulfilling Seger's Capitol contract? Does it
herald a label switch, a rift, another two or
three years of waiting, or nothing at
As in all
things Seger, the zen wisdom applies. Those who
say don't know. And those who know don't
meantime, we can all enjoy going
1, 2003. All information about DEE-PAH in this
post is false.
Kid R. and Lady Soul Rock Out at MJ2.
- It wasn't any
"wipes-clean-with-a-damp-cloth" pre-packaged modern
concert, that's for darn sure. Not even close. It was
Michigan rock and roll: The real thing, as the saying
goes -- complete with surprise appearances and a grand
finale that will go down in Seger history.
"It," in case you
haven't guessed, was Michigan Jam 2, the long-delayed
benefit festival that was finally held last week in
Saline, Michigan. Fittingly, the stage was only a mile
from the stomping grounds where a teenage Seger and his
pals held their "grassers" -- impromptu all-night parties
in the fields of unsuspecting farmers. "This time we
don't have to worry about getting caught," Seger told his
fans -- a crowd of 15,000 who braved spring rains to hear
Seger play his first concert since 1996. Fifteen thousand
and one, counting me. But Oregonians like myself are used
to the rain.
More disturbing than
any downpour is the fact that I very nearly didn't
attend. According to the advance MJ2 publicity, Seger was
supposed to play only three songs. Is it really worth
plane fare back to Michigan for three lousy songs? To
heck with that. By my count, Seger rocked through 13
numbers, six of them brand new, not counting the amazing
Seger takes the
stage at a rainy MJ2 in Saline,
It was a night that
brought back memories. The first Michigan Jam, you
might recall, was held in 1976 in Martin, Michigan. The
first time around, Seger shared the bill with Heart. The
highlight of that night came during "Let It Rock," when a
spotlight swung high above the stage to showcase Alto
Reed pulverizing the crowd with his sax solo -- from a
hot air balloon!
Nothing like that was
needed this time around -- the crowd was going wild from
the moment Seger took the stage. "Been a long time," were
his first words to the crowd. Naturally, I sensed he was
talking specifically to me -- but so did 15,000 others.
That's part of the Seger magic.
Musically, the song
selection was something of an homage to the hometown
crowd. "Brave Strangers" was a natural, but "Big River"
caught me by surprise. It sounds better than ever today.
"2+2=?" was introduced as "a song for the '60s and a song
for today." A rocker called "Mangled" seemed to be about
misplaced blame, or perhaps unrequited love. "Love is
dangled, the truth is mangled, on chaotic sandy shores,"
Toward the middle of
the set, something was clearly distracting him offstage.
In my customary role as crazed loner, I was able to
squirrel close to the front row, and I could hear him say
repeatedly, "Not yet." They moved into a haunting new
ballad called "Michigan City," followed by a song that
brought down the house and could have easily closed the
whole set -- "Lookin' Back." More new stuff followed,
including a hard-edged "Revisionism Street"-style song
called "I Got You In My Site" condemning...well,
condemning people who run web sites and print cheesy,
untrue stuff about celebrities. Present company excepted,
Finally Seger said,
"Okay -- now!" and Kid Rock bounded on stage. Party time?
Not quite. Their first song together was an almost-tender
"Brand New Morning." After a moment of silence in memory
of Dave Thomas, they gave "Turn the Page" a funky edge
like you've never heard before.
It's a brand new
version of "Brand New Morning." Seger and Kid Rock get
The entire event was a
benefit for Michigan Cherries and Ferries. The fetching
young staffers in their Cherries and Ferries t-shirts
were a wonderful sight, but it turns out the organization
is dedicated to supporting cherry farmers -- a group
worthy of support, but a far less attractive breed,
generally speaking. The main idea is to raise funds for
the huge cross-lake railroad ferries which used to sail
from Northern Michigan to Wisconsin. Reinstating the
ferries will help Northern Michigan cherry growers get
their product to market -- a worthy goal in Michigan's
encore. Seger does his set. Kid Rock does his set.
The stage goes dark. Four performers stand in the
shadows. A familiar bit of piano silences the crowd. On
cue, a baby spot illuminates Kid Rock, who changes his
line into the first-person: "I want to dream like a young
man," he sings.
The crowd goes nuts, of
course. We're all figuring it might be Seger doing "With
the wisdom," but it's not. It's -- Del Shannon? No, not
possible. Mitch Ryder? Not quite.
Then it hit me like a
sucker punch from the floor: Lord Almighty, it was Iggy
Pop! Baby spotlight number three: "She wants her home and
her family." Whoever that is, she's holding a little kid.
I don't have time to figure it out before spotlight
number four flicks on. It's gotta be Seger right? For the
climactic line. I mean, of course.
Not a chance. You have
never, never, never heard Aretha Franklin belt out a
phrase like the "sailor at sea" line. The crowd was just
plain skulled, ready to vaporize into pure energy. It's
"We Are the World" all over again, only this time it's an
all-Michigan cast. And then all four of them -- christ,
that's Madonna in the three-spot -- are doing the chorus,
and it's amazing, it's practically life changing, but
where the heck is Bob?
It's not until the
bridge that we get the answer. Behind the stage there is
scaffolding. Someone has put a piano way up high -- I
mean way, way up high. The spotlight swings up. Can you
hear that piano break? It's followed by the voice we've
all been waiting for. "Beautiful loser, never take it
all..." Right there, my life's complete.
- There was one more
trick, of course. While we're all looking up at Seger,
the stage fills. By the time I look down again, everyone
is there. Nugent. Alice Cooper. Drew Abbot and Charlie
Martin. Some guys from Sponge. Scott Richardson Case. The
aforementioned Mitch Ryder. The Quackenbush twins. Even
some rapper named Essenesse from the unlikely hometown of
that was the night. If you were one of the lucky 15,001
to hear it, I know you'll never forget it. If you
weren't, you'll have to wait for the DVD. The concert was
taped as part of the benefit. For purchase information,
check out Michigan
Cherries and Ferries.
- Afterwards, I was
supposed to get five minutes with Seger. "Time for
one picture," a Punch Enterprises handler-type told me. I
didn't want a picture. I figured to ask a couple
- As it turned out, the
time I had was spent standing around like a doofus while
a reporter half my age from the Northern Michigan
Expresso asked about 15 questions. Not being the
assertive type, my turn sort of evaporated. I think Seger
thought I was some kind of cherry farmer.
- Now normally, I prefer
to steal other people's hard-won Seger quotes
after they've been printed. This policy isn't born
out of any sense of ethics; it's just easier that way.
But, since the so-called "reporter" from the Expresso
stole my minuscule facetime with Seger -- boring us all
with his nonstop questions and assorted blab -- I figure
I can steal the answers he got. So here it is, another
Seger File first:
- "It was one of those 3
a.m. moments," Seger told the Expresso, explaining his
decision not to finish his new CD. "Someone told me I've
sold 10 million CDs, and I was staring at the ceiling
trying to picture 10 million jewel cases. That's a lot to
be responsible for. You know -- I was imagining all the
plastic and vinyl trailing out behind my life, the way a
jet plane leaves a vapor trail."
- The Expresso guy
wasn't even writing this stuff down. No tape recorder,
nothing. "I actually got out of bed and calculated how
many times "Old Time Rock 'n Roll" has been played in the
past 25 years," Seger said. "Broadcast, jukeboxes,
personal stereos. You figure it's 3:12 long, and it's
been played a million times a year for 25 years. The
energy that takes equates to a something like one and
half nuclear plants. When you think of it that way, there
could be an "Old Time Rock 'n Roll Nuclear Plant Complex"
somewhere just for that one song. You have to ask, is it
really worth it?"
- That, according to
Seger, is when he decided to erase the tapes and perform
his new songs live on streaming audio over the web
instead. "If I release a CD and it sells a million
copies, that's a million fans making a million trips to
the store using internal combustion engines. I don't want
that on my record. So I talked Punch into going
Internet-only this time."
- Seger will perform the
material a total of ten times. The web addresses where
you can hear the performances are written down on a
little slip of paper that Seger handed the Expresso guy;
otherwise I would have copied them down also. Two minutes
later, I saw the Expresso guy writing the phone numbers
of a couple of Michigan Cherry girls on the same slip of
- That was the moment
Bob finally noticed me. "You the Seger File guy?" he
asked. Searching for the right reply to spark a
meaningful, significant dialogue, I came up with, "Yes."
He seemed on the verge of saying more when Aretha burst
into the room. End of interview.
in all, it was a helluva day. For a listing of where and
when you can hear Seger's anti-album on the web, check
out the Northern
site. And tell 'em the Seger File sent you.
- April 1, 2002.
Is Back Online
- As members know, the
has been down for maintenance most of the past week. The
timing was unfortunate, since we missed some of the
current recording session in Nashville. All I can say is
that the cam service is provided to the Seger File by
Celebrity Cams, Inc. and their maintenance schedule is
determined months in advance -- we basically had no say
in the matter. To those of you who have asked, no, we are
not offering refunds. As of April 1, the cam is back
- Meanwhile, our thanks
for allowing us to patch into the Stewart-Cam during the
interim. I know many of you were hoping to catch a
glimpse of Britt Eckland -- in the shower with Rooster
Rod, maybe -- but no go; it turns out they broke up eons
ago. And it was just our "bum" luck, as they say, that we
caught Stewart during his annual sigmoidoscopy. Well,
when you get to be that age, it's an important health
precaution, and thank goodness they didn't find any
polyps. The clarity, I have to admit, was stunning.
Non-members who are brave enough can check out a sample
other news, we are proud to announce that the Seger
File was one of two Seger sites on the Internet honored
today at a luncheon hosted by Capitol Records Group
President and CEO Roy Lott. The other site, of course,
was the ever-excellent Segerbob.com.
- "These two sites have
done more to keep fans informed than all the mainstream
media combined," Lott said. "They deserve our recognition
- In one of a long
string of toasts, Lott added "With sites like the Seger
File around, who needs Rolling Stone? As far as I'm
concerned, Jann Wenner can take a long walk off a short
- The only problem with
the fan sites, he said, just before losing his balance,
is "they make our official site look like an anemic
afterthought. But we're saving money and that's what
matters. So here's to you guys. Especially Segerbob.com,
which doesn't post all that sarcastic b.s. like the Seger
- Afterwards, Punch
Andrews gave the two webmasters lifetime All-Access
Passes for any and all future tours.
- After the
luncheon, I learned some bad news: Capitol has once
again delayed "Bombs Away," a collection of Bob
Seger classics and rarities. The box set, originally
scheduled for release in 1979, has been delayed until at
least 2009, sources say, so they can redo the artwork,
remix every track and come up with a new title. Under
consideration are "Can't Hit The Broad Side of A Barn,"
and "Septuagenarian in Town."
- Finally, you
may be pleased to learn that the long negotiations with
Sealy Posturepedic over the use of the song "Night Moves"
have fallen through. The Detroit News reports that a test
TV commercial was actually filmed before the plug was
pulled. Focus group results were overwhelmingly positive,
according to Sealy.
- Interestingly, or so I
assert, the ad agency responsible for the spot is the
same one that produced the new Britney Spears/Pepsi ad --
the one that ends with Bob Dole and his barking dog. The
Sealy spot used a similar surprise ending, I'm told. The
scene starts with an amorous couple steaming up the
screen on their Posturepedic, as the soundtrack tells us
they're "working on mysteries without any clues." At the
end of the 30-second spot, the camera moves in on the
couple and we see it's ex-Prez Bill Clinton with a woman
who is clearly not Hillary. He sits up, lights a cigar,
and says "Sealy Posturepedic -- When you just don't seem
to have as much to lose!"
- The spot was good to
go, but reportedly Seger objected to the cigar smoking
and Clinton wouldn't do it without the stogie. So
instead, "Night Moves" will be used in an upcoming spot
for a nonprofit group promoting education, safe-sex and
public health. As I understand it, the group results from
a merger of STARS (Students Today Aren't Ready for Sex),
SMART (Start Making A Reader Today) and TRUTH (Tobacco
Really Undermines Teen Health.)
- The combined group,
STAR/SMART/TRUTH, promotes public health by teaching kids
to read sex manuals and, more importantly, by convincing
them not to light up afterwards. The name is an acronym
for Start Taking A Role So More Adolescents Reach
Third-base Tonight Regardless Uf This Hoax. The spot airs
in selected markets today only. If you're like me, you've
probably already missed it.
- April 1,
- And now, back to
First Annual Seger Internet Poll
- Hearty thanks to
everyone who participated in the "What song should Seger
play first?" poll. This poll marks the first time Seger
has harnessed the power of the internet, letting the fans
decide which song he should play to open his show... (if
and when he decides to tour again.) It also marks a new
low in completely baseless and non-factual information
printed on this page.
- Anyway, I'm happy to
say the Seger File received 47,039 entries, all of which
were disqualified for being imaginary. And one real entry
- So the votes are in.
Seger will open his new shows by blasting out the
piercing guitar of "Persecution Smith."
- "It shall be so,"
Seger said in an imaginary interview. "I have no free
will. I just do whatever that obsessive SegerFile guy
says to do. Here, take this boxed set."
- So...see you at the
shows. If there are shows.
- April 1, 2000
- Do ya do ya do
ya wanna rock? Send your fond dreams, lost
hopes, bittersweet regrets, half-remembered stories,
rejoinders, rebuttals, questions, comments, corrections
and contributions to: