Local Grit -- Detroit
and Seger in Books
So it's 1983,
and the artist still known as Prince is touring
and it seems every city he goes, Seger is also
there, and playing to huge crowds. Prince
doesn't get it. Why do people like music like
that, he asks keyboardist Mike Fink. Fink says
it's because the songs are simple and also
something like that," he tells Prince, "and
you'll cross right over." So Prince writes a
four-chord anthem called "Purple
How did I come
by this little nugget? Simple. Google Books.
Throw the words "Bob Seger" into Google's new
search engine and you'll find all kinds of
things, including the above anecdote from
Possessed: The Rise and Fall of Prince,
by Alex Hahn (And Fall? I hadn't
noticed the fall).
how Punch supposedly went "through the roof"
when the famous bootleg, Michigan Nuggets, was
circulated with Seger's early Cameo-Parkway
tracks. How Seger was initially afraid to put
"American Storm" on Like A Rock, thinking that
it would be misinterpreted as a pro-drug song by
conservatives who wanted to label CDs with
various warnings. (How
the Left Lost Teen
by Danny Goldberg.)
Must Be The Place, a book about the Talking
Heads, you'll see how John Cale, of all people,
was urging Warner Bros. not to drop Seger from
the label: "The minute he left, he had a Top Ten
album," a slight exaggeration. And how Phil
Lynott and Bob became friends on the BTO tour
(from a book called Phil
these are all just tidbits, sometimes only a
sentence or short paragraph. Some of the best
are from a book called "Grit, Noise and
Revolution: The Birth of Detroit Rock and
Roll" by David A. Carson. It covers the
years when Seger was playing places like the
Roseland strip club in my hometown, Jackson,
Michigan. At these gigs, "I learned to go out
and meet the audience between shows, so they'd
get to know us and come back," Seger
photo of Seger at the Mt. Holly Ski Lodge north
of Pontiac is from the book -- though it may be
in black and white in the book. The one here
comes from the site of Pat
Other great photos are there as well, including
one I borrowed for the Seger File
"We were pleased to have many of our photos
included for publication," Appleson says on his
site. "I shot them because I felt that they
might be important some day. I never imagined
they would wind up in a book about an
"Grit" covers a lot more than Seger. For the
table of contents (in pdf form),
For example, I
learned that the first 45 I ever bought, The
Who's "I Can't Explain," only reached the 93rd
spot on national charts, but reached No. 5 in
Detroit. "There's a dozen records like that,"
Carson said. "Detroiters had great taste and
they liked hard-rock records."
McGraw, Detroit Free Press, September 7, 2005.
"Rock scene boasts a legacy that can't be beat,
And if you
trust a drummer, check out what Johnny "Bee"
Badanjek -- drummer for Mitch Ryder and the
Detroit Wheels, the Rockets, and the Romantics
-- has to say about "Grit."
never read or seen a more complete history
about the Motor City/Michigan music scene
than what Carson has written. He has done a
remarkable job telling the story of all the
singers, artists, and musicians that had a
part in the making of one of the greatest
musical cities in the world."
broke Bob Seger locally and
rock interests you, there's another book you
should know about -- Local DJ by Peter
Cavanaugh. Once a deejay at WTAC in Flint,
Cavanaugh's autobiography covers the music scene
from the mid-50's to the present.
Punch has to say about Local DJ.
can never say "thank you" enough when it
comes to who really broke Bob Seger locally
and nationally. It was and still is Peter
Cavanaugh and Rosalie Trombly. Rosalie had
CKLW that went into 36 states. She would ask
who else was playing the record and, of
course, I would say Peter C. at WTAC in
"You had to
have WTAC and Peter if you were going to have
a hit in Michigan. If he wasn't playing our
record, I would immediately jump in my car
and drive to Flint. As long as the record was
good, he never let us down. We always got a
fair run and real air play. Pete, Bob and I
thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We
read your manuscript for "Local DJ" and think
it's great. It reads like a movie!" -- Punch
I like the
other raves as well. Local legend and former
says: "Peter - I heard your voice on many
trips...I assume it was the radio...Perhaps not.
You set the standard." --Pun Plamondon/Minister
of Defense/White Panther Party/FBI's 10 Most
Wanted List (1970)
And check out
the quote from filmmaker Michael Moore on the
"Nutbush" at 17, and Lynott at
would probably make a great Christmas gift. For
me, I'll take Seger live, playing the song he
inspired -- "Purple Rain." Can you imagine the
scene? Keyboards, spotlight, a hush over the
arena. The stuff of dreams.
Fans Or Customers
-- Which Are We?
question that's been on my mind lately, now that
Christmas approaches without a new CD. Barring a
huge last minute surprise, that is.
Let me clarify
something right off. It's not the lack of the CD
that bugs me. I'm incredibly patient. I'm at
that point in life where six months seems to go
by in a blink. Wasn't it summer yesterday? So I
don't mind waiting.
No, what bugs
me is the lack of information. The way you never
know what's going on. Which leads to the
question in the headline. Let's attack this from
two directions, okay?
marketing/management angle. The Seger
marketing strategy can be summed up in two
words. Scarcity and surprise. The scarcity half
is driven by good old supply and demand. Keep
the supply of Seger product scarce and
presumably demand will stay high. And surprise
creates excitement. Keep everyone, including
your label, in suspense with a huge cone of
silence and then...voila! Make a huge splash.
That's a smart
and effective marketing strategy for maximizing
But it's not
so good for dealing with fans. A fan-artist
relationship is different from a customer-seller
transaction. Fans want information, access, they
want to feel connected -- and sure it has to be
controlled. But at some fundamental level, the
fan-artist relationship is all about connection.
Which means information. Why does Pete Townsend
bother to post on his site that it might take
him another five years to finish his album?
Presumably because he feels like he's in an
ongoing conversation with people who appreciate
what he does.
I'm not saying
Townsend's right and Seger's wrong. But I often
feel like I'm on the receiving end of a
about the artistic angle? The point here is
that no one -- not even Seger -- really knows
when the album is going to be ready. The status
can change every day. Fair enough. Just tell us,
once in a while, what the status is today. If
somebody leaks a date to the Freep, and the date
changes, why not say so? Say it won't be out
'til March or summer or whenever. Say we can't
decide on the album art. We're mixing a new
track. Whatever. A little info would make us
feel like part of the party. And what would be
wrong with that?
New Photos, Old
A couple of
new pages have been added to the Seger File.
Photo gallery three
are finally up. The photos aren't exactly new,
just new to the Seger File.
Also up are
some article links. There's Seger's
tribute to Smokey
as well as a great column called
about 2+2=? from the Orange County Weekly. And,
now that the Like A Rock ads are history, yet
another take on rock music and advertising, this
time from former Doors drummer John
The Freep Says CD
McCollum article in the Detroit Free Press says
Seger's new CD (formerly titled "Face the
Promise" and now titled "Break the
Promise"...er, I mean, now untitled) will hit
stores by Christmas. The exact date depends "on
delivery of final cover art and liner notes,
sources said." Brian
McCollum, September 20, 2005, Detroit Free
Seger album due by end of
To me, the
most interesting part of that quote is "sources
has Punch Enterprises finally become so
secretive that they won't even talk on the
record to the Free Press?
obvious question, of course, is whether to
believe it. Stay tuned.
2005. Thanks to Charlie Keegan for tip. Revised
The Hits Just
Keep On Comin'
Add one more
tune to the potential track list for "Face The
Promise." Earlier this year, Seger added another
one to the pile, for a total of at least 30
unreleased tracks since his last CD. The title
of the newest one: "Too Late."
"O.P.'s" -- Still Smokin' After All These
re-release of Smokin' O.P.'s was announced
earlier this year, I was pretty unexcited and a
little bit bummed, due to the lack of any bonus
tracks. But then, thanks to an email or two, I
remembered that there are plenty of younger
Seger fans who have never heard any of O.P.'s.
For them, the reissue is totally worth it.
Not long after
that, the Segerfile received its first official
freebie after seven years of relentless writing
about Seger. It was a review copy of O.P.'s.
So has the
free disc changed my opinions? Partly yes and
partly no. I still have some problems with the
track list. But the reissue also reminded me how
absolutely great Seger sounds on this
I also had to
remind myself that this album was recorded in
two and half days in 1972. Seger, Dave Teegarden
and Skip "Van Winkle" Knape recorded 10 tracks
and used seven. Just think -- what if Seger did
that now? Spent two or three days in the studio
and came out with seven new tracks. Even if half
of them totally missed the mark, I'd still be
ecstatic. I'd be in heaven.
If you're on
the fence about buying O.P.'s, you shouldn't be.
Here's what it has to offer:
starts with a staple from Seger's early-70's
show: "Bo Diddley/Who Do You Love." The vocals
are staggeringly good. They're just way too
short, especially compared to the solos, which
go on forever. I timed it: the vocals take about
two minutes, and the solos eat up four minutes.
That's way out of whack.
But at least
Seger sings lead on "Bo Diddley." On "Love the
One You're With," he's almost a back-up singer.
Hey, it's great to play Other People's music.
But not so great when Other People sing lead.
Here's my radical idea for a Seger song: Seger
sings lead vocals.
At this point,
the disc feels like it's O for 2. But then
On "If I Were
A Carpenter," Seger takes the lead and soars.
Occasionally you can hear Knape trying to hammer
his way into the spotlight, but mostly the track
is great. No doubt about it: Seger owns this
song; his vocals are untouchable. This one is a
must-have for any Seger fan.
And it just
gets better from there. I'd forgotten how
terrific "Hummin' Bird" is. Seger shows amazing
vocal range and control, taking this ballad to
tremendous heights. My bet is that if "Hummin'
Bird" had been included on a later album (after
Night Moves) it might have become a radio
classic. As it is, it's an overlooked gem -- and
worth the price of the CD all by
Same for "Let
It Rock." Must-have for every Seger fan. Tasty,
energetic and rocking.
For me, "Turn
On Your Love Light," is mixed. The vocals have
force and energy, but the musical track seems to
be taking a tasty little stroll. The solo
problem re-emerges. It's as if a three-person
band just doesn't have enough oomph to keep up
with Seger's vocals, though they give it a good
As for "Jesse
James" -- I like it. It's an unusual song, even
for an album of covers. I don't remember hearing
Seger play this cut live, so it surprised me.
Not a classic, but fun.
And then you
get "Someday." My god, what a great song. I have
to say, I like it a whole lot more when I play
it separately from the rest of O.P.'s. It
doesn't seem to fit the lineup, not only because
it's not a cover, but because the emotion is so
different -- plainer, more stark, more real. You
get a hint of "Turn the Page" yearning in this
song. You get a piano part that perfectly
captures the emotion of the song. The live
version, which is available on various bootlegs,
was about twice as long and even more powerful.
And the album
is closed by "Heavy Music," which has nothing to
do with everything that precedes it. But, if you
don't already own it, it's worth having.
So there you
have it. Nice job on the artwork inside,
especially the duotone treatment of the
photocopied credit sheet that came in the
original album, and the album smudge marks on
the back cover.
All in all,
Smoky Nopes is an album where Seger shines, even
when the track list doesn't. My advice: buy and
O.P.s': Where's the Surgeon General's
Landing In Pine
Knob -- Seger Takes the Stage With
3 Doors Down
played in Seger's backyard last night (August
2), and the question on every Seger fan's mind
was, would Bob come out to sing his lines in
"Landing In London." Sure enough, he
reader Curtis Houghmaster was there and said
Seger "didn't appear until his vocal part, and
then the light was on him, and he was surrounded
by the stage smoke. It was
awesome. Crowd went crazy. The song
finished, he got a big thank you from Brad, and
then he was gone. Crowd went crazy some
passed along a link to a short Billboard
by Gary Graff (which concludes, ominously that
"Seger is continuing work on a new album,
tentatively titled "Face the Promise," which he
hopes to have finished before the end of the
year." Hopes? I've still got November 8
circled on my calendar.)
song, 3DD singer Brad Arnold said the duet was
one of the best moments of his life.
the news (also thanks to Mary Duffy) I did the
only sensible thing: I raced over to
hoping for more. The lead post there was from a
concert goer called Pine Knob who happened to
see 3DD singer Brad Arnold working out before
the show at Clarkston Powerhouse Gym. "I asked
him if Seger would show up. He just said that
Seger was aware they were in town but he wasn't
sure if he would show up." So either Arnold was
being coy, or it wasn't planned very far in
(An aside: Am
I totally out of it? I wouldn't recognize Brad
Arnold if he showed up on my doorstep, let alone
at a gym. Was he wearing a big sign that said
Brad Arnold? Even that wouldn't help me, since
until 30 minutes ago I didn't know the name of
anyone in 3DD.)
A UPI story,
carried in several papers, said "Seger, who
sported glasses and a Harley Davidson
football-style jersey, said afterwards he was
"nervous" although he appeared confident and was
in strong voice." (Please note for the record:
He wasn't just wearing glasses. He was
sporting them. And thanks for the report
on what logo was on Seger's jersey.)
another Segernet poster, SWFL Ken, offered
to someone else who was at the concert. It leads
to a corner of the web where I least expect to
find Seger news: The official Seger
And that's all
the news that's fit to swipe. Segernet
also has fan photos of Seger onstage that are
cool to see. Sheesh, is there anything Segernet
doesn't have? How 'bout this cool photo of
Fountains of Wayne playing in Portland? Seger
(not pictured) is standing 2,500 miles to the
August 4, 2005
*No, I'm not
just being my usual snarky self. C'mon, check
out the headline on the official site: "Seger
Will Release Remastered Smokin' O.P.'s June
7th." Really?? Wow.
New CD in November ?? Or not??
pauseandplace.com, Seger's new CD -- Face the
Promise -- is scheduled to be released by
Capitol on November 8, 2005. That's a bold
prediction, and usually bold predictions are
wrong. Especially this far in advance.
reissue of Smokin' O.P.'s is out today. FYI, I
was wrong about First Person Frog. His story is
indeed on the packaging.
to the Segernet.com forum for the
info...and also for these photos of Seger in the
studio from a Nashville
article about session guitarist J.T. Corenflos.
Kid Rock in the wool cap?
Seger Answers The Wind
Ears 2 and I have ventured into the Vault. This
time, we heard a cache of unreleased Seger songs
recorded in the last two years, including a
slam-dunk future radio classic called "Wait for
Me" -- the best medium-tempo Seger track in
ages, maybe the best since "Against the Wind."
(The first lines of "Wait for Me" are: "I will
answer the wind / I will leave with the tide.")
It just has to be the single and there's no
doubt in my mind that it will climb the charts.
We also heard a high-energy, heavy airplay
rocker called "Wreck this Heart." From the
title, I expected a gut-wrenching ballad of lost
love. Uh-uh. The instant this starts, you know
it's a contagious and exuberant arena rocker (or
would be, if Seger would tour).
We heard ten
new tracks in all, and then the Vault folks
pulled out a box of Seger's handwritten lyrics.
The pages we looked at answered once and for all
any questions about delta hypo guns and avant
gardish pearls, and gave us a glimpse at buried
gems like "Patience" and "Black Linen, White
back to Oregon was a turbulent one, and there is
much to do, so the write-up will have to wait --
but not for long. The tracks we heard were too
good to keep. Check out Vault
May 31, 2005
Yes for Smoki Nopes
not everyone in the world is as cranky as I am
when it comes to reissued Seger albums that
don't have unreleased tracks -- as evidenced by
the following note in today's email:
be disappointed about the Smokin' OP's
release, but I am ecstatic.
At age 26,
I'm too young to have collected any old Seger
albums. If it hasn't been put out on CD in
recent years, I've never heard it.
Heavy Music and Ramblin' Gamblin' Man sound
like on the original LP? I have no
it could equal six hundred for all I know.
I've never heard the song.
Who is Lucy
Blue? Good question. I'll let you know some
day if Ramblin' Gamblin' Man is ever
would be cool for Smoki Nopes. But for me
they are all new. I can't wait for June
That's a great
perspective. As fans, we always want more.
That's kind of our job. But it's also important
to appreciate how special it all is -- old and
new. Thanks for the reminder, Joel.
May 16, 2005
To Buy or Not To Buy? And Also, To Slam or Not
- What to
do about the re-release of Smokin'
Maybe I'm just
hard to please. But I was disappointed the first
time Smoky Nopes was released, back in 1972. I'd
heard Seger, Teegarden and Van Winkle a half
dozen times or more in the months before the
album came out, and I loved their live set. It
had tremendous energy and the nights I heard
them, Bob seemed to be having a hell of a lot of
fun. The vocals were full-out and great.
What I didn't
like about the album was the song selection.
Some of my favorites from the live sets -- like
"Drivin' Wheel" and "Dancing In the Streets" --
weren't there. It seemed like a compromise
album, with Teegardin and Van Winkle having a
little more influence over the song selection
than they should have.
Or so I
guessed. I didn't think "Love the One You're
With" was a particularly great song for Seger.
Ditto "Turn On Your Love Light." And I already
had "Heavy Music."
But as a Seger
fan, you learn to take what you can get. So I
bought it and played it until it wore out, and
bought another. I played it for all my friends
who would listen.
The album was
reissued by Reprise the following year, and then
by Capitol in 1978 and '80. After that, it
disappeared for more than a decade, until 1991,
when it was briefly re-released on CD.
At the time of
the first CD reissue, I happened to have one of
my very few conversations with Seger's manager,
Punch Andrews. Punch said the re-releases
weren't selling as well as they could, because
they were overpriced (at $6.98) and because
three other early Seger albums were released all
at once. "They should have been staggered," he
later, O.P.'s is back. A remastered version will
be released on June 7. And the track list is
exactly the same as it was 33 years ago. Not a
bonus track in sight. The disk will clock in,
like the original vinyl, at about 35 minutes.
don't already have O.P.'s, this is your chance.
If you already have three copies on vinyl, a
reel to reel and a CD, like I do, this seems
like a wasted opportunity.
re-release is the perfect chance to re-balance
the track list. A rocker or two with a little
more Seger and a little less keyboard would make
O.P.s a true classic.
It seems like
it would also drive sales. Two (or my god, even
three) unreleased bonus tracks would have sent a
million of us to the stores on June 7. We'd be
totally psyched. We'd be grateful. And we'd be
primed for the new CD, which presumably will
follow sometime this year (right? right?).
Now I know
Seger's the guy with the talent and he's earned
the right to do what he wants. But I'm the guy
who drove five hours to hear him, a bunch of
times. Chances are you did the same. A bonus
track or two in return for that kind of loyalty
doesn't seem too much to ask.
official site (which is updated every time a
pope dies) says "Capitol Records is responding
to requests from the Detroit rocker's online fan
community for reissues of Seger's more obscure
works by releasing a newly remastered version of
his 1972 release, Smokin' O.P.'s."
was it in the online community who said "Please
don't add any bonus tracks." Not me. And the
folks who post over at Segernet don't seem too
rip-roarin' pleased about the deal, either.
notion, I guess, that keeping the track list
exactly the same makes the reissue more
"authentic." But the sound is cleaned up. And
presumably the packaging will be changed, too.
Remember First Person Frog? I bet the packaging
won't include his strange argument with the
river, "which had become increasingly pissed
off." Kind of like some of the rest of us, I
Seger's birthday, by the way. Sixty. So here's
wishing him many more. And here's wishing us a
bonus track or two -- next time.
good reason to live in Northern Michigan:
Tonight, Drew Abbott brings his band of rock and
roll survivors to the Union Street Station in
Traverse City. Northern Michigan got hit with a
couple inches of snow yesterday, but I bet
tonight's show will melt it for miles around.
Abbott's band comes from Northern Michigan's
best music journalist, Rick Coates, who did a
long piece on Abbott in this week's Northern
Express Weekly. Read
band is called Leo Creek. According to Coates'
article, a prior band, Burning Circle, had some
of the same members and recorded an album
including a never-released Seger tune,
The album was never released says keyboard man
Tim Sparling, (no relation, though I'd be proud
to claim otherwise.)
readers may recall that the Seger File got
started after I heard an earlier Abbott band --
-- playing in Northern Michigan. The essay I
wrote about that show never found a publisher,
so I put it on the web and the Seger File was
How sweet it
would be to hear Abbott again -- and how easy,
since I flew into Traverse yesterday. But fate
takes me to Ann Arbor tonight instead. My advice
though: if you can make it to the Union Street
tonight, do it. And if you live in the area,
watch for Leo Creek.
Wreck This Heart -- New Seger Titles Hit the
The shelves of
Punch Enterprises, that is. Three new songs,
written last year, are presumably contenders for
Seger's next CD. The titles are "Time," "Let the
Rivers Run," and my favorite, "Wreck this
Heart." I don't know a thing about it, but the
title alone sounds great.
keeping score -- and what else is there to do?
-- that brings the number of known songs written
and recorded since his last album to 31. (Want
to see the a list of the other 28?
doesn't include "Real Mean Bottle," which he has
also apparently recorded with Kid Rock.
Boss in Detroit --
Will "Local '70s Star" Show?
A note from
long-time Seger File reader Marty Carlisle
points out that Springsteen is launching his
national solo tour in the fabulous Fox Theater
in Detroit on April 25. In the late '80s, Seger
joined Bruce on stage for "Thunder Road." Could
there be an onstage reunion this time
Seger DEW-liner Jesse B. sends this from the
Associated Press, concerning a recent Pistons
game: "The fans set an unofficial world record
of 6,638 people wearing wigs at the same time in
the second quarter....Detroit rocker Mitch Ryder
performed at halftime. Another local 1970s star,
Bob Seger, was in the crowd." If the AP reporter
thinks Seger is a local star, he must have been
born yesterday. No word on whether Seger (or the
reporter) a wig.
OP's and '72 On Their
The music site
reports the following:
Records moves Bob Seger's upcoming reissue,
Smokin' OPs, from original June 21 to new,
more quickly accessible June 7....Capitol
will also release Bob Seger's 1973 release,
Back in 72, on August 16."
Are they right
or are they wrong? No other music site confirms
this. But musictap was right when it posted
early info about Greatest Hits 2, at a time when
Punch Enterprises was denying that a second
greatest hits was in the works.
has nothing about reissues, but continues to
list "Face The Promise" for a 2005 release.
April 1, 2005 ----
to San Jose, Seger's "On His Own"
wait for a new CD continues. But at
least there have been some glimpses and
peeks -- some thin slices of Seger --
while we've been waiting.
noted earlier, the first peek came in
December 2004 with the release of
Christmas With the Kranks --
setting off a mini-flurry of excitement
over the inclusion of Seger's 1966
single, "Sock It To Me, Santa," in the
soundtrack. This song has been
available as a 45, on a Christmas
compilation disk and on various Seger
bootlegs, but this was its silver
screen debut. The song is not included
on the soundtrack, so you'll have to
wait for the DVD.
came Seventeen Days, the new album by
Seger contributes harmony and two solo
lines to the track, "Landing in London"
-- all because 3 Doors Down was
recording in Seger's favorite studio at
(I'm guessing that's Studio
Although it could be Studio
Or even Studio
I suppose. Glenda
studio manager, probably knows, but I
bet discretion is a big part of her
that same time, Cameo Parkway announced
the upcoming release of
-- a four-disc set including "East Side
Story," "Heavy Music," and "Sock It To
boxed set also includes Clint Eastwood
doing "Rowdy" and cuts by The Rationals
and ? and the Mysterians. The set will
be available in May and is available
for pre-ordering on Amazon
week's reissue of Rhino's Burt
Bacharach tribute album provides
another glimpse of Seger.
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.
fact, Love, Seger and The White Stripes
contribute the only good tracks on this
disk. The rest of the CD is largely
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
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
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
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.
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 passion.
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.
rips the bridge to shreds, putting the
Carpenters' version to
A. is a great big
a hundred down and buy a
a week -- maybe two -- they'll make
you a sta-arr!
was originally released in 1977, when
Seger was still rockin' his way up, so
he's in top voice here.
Seger: Searching for San Jose, and not
afraid to ask for
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.
Fool's Day, 2005
Sailing Is Dead
up, and due for release in May '05 is
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.
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
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
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.
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."
contribution, "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
DVD -- Missing, Presumed
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
all the source tapes and the only
digital copy gone, the chances for a
concert DVD anytime soon are slim.
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."
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."
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.
still looking for it," Boila said.
"It's got to be around here
Makes Good On "Promise," Delivers "On
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.
of the replacements, we now know, is a
soul-flavored track with a Memphis feel
called "On Your Own."
can hear Seger having fun on this cut
-- at least, you can hear it once you
listen to the unauthorized sample we've
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?
as a special treat, here's this year's
Low Bandwidth Special -- a tiny taste
of Seger doing "On
Fool's Day, 2005
the Book At Them
course, before you can throw it, you'll
have to buy it.
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 "other
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
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 Bob
Fool's Day, 2005
The News That Isn't
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
is the April 1 post for 2005.
more falsehoods, see the Seger
File's April 1 post for
All Brand New
The Vault --
my write-up of unreleased Seger tracks -- is
closing for now. The final entry is a summary of
songs I've skipped or overlooked in the past,
and one song -- "All Brand New" -- that ranks
among his best ever, in my opinion. Check it out
March 19, 2005
'04, when Seger did his live radio
interview/internet chat, someone online asked if
he'd ever do a song with Kid Rock. Seger's
response was: "Absolutely
country drinking song. 'Real Mean Bottle' is one
I've pointed out, but no one else seems to like
Bottle," as you might know, is a Vince Gill
song, (written as tribute to Merle Haggard).
during a concert, Gill told the audience at the
Florida Strawbery Festival that "Real Mean
Bottle" was about to be remade as a duet between
Kid Rock and Bob Seger, which he said was "like
doing 150 in a school zone.''
2005, Curtis Ross, The Tampa Tribune.
Moves Effortlessly Through
As the author,
Gill should know, and I hope he's
Rock In The
Tennessean adds this:
Rock was in the studio [this past
weekend] with Bob Seger and Vince Gill.
Mr. Seger is doing an album here, and he
wanted to take advantage of the Kid's
distinctive vocal stylings."
8, 2005, Brad Schmitt, The Tennessean.
you think he'd stay out of nudie
adds that Kid Rock "actually snuck back into
Nashville this past weekend and went to a strip
club without punching any DJs in the face." He's
accused of punching a DJ at a club called
Christy's. And his role model is who?
questions: Why is Seger recording more stuff?
(See quote below: "All our tracks are cut.") Is
this for a Kid Rock/Gill album? Or a soundtrack?
Thanks to Bob
Vogt for the link.
CD, "Face the Promise," didn't appear in '04, in
case you didn't notice. Here's what Seger said
in early February. (Thanks to Paul Dunn for the
been working right along. We just cut two new
ones (songs) last week. What we're gonna do
is start actually finishing in March. I'm
gonna pound down lyrics for a week, just
finalize every little nook and cranny that
bothers me -- and I'm doing it now, too --
and then say 'OK, the lyrics are done.' Then
we start mixing. But, literally, all our
tracks are cut."
8, 2005. Arrow93fm. "Seger's
New Rock &
The "we" is
Seger and producer David Cole, who are working
at Ocean Way Studios in Nashville. There's no
target date for the upcoming album. (And, uh, if
there were a target date, would you believe
me. The emails started coming in late December
-- friends and longtime Seger fans letting me
know that Seger sings on a track on the new 3
Doors Down CD. Somehow I couldn't get around to
posting the info. I mean, we're waiting on a
Seger CD. I just couldn't get too excited about
a back-up vocal.
Until I heard
it. And now, I can't stop playing it. If you
haven't heard it yet, get on over to iTunes, (or
possibly give a listen here).
The song, "Landing in London," is a powerful
dark ballad about being on the road. We're not
east of Omaha anymore, but the emotional
territory is the same. Seger contributes two
perfect lines that will travel up your spine,
plus some harmony vocals. Like I said, everybody
told me it was great...and they were right.
appearance on the album wasn't planned -- he
happened to be recording next door, according to
3 Doors Down bassist Todd Harrell.
was always in the [studio]
kitchenette, getting coffee, so we had to ask
him to be on our record...We were in Ocean
Way Studios in Nashville, and we were using
the room he usually records in. He was always
hanging around, wanting to come in there. And
he was always in the kitchenette, getting
coffee, so we had to ask him to be on our
20, 2004. 3
Doors Down's Strange Bedfellows
Seger said he
was glad to be asked. "I like their stuff and I
really liked the song. I said 'Y'know, this is a
really cool song.' I like the words, and I love
the way Brad (Arnold, 3 Doors Down's frontman)
sang it. I definitely wouldn't do it if I didn't
like the song."
9, 2005. UPI News Service. "Bob
Seger flattered to guest on 3 Doors Down
Sock It To the
Okay, so there
was no new album for Christmas. At least Seger's
1966 Christmas rocker (ala Mitch Ryder and James
Brown) made an appearance. The cut was used in
last year's "Christmas With the Kranks" movie.
comes from Kid Rock's "20 Questions" interview
in the March Playboy (as reported in the Detroit
Seger has been a role model for me... It's
great to see somebody walk away from this
with his dignity, because so many people
don't, and they turn into jokes."
Walk away? He
must have meant "rock away," right?
What's Seger Been Writing Lately? Don't
Ask," is one of several new songs Seger has been
working on, presumably for his long-awaited CD.
When Greatest Hits 2 was released a year ago,
Seger said he had 11 songs all set to go, before
shifting "Satisfied" and "Tomorrow" over to the
greatest hits package -- "so now I've probably
got to write five more."
(Of course, he
also said a fall 2004 CD release was set "in
stone." Raise your hand if you fell for that
Be that as it
may, Seger has now recorded five new songs. The
titles include "Don't Ask," "It All Goes On,"
that's three, so there should be two
more. Oh yeah, here we go. The titles say it
all. "Wait For Me" and "Are You?"
Yeah, we are.
to our spies in the Kremlin, here are some of
the songs Seger has recorded since 1996 that
could potentially show up on his next CD. The
dates are approximate and
Knew You When
Into the Past
In the Question
Eye to Memphis
All Good (?)
the Rivers Run
All Goes On
Gill cover/Kid Rock
Seger-scrivening business, there are known
knowns, and there are known unknowns. In that
regard, I'm not totally sure "It's All Good" was
ever recorded. Similarly, I've come across a new
batch of song titles from the early '70s. (With
thanks due to Seger fan Peter Gossett.) I'm not
sure all of them are Seger songs, but I'll be
adding them to the Unreleased A-Z list in the
next several days with a question mark. If you
know something about them, drop me a
2004 -- Updated February 6, 2006
Into The Vault
For two days
in June, I was able to sit and listen to 21
never-circulated Seger songs. As in previous
Vault visits, I was joined by the remarkable
Ears Two, my friend of 30 years (and former
Capital employee) who brings his limitless
rock-and-roll savvy and enthusiasm to the
In my opinion,
it was the best Vault trip ever. We heard songs
with power, intelligence and passion. Naturally,
we also heard a few throwaways. We discovered
mysterious recording gaps, and marveled at the
frequent use of the word "shoals" in the lyrics.
And there were
songs that got me to my feet. Songs that sounded
so ready, so finished, that I wanted to hear
them released right then and there, wanted
everyone to hear them.
many of them will be included on the next CD. Of
the tracks we heard, 14 were recorded in 1999 or
later. Many of them may have been intended for
Seger's never finished "Blue Ridge" album. In
all, I heard seven songs that ought to be at
Borders or Amazon right now. And one more they
ought to save for the final track on the final
Seger album ever. A song that would make a
tracks felt borderline to me -- maybe with a
different mix, or a new backing track. Only four
seemed liked they belonged in the Vault for
good. (No doubt these four will turn up on Kid
Rock's next CD.)
So stand by:
the most extensive listing of unreleased Seger
tracks anywhere is about to get bigger. Check it
out here, as Ears Two and I move
Into the Vault.
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