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The Seger File
An unofficial web site about the music of Bob Seger
Written and edited by Scott Sparling
sparling@segerfile.com
Archived Updates from January - September 2006. For the most recent updates, click here.
The Full Contents
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The 2011 Tour Page
 

Latest News and Updates

 
FACE THE PROMISE
 
2010 Updates
2009 Updates
2008 Updates
2007 Updates (Jan -July)
2006 Updates (Jan-Sept)
2006 Updates (Oct-Dec.)
2005 Updates
2004 Updates
2003 Updates (July-Dec)
2003 Updates (Jan-June)
2002 Updates
2001 Updates
1998-2000 Updates
 
 
Nine Years Online
The Seger File's Birthday Party
 
Unreleased Tracks
Vault V
10 more unreleased tracks
 
Vault 4
16 more unreleased tracks
 
Forward Into the Vault --
26 more unreleased tracks
 
Return to the Vault -- 18 More Unreleased Tracks
 
The Vault --31 Unreleased Tracks
 
Recorded but Unreleased --Unreleased Seger from A-Z
 
Photos
Photos 1Photos 2
 
Photos 3Photos 4
 
Hall of Fame Photos
 
Settle Annex
A collection of great Seger photos
 
Misc.
Dylan's "Denver"
 
The Albums
Ramblin' Gamblin' Man
Noah
Mongrel
Brand New Morning
Smokin' O.P.'s
Back in '72
Seven
Beautiful Loser
Live Bullet
Night Moves
Stranger in Town
Against the Wind
Nine Tonight
The Distance
Like A Rock
The Fire Inside
Bob Seger's Greatest Hits
It's A Mystery
Greatest Hits 2
Face the Promise
 
Other Albums
The Promised Live Album
The Promised Studio Album
Seger on the Edge
The Bob Seger Collection --(Australian Greatest Hits)
Seger Classics
A Very Special Christmas,1987
Other Album Appearances
The Seger Tribute Album
Sing Your Own Seger
Perfect Albums?
 
Selected Singles
Check the Label
Who Picks the Singles?
Early Singles
The Lonely One
TGIF/First Girl
Ballad of the Yellow Beret
East Side Story
Persecution Smith
Sock It To Me, Santa
Vagrant Winter/Very Few
Heavy Music
2+2=?/Death Row
Ramblin' Gamblin' Man
Looking Back
If I Were A Carpenter
Bombs Away
Understanding
Chances Are
My Take on Chances Are
Reaching Number One
 
Other Seger Tracks
Released on Singles, But Not on Albums
Covered by Others
Written By Seger, Recorded by Others
 
Videos
Night Moves (SNL)
Making Thunderbirds
Old Time Rock and Roll
American Storm
Like a Rock
Shakedown
Real Love
Fire Inside
Night Moves (New)
Turn the Page
It's A Mystery
Chances Are
Ten for Two
The Cobo Hall Tapes
The Palace Tapes
 
Influences/Other Bands
Soundtracks
 
TV Appearances
 
Like a Truck
Who Does the Song Belong To?
Ancient History Dept.
How Seger Sees Rock/Truck
Singer or Salesman?
Gatsby, Seger and Victory
The Mystery Man
How the Song Became An Ad
Good Song, Great Ad?
Bad Press, Bad Precedent
Through the Lean Years
Bob's View
Insults and Dead Horses
Fix Or Repair Daily
 
The Early Years
Early Days
Motor City's Burning
Places He Played
Jackson
More Dues-Paying Years
 
Career, Misc.
Lead Singer Vs. Guitar Player
The Slow Road to Success
The Requisites of Greatness
Theories: Why It Took So Long
"You Are Now Leaving Seger Territory"
Punch
Breaking Out
What Is Success?
 
Bands
Early Bands
The Decibels
The Town Criers
The Omens
Democracy Rocks
Later Bands
Bob Seger and the Last Heard
The Bob Seger System
STK
Julia/My Band/Borneo Band
Muscle Shoals band
The Silver Bullet Band
Back-up Systems
Shaun Murphy
Karen Newman
Related Bands
Detroit All-Stars
Alto Reed
 
Blue Highway (Drew Abbott)
 
Bio, Part 1
Detroit? Ann Arbor?
We Even Sang the Parts the Instruments Were Playing
A Father Leaves
Fire and the Memory of Love
All the Wild, Wild Good Times
Personality
Interests and Hobbies
Predicting the Future, Then and Now
 
Bio, Part 2
On Growing Older
Politics
The Seger Work Ethic
You Can't Miss That Driving Rain
Friends and Family
Let's Dig Up Something Really Nasty
Katmandu
I'm Gonna Tell My Tale, C'mon
Of Caves and Barbed Wire
Misc.
 
Songwriting
 
Early Tours and Shows
The Oakland Mall
Jackson
The Primo, R&R Farm, Suds Factory and Chances Are
The Agora
On the Road
Jackson County Fair
Pontiac, the Michigan Jam and Other Victories
Seger in the Arena
The 1983 Tour
 
The 1986-87 Tour
The Last Tour?
They'll Never Be in The Arena, But They Get to Write the Reviews
Savannah
Charlotte
Philadelphia
Oakland
Miami
San Francisco
Seattle
Houston
New York
Los Angeles
Vancouver (Canada)
Greensboro
 
The 1996 Tour
The Set List Discussed
The Set List Presented
The Set List Analyzed
Bringing the Family
Tour Notes
Thirsty for Seger
A Review of the Reviews
Charleston
Nashville
Palace of Auburn Hills
Washington
L.A.
 
The 2006-07 Tour Pages
 
Readin' O.P.'s
A compilation of e-mail messages. Some favorite are:
-- Hope to see you tonight
-- Motor City Rock
-- The FargoDome
-- The 7-Eleven and the Winter Olympics
-- He gave me a strange look
-- Now that we're older
 
 
Brand New Email
More great letters.
-- Seger, Sinatra, Cobain
-- My Dad, Bob and Charlie Martin
-- 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 me
 
 
Brand New Email Pt. II
-- Bob at the Roseland Inn
-- Seger interview
-- Backstage with a bad pass
-- Put the car in park
-- Starry August nights
-- Cool me down
-- The bridge from Motown
-- The Seger-starved masses plead for tour news
-- The Kiss File?
 
Seger Stories and Misc. Email
--The best thing you could say
--Blue and Julia  
--Rockin' with Fidel  
--Early days of baseball and Bob
--Follow your heart  
--Waving with the lighter
 
Email '05
--About Drew Abbott
--On 2+2
--On "The Lonely One"
--About Tom Neme
--About Charlie Martin
--Shows
--The Toledo Jam
--About Pep Perrine
--About Jim Bruzzese
--Early days
--Fans
--Early songs
 
Falsehoods
Seger Inks SimTour Deal, Gets Ready to Rock
Capitol Releases "Dee-Pah!
The Seger Cam is back online
The Michigan Jam 2
The Seger versus. SpringsteenComplexo-Meter
The Medicated Top 20
 
Misc.
Reese: Money for Music
Get Back to Work
A guide to surfing The Seger File at work.
The Primo Photo
The Rolling Stone Letter
The Imaginary Interview
Why the Seger File Is Here -- Getting Over Bob Seger

Wreck These Speakers

"The Phase-Techs in the living room are history. Damn it, Bob. I loved those speakers. I guess I love your new CD more..."

My review of Face the Promise is here.

"The vocal on the chorus brings to mind 'Something Like' from the end of the 'Brand New Morning,'..."

"It's a rocker in a category with Lucifer..."

"...the sort of thing Springsteen used to do a lot..."

"I defy any Seger fan to tell me this isn't the CD they've been waiting for..."

"Seger comes through with the driving rock..."

"I found myself head banging again like I was eighteen."

"...best album since "Stranger in Town..."

"...such an amazing album..."

"I just hope we don't have to wait another 11 years..."

"God, I've missed that sound!"

I knew reviewing Seger's first new album in 11 years would be too big a job for one person, so a variety of Seger File readers pitched in to help.

The reviews are finally posted. Check out them here.

October 1, 2006


The Tour Is ON!

Seger on Letterman: "We're announcing it tonight. It's for sure. We're going on tour the second week in November." As rumored earlier, the tour will most likely kick off in Grand Rapids. More below.

September 27, 2006


Seger Media Links

Seger performed "Wait for Me" on ABC's The View on Thursday, September 28. Excerpt here.

It's official! Seger announced the tour on Letterman on Wednesday night after performing "Wreck this Heart." Photo's below, with a video link.

Face the Promise now holds the No. 11 spot on the Billboard charts. The CD sold 150,833 copies in its first week, entering Billboard's album chart at Number 4. The same sales figures two weeks earlier would have put Seger at No. 2. Details below.

Almost exactly 20 years ago, Letterman joked about Seger after he cancelled on Dave twice. Listen to the mp3s here.

For a history of Seger's TV appearances (and a transcript of the mp3s), click here.

Still more traveler's tales of fans who saw Leno, here.

The fantastic photos of Seger on Face the Promise ought to be credited, don't you think? A little light is shed on the missing photo credits here.

And take the quiz: see if you can find the difference between the first version of the cover and the released version.

The "Gene Pool" slams Seger! And the Seger File slams the "Gene Pool." The gory details are below! Update: The Gene Pool guy responds!

The November issue of Guitar World Accoustic features Seger on the cover and includes an excellent interview. Seger lists the five songs that put Face the Promise over the top for him, tells how the narrative songs of Kris Kristofferson influenced his early writing and reveals what he considers his own songwriting weakness. Summary below, article here.

Seger appeared on Extra on September 21. You can watch it on here until YouTube takes it down.

Seger looked and sounded great on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on September 14. Still shots here, and some Quicktime clips here.

Billboard/Reuters files a Seger interview titled Seger makes good on "Promise" with hard-rocking set. Seger reveals that he doesn't own an iPod and calls Patty Loveless "my favorite country singer of all time."

On of the best interviews I've seen or heard with Seger in recent years is on WDIV-TV in Detroit. Seger talks with Devin Scillian about why Nashville reminds him of Ann Arbor, (and why he's thought about moving there, but won't), about what Joni Mitchell told him about his range when he lived across the street from her in LA, about the best piano in Nashville, and more. You can watch it here. Thanks to Segernet for the link.

Seger was also interviewed on WXYZ-TV in Detroit. The clip, which ran September 12, can be viewed on their site.

The Detroit Free Press ran "Seger Track by Track" on September 12. The article is reprinted here.

Seger did nationwide radio interview from WCSX with J.J. Johnson in Detroit on Sept. 12. If you've read the McCollum, Whitall and Graff print pieces, you know most of what was covered. One piece of news: November 8 is the tentative date for the tour to begin (presumably in Grand Rapids.) There was some interesting talk about Live Bullet outtakes and the process of rehearsing. The entire interview is online here.

Seger was on the Jim Rome show on WKNR in Cleveland. (Reader and fellow Oregonian Joel Fowlks summarizes in an email: "Seger said he was a big fan of Rome and said he watched his TV show all the time. They talked a little about the album and some about the Pistons and Tigers. Seger mentioned the Who as one of his early inspirations and Rome asked him if he was more of a Who or Rolling Stones guy. Seger said he liked the Stones.")

Gary Graff of the Oakland (MI) Press returns with a longer piece, and says a Letterman appearance is being considered: Bob Seger's "Face the Promise" album gives fans what they've waited for. Excerpts below.
 
The AP files Bob Seger puts out first studio album in 11 years, and the International Herald Tribune, among others, picks it up. Excerpts below.
 
Brian McCollum's interview with Seger in the Free Press reveals that the CD may be reissued in December with four additional tracks. Read it at Bob Seger: He's back, upbeat and ready to roll. (September 10). McCollum also reviews the album. Three mp3 clips of his interview with Seger are included. Excerpts below.
 
Susan Whitall and the Detroit News go all out with an interview, a review, and four mp3 excerpts of her interview with Seger. The article is at Seger fires it up. (September 9.) Excerpts below.
 
Friday, the News ran Whitall's teaser piece, Seger tuning up for fall tour. Excerpts below.
 
Brian McCollum and FREEP also did their teaser piece Friday. Seger tells Brian McCollum the tour is all but a done deal -- starting in late October at Grand Rapids' Van Andel Arena. Read it all at Seger's eager to tour. Excerpts below.
 
Former Freep writer Gary Graff has A Tour for Seger in the Oakland Press. Seger tells Graff that medical tests are scheduled for the week of Sept. 18 to make sure he's in good shape to tour. Excerpts below.
 
Online Rock Radio has Bob Seger worked outside Silver Bullet on new album and offers some new details. Excerpts below.
 
BobSeger.com is out with a new "Seger Sampler" that plays the video and parts of the album.
 
Reuters talks cars with Seger. Former Chevy pitchman Bob Seger prefers Porsche. September 5. Excertps below.
 
UPI weighs in with Hall of Fame fueled Bob Seger's new album, (9-5-06) in which Seger says he's 80 to 85 percent sure he'll tour. Includes one particularly juicy quote: "I don't want to put some dog meat out there if I'm in the Hall of Fame -- know what I mean?"
 
Seger interviewed in the New York Times. Article here, quotes below. (9-3-06)
 
Seger was on Entertainment Tonight on September 4. Summary below, video here.
 
Brian McCollum's piece in the Freep says Seger will appear on ABC's The View on September 28 and is leaning toward touring. Decision by month's end, supposedly.
 
Positive tour comments also in the current Rolling Stone. (See post below.)
 
Seger will perform "Wait for Me" on The Tonight Show on September 14.
 
Wait For Me video on www.myspace/bobseger
 
Or watch it in Quicktime here -- (smaller resolution, better quality)

Face the Promise -- Reviews

East Valley Tribune (Arizona) review is here.

The Winnipeg Sun review is here.

The Ocala Star-Banner (Florida) review is here.

The Appalachian News-Express review is here.

MonstersandCritics.com review is here.

The Flint Journal Review is here.

The Boston Globe review is here.

The Billboard review is here.

The Rolling Stone review is here.

The LA Times review is here.

The New York Daily News review is here.

The San Francisco Chronicle review is here.

The Detroit News reviews the album here.

The Free Press review is here.

The About.com review is here.

The Ft. Worth Star & Telegram review is here.

The Seger File reviews are here.

Tour News

The Detroit News summarizes Seger's announcement on Letterman here.

The Free Press has tour news here.

The Grand Rapids Review says the tour will start in the Van Andel Arena. Details about dates and ticket sales are expected in the next few days.

Thanks to VvMax1200, Bill Cook, Mark Morris, dhawksongs, Rick Bentley, David Owsiany, Mary Duffy, Scott Fader, Jimmy Raines, Rosemary, Charlie Keegan, Rosemary in Bay City, GeoffShac, Diane Burkey and Joel Fowlks.


Seger on Letterman: We're Going Back on Tour

Stunning. That was the only word for it. Here's Letterman's intro:

"I don't even know where to begin to [introduce] this next guest. This guy, this guy was rock and roll, he was Mr. Rock and Roll when rock and roll was still rock and roll. The string of hits this guy had one after another...

"He epitomized the excitement and the freedom that was rock and roll: get on the open road, take a bead on the northern plains and just roll that power on -- I'm talking about the great Bob Seger...and also the Silver Bullet Band." (Click here to listen.)

And not only did Seger rock -- but he announced the tour as well. It's for sure, he said -- starting the second week in November, all over North America.

Seger didn't play the single -- he played "Wreck this Heart" instead. Maybe Seger just wanted to rock, or maybe they're trying to push the album instead. In either case, his performance was great. Watch an excerpt here.

The Detroit News has a summary here, and the Free Press here.

September 28, 2006


Seger Rocks the Charts

Face the Promise currently holds the No. 11 spot on the Billboard charts. The album entered the charts at No. 4 last week, selling 151,000 copies in its first week.

Some details from the Free Press:

"'Face the Promise' was the top-selling album in the Detroit market, moving more than 17,000 copies -- an unusually strong one-week figure. That means Detroit was responsible for more than 11% of Seger's total sales. But those close to Seger say they thought that percentage would be even higher -- meaning they're pleasantly surprised by the album's strong national performance.

...A Seger representative attributes this week's strong showing to a perfect storm of buzz that included promotion by Capitol Records, a sizable Internet presence and high-profile media coverage." Brian McCollum, The Detroit Free Press, September 21, 2006. "Bob Seger hits No. 4 on the national charts."

And from The Classic Rock Insider, via WCSX:

"That was a better debut showing than the latest albums by contemporaries such as Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen, and better than the first two weeks of Paul McCartney's "Chaos and Creation in the Back Yard" in 2005...Sales of [Seger's]"Greatest Hits" were up 17 percent to land at No. 3 on Billboard's catalog chart." Gary Graff, The Classic Rock Insider, September 20,2006.

Indeed, I can't think of any other recording artist who has been making records as long as Seger -- four decades -- who is selling as well as Seger, except for one: Bob Dylan.

Dylan's album debuted two weeks ago at No. 1, selling 192,000 copies. If Face the Promise had been released that week, its total of 151,000 would have placed it at No. 2, directly behind Dylan.

As the chart below shows, Dylan's Modern Times was one notch down from Seger at No. 5.

Speaking of the two Bobs, here's the photo the Free Press should have dug out of its files for its update. My mom clipped it for me twenty years ago. I've been saving it for those two decades, waiting for the perfect moment to post it. The moment has come.

(Note how the caption writer helpfully tells you which one is Seger. Also, the hard-to-read photo credit is for Gil DeNeve. Gil, get in touch and let us know what song they were playing.)

Update: I didn't hear from the photographer, but Mac Brantley of Okemos, Michigan sent this info:

"This was taken during Dylan's True Confession tour (with Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers) at DTE Music Theatre. Seger joined Dylan, Petty etc. for one song during the encore -- Knocking on Heaven's Door..."

Thanks, Mac. I always wondered what would have inspired Dylan to invite Seger onstage. It makes a little more sense that Petty would have invited him.

Other chart details:

The Detroit News has Punch Andrews saying "he's not sure Seger's ever had a bigger sales week." And the Freep runs this helpful sidebar listing Seger's other Billboard album debuts.

(Everyone who enjoys bashing It's A Mystery, please note: Mystery debuted higher than Live Bullet.)

No. 34, "Live Bullet" (1976)
No. 8, "Night Moves" (1977)
No. 4, "Stranger in Town" (1978)
No. 1, "Against the Wind" (1980)
No. 3, "Nine Tonight" (1981)
No. 5, "The Distance" (1983)
No. 3, "Like a Rock" (1986)
No. 7, "The Fire Inside" (1991)
No. 8, "Greatest Hits" (1994)
No. 27, "It's a Mystery" (1995)
No. 23, "Greatest Hits 2" (2003)
No. 4, "Face the Promise" (2006)

September 23, 2006


Gene Pool -- Clueless or Merely Ignorant? You Make the Call.

Last Thursday's strip from "Out Of the Gene Pool" by Matt Janz.

A) Seger's is on iTunes. B) Seger's album entered the charts at No. 4 nationally. C) Matt who?

A big thanks to Ears Two, who tipped me to the strip and took the trouble to write Mr. Janz the following note: "Your timing was bad. Check iTunes and you'll see that Seger's new album, "Face the Promise," is there. So is the "Night Moves" collection. True, most of Seger's back catalog isn't on iTunes yet. But that's also true of a band called The Beatles, and it hasn't made people forget about them, either."

Matt WHO?

Aside from his gratuitous slap at Seger and Brooks, Janz also has school kids standing around their lockers, reading the paper. Just like real life!

I'm sure Mr. Janz would love to hear from lots of Seger fans! His email address is janz@outofthegenepool.com.

September 23, 2006

Janz Feels the Wrath

Apparently a lot of people have sent their glad tidings to Janz. Including this message from original Seger DEW-liner Jesse: "As you've heard by now, Seger is at #4 nationally. Maybe 1st graders haven't heard of him, but that's to be expected. Your cartoon, unfortunately, is the real joke here. How was that rip of two artists even funny? It was a gratuitous slap."

The beleagured cartoonist replies: "hello, irritated comics reader...I received enough reader e-mails complaining about that strip that I decided to type one encompassing response, which I apologize for... most of the e-mails I received were pretty much the same message anyway "you suck and bob seger rocks!" ...since I work weeks in advance, I was not aware..." etc., etc., etc. He goes on to say something about Rush being one of his favorite bands.

Ears Two, who started this whole thing, got the final shot in, replying, "Use some capital letters, dude." My thoughts exactly.

September 26, 2006


A Glimpse Into Seger's World

The November issue of Guitar World Acoustic show us many of Seger's favorite guitars. It also includes one of the best interviews with Seger that I've come across in a long while.

Seger gets into some details that haven't come out in previous sessions, including this:

"I knew I was after something, so I kept working on the songs, writing and re-writing them. Sometimes when you do that, songs become worse. But in almost every case, my songs just kept getting a little bit better...

"Then, finally, in January of this year I wrote five more songs -- "Simplicity," "No More," "The Long Goodbye," "Won't Stop" and "No Matter Who You Are" -- and I think that was the breakthrough I'd been waiting for. Each of those songs is just a little better and a little deeper than the earlier stuff. They are different and unusual, and I think that's why I waited."

"No Matter Who You Are," he says, "is about selling your soul to the corporation. I was thinking about the world my kids will face and questioning my own career decisions and desires."

And this:

"This may surprise people, but I go back and study the Beach Boys about every six months. Brian Wilson was such an innovator -- his chord progessions are out of this world. I recently wrote a song called "Hero," which didn't make Face the Promise, which was inspired by him.

"...I recently learned "All the Roadrunning" by Mark Knopfler. And not long ago I heard a John Michael Montgomery tune with such a great chord progression that I had to figure it out. "

(And this quote, from a different article, also intrigued me: "My confidence in my playing was knocked for a loop from being cast as a 'pin-up,' but making this instrumental record has definitely given me a huge boost. My chops are up!" That's not Seger talking -- it's Peter Frampton, whose 1976 record, Frampton Comes Alive, competed with and, according to some reports, led the way for Live Bullet. Thirty years later, Frampton also has a new album -- but not at the top of the charts like Face the Promise. It's another reminder of Seger's amazing career.)

All in all, the article by Brad Tolinski and the photos by Clay Patrick McBride make the issue worth owning. Buy yours while you can; until you can get to the newstand, here's a closer look.

September 24, 2006


Seger on Leno

Seger's first national TV performance. See a clip here.

Seger appeared genuinely charmed and enthused to be on Leno last night, even giving us his infectious, boyish smile in the opening of "Wait for Me," which sounded great. The band included Alto Reed on acoustic guitar, Chris Cambell on bass, Mark Chatfield on lead guitar, Craig Frost and Matt Frost on keyboards, as well as Laura Creamer, Shaun Murphy, two other backup singers, Steve Brewster on drums and percussionist I couldn't identify.

Seger talked with Jay for about three minutes after the song. Leno asked him why he had waited so long to perform on national TV -- "Were you waiting for the color to be perfected?" Seger answered "HD!" followed by the famous Seger laugh. They talked a little about cars and motorcycles. Leno asked Seger if he took his motorcycle with him on tour. Seger said, "I will this time. For sure."

Seger fan Peter Schelstraete was in the audience for the show:

"Even though I live in Phoenix and could not secure a ticket before I left, I was able to not only get in, but sat in row two in front of where Seger performed, maybe only 18 feet away from him  It took a lot of effort, but the tickets were free and I met the best fans in the world, Bob Seger fans. If it had not been for your website, I would have never even known about the Tonight Show and Bob Seger. Thanks and Rock on."

Annette Drury writes:

"I wasn't surprised that someone came from Phoenix just to see Bob!My daughter (I raised her on Bob's music) and her husband flew from Louisville, Ky to LA just to see that show. They arrived the day before and were at the studio at 6:00 AM.

"They stood there (and sat on a concrete bench) all day for tickets. They too, were in one of the rows right in front of Bob when he sang. They flew back the next morning and said it was worth every penny of the $1500.00 they spent!

"I hope someday to get that close to him himself!"

And Randall Walker adds:

"I am one of the fortunate ones who got to see Bob Seger at the Tonight Show on 14 September 2006, in Burbank, CA. I was the 5th person through the door after waiting all day in line (a very small price to pay). I was seated on the floor seating section directly in front of the stage where Bob and Silver Bullet performed. 

"The couple next to me, who flew in from Kentucky just to see Bob Seger, asked if it was ok to stand up when Bob played. I said it depends. I was thinking that security would tell us to sit down or something. However, the girls behind me were eager Seger fans and I decide to stand up and enjoy the show. People around me stood up after seeing me. 

"There was a contingent of Detroit fans whom I met and talked with and we agreed to shout out "Yeah, Detroit" on the count of three, which we did when Jay Leno interviewed Bob after he sang. I also recognized one of the background vocalists, Shawn Murphy, whose brother and I were best friends in Detroit as teens, who did some playing and recording together."   

And one more report from Roger and Latisha Beets:

"This is KY couple -- Hi all (hey Pete, Randall and Mom) the show was the best ever. Bob looked so great and sounded even better in person. It was so worth the trip and even more worth the wait. My husband suprised me and and flew me out to LA to see Bob which was a LIFE LONG dream of mine that FINALLY came true. I was so close I could see the whites in his eyes. The other fans I met were amazing...

And Kate Karwowski writes:

I was one of the girls behind Randall at the Tonight Show on Sept 14th.  We never sat down once they lifted the curtain on Seger.  We rocked that place!!!  I'm convinced that the "boyish smile" he flashed was directed right at all of us!  I remember talking -- all day -- with Peter and the rest of the Seger gang that had showed up early.  I only had to travel from Torrance -- about a 40 minute drive, but had to get up at 4:30am.  I'm a dedicated night-owl and NO ONE gets me up at that hour!  I was wearing a "classic" concert shirt from Pine Knob  -- vintage 1978.  Chris Campbell and a man I have still not identified were peeking out from backstage and seemed to be pointing at me.  The guy who wasn't Chris Campbell came over to me and started talking to me about the shirt.  I showed him the back, which had about 7 dates, SOLD OUT AGAIN across it, and "I was there" printed on it.  He said "I was there, too".  Wish I could find out who he was -- he was clearly with the Seger crowd.  I asked him to tell Bob that "Kate from LA says 'hi back'" because my boyfriend was able to get thru on the Sept 12th radio interview and got Bob to say "hi" to me.  He said "oh I remember that".  Hope he passed along my message.

Now all he has to do is tour, so the rest of us can see him too!

Seger and band on The Tonight Show.

September 15, 2006 -- Updated 9/24/06


The Oakland Press -- A Letterman Appearance in the Works?

When I started the Seger File eight years ago, Gary Graff was the journalist I wasl always quoting about Seger. Here are excerpts from his most recent interview

On the title track of "Face the Promise," his first album of all-new material in 11 years, Bob Seger declares that "I've got fevered dreams, mighty plans." And his home studios compound on a wooded Clarkston lot about 25 minutes north of the family's residence certainly looks like a place where those plans are realized.

Silver Bullet Band gear is laid out in the upstairs of the barn/ garage while the group rehearses for some upcoming TV appearances - and, perhaps, a tour, which Seger says is "80 to 85 percent sure" to happen. Guitars and a ProTools computer recording rig fill the living room of the nearby house.

...Seger reckons he worked on around 45 songs since "It's a Mystery." He even had a Silver Bullet Band album called "Blue Ridge" ready to go in the late '90s but scrapped it because he felt the sonics [didn't] measure up to what he was hearing on the radio.

..."Simplicity" was inspired by the Detroit Pistons' 2005-06 season ("They were, like, 38-5 at the time I wrote the song, and they were doing it with team play, fundamentals," Seger notes)

..."Bob is one of the most thorough and methodical artists I've ever worked with," says David Cole, who's been Seger's main recording engineer for the past three decades. "He takes his job seriously. He agonizes over every single square inch of a record. He really wants to make sure he gets it right."

...Most of "Face the Promise" was recorded in Nashville with session players, although two of the songs - "Won't Stop" and "The Long Goodbye" - were done at home with Seger playing most of the instruments.

Working with the Nashville musicians, Seger notes, was simply "an expedient way of doing things." "With the (Silver Bullet Band), I'd write the song, then I'd have to teach 'em the song here. Then we'd have to go (into the studio) and get a sound. ... All those steps were eliminated when I just used studio guys.

"I just walked in with a fresh song and, boom, four takes later it's a monster. Eight takes later it's either better or you go back to Take 4, or Take 2. It was very fast, and it would get me to the next step, which was singing them and mixing them and doing overdubs."

..."We've got a bunch of ballads that didn't make it. They're not bad ballads, but these were just a little better, so we put 'em on. Why not use the best songs?"

...Seger and the Silver Bullet Band will perform the album's fi rst single, "Wait For Me," on Thursday - two days after the album's release - on NBC's "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno." "We've been playing that about 10 times a day, every time we rehearse, 'cause we want it to be utterly second nature," Seger says.

...The group also is slated to perform Sept. 28 on ABC's "The View." Some other Seger TV appearances are being considered, including "The Late Show with David Letterman" on CBS and a possible CMT "Crossroads" episode that would pair Seger with an admirer from the country music world.

Read the whole piece, here.

 

September 11, 2006


The Associated Press -- Agonizing Over Every Square Inch

Excerpts from the AP piece as it appeared in the International Herald Tribune:

The engine of Bob Seger's white Ford GT roars as he maneuvers his way through the long driveway leading to his secluded studio.

Seger, dressed in a green Naples, Florida, T-shirt, shorts and sandals, looks relaxed at his suburban Detroit hideaway as he pulls out a stack of clothes from his trunk -- a variety of outfits for a day's worth of photo shoots.

...The 61-year-old rock legend took extra care on the album's songs while working at his own terms from the 20-acre (8-hectare) property that is surrounded by wetlands.

After all, no one can hear him here.

"I can be loud any time night or day. I can be rip-roaring on the electric guitar up in the studio or have the drum machine real loud. I just work alone."

...He calls "Face The Promise" his first solo record. It did not start out that way, but Seger says he shunned off advice from everyone and instead mastered the album just the way he wanted it.

"If you hate this one, hate me," Seger says with a thunderous laugh.

"He just agonizes over every square inch of the music," says engineer David Cole, who has worked with Seger since 1978. "He works with every note of music and each sound until he's got it just right."

...Seger kept coming back with new songs and updated versions. He would mix from his cabin in the woods and over time it became more of a rock record, Cole says.

It was sparked by the concept of Leonard Cohen's 1992 album "The Future." Seger says he liked the idea of laying out "the future as he sees it."

"Having young kids, you start thinking: 'Well what are they going to face that I faced,'" he says. "As a very razor-thin concept it's about what to expect and where we're going and where we hopefully won't end up."

Seger, who has sold 50 million albums in his career, says he recorded more than 30 songs for the album and in the end picked the best 12.

...As Seger brews up some instant coffee and grabs an ashtray, he talks about how excited he is to have the Silver Bullet Band back at his studio practicing.

They have not really played together since the band helped him record a 1997-98 album that never was released -- none of those songs showed up on this record, he says.

Silver Bullet veterans Alto Reed, Craig Frost and Chris Campbell along with Mark Chatfield, who has moved to lead guitar, have used daylong practice sessions to tune up for a likely tour this fall.

Read the whole piece, here.

September 11, 2006


Excerpts from the Free Press -- More Tracks in December?

Excerpts from Brian McCollum's interview with Seger -- starting with the amazing news that "Face the Promise" may be expanded by the end of the year, (just as Springsteen's "Seeger Sessions" will soon be reissued with three new songs and a new 40-minute video.)

"I wanted it out there, and what really kinda bothers me is that there's some more stuff that's not on it....We're hoping around Christmas, there's talk of it being expanded -- four more songs, and so then you might hear some Silver Bullet stuff, you might hear some more "left field" stuff.

"We've already got one song -- have you heard "Red Eye to Memphis"? It's a real swampy, almost a Tony Joe White thing, and it's real cool, and you're probably gonna say, why the hell didn't you put that on there?...bascially we just talked, and talked, and talked...and we got down to those twelve"...

"Something like 'Sunspot Baby' or 'Fire Down Below' are really hard to sing now, at 61, because it's high and it's constantly high...A similar song is "Wreck This Heart." I'm up in this range and I pretty much stay up there. I sing "Old Time Rock & Roll" in the same key as "Wreck This Heart." You do a lot of those live -- it's one thing to do a couple of them, but you start doing 22 or 23 of them in a show -- wow! That takes a lot of stamina and a lot of energy! And that's what I'm trying to build myself up to! "Wait For Me" is a piece of cake, you know? I go high a few times and that's it."

"Initially, it was going to be a thematic album, and you can hear 'Are You' in that theme, 'Between,' 'Face the Promise' in that theme. But it became a little limiting. So I said, 'Just write songs, and try to make 'em good.' "

"No Matter Who You Are" and "Simplicity"...were written after the record's September release date was set in the spring.

Andy Slater, president of Capitol Records, says: "There are aspects of Hemingway and Steinbeck in his work. Every word seems carefully chosen, yet none of it seems belabored...Sonically, the architecture of the sound, it feels like a record that we know, and yet it's not. It's not trying to be anything modern -- it's effortlessly cool and timeless"...

Seger: "I don't know who's going to play it [on the air]. I don't have a clue. Honestly, I'm not expecting it to get play. A classic-rock artist is limited to classic-rock radio -- and then classic-rock doesn't want to play new stuff....The beauty of it is you don't have to pander to anybody. You just make a record that you like"...

Read the rest here.

September 10, 2006


Seger Fires It Up -- Excerpts from the Detroit News

Susan Whitall and the Detroit News did their long piece on Seger today (September 9).

Here's a sampling of the Detroit News piece:

"[Real Mean Bottle] started with me listening to the song on Vince's album, The Next Big Thing...I was in the studio with Laura Creamer and I said 'Do you think Bob would like this?' And she said, 'Man, you ought to tell him to go get the thing and you ought to have him here tomorrow.'

"And I called him up and I said, 'Hey, Bob, go out and buy this record and just listen to it and see if we should do this song together.' So he called me back three hours later, he'd finally got the record and he said, 'Oh yeah. Yeah, I'll be there tomorrow.' And he took over the session, and he said, 'Well, we can't do it that way.' I was going to do it kind of the way Vince did it.

"That's why I gave him a production credit....He went out and he turned the thing up 70 beats a minute, had the drummer playing this way and basically produced the song," says Seger. "He did the handclaps, the breakdowns, he changed the melody on the bridge and the choruses to a 7-4-1 chord structure. He did all of that right in front of my eyes. We started at 11 in the morning, and I think we were done by 3 o'clock in the afternoon, the whole thing was done and sung. And we called up Vince and he came over and he listened to it and he absolutely loved it."

"...I had this album for years, The Future by Leonard Cohen, that I've always loved. Just looking at the album cover, I thought, 'What a cool title for an album.' I've got five copies of that, I never want to lose that, that's one of my favorite Cohen albums...And then I wrote the song 'Face the Promise, whicih really came just from a riff, and when I started singing the lyric, I said, 'Face the promise, of what? Of the promised land. You know, thinking of Chuck Berry.'

[The song is] "about kids in rural areas dreaming about going to the big city and what's that like."

"...At one point -- try to picture this -- at one point we actually had a band for about two weeks: Pep [Perrine], Glenn Frey and me. And Glenn and I took turns playing bass. And playing guitar and playing keyboards. And we were a three-piece. That was our band. Power trio. And then Punch kind of put the nix on it because he wanted us to be separate. He said, 'I think you guys are too good to be in the same band. You're good enough you should be fronting your own bands.' Because it almost happened. That was gonna be our band!"

Read the rest here.

September 9, 2006


Detroit Papers Talk Tour with Seger

I've been eagerly awaiting Seger interviews by Brian McCollum and Susan Whitall in the Free Press and News respectively. No one writes more about Seger than they do -- except for me, of course. The distinction being that I don't actually have access to Seger, which makes their reporting sort of, uh, well....slightly meatier I guess you might say, and more substantive in some ways and, well, heck, just plain better. So to speak.

Some excerpts from McCollum's piece in the Free Press:

Seger told the Free Press that the Palace of Auburn Hills and Joe Louis Arena would each get shows in early December, toward the end of a national itinerary that would start in late October at Grand Rapids' Van Andel Arena.

A couple dozen dates have been proposed, Seger said...saying he would take a three-week holiday break in December and decide whether to ramp back up in the new year.

Seger and a group that includes Silver Bullet Band veterans Chris Campbell, Craig Frost and Alto Reed have been rehearsing since early August at Seger's Clintonville studio.

The practice docket has included six new songs and seven older ones...Seger said the proposed tour set list has up to 23 songs..."So a third of the show will be ... God knows what it'll be!"

Another Cybelle Codish shot of Seger.

And from Whitall's in the Detroit News

"The tour is really up to me getting my stamina up to the point where I can do it," said Seger. "It's starting to come."

The singer reports that he's up to belting 13 songs full tilt, and his goal is to be able to have the lung power to sing for two hours and 15 minutes.

While sources at his office caution, "It's not a done deal yet." Seger seemed more confident about a tour that would start in mid- to late October, and finish just before Christmas with some Detroit dates. If all went well, Seger says they'd regroup and maybe go out again after the holidays.

From Gary Graff's piece in the Oakland Press:

"We're at the 80, 85 percent for-sure mark," says Seger..."I'd say, yeah, it's looking pretty good."

Seger...says he's planning to undergo some medical tests the week of Sept. 18 "to give me a pure clearance where I feel good about going" out on tour.

"It seems like all my hit records are in this real high spot in my vocal (range), so that's where I've gotta be able to sing."

Seger has been working at his Home Studios compound in Clarkston with Silver Bullet mainstays Alto Reed, Chris Campbell, Mark Chatfield, Shaun Murphy and Laura Creamer.

They'll be joined this weekend by Nashville drummer Steve Brewster, who...will play with the band next Thursday on NBC's "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno."

Seger says Brewster is being considered for the tour, and he'll also add a "utility player" to the band who can handle guitar, keyboards and maybe other instruments.

From Online Rock Radio:

...Seger had every intention of using the [Silver Bullet] guys on the project. In fact, he recorded 11 or 12 songs with the group, but he told us that he went in a new direction because of some technical limitations: "When we went to mix it, and we listened to what was out there on the radio, we realized that 16-bit digital -- which is how we'd recorded it -- just wasn't getting it anymore. And I was listening to groups like Matchbox 20 and stuff like that, and just the sonic sound compared to what we had -- it sounded like a garage band. So I said OK, and rather than re-recording everything, I just kept writing, and so, kinda, the Bullets kinda got cut out of the thing."

Seger also told us that he likes the songs he did with the Silver Bullet Band, and that he'll share that material with people some other time.

September 8, 2006


Street Teamers Reward

Those of us who are members of the "Bob Seger Street Team" got our reward today -- a copy of Face the Promise, four days before the official release.

When the package arrived, I thought it was in recognition of the eight years I've spent running this site. I vowed never to make another snarky remark about not being treated like a real journalist. Then I found out the other "Street Teamers" got a free disk too.

So it's really Capitol's way of thanking me for letting five pounds of Face the Promise postcards sit on my kitchen counter, still in the shrink wrap. Not that I wasn't planning to distribute them all.

Guess I'll deep-six that essay I was just about to write: "The Street Team is An Insane Idea."

September 8, 2006


Tsunami Alert Cancelled

Scientists in the USGS station in the Pacific Northwest have cancelled the tsunami alert. The seismic disturbance centered in Oregon turned out not to be a tsunami-causing earthquake after all. It was just me cranking the living room speakers higher than they've ever been cranked, playing "Real Mean Bottle" repeatedly and experiencing cosmic levels of joy.

Or it was me, until my 13-year-old son showed up and asked me to TURN IT DOWN so he could get back to working on his homework. Oh, yeah. I love it when that happens.

September 8, 2006


Best Seger Album Since...

Okay, I admit I haven't heard the whole thing yet. I can't listen to a whole new Seger album in one sitting. It would overload the sensors, send me zinging around the room like an insane pinball. To calm down, I'd need the kind of pills I no longer have access to. But I have heard half of it.

Better yet, I've heard it in my car. For me, that's where music sounds the best -- not to suggest that I've downloaded the ClearChannel stream or anything like that. (Hey, I've also pre-ordered two copies already.) And, I'm listening to the tracks out of order! Take that, defenders of the album as an art form!

And based on all that, I'm ready to tell you what you already know, which is: This album is fantastic. This album is out-and-out stunning amazing -- the Seger album we've been waiting for and hoping for.

Listen, I loved It's A Mystery and you didn't. (By "you," I mean most of you.) I don't think Seger needs to make a "comeback." And just because I run a Seger web site doesn't mean I like everything he does. I'm tired of and bored with most of the Seger album cuts that get played on FM radio these days. I'm kind of embarrassed that most of my friends know Seger only by his "hits," because many of his most powerful, truest and most joyful songs were not hits.

Having said that, I want everyone in the world to hear "Face the Promise," (the song.) I want everyone in the world to hear "Real Mean Bottle." I want everyone in the world to hear "Won't Stop." I want to go up to people who think Bob Seger is "Old Time Rock & Roll," "Night Moves," and "Against the Wind" and make them hear Seger deliver the line "one day you're a comet, the next day you're dust." It would be like taking someone who's only ever seen a big ditch and showing them the Grand Cavern.

I imagine I'll find some things I don't like about this album eventually. But so far...you need an El Dorado, a lost city of gold? Here it is.

The best Seger album since Stranger in Town. At least.

Before Face the Promise came out, I told myself I wasn't going to review the new album. Yeah, right.

September 6, 2006


Car Talk

From Former Chevy pitchman Bob Seger prefers Porsche by By Dean Goodman of Reuters:

Seger "told Reuters on Tuesday that he prefers to tool around town in a Porsche Boxster, or maybe a Nissan pickup truck...As for Chevrolet, the brand he also eulogized in his 1976 top-10 smash "Night Moves?"

"I don't have any of them anymore," he said.

"These days, the lifelong Democrat is more environmentally conscious. He loved former Vice President Al Gore's global-warming documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" and has just written a song targeting drivers of light trucks, one of Detroit's few profit centers...

"'We buy a bigger engine and say it isn't me,'" he sings in the tune 'Between'...

Seger says "he tries to do his bit by favoring six-cylinder cars. 'We consume so much and it can't be good for the economy, the whole country in the final analysis to consume as much as we do'...

"...He may downsize in early 2008 when DaimlerChrysler starts rolling out its tiny Smart cars in the United States.

"'My daughter loves that,' he said...

September 5, 2006


Seger Streams!

A week before the CD/DVD hits the store, Face the Promise has hit the Internet. Seger's new album -- every song -- can be heard in its entirety at the ClearChannel Music site. (Several times in each song, a voice says "Sneak Peek. Hear it here first." over the music, just in case you're tempted to hijack the stream onto your iPod.)

Personally, I'm stunned and thrilled that Seger would stream his album before the release date. It's so...modern. And I'm flat-out knocked-down blown-away by "Real Mean Bottle." Why are you still reading this?? Start streaming!

September 5, 2006


"Some blood on the page" -- Seger in NYT, RS & ET

The nation's paper of record, the New York Times, has covered Seger for the second time in ten weeks. He's also in the current Rolling Stone, but the difference in coverage is striking.

The NYT does what a real interview should do: asks serious questions and gives some space to the answers. Some excerpts:

"His brand of lunch-bucket rock 'n' roll has struck a universal chord, arguably even more than the music of peers like Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty and John Mellencamp...

"'Growing up, I was pretty much ignored,' he said. 'When I was 7, 8 years old, my parents would let me walk around Ann Arbor until midnight. Dad was always working, and I guess my brother was a little higher maintenance, so they'd say I was the good one and let me go. My wife was one of five kids, and her parents worked too. At night we talk about how to be better parents, how to raise our kids with a sense of self-worth and self-confidence.'...

"The softer side of his writing, he said, stemmed from being able to pick up folk music on a radio signal from Boston. 'That came from hearing Joni Mitchell and Tom Rush on a 50,000-watt station when I drove home after playing a bar in Pontiac,' he said...

[Seger] plans to get back on the road this fall, he said, adding that 'Face the Promise' only improved during its long gestation in the shadows. 'I think the songs are better because I kept pushing myself to be a better writer,' he said. 'I had a tendency to use too much metaphor, but this writing is clearer, less vague, more matter-of-fact.'...

'I wanted to deserve it with this album, so I started working harder. I thought, 'If they're gonna put me in the Hall of Fame, I better at least make a decent record.' I wanted to make sure to leave some blood on the page.'"

Excerpts from "Bob Seger, Once the Voice of Detroit, Is the Newest Star in Nashville" by Alan Light, New York Times, September 3, 2006. Read the whole piece here.

Seger in the Times

Meanwhile, Rolling Stone -- which used to be the rock magazine of record -- is running what is essentially a glorified blurb. The same issue runs a serious interview with Bob Dylan. But for Seger, they settle for the obvious questions -- what have you been doing these past 11 years, are you going to tour -- and get the obvious answers: raising my kids and maybe. The one piece of new information is that Seger plays every instrument but drums on "The Long Goodbye."

Except for the fact that Seger's son and Kid Rock's son IM each other, there was no new information at all on Entertainment Tonight's coverage. (Worse, ET felt obliged to replay the ancient Tom Cruise "Old Time Rock & Roll" footage. Because you can never see that too much.)

I wonder how many albums a one-minute interview on ET sells? A lot, I guess. Watch an excerpt of the remarkably short interview here.

September 4, 2006


Seger's Video Lights Up the (California) Night

Wonder where Seger's "Wait for Me" video was shot? The answer is Victorville, CA, according to this account from Seger fan Charlie Keegan:

"Two months ago, I was on my way to one of the sites I run, and it was about 4 a.m. and the whole side of the desert was lit up in this rocky area." Movie trucks were there for two days, he says. "I didn't think much of it, because they do a lot of movie scenes and commercials in this area because of the rocky terrain."

"So when I saw the video and noticed where it was, I called the Victorville office, and they said yes that his video was shot there, but it was through San Bernardino County offices."

Brooks and Dunn have filmed three videos in the same area, Keegan adds, which was often used as a set for old westerns. Indeed, Roy Rogers is buried nearby.

September 4, 2006


Wait For Me...and See About that Laundry, Too, Babe

I spent a while watching CMT recently, hoping to see Seger's new video. I didn't catch it, but most of what I did see convinced me that CMT stands for Toxic Macho Cliches, backwards. Emphasis on the cliches. This was before I knew you could watch the video online.

I love a lot of the video -- particularly the way the scenes cut with the opening drums, and the shots of Seger. The camera work and editing are great. As for the "storyline" -- well, if watching a pouty blonde hang laundry outside her trailer enhances your enjoyment of Seger, hey, you'll probably love the rest of what CMT plays.

August 30, 2006


Rumor Central -- Thanksgiving Show, "Wait" Video

The new album is barely a couple weeks away, making this one of the most exciting time-periods in a decade for Seger fans. So what have I done? I've gone on vacation...to a place with no easy Internet connection. If news happens between now and Labor Day, you'll probably read it here last.

On the few occasions I've been able to get online, the e-mail has brought news/rumors that I'm unable to verify. Specifically:

  • Seger will play the halftime show of the Chiefs-Broncos game Thanksgiving night. This according to radio station Q104 in Kansas City, as relayed by Tim Vetscher. I find this amazing news just a tad hard to believe, given that no tour has been announced yet. But there it is. If I could hit the station's website, or even check Segernet, I would.
  • Also, the "Wait for Me" video is being played on CMT. This news comes from Andrew Marino, who says he's seen the video and that Seger's voice is awesome.
  • You can see the video yourself online here. The video debuted over the weekend on CMT's top-twenty countdown. Thanks to Richard Petty for the tip and the link.
  • Rolling Stone gave "Wait For Me" three out of five stars. This from Mark Morris, who says the review is in the issue with Led Zeppelin on the front. Per Mark, "basically they said it was standard Seger stuff, piano driven, and weren't we to expect more from someone with Seger's experience." You'd think I'd check this out myself, but hey, I'm on vacation.
  • Punch has said he may add "Night Moves" to iTunes, but only in a format where the entire album, not individual songs, can be downloaded. Some albums, he said, are meant to be listened to as albums, and not broken up into compilations. Maybe the album will make a comeback, he adds. ("We're hoping at some point albums become important again, like they were in the past 30 years.") Right. And after that, who knows. The dinosaurs return. It could happen. Thanks to original Seger DEW-liner Jesse for the clip, which arrived in an envelope delivered by a strange man in a truck. Claimed to be the mailman...whatever that is.
  • And finally, Amazon has lowered the price of the CD/DVD to $16.99, according to an email from Charlie Keegan.

There's got to be an Internet cafe somewhere in town, and if you're reading this, you'll know I found it. In the meantime, I'm going to go watch CMT.

August 27, 2006. I think. There are no calendars here either.


Seger's Other New Album

By that, of course, I mean Rock Masters: Tales of Lucy Blue -- an odd CD of Seger's first album, minus Ramblin' Gamblin' Man and Doctor Fine. The disk, which slipped under the radar last December, is on the Carinco label.

No expense has been spared in packaging, (yes, I am being sarcastic here). For example, "White Wall" has become "White Hall," and "2+2=?" has a slightly rearranged title. But if you don't have Ramblin' Gamblin' Man on CD, this might tide you over. It's available online somewhere. You'll have to Google for yourself, because I can't.

August 27, 2006


Promised Tracks: Twelve on the Twelfth

The Amazon.com listing for Face the Promise has been updated to include the track list. Turns out we'll get 12 songs on September 12:

1. Wreck This Heart
2. Wait For Me
3. Face The Promise
4. No Matter Who You Are
5. Are You
6. Simplicity
7. No More
8. Real Mean Bottle (with Kid Rock)
9. Won't Stop
10. Between
11. The Answer's In The Question (with Patty Loveless)
12. The Long Goodbye

The duet with Patty Loveless comes as a surprise. I recall, after his 1998 duet with Martina McBride that Seger commented he was done doing duets for a while. Of course, that was eight years ago.

The closing track is also interesting. There are already quite a few songs titled "The Long Goodbye." Including one by Springsteen on his Human Touch album, and a country song covered by a lot of artists, including Brooks & Dunn. I'm guessing this song is neither of those.

The CD, not due for another five weeks, has risen to No. 181 on the Amazon sales rank (rising from No. 194 in the time it took to write this post!)

For an additional eight dollars, you can get a CD/DVD combo version of Face the Promise, which Amazon describes this way:

BONUS DVD includes career retrospective and a "making of" Face The Promise interview segment with studio footage. Also includes previously unreleased historical concert performances of Old Time Rock And Roll, Still The Same, and Hollywood Nights recorded live in San Diego, 1978.

For those among us who have acquired a few tapes of concert footage here and there, it will be interesting to see if the San Diego performance are ones filmed by Braverman Productions. The time and location seem similar, if not the same.

August 4, 2006


Billboard's Take on "Wait"

Here's Billboard's review of "Wait for Me."

"It has been more than a decade since Bob Seger served up any new material, which wouldn't be particularly newsworthy if not for just how inspired and well-executed his sudden reappearance is. Single "Wait for Me" is vintage and yet so craftily produced that it serves as a connect between the memories of a master and a surprisingly relevant new chapter. Not only did the man write and produce the song, but he has the backing of a major label -- rare among the over-50 crowd. Album "Face the Promise" is due in September and with AC's already easy embrace of "Wait," Seger might be in store for a Rod Stewart-like debut. Seger has shot an unexpected bull's-eye here. Who'd have thunk it?" Chuck Taylor, Billboard.

Classy ending, Chuck. Since you asked, I'll tell you who thunk it. Me, and everybody who visits this site, and all the people who have made "Wait for Me" the No. 2 song on the Classic Rock charts as of this week. We all thunk it. Apparently you're one of the very few who didn't. Of course, your bizarre conviction that songbook crooner Rod Stewart somehow sets the bar for the "over-50 crowd" indicates a vast desert of oxygen-deprived brain cells in your frontal lobes. Take some advice from the generation that invented rock music and get a job that doesn't display how out of touch you are.

Jeez, am I saying all this out loud? It's late. Thanks to Rick Tosches, Rick Bentley and Segernet for tip-offs on today's news.

August 4, 2006


Love's Lee Lost

Amid all the happiness and excitement around Seger's new CD, there is some news that makes me sad. Arthur Lee died yesterday. Lee was an amazing singer and musical force. He founded the group Love. His music inspired many artists and groups who went on to become more commercially successful, most notably The Doors and Jimi Hendrix. He was 61 and he died of leukemia.

Lee set the scene. And his music will live on. I know I won't be playing anything but Love for the rest of the night.

"This is the only thing that I am sure of
And that's all that lives is gonna die
And there'll always be some people here to wonder why
And for every happy hello, there will be goodbye
There'll be time for you to put yourself on."

-- Arthur Lee, You Set the Scene.

August 4, 2006


I Don't Usually Do This, But...

I've got my own Seger site, so I don't usually send people to others. But there's a discussion over on Segernet that fascinates me. A long time Seger fan there -- who posts under the name Phonoline -- has done his own version of Seger's new CD cover, using the existing photo, but replacing the large Bob Seger logo with a smaller, more restrained type treatment.

My take is that the revised type treatment is more contemporary, more confident and more fitting for a serious artist, which is how I regard Seger. But check it out yourself at Segernet. The artwork is also posted at the WCSX site, here.

August 4, 2006
The promo cover and the actual cover.

Seger's 16th Studio Album -- "Face the Promise"

"There is nothing quite like riding down a dirt road, on the back of a Harley, cameras around my neck, and arm around Bob Seger, looking for that perfect location...In a nutshell, he was possibly the most humble and giving subject I have ever worked with."

Those are the words of photographer Cybelle Codish, who took the terrific shots of Seger for the CD.

And now the quiz: Above are two versions of the cover -- the promo art, and the art that actually appears on the CD. See the difference -- besides the color of the logo, that is? If not, click here.

Update: The 9-9-06 Detroit News interview with Seger mistakenly credited the cover photo to a Getty Images photographer. Since the CD booklet has no photo credits at all, I contacted Codish to see if the cover shot was hers.

"Yes," she writes. "The cover is mine. We've been having a few discrepancies here and there, including (but not limited to) the lack of photo credit on the album. Apparently, they will have it together for the second pressing."

I hope they do. One of the big differences between the much maligned It's A Mystery and Face the Promise are the great photos on FTP. Not only do they set the perfect tone for the music, but I'll bet anything they're contributing to the fantastic sales figures. They deserve to be credited. If you see Punch or Bob, do me a favor and remind them.

Updated September 25, 2006


Meanwhile, in keeping with the motorcycle theme, Capitol is planning to promote the album at the 66th Annual Black Hills Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis, South Dakota starting August 7. Half a million people attended the rally last year. The "Bob Seger Street Team" is looking for fans to put up flyers, etc. at the rally.

("Street Teams" are the way labels try to manufacture buzz by organizing and leading grassroots efforts. Pretty cool, huh? Who knows what they'll try next. Maybe even, I don't know, web sites or something.)

July 29, 2006


Settle Annex Expands

Speaking of great photos, a new wing has just been added to the Settle Annex. The Annex, in case you haven't been there yet, is a collection of terrific shots taken by photographer Ken Settle. I don't think there are many people who know as much about Seger's music than Ken, and his photos capture the essence of that music. He's just added ten more great shots to the Annex. Some rare early news articles from his collection are coming soon. Check it out here.

July 29, 2006


Turn Up the AC, Going Down the Country

This week's Billboard Radio Monitor ranks "Wait For Me" on its Adult Contemporary (AC) Hit Predictor list:

"It's been a long time since Bob Seger was on the charts, but that's about to change with his latest single, "Wait For Me". From his new album, "Face The Promise", "Wait For Me" achieves HP gold by scoring an 80.6."July 24, 2006. Billboard Radio Monitor

Only one other song on this week's list scored higher than "Wait For Me." The scores are based on nationwide research, similar in some respects to TV's Neilson ratings.

"Songs are blind tested online by Promosquad using multiple listens and a nationwide sample of carefully profiled music consumers. Songs are rated on a 1-5 scale; final results are based on weighted positives. Songs with a score of 65 or more are judged to have Hit potential, although that benchmark number can fluctuate per format based on the strength of available music. Songs are ranked based on airplay detections according to data provided weekly by Broadcast Data Systems." July 24, 2006. Billboard Radio Monitor

Elsewhere on the Promosquad site, I discovered this: "The artists are rated by thousands of carefully screened music fans aged 13-50." No kidding? Age 13 to 50, huh? That would leave out certain obsessive web writers. Because as everyone knows, I'm under 13.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, "Wait" slipped one spot to 58 on the country charts.

July 24, 2006


"Wait" at 28

According to the latest blast from Billboard Radio Monitor, Seger first entered the Adult Contemporary chart in June 1978, with "Still The Same."

Now it's 28 years later and "Wait For Me" is at No. 28 on the AC chart. It's his 14th track to make the list. (I'm guessing the list didn't exist for "Night Moves," two years earlier. Or maybe "Night Moves" was on some other chart. How many charts are there, anyway?)

Meanwhile, "Wait" moved from No. 54 to No. 57 on the country chart.

Back on the Adult Contemporary charts, "Wait" also ranked third for Most Airplay Adds, with new airplay at two Detroit stations: WMGC (19 plays) and WNIC (8). And it continues to rank very high on my iPod.

Revised, July 22, 2006


Vault V -- Ears Two Flies Solo

Once again I've returned -- sort of -- to the vault where Seger's unreleased tracks are stored. This time, the rewards were fewer: only a handful of new tracks were available. And this time, fate conspired to keep me from hearing them. But fate couldn't stop Ears Two. He followed the trail to the end, and was rewarded with four new tracks. His report -- along with my comments on some early Seger lyrics -- begins here.

July 22, 2006


Greatest Gainer, Most Airplay Adds, Airpower Honors

That's what "Wait For Me" has done -- so far. Here's the scoop, from Billboard Radio Monitor.

"Bob Seger makes his first chart appearance as a lead artist since 1996 as "Wait For Me" lands a No. 19 debut on the Heritage Rock chart and earns Greatest Gainer, Most Airplay Adds and Airpower honors. Most of Seger's chart history came prior to the June 1997 inception of the Heritage chart but he logged one visit to the list, peaking at No. 13, this February on 3 Doors Down's "Landing In London (All I Think About Is You)."

Capitol's Nashville shop is working a track from Bob Seger's forthcoming "Face the Promise" album, and "Wait For Me" takes Hot Shot Debut applause at No. 54. (Billboard Radio Monitor, July 10, 2006)

Translation: Billboard Radio Monitor tracks charts in various formats. In Heritage Rock (their term for Classic Rock) Seger debuted at #19. On their Country chart, he debuted at #54. I don't know exactly what "working a track from "Face the Promise" means. Either they're working (promoting) "Wait For Me,"...or are they getting ready to promote "Real Mean Bottle"?

Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

July 15, 2006


Seger and the New York Times

The Newspaper of Record is taking notice of Seger's upcoming record. Today's New York Times features a long piece on Seger. The story, which includes two photos, uses his new release to illustrate what it claims is an emerging trend: rock artists being played on country stations.

To my thinking, the so-called trend isn't all that new. Indeed, Punch puts the whole 'emerging trend' premise into perspective with the following quote:

"We've relied on country audiences from the first record we put out," said Punch Andrews, Mr. Seger's longtime manager. These fans, he added, "don't see all the fuzzy lines that everybody wants to draw. Rock 'n' roll and country have always been basically the same. It's just a few instruments that change." Jeff Leeds, July 15, The New York Times. "Bob Seger's Latest Road Heads Straight on Through to Country"

(Of course, since that quote doesn't support the "new trend" premise, the author saves it for the 20th and final paragraph of the article.)

Even the headline seems misleading, when you consider that Seger has repeatedly said that this new album is a rocker. ("It's a pretty high-energy rock record," Seger says. "I would say it's more rock 'n' roll than usual." USA Today, June 8, 2006) And that his version of "Real Mean Bottle" with Kid Rock is far from country. (As Kid Rock says, "We rocked it like a freight train.")

So is this really rock music drifting over to the country side of the dial? Or, more likely, is the country side of the dial deciding to play some rock music? Sounds like the latter to me.

But never mind all that. The article does contain some exciting news. It warms up with the fact, reported in the Segerfile a couple days ago, that "there are also plans to pair Mr. Seger with an established country artist on "Crossroads," the odd-couple performance series on Country Music Television, and in other nationally televised performances."

(If you read the posts below, you know that the "established country artist" is Vince Gill.)

Then we get this: "And an album of Seger covers performed by country artists may be in the offing, too."

Kerrang! That's the headline right there -- finally, a Seger tribute album. And about time. Country artists doing Seger songs would be great.

All the Seger news that's fit to print.

The article also doesn't mention Seger's duet with Martina McBride in 1998. Or the fact that his video of "The Real Love" was played on CMT but not MTV. Or the fact that Garth Brooks covered "Night Moves" in concert for years, and said, in 2001, "Where Bob Seger was in the '70s is where I want to be..." adding, "I ripped him off a million times."

But hey -- it's great to see Seger headlined in the New York Times. Some other interesting bits from the article:

"As part of the promotion for "Face the Promise," Mr. Seger's first album of new material in 11 years, his longtime label, Capitol Records, is shipping his first new single, "Wait for Me," to country radio, in addition to stations that play classic rock and adult-contemporary formats.

"The Seger efforts are part of a broader push to bring his new album to the widest possible audience, including making it available on iTunes -- a departure for Mr. Seger, who along with Radiohead and the Beatles is among the few remaining holdouts vetoing digital sales of their music catalogs...

"In Mr. Seger's heyday and for years afterward, his songs could occasionally be heard on an array of radio formats, including country. But longtime country programmers in the genre do not recall Mr. Seger's music being presented to them specifically as carrying country appeal.

"The official date when Capitol hopes country stations start playing his single is not for two weeks, but it has already received airplay on about a dozen such stations."Jeff Leeds, July 15, The New York Times. "Bob Seger's Latest Road Heads Straight on Through to Country"

Time out for a second. "In Mr. Seger's heyday?" Did I read that right? What day are they talking about? Maybe they mean last Tuesday when his single was the 22nd most popular download on iTunes. Hey, back in the New York Time's heyday -- before their stock price dropped 25%, before Jayson Blair and Judith Miller destroyed the paper's credibility...okay, I have no way to end this sentence, so let's just leave it here.

In truth, the article does make some good points about the changes in audience listening habits. For example, it points out that classic rock and album-oriented rock stations have lost approximately 15 percent of their audience in the past five years. "Now, even a hit on older-skewing rock stations is not nearly as meaningful as a performance on country airwaves."

One of the best pieces of info in the Time's article is hidden under the photo of Seger on his Harley. It's the photo credit: Cybelle Codish -- a Detroit photographer who has shot artists such as Ricki Lee Jones, Nickleback and others. Check out her site for a closer look at the Seger shot, (or hey, Google her and see some more of her non-Seger work on MySpace).

July 14, 2006


More On Drive Time Radio

Or do I mean, Moron Drive Time Radio? Oh, to be a morning disc jockey. All you have to do is talk fast and laugh at anything.

Anyway, the radio blitz continued with Seger hitting the Bo and Jim show on KPZS in Dallas last Wednesday. Here's an example of the witty banter:

Seger: The last time I was on tour [my kids were] one and four and they actually went, but they don't remember much.

Bo/Jim: One and four! Kind of sounds like the Cowboy's opening season record!

All: Laughter

Bo/Jim: Well, that's okay, you've got the Detroit Lions, so I wouldn't laugh too hard.

Seger: Oh, boy. Let me tell ya...

If you interviewed Seger once a month, or even once a year, that mindless chit-chat would be fine. But, guys, this is your one shot in twelve years. Ask him something important.

Actually, two nuggets of interest did come out. Talking about his kids, Seger says, "Actually, they're the ones that really want me to tour. They've heard so much about it..."

Then they ask: "What's the one secret about you that nobody knows?" I cringed at the stupidity of the question, but they actually got a pretty intriguing answer: "One secret is that I'm probably the least likely rock star that you'd ever meet."

Do they follow up and say, why is that? Of course not! This is morning radio. Fortunately, Seger continues on his own. "I was always kind of a worker bee. It was the work that I really enjoyed. I always felt like I had a great respect for my audience, and so I stayed pretty darn straight."

Beyond that, Seger tells an interesting story about playing with Lynyrd Skynyrd before they were signed. And they talk about the reissue of Smokin' O.P.s a little (Seger mentions that he particularly loves "If I Were A Carpenter" off that CD.) Seger says if they tour, they'll do "about 30" shoes.

And everyone has fun, so I guess that's what counts. You can listen for yourself here.

July 15, 2006


Stranger in Town?

If Seger does tour (and that's still an if, but seeming more and more likely) audiences might get a chance to hear "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man" again -- but not by Seger. Check out the stranger in town, who covers RGM and is said to have dibs on the opening act slot.

Ramblin' Gamblin' Man: "Maybe the kids of today will dig it and rediscover the greatness of Bob Seger."

 
Looks like a new shirt to me. Probably got it from his manager, Arthur Penhallow, Jr. The shirt-wearer is Huck Johns, and the link will take you to his Hideout/Capitol Records web page. You can get his version of RGM on iTunes -- I just did; it rocks.
 
And, for the first time in history, you can also buy a new Seger single on iTunes. "Wait For Me" was added today. Let's everybody buy it and run it up the charts.

Note: Or, if you like dealing with the world's biggest retailer, you could save 11 cents and download it from Wal-Mart -- which is also offering "East Side Story" and "Heavy Music." But it doesn't work with Mac, and there's no refund. Wal-Mart now owes me 88 cents.

July 11, 2006


More Radio

How many radio interviews did Seger do last week, anyway? At least seven, and maybe as many as ten.

In addition to the ones mentioned below, Seger did a phone interview with Jim Kerr at Q104 in New York. They barely talked about the new album at all, but some interesting things came out:

Laura Creamer is one of the background singers on Ramblin' Gamblin' Man (along with Glen Frey, of course).

Kerr asked if Seger had memories of listening to the radio with Frey. Seger said, "When Are You Experienced came out, we were really worried, (laughs) 'cause he was so good...'What are we gonna do now, Glen?!'"...

Seger said his kids have "really been pushing me to go on tour, and I hope I can do that, and just to make music again."

Talking about Seger's long career, Kerr said: "It's pretty unique. There are artists who were very successful, who made a fortune for their record labels, who can't even get past the lobby in those same labels today, can't even get a phone call returned. And you're still with the same label and still working."

Seger replied: "I owe a lot of that to my manager...He's always been kind of the tough guy, and I've always been the good guy. You know, good cop, bad cop kind of relationship."

The producers of Risky Business sent Seger and Punch the Old Time Rock & Roll sequence before the movie came out. "They sent us the piece of film and we just fell on the floor, my manager and I, and we just thought it was great..."

Shakedown, is Seger's.highest charting single, but not the biggest seller.

Lots of people in Detroit recognize Seger at stop lights. "They wave a lot, and I try not to get in an accident. I try to be polite and wave back."

Those were the highlights. Want to listen for yourself? Go for it.

Philadelphia

Seger told WXTU in Philadelphia that there is a possibility of doing a CMT (Country Music Television) Crossroads segment with Vince Gill. (Thanks to Danise Gentzsch for the tip.) There's no link I can find on the XTU page.

Random Thoughts

None of the interviewers have asked him about a video for "Wait For Me." Which would make me think there isn't one.

Now that the single is being so thoroughly promoted, one question: Where do we buy it? Will it turn up on iTunes tomorrow? [Answer: Yes.]

The latest guessing game is who the opening act should be if Seger tours. My votes: Virginia's Scott Miller and the Commonwealth, Austin's Jon Dee Graham or Detroit's own Tiny Steps.

Today is Seger's wedding anniversary -- according to Uncle Joe, who knows these kind of things.

July 10, 2006; Revised July 11, 2006


Seger Hits the Stations

Seger's new single, "Wait for Me," hit radio last week. And Seger himself made the rounds, spending the morning with J.J. Johnson and Lynne on WCSX in Detroit. He also stopped by WRIF in Detroit, and phone-patched interviews with KQRS in Minneapolis, the syndicated Bob and Tom show, and WZLX in Boston. (Super thanks to Segernet.com for links to the various interviews.)

Some highlights:

Another Single or Album Track

Another song from the album will probably be released in about five weeks. Seger said it was speculative, but he sounded pretty certain. (WCSX).

CD Track List

The track list is up to eight. We've been hearing about "Wait For Me," "Face the Promise," "Wreck This Heart" and "Real Mean Bottle" for a while. Seger told JJ and Lynn about three new tracks.

"Between" -- "It's slower but it's very funky."

"Simplicity" -- "absolutely a soul song with horns on it...that is more like a Stax-Volt rocker." He described it as similar in some ways to "'Come to Poppa,' but more intense with a full Stax-Volt horn section." Seger said he recorded it three weeks ago.

"No Matter Who You Are" -- Seger didn't describe this song, but he said it was written in January and recorded nine days ago.

In the Boston interview, he quoted a line from a song -- "No one gets to walk between the rain," -- which he said was "not so much against the war as it's kind of not real happy with our president." Sounds like it could be the same song -- although he said the song "might" be on the album.

"Are You" -- a rocker reviewed in the Vault.

Then he added that some of the songs date back to 1999 and even 1997, which I think is great news. There are a lot of great songs from the never-finished Blue Ridge album that would fit this category. "If I like something for nine years," he told Lynn, "it will stay on the album." (Why did no one ask him about the Blue Ridge material?)

He confirmed what we already know -- that he writes a lot more than he releases, saying he recorded about 35, of which 25 were finished enough to choose from.

So our track list so far is:

Wait For Me
Face the Promise
Wreck This Heart
Real Mean Bottle
Between
Simplicity
No Matter Who You Are
Are You

Wait For Me

Seger told every interviewer that the song is basically written from the point of view of his kids, talking to him..."saying, trust me, I'm going to do this, but I'll be be okay, I'll be back." He said his kids affect his work "immensely."

Seger didn't know until Friday (June 30) that the single was being released on the July 5. "I thought it was coming out on July 23rd." (WCSX)

After JJ gave the song its world premier, Seger described the recording process.

"I'm playing the acoustic lines, I'm playing the lead , and I'm also playing all the synthesized strings. And I'm singing background with the girls at the end.

"We just kept adding. Little things. I had two different guys play the solo and I ended up playing the solo myself...And then we redid the backgrounds, 'cause there were only two girls. We actually cut the backgrounds live in the studio, but there were only two and they sounded a little thin, so we added a third to Shaun [Murphy] and Laura [Creamer] and myself and we redid the backgrounds a little bit. We added all the synthesized strings…we added an acoustic line to that...there's so many things on there. …it's pretty deep, sonically, it's very very deep. We got this great percussionist, Eric Darken, he's always on the road with Faith Hill and other people and he's on virtually all the stuff on the album. There's some timpani way back in there, and there's just some great stuff." (WCSX)

Other musicians include Glenn Worf on bass (Nashville's A-list bass player, often described as "Mark Knopfler's bass player) Steve Brewster on drums and Billy Payne on piano.

Face the Promise

It's "a thundering rock song."

Real Mean Bottle

"It's a thousand miles an hour. It's an absolute razor." At the recording session "Bob [Kid Rock] immediately took over...he changed the chorus…he jumped all over Steve Brewster, the drummer." Seger gave Kid Rock a coproduction credit. (WCSX)

Vince Gill, who wrote the song, heard it a day later "and he was just knocked out. " (WCSX)

"It's not country at all.. it's just razor rock." (Bob&Tom)

Wreck This Heart

"It's kinda like "You Shook Me" all night long…Kinda like a Stones, AC/DC approach." (WCSX)

Seger at WRIF

On Finishing the Album

"I got everything exactly the way I want it...I wouldn't have let it out unless I gave it my absolute best." (WCSX)

He hinted a couple of times that the album might come out a little sooner than September 12.

The album will be mastered on July 20. (Mastering is the process of transferring the finished DAT recordings to the master CDR.)

Seger's preparing an EPK (electronic press kit) on July 10. (I'm guessing that means filming stock audio and maybe video sound bites that stations can use to cut and paste their own interviews.)

Face the Promise -- Cover Art

"We've got a cover and I hesitate to tell you what it is because the record company president hasn't seen it yet. We want to make sure he sees it before we tell anybody about it…he's been out of the country or something…" (Bob&Tom). [Note to record company president. Don't read the post below this one.]

A Tour

Every time it came up -- and it came up a lot -- it was clear Seger hopes to tour. When the mastering is done, he'll put the band together and rehearse for about three weeks, and decide.

The question is not whether his voice will hold out, but whether he's up to it physically. He repeated that it's physically very demanding.

The tour would include 20 to 30 dates, and probably start in October, if it happens. He'll play in big arenas.

The tour band would include Alto Reed, Chris Campbell, Craig Frost, Laura Creamer, Shaun Murphy, possibly Billy Payne. Kenny Aronoff "if we can get him." (Bob&Tom)

Seger and some of these guys might tour.

TV Appearances

Bob & Tom asked if Seger would be doing TV. He didn't sound too enthused about it.

"I probably will have to do some television, yeah. It's the way of the world these days. I'm gonna have to do something." Some tentative dates/shows have been set up, apparently, but Seger wouldn't elaborate, in case things change. "But yeah, we'll definitely do that."

Early Video

And how 'bout releasing some of that Live Bullet era video?

"There's a lot, but the problem is the quality of it. The lights weren't very good back then. Some of the people look green…it's just the bad lighting so I don't know if it's really usable." (Bob&Tom)

What's He Listening To

All kinds of stuff. "Marc Broussard doing 'Home.' Just wailing, what a singer. KT Tunstall. Knopfler and Emmy Lou. All kinds of stuff." (Bob&Tom)

His Voice

He said his voice is best immediately after a concert. "There's something about right after a concert , and you've sung something like 2 hours and 20 minutes or something and my voice is never better than it is actually after a concert, it's like it's all broke open…I feel like I can sing anything right after a concert...(KQRS)

Segernet, Seger File...What's the Difference?

The WZLX disc jockeys were by far the most inconsistent. They wasted time asking Seger if he ever dated Christie Brinkley and talking about early marriages. But then they had the sense to ask if there was anything political on the album, which led to an interesting answer.

But Boston Sammy, who posts regularly at Segernet, provided the best moment. He emailed in a question, asking if the internet fan base has influenced Seger's decisions about the CD and touring.

Seger replied enthusiastically that he had heard of Segernet. com. But then he bridged to Sammy going to, uh, the Vault, in order to "steal my songs! And he hears them and does reviews on them! And it does have an effect on what I choose and what I do..." With much laughter throughout.

And much laughter here too. The downside is that some of my friends are calling me Sammy now. So here, cut out this handy guide and keep it in your shirt pocket.

Segernet

Community of great Seger fans worldwide. Led Hall of Fame effort. Lots of posts means up-to-the-minute info.

Seger File

One Seger fan who writes a lot. Funny, sometimes sarcastic, always respectful. Tons of background info.

Sammy

Great guy and big-time fan from Boston.

Scott

Goes to Vault. Doesn't actually steal songs. (If I did, all my fingers would be broken and I wouldn't be able to post this.)

(And hey, hasn't it been over a year since the last Vault update? Doesn't it seem like it's time for another installment? Just about. Will I be giving away secrets that will spoil the new album for you? Definitely not.)

Sailing

WCSX did a news story about a replica of Christopher Columbus' Nina and Seger jumped in with the fact that the Nina was Columbus' favorite ship,"the one he was on the most…on the Nina, the cabin that Columbus was in was four feet tall…"

Seger owns a J-109 now, 35-footer, "a fast one."

The first time he heard his music on the radio:

"I was out on Haggerty Road…I pulled over on side of road and listened…it was "East Side Story." CKLW was playing it...For a 20-year old kid, it felt great…(Bob&Tom)

Alto's Famous "Stunts"

Bob and Tom asked whether Alto would be up to his past tricks if they toured -- flying over the crowd, climbing amps or playing in hot air balloons

"We don't do that anymore. We've had too many close calls...That sort of ended in Seattle a long time ago when he almost hit a guy in the head in the audience…flying through the air at 20 30 miles an hour. That night I said 'no more of that.'"

How the Band Was Named

Whenever they changed band members, Punch wanted to change the name of the band. "That's why we had so many names."

When they were out touring in 73, "Punch kept saying 'I need a new name, I need a new name,' and so one day he said 'to heck with it, I'm putting a new name on the check' and it was Silver Bullet and it was because we had new members. And it stuck. And everybody said, 'okay, yeah that's fine. We're too busy out here to argue.'"

Like a Rock

General Motors used the song for 12 years. The first contract was for four years with an option for one. "They kept wanting it and saying it really helps us sell trucks."

I think we've done our commercial. I've done one in my whole life and I think that will do it." (WZLX)

Misc

The DJ's on KQRS noted that Seger's been on Capitol Records his whole career. Seger said "38 years." What happened to Warner Bros.?

One of the KQRS folks told a story about Seger's early singles:

In St. Louis, we had to take the sleeve with your picture off the single...Because there was a certain segment of the market thought you were black." (KQRS)

Seger replied: "Well when I was growing up, all my favorite singers were black. James Brown, Wilson Picket, Solomon Burke, that's who I tried to emulate. The Righteous Bros. weren't black but sang soulful, Sam and Dave... those are the people that I was really drawn to.

A lot of my influences were southern R and B…the Tams, Wilson Picket, Garnet Mimms…(An aside: Go buy "Prove it to me," by Garnet Mimms on iTunes, and tell me if you don't hear plenty of early Seger in the track.)

Seger mentioned the Allman Brothers "Idlewild South" as a favorite album.

The funniest moment in all the interviews was on KQRS, when Seger accidentally gave out Kid Rock's Nashville address, stopping himself after it was too late. Everyone cracked up.

"I've never really thought of myself as a particularly good ballad singer." He has to have the right song, he said.

He's never met Van Morrison.

His golf handicap is 12.

"This Old House" was a metaphor for our relationship at the time." (I always thought it was about an old house. Hmm.) But it was too vague, Seger said, so he used the exact same chords and wrote "We've Got Tonight."

Making the radio rounds.

In Summary

Seger sounded great. Upbeat, enthusiastic. His big laugh came across in every interview. He still sounds like one of the nicest people you could hope to meet. Or hear.

July 9, 2006


Great "Wait"

Seger debuted his new single, "Wait for Me" on Detroit radio station WCSX this morning -- too early for me, given the three-hour time difference. So until I can catch up, my previous take on it is reposted below.

"Wait For Me" is in a familiar genre: it's a mid-tempo Seger medium ala "Still The Same," "Understanding," "The Real Love," "By The River," etc., etc.

I can imagine someone thinking that we've got enough Seger mediums as it is. But "Wait For Me" is so dead-center perfect that Ears 2 and I instantly fell under its sway. This has got to be the next single. FM radio has ignored Seger's last two albums. I don't see how they can ignore "Wait For Me." It's infectious, earnest, upbeat, real, full of yearning…all those things that make a great Seger song.

Musically, it's most closely related to "Against the Wind." There are chord changes, particularly as the song enters the bridge, that bring to mind ATW. But you have to listen for the similarity -- these are clearly two distinct songs.

The lyrics give us a travelin' man who has to answer the call of the wild, but who also believes in love.

I will answer the wind
I will leave with the tide
I'll be out on the road
Every chance I can ride.
 
No matter how far,
No matter how free
I'll be along, if you'll wait for me.

The bridge describes a free-spirited rebellion against routine. In "Travelin' Man," women came and women went, "every one trying to cage me." Here, Seger's heart is pledged to one woman…but he's not staying home, even if she doesn't understand why, no matter who tries to talk him out of it.

And I'll fight for the right to go over that hill
If it only means something to me.
I will not be persuaded, I won't be still
I'll find a way to be free-eee.

The line "I'll fight for the right" might remind you of "moving eight miles a minute." And you can hear the Eagles sound that informed much of ATW. But neither influence detracts or distracts.

The last verse cements the pledge: "Straight to your side, I guarantee…if you'll wait for me," followed by repeated choruses of "Wait for me."

This isn't new ground, but it's rock solid with a great melody and great vocals. What more could you want? "Wait For Me" is pure Seger. I can't wait to hear it again. -- Reposted from June 27, 2005.

In recent interviews, Seger has said the song is about his kids talking to him -- although we'll all bring to it what we will. Any way you think of it, it's a great song. And it's even greater to have Seger back.

July 5, 2006


Single Debuts July 5, On Air Everywhere July 6

The wait is over -- practically. Seger's new single "Wait for Me" will get its debut on WCSX in Detroit on Wednesday morning. Seger will be in the studio for the premier. Listen live here. Or wait a day, when the single is released nationally. Or listen to a one-minute snippet, here.

Art for the single features Seger on a motorcyle. I think that's him, above. Okay, I know it is. It's also him in the photo, below, from the Rolling Stone piece. (I knew it all along, of course. Especially after I talked to some Rolling Stone folks to confirm. They must have very high self-esteem, because they didn't seem mad at all about the way I dissed their publication. Either that or they just don't read the Seger File.)

In any case, they confirm that it's a new photo and probably part of the album art.

On The Cover

Picture this: the open road, somewhere out west. The hot flat land stretches back to mountains, the sky all sunset-y and beautiful. There on the side of the road, Seger on his motorcyle, looking straight into the lens. Wrap it in cellophane and you're looking at Face the Promise.

Speaking of photos where Seger looks great...

These were taken at the Cheetah Club at Broadway and 53rd in NYC on January 8, 1969 by William "PoPsie" Randolph. A new book about PoPsie is reviewed here, which is where I found the photos. Click on the link to see the photos full size and the story behind them.

July 1, 2006


Track List Clues: Wreck This Heart

Maybe I gave up on Rolling Stone magazine too soon. For years, they seemed to have a Seger blind spot. Now I guess I've developed a Rolling Stone blind spot. The magazine did a piece on Seger two weeks that I'm just now noticing.

In it, we find that "Wreck This Heart" is definitely on the new CD. (I'd assumed it would be, but you never know.) The article also confirms what we already knew -- that the duet with Kid Rock, "Real Mean Bottle," is on the track list.

So that's four tracks we know for sure:

Wait for Me
Wreck This Heart
Face the Promise
Real Mean Bottle

The first three titles have all turned up in the Vault, and they're all terrific, killer cuts. I haven't heard Seger's version of "Real Mean Bottle," but you can buy the Vince Gill version on iTunes for 99 cents and judge for yourself -- I think it's gonna make a great cover song for Seger and Kid Rock. The Rolling Stone piece says, "It's easy to imagine it in heavy rotation on country radio."

(I'm not so sure about that. Radio playlists are so narrowly structured these days -- will country stations really play a song by artists they perceive -- rightly or wrongly -- as being in the classic rock & rap-turned-rock category? I guess we'll find out.)

(Besides which, Susan Whitall in the Detroit News wrote recently: "On that high energy tune, Seger and KR rock it up more than Gill's original, more countryish version.")

So you don't have to click, here's the rest of the short Rolling Stone piece:

"None other than Bob Seger's reps came up to the RS offices yesterday to preview three tracks from the giant of heartland rock's upcoming disc Face the Promise -- the first new studio album from Seger in eleven years. The Detroit rocker produced the album himself and cut portions of it at Ocean Way Studios in Nashville. The first track, "Wait for Me," is a ballad much in the same vein as his 1980 classic "Against the Wind." It's currently slated to be the album's first single, due to radio July 11. The second track, "Wreck This Heart," is a country rocker in which Seger seems to explain his decision to put his career on hold for the sake of his family. "There's time to work/Time to live," Seger sings. "There's only so much time around/If you lean to far over the wishing well you might fall in and drown." The final track previewed was a cover of Vince Gill's ode to Merle Haggard "Real Mean Bottle," -- featuring label mate and fellow Detroit native Kid Rock. It's easy to imagine it in heavy rotation on country radio. The full album is due in stores September 12. The sixty-four dollar question: Seger has yet to decide if he's going to fire up the Silver Bullet Band for a supporting tour." Andy Greene, Rolling Stone, June 13, 2006. "Turn the Page! Kid Rock Guests on New Bob Seger Album"

And now my thirteen snarky comments.

1. Produced the album himself? Susan Whitall (The Detroit News) wrote recently that "Seger has been working on the album for years with longtime co-producer David Cole, splitting his time between Nashville, Tenn., and Detroit for the recording."

Yet the recent Gary Graff article in Billboard said Seger produced the album -- while the official news release from the Kremlin, er Capitol Records, is silent on the matter.

2. Apparently Rolling Stone writers have not heard of, or no longer use, that basic building block of narrative and exposition known (in technical circles) as the "paragraph."

3. Unless "Wreck the Heart" has changed dramatically since I heard it in the Vault, it is anything but a "country rocker" (which sounds like something you'd find on a dilapidated porch.) In fact, Ears Two and I both thought it would be right at home on Sticky Fingers, or any great Stones album.

(Admittedly, I did write that "The second verse veers toward country music territory. Seger sings of problems with his boss, his wife, of having bills to pay, of missing his dog. Hey, just throw in a truck that doesn't start and you've got a song that Tim McGraw would kill for." But I also wrote that the song has "big, chopping git-box chords and a bass-drum/snare-drum beat that orders everyone to their feet...When I look at the credits, I'll be checking to see if Joe Walsh is listed -- or someone carrying on the Walsh sound...'Wreck this Heart' will rock your world.")

4. Hey, Rolling Stone is quoting lyrics from the song! Didn't the Seger File used to quote lyrics from the song? Why, yes, we did. Until someone called and asked us not to give away the surprise. In fact, we quoted the very lyrics Rolling Stone now quotes, minus their grade-school error -- "lean to (sic) far." (True, we quoted a bunch of other lyrics too and maybe went a tad overboard.)

Suffice it to say, the lyrics are fabulous. If you read the Vault back then, you saw them. And whether you did or you didn't, you'll hear them soon.

5. Although the article is about Seger, the headline acts like it's about Kid Rock. As if being about Seger wouldn't be interesting enough.

6. "Label mate"? Kid Rock is on Atlantic.

7. The "sixty-four dollar question"? (Followed by a declarative statement, no less!)

8. In other words, Rolling Stone is a poorly written, poorly edited, error-prone magazine that has ignored Seger for eleven years, and is afraid to write about him now without a headline that hides behind Kid Rock. The Seger File, on the other hand, is a brilliantly written, witty and comprehensive website that has covered Seger obsessively for 8 years. Yet "none other than Bob Seger's reps" visit Rolling Stone to play advance tracks, while Seger's management calls me and asks me not to write so much about his new songs.

And it's all about money. A slapdash blurb in RS might sell some disks to people who have kind of forgotten about Bob Seger. Whereas anybody who reads this site is already gonna buy the album. But what about loyalty? (And while we're at it, what about laughter? Does anybody remember laughter?? Okay, I'll stop now.)

9. The part about Rolling Stone ignoring Seger will change after the new album explodes onto the charts. Seger will be on the cover with at least a headline and maybe a photo. I hereby predict.

10. His return will be wrongly characterized as a "comeback." This will annoy the heck out of me, because his greatest hits CD has ridden the Billboard Pop Catalog chart for 600 straight weeks. I've never stopped playing him and neither have millions of others.

11. Then Rolling Stone will ignore him for another ten years.

12. The article is accompanied by the following photo of...[Note: please hold while the remainder of this sentence is being edited]...Seger on his motorcycle. I found the picture of Susan Whitall on the DetNews blog. I bet you always wondered what she looked like. And that's Emmylou Harris and Elvis Costello at Ocean Way studio in Nashville. Just imagine that it's Seger and Laura Creamer.

Seger, of course
Whitall
Use your imagination

13. All the articles referred to in this post are available at Planet Garth. (Their motto: "Reprinting Seger articles, so the Seger File doesn't have to.")

June 28, 2006


Snippet Ships

Buzz-building for Seger's new single has begun, with a promo disk called Essential Seger. Track 13 is the one we're all most interested in. It's sixty seconds or so of "Wait For Me," the single due to be released on July 10. (To be more precise, it's the first thirty seconds and the last thirty seconds, or thereabouts, sweetly edited together. ) The other tracks are previously released cuts.

(Of course, one way to build buzz would be to have a little snippet posted on a fan site...but I'm just not that crazy.)

Meanwhile, musictap.net reports that Face the Promise will be released as a standard CD and a CD/DVD Special Edition. And, yes, I filched this last bit directly from the Segernet forums. Check it out for everybody's guess as to what the DVD portion might be.

As for album art and the track list -- there are times when it's best to say nothing at all.

June 27, 2006


Seger on WCSX: Tour Is A Definite Maybe.

Seger participated in the Ken Calvert Casual Golf Classic yesterday (Calvert is a disc jockey on Detroit's WCSX) and joined Calvert and Karen Savelly in the studio afterward. Calvert cut right to the chase and asked Seger if he would tour.

Seger: Well, I don't know about the tour...because I am 61 years old. We're going to rehearse in a couple of weeks and I'm gonna see if I can do, like, two straight hours. I did the one song with Bob...Bob...Kid Rock, on his thing two nights, but --

Calvert: (laughs) You can call him Bob.

Seger: (laughs) Yeah, usually, that's...I'm sorry -- but, yeah, it's different when you're out there two hours.

Seger also said he's worked really hard on Face the Promise for the last four years, and that it's closer to Night Moves (the album) than Against the Wind, because "it's more uptempo."

That's about where the web stream died on me. Maybe the entire 8-minute interview will play for you. Try it at WCSX.

Seger also talked about the single, "Wait for Me," according to a story about the interview in the Detroit Free Press. (I guess that makes this a post about a story about an interview. I'd say more, but I have to go answer the wind.)

Anyway, writer John Smyntek said that Seger said the song "Wait for Me" was written about his relationship with his children and quoted the line, "No matter how far. No matter how free, I'll be along if you wait for me."

June 20, 2006. Thanks to Charlie Keegan for the tip.


Seger's Next Huge Single: "Wait For Me."

The next full-fledged triumph in Seger's career is coming soon -- maybe as soon as July, when his new single, "Wait For Me," is shipped. And not long after that -- on September 12 -- comes the new album, Face the Promise.

I guarantee you, this will be big. "Wait For Me" is the Seger song stations have been waiting for. I predict it will get major airplay. More than "The Real Love," more than "The Fire Inside," more than "Chances Are," more than "Satisfied" -- all songs that deserved airplay but didn't get much.

But this is different. A year ago, Ears Two and I had a chance to listen to "Wait For Me" in the Vault. I was blown away. "Dead-center perfect," is how I described it in the write up. "This has got to be the next single....It's infectious, earnest, upbeat, real, full of yearning…all those things that make a great Seger song."

In short, it's going to be a major hit. And the album promises to be just as good. Although we don't know the track list yet, I think it will easily outpace his last two studio albums in sales.

For one thing, we know it will include "Wait For Me," plus the title track and "Real Mean Bottle" (the duet with Kid Rock). "Face the Promise" is another song we previewed in the Vault. It's raw, loud and made for radio. Everyone says "Real Mean Bottle" is killer. So that's three out of three.

And Seger hints to rock writer Gary Graff that a track called "Red Eye to Memphis" may make the cut. In the 2002 installment of the Vault, I wrote that "'Memphis' percolates with a kind of 'Fire Down Below' sensuality," and described the track as "a great, upbeat, sexy song, with all-out Seger vocals. A must for the next CD."

Here's the Graff quote, from his recent piece in Billboard:

"Seger is still making final decisions on songs and sequence, but the album is likely to include the title track, which he calls a 'big, storming rocker,' and a duet with fellow Detroiter Kid Rock on Vince Gill's Merle Haggard tribute, 'Real Mean Bottle.'

"Last year, Seger said he was spending a lot of time to find the right songs for the new album. 'You've got to get a standard bearer, something you want the album to stand up to,' he explained. He found those in the title track and in another song called 'Red Eye to Memphis,' which he describes as 'an almost Tony Joe White thing, a very Memphis-y, fuzzy, R&B country-rock thing.' It's not known yet whether that track will make the final cut." Gary Graff, June 9, 2006, Billboard. "Seger Prepping First New Album In 11 Years."

The official Capitol release, meanwhile, says "Face The Promise opens a masterful new chapter" in Seger's career and "marks Seger's return in classic form: urgent, honest, rousing, timeless." Normally you might dismiss that as press release exaggeration. Not this time.

(For the record, the release also notes that Seger has sold nearly 50 million albums, including eleven platinum and seven multi-platinum awards. "The 1994 Greatest Hits collection has sold over 7 million copies, in an unbroken 600-week run" on the Billboard Pop Catalog chart.)

The official Bob Seger website, on the other hand, is still promoting the 2005 release of Smokin' O.P.s. Jeez. And I felt bad about being a day late posting this update

As always, the news brings plenty of new questions. Chiefly, will he tour? Susan Whitall in the Detroit News quotes manager Punch Andrews as saying, "Practices are scheduled."

Shoot, I'd be willing to bet that arenas have been booked, or at least reserved. But no info on that yet.

And will there be a video for the single? And will it be sold on iTunes? (My guess is no and yes, respectively.)

And while I'm in a guessing mood, I'll even guess the rest of the track list for you, based on nothing but hunches. Here goes.

Wait For Me
Face the Promise
Real Mean Bottle
The Hard One
Red Eye to Memphis
Are You
It All Goes On
Wreck This Heart
Time
All Brand New
Answer's In The Question
Let The Rivers Run

If I'm even half right, it's going to be a great album. Stay tuned.

June 11, 2006 -- updated June 13, 2006


21 and Over?

Rumors of a tour -- which have circulated ever since Seger took the stage with Kid Rock last February -- apparently are true.

Nothing's locked in. But according to an article in today's Flint Journal, Punch Andrews (Seger's manager) is working on a plan for a 21-city tour -- and no more than 21 cities. "That would be it, period. No ifs, ands or buts," Andrews said.

(So which 21 cities would that be, I wonder? Let the speculation begin. Surely Portland, Oregon, home of the Segerfile, would be on the list. Wouldn't it???)

The article, by Doug Pullen, says Seger wants to begin touring soon after September 12, when his new CD, Face the Promise, is released.

Pullen also quotes Kid Rock about last February's shows at the Joe Louis Arena.

" 'Being on that stage at Joe Louis lit a little fire under his a--,' Rock said...It was so nice for his kids to see him play and for the kids to see the crowds scream for him for five minutes.' " Doug Pullen, May 12, 2006, The Flint Journal. "Nothing's official, but expect a Bob Seger tour."

Real Mean Bottle

The article confirms earlier reports that Seger and Kid Rock have recorded a version of Vince Gill's "Real Mean Bottle" for Seger's upcoming CD. Seger mentioned wanting to record the song with Kid Rock in his February 2004 live Internet chat. Someone in the chat room asked if he'd ever do a song with Kid Rock. Seger said, "Absolutely…probably a country drinking song. 'Real Mean Bottle' is one I've pointed out...."

In today's article, Pullen quotes Kid Rock as saying, "We rocked it like a freight train."

In a recent interview in the Rocky Mountain News, Rock says working with Seger "has been one of my dreams."

" 'We have the same management. Our kids are the same age. We're around each other all the time. We have houses next to each other,' Rock says. 'But I never tried to cross that line' to work with Seger.

" 'One day, however, Seger called and said: 'I was wondering if you'd come to Nashville and cut this song with me, blah, blah, blah,' Rock says. 'He started explaining the song. I'm like, 'Seger, dude, I'd fly to Nashville and sing Happy Birthday if you wanted me to.' " Mark Brown, April 18, 2006, Rocky Mountain News. "Work with '70s heroes, new CD make 'the Kid' feel like a rock."

Speaking of birthdays, Seger turned 61 last Saturday. No word on whether Kid Rock came over and sang.

May 12, 2006. Thanks to Little Queenie for the link.

96 Tour Dates

The guessing game about which cities Seger might play has already begun (since there's not much else to do while we wait). To help you speculate, here's a raw list of Seger's 1996 tour dates. These are dates as announced, not as played -- some of them probably changed between the initial announcement and actual concert. Also, I'm missing the end of the tour, which continued into June at Pine Knob. If I can dig that up, I'll add it. The tour was originally announced as a 23-city tour, but was later expanded.

For what it's worth, ticket prices at most venues were $25 to $30. Seger's tour was the second highest grossing concert tour for the first six months of 1996, taking in $26.3 million. Rod Stewart, who was also on the road, took in $29.1 million.

Following Seger were Garth Brooks, AC/DC, Ozzy Osbourne, Bush, The Eagles, George Strait, Jimmy Buffett and Reba McEntire, in that order. Of course, each of these tours consisted of varying numbers of concerts. The Eagles, for example, took in only $10.3 million, but they only played 10 shows (and they had already taken in $61 million in the first half of 1995).

May 18, 2006


---- April 1, 2006 ----

South by Southwest Seger

Four days, 1400 bands. And a tantalizing slice of Seger.

Indeed, for a few days in March, the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, was the center of the music universe. And this year was better than ever. What made it so special, you ask. Only everything.

Actually, I had two reasons for flying to Austin this year. First, and most exciting, Seger's management finally responded to my long-time request for a face-to-face interview with Bob.

The Seger File is now eight years old, and during that time, I've had no contact at all with Seger, and little with his management. So I was psyched beyond belief when I heard that I could do a twenty-minute sit down with Seger.

The catch: Bob was already in Austin, doing what everyone does there: taking the pulse of the hottest new music in the world.

In fact, I had already heard hints that Bob was looking for an opening act for the rumored "Barnstorming" tour said to be in the works for the summer. The story, if you can believe it (and I'm not sure I do) is that Bob will play outdoor concerts at 56 abandoned dairies around the midwest, in a tour sponsored by the American Dairy Association.

That rumor and many others were on my list to check out when I finally got some face time with Bob. The last time we spoke was at the Chillicothe Rock Festival in Chillicothe, Ohio in 1973. I wondered if he would remember me.

I also wondered which bands he was checking out, though the answer to that seemed fairly obvious. Every year there are a handful of hot bands at SXSW and this year, no band was hotter than Yeti In A Kepi, a guitar-driven quintet from Sasquatch, Oklahoma.

Their latest CD, My Hat's Too Small, was being released concurrent with their SXSW showcase at the Whisky Bar, a broomcloset-sized venue on 5th Street with concrete floors, expensive drinks and bad sight-lines. I planned to catch them there and maybe see Seger in the crowd. Our official interview was set for Saturday at the Shoals.

I had a second, more personal reason for going to Austin as well. Ears Two, my longtime friend and authority on all things musical, had heard through his sources at Sony that many SXSW acts were not complying with the recently issued Memorandum of Agreement stemming from our copyright lawsuit against the music industry, Segerfile v. Everyone.

(Note to bloggers: The Memorandum of Agreement also prohibits using the term "junk lawsuit" when referring to our legal action. By asserting our copyright protection, we are well within our legal rights as creators of original works. So watch how you bandy about words like "parasites.")

As most of you know, Ears Two and I recorded a series of highly successful spoken-word albums in the late '90s. (Admittedly, you don't have to sell very many albums to be highly successful in the spoken-word category. Now that podcasts have basically destroyed the genre, you're really only competing with Lorne Greene. And he's been dead for twenty years.)

In point of fact, Ears Two and I issued two stellar albums together. Our biggest seller was the first -- the unheralded but often-copied Check Check.

The songs on Check Check were only fifteen seconds long, and the lyrics were nothing more than the song title repeated four or five times in a monotone. Yet the tracklist reads like a greatest hits of the most widely performed songs of our time.

The title track alone is priceless. It's been used as a show-opener by all the top names, as well as up-and-comers. If you listen to live music at all, chances are you've heard it a hundred or even a thousand times. The lyrics are brilliant in their simplicity.

Check check
Check check
Check check.

Many bands love "Check Check" so much, they perform it three or four times, even before the full band is on stage. And that's fine with us. More performances mean more royalties.

Although E2 and I agreed to share writing credit, ("Check Check," like all our songs, is officially credited to EarsSpar Music) in fact it's one of my compositions. To be fair, E2 wrote most of the rest of the album, including the ever-popular "Check One Two" and the haunting "Can I Have A Little More Guitar In The Monitor?"

But our best-loved tracks are the ones we wrote together, including the trendsetting "Testing," "Testing One Two," and "I Still Can't Hear the Guitar."

Our second album, Thank You, didn't fare quite as well, possibly because of the Parental Advisory Sticker on the cover. For the record, I urged E2 not to go blue with the somewhat risque "Testes One Two," though admittedly it has been covered by almost every punk rock band ever formed.

Of course, Latin and rap groups still open their shows with our hit "Yo, One Two." And no songs in the history of music have been covered more frequently or with more heartfelt passion than our two closing tracks, "Thank You" and "Thank You Very Much."

At many gigs, you'll hear a medley of our greatest hits, with various band members performing acapella versions of such standards as "Testing," "Check Check" and a perennial favorite, the bittersweet "Hello?" Invariably, these classics excite the crowd.

I think the reason these songs are so successful is that they capture man's existential longing to connect. The first line of Hamlet, after all, is "Who's there?" In their own way, our songs plumb the same deep human emotions that Shakespeare explored -- the keen desire to know someone, coupled with the extreme difficulty of reaching across the void.

Of course, our work is much more contemporary and accessible than Shakespeare's, so in that sense it has a bigger impact.

In the end, however, we were victims of our success. After our live album, Check Check at Buddakan tanked, we went our separate ways, with E2 recording the ill-advised Check, Please. One of the tracks "Fresh Pepper?" still gets some play, but the single, "I'll Be Your Server," was already copyrighted and E2 was forced to pay a hefty settlement.

My solo career was worse. I withdrew, became bitter and spent all my time drunk on syrup at a Howard Johnson's in New York City. Unduly influenced by Soho HoJo, I issued a song I deeply regret, blasting my former writing partner. Fortunately, "The Only Thing You Ever Did Was Check One Two," was quickly forgotten.

So it was with great joy that E2 and I made plans to visit Austin together and to take the SXSW festival by storm. (And that, my friends, is what you call a transitional sentence. Aspiring writers, take note!)

Personally, I wasn't convinced that Yeti In A Kepi was the kick-ass band everyone said it was. In addition to finding and harassing copyright-infringers, I was on a quest to find the perfect opening act for Seger's dairyland tour.

I made a list, and then we started crossing people off. Jason Collett has a great single, but acted like he was doing us a favor by playing it. The Sam Roberts Band rocked Momo's, but someone needs to take Sam's guitar away -- he loves it more than he loves us. Jake Brennan's crazy band buried some good songs. The Foxymorons need to grow up first. The Love Experts are already too old. The Forecast might qualify, if their drummer would put on a shirt. Former Wilco bassist Jay Bennett talks too much.

Almost every single one of these bands played "Check Check" or "Check One Two." A band called The Resentments played "Can I Have A Little More Guitar In the Monitor" so many times that the crowd left before they could play anything else. And yet none of them have sent us any royalties. Note to bands: Be prepared to hear from our lawyers.

Meanwhile, the festival organizers kept moving Yeti In A Kepi around, keeping the venue secret to try to hold the crowds at bay. We nearly caught them at the Molotov Lounge -- we were going in as Johan Bigfoote, their lead guitar player, was coming out, on his way to some new, secret location.

Yeti's Johan Bigfoote heads to a new venue; The original Rosalie's.

We had similar troubles with Seger. Austin is hotbed of Seger fans -- there's even a small section of downtown known as Segercity, with one of the few remaining Hideout Clubs. (Also in Segercity is the original Rosalie's Pizza, which inspired one of Seger's early songs -- "She's got the sausage, she's everybody's favorite little pizza girl.") Unfortunately, there is more than one "Shoals" in Austin. Which one were we supposed to meet at?

I was supposed to meet Seger at the Shoals -- but which one?

By Saturday afternoon, we were running out of time. That's when a rumor went around that Yeti In A Kepi would be playing the Continental Club, following the Austin Performer-of-the-Year, Jon Dee Graham.

Graham's set was amazing. He owned the place from the first note, rocking the crowd, then silencing the loudest bar you've ever been in with a riveting ballad called "Swept Away."

Graham is one of those artists you instantly recognize as original and authentic. He has a powerful stage presence and you can tell he's his own man. Although he's not a household name, I can't imagine him opening a show for anyone. He's simply not a warm-up act.

I think Seger was impressed too. He was a few people ahead of us, and I muscled through the crowd, wanting to ask him about his latest project.

Rumor has it that Bob has scrapped his current effort (too many of his new songs have leaked out on the internet, some say), and is now working on a tribute album. I had heard the new album was tentatively titled either The Springsteen Sessions or The Springfield Sessions. I was eager to ask about a possible cover of "Jesse's Girl" and other Rick Springfield classics, but I couldn't get close enough.

When Graham finished there was confusion. It was announced that Yeti In A Kepi would be performing at Amy's Courtyard, instead. Free ice cream was promised.

I lost Seger in the crowd. When I got back to Capitol Place, he was gone.

In the crush, I lost sight of Seger. I didn't find him at Shoals Creek, and when I got to Shoals Lounge at Capitol Place, they said he was gone.

Ears Two and I wandered aimlessly. We walked a good ten miles through the crowds. Music came at us from all directions. Finally, we wandered into a natural amphitheatre. To our delight, one of the country's best singer/songwriters -- indeed, one of the most under-rated lyricists of our time -- was just taking the stage. For the next hour, I felt the way I feel at Seger concerts -- charmed and buzzing with energy and just plain glad to be alive, moment by moment.

Best of all, the singer on stage seemed to be having as much fun as everyone in the crowd, sharing our energy and funneling it back to us, just like Seger does. The concert made my top ten list in a heartbeat.

Of course, there's no way Rosanne Cash is going to open for Seger. She's already headlining a tour of her own.

Rosanne rocks 'em.

Her show closed with an amazing blast of fireworks. Afterwards, I began to despair of catching Yeti. On a hunch, we hurried off to Antone's, but by the time we got in, there was nothing left but a crumpled Kepi on the floor. The place smelled like wet fur. We had missed the hottest band of all. I had blown my interview with Seger. It was midnight, and the festival was all but over.

With a shrug of the shoulders, we stopped in at one last bar, Opal Devine's. And outside, under a tent, the hoped-for moment happened. A band on my "maybe" list took the stage and kicked butt. No posturing, no star trip -- just great songs and great stage presence. They rocked and made it sound so sweet, and when the show was over, Ears Two and I went straight to the merch table, where we each bought copies of the band's new CD. You can and should do the same at iTunes or Amazon, and that's no joke.

So what, you ask, does Scott Miller and the Commonwealth have that makes them so good? Only Everything.

And they didn't even play "Check Check."

The crumpled kepi.

Posted on April 1, 2006. Maybe you're reading this on some other day. But inside this box, it's always April 1.

Special to the Seger File

For Bob Seger's perspective on South by Southwest, click here.

Also written and posted on April 1, 2006


False Alarm Dep't.: Springsteen's Seeger Tribute Due in May

From Rolling Stone comes the tantalizing news that Bruce Springsteen is recording an entire album of Seeger covers. The CD, with the working title The Seeger Sessions, is due out this May. Uh, that would be Pete Seeger, of course. Best known for his ballad, Where Have All the Royalties Gone? Rats.

February 26, 2006


SegerFile Heads to SXSW

The SegerFile heads to Austin this week for the twentieth annual South by Southwest festival. Ears Two and I will be checking out bands and solo acts such as The Fold, Melissa Ferrick, Neko Case, Sam Roberts Band, Socratic and others...in hopes, maybe, of recreating that moment in an Ann Arbor bar 35 years ago when it was absolutely clear that the singer onstage would be world-famous one day. If anybody has any SXSW favorites we should check out, drop me a line!

March 12, 2006


11-8-05...5-2-06...6-6-06...9-12-06!

Remember that new new-release date posted here (and by EMI) six days ago? That 6-6-06 date? That was sooo last week. This week EMI has moved the release date to September 12, 2006 -- a scant seven months from now.

What's surprising to me is not that the date changes -- it always changes. What's surprising to me is how readily I fall for it each time. I just wanna believe. Optimism or naivete? You make the call. Anyway, mark it down: the date to wait for is now September 12, until it changes again.

Look at it this way: if you hadn't known a new CD was coming, you'd be thrilled to learn it was only seven months off, right?

Can't get there? Still think the glass is half empty?? Need to wallow in your own bitter frustration?? Check out this blast from the past (i.e., 1997). And have a look at the Cynical Segerfile Tower of Frustration while you're there.

Seriously, all this business about the CD not being ready has got me thinking. I mean, the CD is not ready, but many of the tracks are. So why does the shiny little disk still matter so? Why does it have so much power to delay our Seger fix? I only buy a couple of real CDs a year, usually as gifts. The rest of the music I want I buy as individual tracks from iTunes. And a lot of other people do the same.

My son's 13. By the time he graduates from high school, five years from now, I'll bet the CD will be on its way out. The hot new artists will release tracks in small bites, two or three at a time, whatever pleases them, whenever the market is ready for more. Others will follow suit.

Artists might still think in terms of albums -- a collection of songs that belong together, or that mark a certain period -- but there will be no magic number of tracks that an album has to include. The all-digital album could have two songs or 102. (Hopefully, Face the Promise will be out by then.)

These aren't new ideas, of course. But they would seem pretty outrageous to the poor doomed souls at Columbia Records who wrote about the virtue of vinyl in the late '60s. Ears Two -- my trusty listening partner on Vault trips -- recently sent me these liner notes he discovered while digitizing some big black round things. Hey, if the mighty LP can fall by the wayside, so can the tiny CD.

Here's How Records Give You More Of What You Want:

•  The Best For Less. Records give you top quality for less money than any other recorded form.

•  They Allow Selectivity Of Songs And Tracks. With records it's easy to pick out the songs you want to play, or to play again a particular song or side. All you have to do is lift the tone arm and place it where you want it. You can't do this as easily with anything but a phonograph record.

• They're The Top Quality In Sound. Long-playing phonograph records look the same now as when they were introduced in 1948, but there's a world of difference. Countless refinements and developments have been made to perfect the long-playing record's technical excellence and insure the best in sound reproduction and quality available in recorded form.

•  They'll Give You Hours Of Continuous And Uninterrupted Listening Pleasure. Just stack them up on your automatic changer.

•  They're Attractive, Informative And Easy To Store. Record albums are never out of place. Because of the aesthetic appeal of the jacket design, they're beautifully at home in any living room or library. They've also got important information on the backs -- about the artists, about the performances or about the program. And because they're flat and not bulky, you can store hundreds in a minimum of space and still see every title.

•  If It's In Recorded Form, You Know It'll Be Available On Records. Everything's on long-playing records, these days… your favorite artists, shows, comedy, movie sound tracks, concerts, drama, documented history, educational material… you name it. This is not so with any other kind of recording.

•  They're Your Best Entertainment Buy. Every album is a show in itself. And once you've paid the price of admission, you can hear it over and over.

• They Make A Great Gift. Everybody you know loves music. And practically everyone owns a phonograph. Records are a gift that says a lot to the person you're giving them to. And they keep on remembering.

And Remember… It Always Happens First On Records.

I love it. If you listen closely, you can almost hear the panic behind the lines: The 8-Tracks Are Coming! The 8-Tracks Are Coming!

Hopefully, so is Seger's next CD.

February 7, 2006, with thanks always to E2


Three More Seger Songs Vie for Spot on CD

As we get closer to a new CD, Seger has at least three more tracks to choose from. The recently surfaced song titles are "Between," "Passing Through" and "The Price." By my imperfect count, that raises the total number of songs recorded but unreleased since It's A Mystery to at least 34. See the whole list here.

February 6, 2006


Seger and Kid Share Stage (Again), But No "Bottle"

Once again, Seger took the stage with Kid Rock at the Joe Louis. Less news coverage this time, but the Free Press says this: "Like they had done the night before, the Bobs (Kid Rock's real name is Bob Ritchie) teamed up on 'Rock & Roll Never Forgets.'" The short article is here along with a piece from the Flint Journal.

Rumor has it that Kid Rock and Seger have recorded a duet of Vince Gill's "Real Mean Bottle." It is further alleged, by folks who should know, that the track is a complete killer. So the joint appearance at the Joe seemed like a pefect chance to debut the duet. Think the crowd wouldn't go nuts, just because they don't know the song? Hey, they'd go nuts if Seger sang the phone book. But, for the Joe at least, the bottle stayed corked.

February 6, 2006


A Night Detroit Will Never Forget

"Ladies and gentlemen, the king of Detroit rock city, Bob Seger!!" That's how Kid Rock brought Bob Seger onstage Friday night for an encore at Joe Louis Arena.

From the Freep:

"This was the first of Rock's two sold-out Super Bowl weekend shows at the Joe, and he'd promised a special surprise. For a hometown crowd that considers Seger rock royalty, he probably couldn't have done better. Pumping his fists as the crowd roared, Seger was in fine voice as he belted through the song's raucous chorus.

"The pairing was brief but notable: Rock and Seger have become close friends -- a tight relationship that bridges two generations of Detroit music." Brian McCollum, February 3, 2006, Detroit Free Press, "Kid Rock pairs with Seger, wows hometown fans."

And the DetNews:

"Rock and Seger immediately embraced and traded "you the man"-type hand gestures with one another, while the sold-out audience roared. Seger, sporting a black sport coat, black shirt and blue jeans kicked his feet, pumped his fist in the air and attacked the song with vigor, his silver hair waving and nearly leaping from his head.

"Rock and Seger embraced again at the end of the song, and Seger looked ecstatic to be back in front of a hometown crowd." Adam Graham, February 3, 2006, The Detroit News, "Seger joins Kid Rock on stage at the Joe"

Detroit Free Press photos by Romain Blanquart.

From mr. knowitall at Extreme Kid Rock:

"A few mins later kid comes back on and says 'you ready to rock some more detroit! I said are you ready to rock some more detroit!' as the 20k plus fans in the Joe scream their lungs out. Next...... possibly one of the greatest moments in musical history and for me personally for seeing both of my favorite artists on the same stage at the same time in Detroit........

"ca ca ca ca come back baby rock n roll never forgets ....that's right

"Kid says 'Detroit, please welcome, the rock and roll legend Bob Seger!'....all I can say is the emotion in that area at that very second is undescribable. The fans at the Joe yell out the loudest scream volume I have ever heard in my 25+ kid rock concerts (no pun there). Seger comes on stage and you can just see it in his face, how much he missed being up there on stage and how much emotion he was feeling as well from all of the fans at the arena showing him the love and respect that only he deserves. Seger starts out with the first verse of 'Rock n Roll Never Forgets' with kid doing the 2nd and then both of them doing the rest of the song. It was by far the best moment at a kid rock concert for me."

 

From wireimage.com & gettyimages.com

February 4, 2006


Like A Quarterback

He stood there boldly, squinting in the sun
Weighing his options, should we pass or should we run?
One thing's for certain, this guy can get it done
Hasselbeck
 
When he first came here, we didn't have a clue
He was just a backup, not sure what he could do
But the coach said, "Trust him." Man, did he come through
He paid us back
 
His nerves are steady, he looks from left to right
Eludes the pass rush, grips the rock so tight
And in an instant, he puts the ball in flight
Hits D-Jack
 

Hear the entire song at the Bob Rivers/KZOK website.

February 3, 2006


06/06/06

That's the date Capitol/EMI is now projecting for Seger's 16th studio album (not counting the two live albums and two greatest hits collections). The release, still listed as "Face the Promise," even has a UPC code now. So just head on down to the disk shop on June 6 and ask for a copy of good old 0946 3 54506 2 0.

Meanwhile, EMI is mobilizing "The Official Bob Seger Street Team!" -- a group of fans who will be raising awareness of Seger by distributing posters and postcards at "lifestyle outlets." You know, like record stores, sports bars, Christian Science Reading Rooms...wherever the cool kids hang. We'll be out there generating corporate-orchestrated buzz for a label that can't even update its own website. I'm already doing my part by adding the exclamation point to "Street Team!"

Buzz or no buzz, there definitely seems to be a CD on the way. Dates can change (and, based on past experience, probably will) so you might not want to camp out at the record store just yet. But the "06" part of 06/06/06 is starting to look real solid.

February 1, 2006


Kid Rock Never Forgets

When Kid Rock introduced Bob Seger at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, he called Bob a role model. True to his word, Rock's new live album is modeled after Seger's breakout album from 1976.

"The nod to tradition is apparent from the moment you see the cover image," writes Brian McCollum in the Detroit Free Press, describing the cover as "an inescapable homage to Bob Seger's own Detroit concert record, 1975's 'Live Bullet.'" Brian McCollum, January 29, 2006, Detroit Free Press. "Rock for the Masses."

Rock's Live Trucker album will carry a sticker that says "Does Contain Real Music By An Actual Live Band."

Even more intriguing is the report that Kid Rock is planning some surprise guest stars at two parties/concerts he is throwing next Friday and Saturday as part of the Superbowl celebration in Detroit. Saturday, Rock hosts a private "Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model" party at the Emerald Theater. Friday and Saturday he'll play at Joe Louis Arena.

Superbowl Seger?

McCollum writes: "Musical pal and mentor Hank Williams Jr. has already promised to hop onstage at Saturday's concert, and Rock says he expects several more brand-name guests both nights. And if a certain plan goes really well -- he won't divulge details -- concertgoers on one of the two nights could get a premium treat.

"'We're working on a couple of guests for something that would be monumental,' he says with a sly grin. 'If it works out, it'll definitely make the history books in Detroit.'"

Who could it be? Well, the Stones are in town. But so is Bob. We'll have to wait and see.

January 29, 2006

Reckless Speculation Department: Kid, Bob, Mick and Joe

Hmm, "a couple of guests?" Something "monumental," you say?

Here's my guess, shockingly based on nothing but guesswork. I'm seeing Kid Rock, Bob Seger and Mick Jagger sharing a mic at Joe Louis Arena this Saturday night. Singing "Dancing In The Streets" and "Old Time Rock & Roll." Can you see Mick strutting to "Don't try and take me to a disco...?"

Who among you will go to the Joe this Saturday to prove me wrong? More importantly, who among you will take your cell phone/camera and send me a photo and an mp3?

February 2, 2006

No Mullet?

Finally, thanks to Paul Dunn and to Curtis Baldwin for tips on the above, and to Chris Hercik for reminding me of this Kid Rock quote:

"'I want to do a New Year's show at Joe Louis Arena,' said the rap-rocker, with a laid-back grin, 'and I'll call it Live Mullet.'" Wendy Case, August 28, 2000, The Detroit News. "Kid Rock revs up his hometown fans."

Guess he was only half-joking.

January 31, 2006


May or May Not?

It wouldn't be a new year without new rumors of a forthcoming Seger album. The current speculation actually began last November, when both musictap.net and EMIdigital.com projected May '06 as the anticipated release date of "Face the Promise." The EMI list, geared mainly toward retailers, went so far as to give an exact date: May 2. (Also projected for 5/2 -- The Very Best of Helen Reddy. Oh yeah. In case you're tired of her best, and want to move up a notch.)

The Detroit News, being a little more cautious, says the release is "tentatively scheduled for late spring." To add some oomph to their New Year's coverage, they also published a fake picture of Seger in a party hat. Now that's news. Detroit News, December 29, 2005 and January 1, 2006.

Musictap has been right before, and so has the EMI site. On the other hand, May is still five months out. Who knows...maybe they've just dropped Seger into the end of their chart as a placeholder. PauseandPlay.com, the other site that often has good info, so far is staying out of it.

My string of correctly predicting Seger release dates is unbroken (I'm 0-23). Nevertheless, I'm risking it all by going with May. It feels right.

January 3, 2006


Annex Added

I've spent much of the last month looking over some terrific photos and sharing Seger stories with Ken Settle, a photographer and fan who has followed Seger's career almost from the start. Ken has photographed Seger in places like the Rock'n'Roll Farm and The Michigan Palace, as well as Pine Knob and the Palace of Auburn Hills.

In fact, he shared so many great shots that I decided to open the Settle Annex to keep them all in one place. There are also early Town Cryer shots that Ken has collected, and a tiny sampling of video from Seger's early TV appearances. If you're a fan of the early days, check it out.

Talking to Ken has reminded me of something I've known all along -- that there are a lot of people out there who know a lot more about Seger than I do. Some have photos, some have stories. Either way, I like being able to include other people in the Segerfile, and I hope to open more Annex sections from other fans in the future.

Settle Annex Update: The Annex has been so popular, I've updated it. Check out the items below, and check back for a few more in the future.

Updated, January 27, 2006


Face the Email

One of the best parts of the Segerfile is the email I get and the stories they tell. Ever wonder what kind of car Tom Neme drove? Or the best Seger song to play while cleaning your house? Do you think Seger will perform at the Tawas City Wal-Mart Christmas Party? What was he like in typing class? And what size bra did his first wife wear, according to neighbor kids? Finally, to heck with Seger -- what's the name of that girl in "The Fire Inside" video?

All these and many other questions are posed in Email 2005, a random collection of email I didn't lose. Some of the questions are even answered -- but remember, this is the internet. Any alleged information is no more reliable than say, the projected release date of Seger's next album. Zing.

January 3, 2006


Creek's Flowing

Leo Creek, that is -- Drew Abbott's current band. If you're in Northern Michigan, check them out at the Union Street Station or Sutton's Bay High School. If you're not in Northern Michigan, you can hear some samples online. Check them out here.

January 3, 2006


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