The Seger File

An unofficial web site about the music of Bob Seger
Last updated May 1998
Edited by Scott Sparling

The Imaginary Interview

One of the pastimes I've indulged in over the years is to think up interview questions for Seger. Sometimes, to entertain friends, I even write the answers.

The following is from 1986; It's a bit of a take-off on a radio interview I have where the disc jockey never stops asking his elaborate question, leaving Seger no time to answer. (A hilarious excerpt from the actual interview is included below.)

Question for Mr. Seger:

Let's talk dreams, Bob. For most of us, growing up -- or just living day-to-day -- means that bit by bit we have to give up our dreams. The world demands that we make compromises, and we do, and usually that's fine. But you didn't give up your dream. You chased it for ten years, you probably played Heavy Music ten thousand times in ten thousand bars, and now it seems your dream has come true.

And yet, in song after song, your lyrics tell of people who realize their dreams without finding happiness -- people who get what they wanted and find out too late that somehow it isn't what they wanted after all. They end up stuck in heaven, remembering a song from 1962, watching the clocks spin the hours away and hearing the sound of some bird on the wing.

People say your theme is nostalgia, but I disagree. Through 15 albums, your theme, your story, centers on people making the realization that who they've become is different from who they thought they were going to become.

Is that true for you too, Bob? What about your dreams, your life? Have they turned out the way you wanted them to? Or not?


Mr. Seger replies:

Could you repeat the question?

For laughs, after I wrote this I went back and found the real interview, which aired on an Ann Arbor radio station just in 1975. Here's an illuminating excerpt:

Interviewer: "Writing a song is tough chore --"

Seger: "It's because..."

Interviewer: "Because you're not only a poet, but a musician and you have to show how you're bringing both the poetry and the musicianship together and making them one. In other words, you can have dynamite lyrics, but if the wrong music is with it, it's just not gonna work. But if you take the dynamite lyrics, and find the right music that sort of portrays the same energy as the lyrics, you've scored a hundred points. And I think that's the way a critic should criticize something, not in terms of the philosophy behind it, but just how well the music and the lyrics go together, and what is the end result of the melody that comes out, and what sticks in your head."

Seger: "Right."

Interviewer: "When you hit on all categories, not only the music and the lyrics and the vocal carrying of all that together, it's intriguing --"

Seger: "I have a --"

Interviewer: "The whole idea is wow, that's intriguing, that whole sound."

Seger: "I have a theory that --"

Interviewer: "Now, Elton John does that all the time, he intrigues you, he picks an idea for a song, and I guess the music comes, no, the lyrics come first, as a matter of fact. He takes the lyrics, and he says, the music has to be of a certain aura...[fade into 'Goodbye Norma Jean.']

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