story & photo by Ariana Crisafulli
On tour straight out of the Austin Texas music scene, Bob Schneider played at the Coach House this past March. When I called for the interview, Bob was busy in sound check, just like any musician would be on the eve of a show. As I talked to him I got the feel of a very down-to-earth guy just out to play music and have a good time, as the song “Capn Kirk” attests to.
So how does a musician decide to be a musician? Well obviously musicians are influenced by music all around them, and the great rock stars that came before them. For Bob, his biggest influence was his dad who was a professional opera singer and guitar player. What he remembers most about his musical childhood is his parents’ parties where his dad would play guitar and “rock the house” as Bob put it.
If I could sum Bob Schneider up in one word, it would most definitely be versatile. Anyone who has heard his music knows what I’m talking about. To begin with, he claims he plays almost any instrument, making the general statement that, “You can pretty much play any instrument. All you have to do is pick it up and play.” Though this may be true, his main musical accompaniments are the piano and the guitar. For the instruments he is not so acquainted with, he gives the credit to his band for picking up the slack and being the amazing instrumentalists they are.
It is not only the variety of instruments Bob plays that makes his style so versatile, but all the different kinds of music he plays. At his concert on the 26th, I was able to hear all the different facets of Bob Schneider. I heard salsa, slow rock, plain old rock, country and folk, as well as others that were just Bob Schneider’s own unique sound. I was also amused to hear his version of “Natural Woman” on the Bob Schneider Greatest Hits Live CD.
As a writer myself, I was naturally interested in Bob’s lyrics, so I asked him what influenced him most when writing songs. He answered with a very philosophic, “I like to create things. First there’s nothing there and then you have something.”
Just like his varying style of music, his lyrics are quite diverse as well. He writes love songs, songs about his life and songs that make you laugh or at least grin from the outlandish content of his words … as in the song, “Sons of Ralph.”
As mentioned at the beginning of the article, Bob is widely known in the Austin Texas music scene. I inquired about this fact and he acknowledged it, saying he was very grateful to be a part of that musical community. And he says he finds joy in both his hometown where he is able to drive home after a show, and in touring where he loves to meet new people on the road and see new places.
During his career in music, Bob has seen some radio time with his songs “Big Blue Sea” and “I’m Good Now.” Staying true to his humble nature, he makes the point that fame, however big or small, is almost impossible to achieve and should not be the ultimate goal. Speaking from experience, he confesses that the music industry is tough on relationships and will not necessarily make you happy. He advises all up-and-coming bands to stay focused on their own personal happiness rather than the opinions of critics.
Currently Bob is touring, but for the most part he is performing his versatile sound in Austin, Texas. So if you’re ever in Austin and looking for a good show… you know who to see. b