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      Bob Schneider in Indianapolis


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      June 20, 2019

      Thursday   7:00 PM

      401 East Michigan Street
      Indianapolis, Indiana 46204

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      Bob Schneider


      Austin-based singer/songwriter/creative force of nature Bob Schneider has a guy in his band, Oliver Steck, who plays keyboards, accordion, trumpet and assorted whistles and horns. Also, Schneider notes, Oliver also does a lot of dancing. He doesnt necessarily get paid for the dancing. He does it because he cant not. Apparently, the same could be said of Schneider in terms of artistic endeavors in general. He cant not be creating something. Sometimes its writing songs he has written some 2,000 songs in the past 16 years sometimes its creating videos to accompany some of those songs and sometimes its making gallery-ready art, including paintings and collages. He also has played a wedding singer in an indie film, written two books and penned a rock opera that has a title that cant be printed in a family newspaper. Some of his musical mates even wonder when or whether he ever sleeps. I love making things, so thats what I spend a lot of my time doing, says Schneider I do have periods where I feel like Ill never create anything thats any good ever again. The good news is, it doesnt stop me from creating things, and eventually that feeling will pass and I can look over the stuff that Ive made and figure out which of it is better than the other stuff. Because I like to do it so much, Ill end up with quite a bit of it at the end of the year. Schneider has been a recording artist for 25 years, putting out his first record (Party Till Youre Dead) in 1991 as frontman for Joe Rockhead, a funk-rock combo in the vein of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. That band was followed by his best-known group, Ugly Americans, which toured with the Dave Matthews Band and Big Head Todd and the Monsters. Ugly Americans was a kind of alt-rock supergroup, with former members of Cracker, Poi Dog Pondering and Mojo Nixons band. Schneider also fronted a full-on funk ensemble that played around Austin in the late 1990s called The Scabs, at the same time he was establishing himself as a solo artist. His first solo project, Songs Sung and Played on Guitar at the Same Time, came out in 1998, and hes gone on to record an almost inconceivably diverse and eclectic array of songs since then, with his work making it onto the soundtracks of seven major motion pictures (and one indie film). All told, Schneider has been the singer and main songwriter on nearly 30 studio albums, and he has been named Musician of the Year six times at the Austin Music Awards. Considering the renowned strength of the music scene in Austin, thats saying something. His artistry coupled with his movie-star looks and boyish charm makes it a wonder hes not a household name around the rest of the country the way he is in Austin. His prodigious musical output is a result of a songwriting challenge group he started 16 years ago while touring. At first, the challenge was to write one song a day, and the people doing the writing were on the tour bus with him. Theyd come up with a title each morning and at the end of the day play the songs they came up with for each other. The pace of the songwriting challenge has eased up substantially since its beginnings, going to one song a week, but the scope of the participation in the group has widened to include a lot of widely known musicians. Weve had lots of famous folks in the game from time to time, but they usually dont last very long, Schneider says. The exception would be Jason Mraz, who has been in the game on and off for six or seven years and is one of the most consistent songwriters in the group. Very talented and will always turn a song in. At the end of the day, though, I really only have the group as a motivation to get me to write a song each week. Otherwise, a month might go by without writing anything and that would be a shame. The past few years, Schneider has grouped the songs hes written in a year under an album title, just to kind of keep track of when they were written. Titles for recent years have included Heres the Deal, The Ever Increasing Need to Succeed, Into the Great Unknown and Mental Problems. This years theme (and the name of his current concert tour) is The Practical Guide to Everything. Schneider has a fantastic website where fans can listen to all of the songs from the three five-song King Kong Suite EPs he released last year, with humorous commentary from Schneider himself between songs. The website also has the 10 videos he created for King Kong songs using public-domain found footage, including the menacing Black Mountain video that culls scenes from Francis Ford Coppolas directorial debut. The website also offers a chance to stream his regular Monday evening shows at Austins Saxon Pub. The Saxon Pub shows are unique in the fact that I play a lot of material there that I dont play anywhere else, Schneider explains. New stuff that I wrote that week or in the last few weeks. Really old material that we havent played in a while. I hardly play any of the stuff that youll hear on the road, which is a mix of the best of everything. The best new material alongside the best of my last 20 years of writing songs. He has an almost Dylanesque reputation for keeping things fresh, with shows so different from one another that for years he [has] recorded every show and[sold] copies for people to purchase right after the show. I play a lot of cities twice a year, and I like the fact that a lot of my fans will come see me play every time I come to town, knowing that Ill be playing material theyve never seen me perform and might not ever perform again, Schneider says. I dont have any of the banter planned either, so that stuff is usually unique to that night as well. It keeps things fresh for me and allows me to play crowd favorites that Ive been playing for years, but still makes the whole thing feel new overall for me and hopefully for the audience. Adapted from "Bob Schneider surfs an ocean of creative juices" written by Randy Erickson and published in the LaCrosse Tribune, April 14, 2016

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