the Seger File
Seger joins the Rock and Roll Hall of
SegerFog Parts Over "Blue Ridge" --
my name for the cloud of mystery that usually
hangs over all things Seger. What's he going
to play at the Hall of Fame ceremony? Why didn't
he join the all-star jam? Will he tour? Name
any Seger question you like: there's usually
lots of mystery and not many clues.
Last fall, the
SegerFog even hung over the question of whether
there would be a new Greatest Hits CD. Industry
websites said yes. Sources close to Seger's
management reportedly said no. What to
record, I have to say that I like the
SegerFog. Imagine how unexciting things would be
if all the info we sought was released by Punch
Enterprises in a clear, timely, unambiguous
fashion. No more theories and counter-theories.
No more debates, no delicious inside info. I'd
have to get a new hobby.
fog-shrouded subject has been "Blue Ridge" -- an
album Seger was working on in the late 1990s.
Rumors came and went of the audio not meeting
Seger's standards (what else is new?), but
nothing hit the press until Gary Graff's piece
in the Cleveland Plain Dealer last November:
also notes that improved recording technology
spurred him to scrap an album he was working
on, tentatively titled 'Blue Ridge,' and
create a new body of work."
Graff, November 4, 2003, The Plain Dealer.
old, something new by Bob
morsel raised more questions than it answered.
But recently, the SegerFile got a glimpse of
what the track list might have been for that
From 1997 to
1999, Seger wrote and recorded at least 14
songs. They are:
Into the Past
Knew You When
Was this the
"Blue Ridge" album? Will any of these songs
survive to appear on "Face The Promise" -- the
CD promised for this fall? Too late: the fog
closes in again...
Let's see...since 2000, Seger has recorded at
least 11 more songs:
Eye to Memphis
In the Question
That totals 25
songs. Last fall, Seger said he had recorded 29
songs since It's A Mystery was released in 1995.
Which leaves four other titles still out there
in the fog.
Nominated for Detroit Music Awards
footsteps of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
ceremony, Seger has been nominated for
Outstanding Anthology/Compilation Reissue in the
Detroit Music Awards, to be held at the State
Theater in Detroit on April 23.
Kid Rock, who
inducted Seger, is nominated in the Outstanding
Album category for his recent album...along with
the White Stripes for Elephant, Alice Cooper for
Eyes Of Alice Cooper and Iggy Pop for Skull
nomination, Kid Rock said:
think in his own words he's the beautiful
loser. I think he's the most underrated
singer/songwriter of our generation. You
never saw him pulling publicity scams or
anything to get his music played. His music
was always what did the talking. The songs
are so powerful, all of them. The caliber of
them is just tremendous. And being from
Detroit, it makes me proud to be from there
just knowing that he had championed it so
much for so many years."
News Service. March 26, 2004. "WHITE STRIPES,
BOB SEGER, ALICE COOPER, EMINIEM, KID ROCK
ALL NOMINATED FOR DETROIT MUSIC
You can hear
and see Kid Rock say it himself here.
No info so far
about who will perform at the award
website also has some video
talking about being with his kids and why he
hasn't toured in recent years.
word, kids (laughs). That was about it. I was
forty-seven when I had my son, and I just
decided to watch him grow up, really. They
did go on one tour with me. He was four and
my daughter was a baby, but it was kind of
tough on 'em. Basically I've been writing a
lot the last nine years, but yeah, the road
just didn't have that appeal. I just wanted
to be there."
The video was
shot at the Hall of Fame ceremony.
Michigan music journalist Rick Coates is a
voting member of the Hall of Fame and was at the
Waldorf-Astoria on the big night. When it ended,
he shot the Seger File a 1 a.m. email from the
media room, saying in part, "Seger was
Turn the Page and Old Time Rock and
he jammed on both songs
rushed to the stage at the end and took charge
of the all-star jam
sort of squeezed Mick
Now that he's
back in Michigan, Coates has written an account
in Northern Express (a weekly paper based in
Traverse City) that adds some new details about
the night, including this quote from Mick
certainly deserves to be in," said Jagger.
"Of course I am a fan."
caught up with Prince, who added these
is especially meaningful to go into the Hall
of Fame with Bob Seger," said Prince. "We are
both midwesterners and Seger had a lot of
influence on me at the start of my career; he
certainly influenced my writing."
Coates, Northern Express. "Bob
Seger Turns the Page at the Rock & Roll
Hall of Fame."
You can read
the entire piece here.
The new CKLW
documentary -- Radio Revolution: The Rise and
Fall of the Big 8 -- is now on the film
festival circuit and will be shown on (Canadian)
History Television network April 8.
the river from Detroit in Windsor, the AM
station could be heard from Canada to Florida --
or from Chattanooga to good old Bogalusa, as
Seger sings in "Rosalie," his 1973 song about
music director Rosalie Trombley.
"'It was the
biggest, loudest radio station on the dial,'"
says [the film's director Michael]
the story goes that on summer nights, one
could drive down Detroit's Woodward Avenue
with the windows down and the dashboard radio
off and still hear CKLW from other cars, from
storefronts, in the air everywhere."
Radio Revolution recalls heyday of Canadian
Much of the
film centers on Trombley, who became one of the
most powerful forces in pop music.
Seger, Elton John, David Bowie and Alice
Cooper are just a few of the performers who
owe a big part of their success to Trombley.
It wasn't unusual to see members of the Four
Tops or Temptations waiting for their turn
outside Trombley's office to personally
deliver their latest single.
had that kind of reputation as someone who
could pick a hit before anyone else,'
McNamara says. 'Getting a song on CKLW meant
that automatically other radio stations far
beyond the region would add the record.'"
Monaghan, March 24, 2004. Detroit Free Press.
Big 8 rocks and roars again in new
to Trombley may have been a miscalculation,
however. According the movie, she threatened to
quit if it ever played on her
performance at the Hall of Fame ceremony sparked
some memories for Jann Wenner. For whatever
reason, Rolling Stone Magazine has remembered
Seger after a decade of pretty much ignoring
"Immortals" issue includes tributes to 50 rock
and roll legends and one of them is
Robinson. But the short tribute is written by
Seger. And elsewhere in the issue, Seger and Kid
Rock score get some ink regarding the HOF. The
Seger stuff is not on the RS website, but ten
minutes at the newsstand will get you up to
things happen on great days, I think of Rick
Mahorn. The former Piston was a member of the
1989 NBA Championship team. The tickertape
parade through Detroit was the same day as the
expansion draft, and as the fans and the team
were trying to celebrate, Minnesota plucked
Mahorn away. Never has a celebration turned to
loss so quickly. You probably have to be a
hardcore Pistons fan to remember how bad it
felt. So I was fascinated by the following in
the Detroit News:
big of a Pistons fan has Hall-of-Fame rocker
Bob Seger been over the years? Seger, who has
been a season ticket-holder at The Palace
since the building opened in 1988, sat down
with broadcaster George Blaha during Channel
50's telecast last Friday and told this
the summer of 1989, after the Pistons had won
their first NBA title, the Pistons lost
popular forward Rick Mahorn to Minnesota in
the expansion draft.
he was so upset he sat down and wrote a long
and passionate letter to NBA commissioner
David Stern complaining about the timing and
heartlessness of the situation."
27, 2004, Chris McCosky and Joanne C.
Gerstner, The Detroit News. "Seger mourned
loss of Mahorn."
the article, Stern did not reply.
himself provides a little glimpse at the Hall of
Fame after-party. According to the New York Post
online, Rock hung out at Elaine's, where
Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun held a
party for Rolling Stone owner Jann
took Punch out on the town,' Rock said later.
'The party was great. We got a jam goin' on
-- we did 'Feelin' All Right.' I think we
were playin' some Ray Charles. Everybody was
there -- Mick Jagger, Springsteen. Everybody
but Seger.'" Jeffrey
Slonim, March 21, 2004, New York Post
Links: Seger and Kid Rock
introduction of Seger at the Hall of Fame has
been quoted in a lot of articles -- but you
don't really feel the power of it until you hear
it in his own voice. VH1 has a video clip,
Earlier in the
week, VH1 posted a one-minute video clip of
Seger singing "Turn the Page" at the induction
ceremony. (The video featured the middle verse
of the song -- "Well, you walk into a
restaurant..." That clip went down the day after
it went up, replaced by the Kid Rock clip.)
You can also
hear part of Seger's acceptance speech
acceptance speech, Seger says, "I want to thank
all the fans who pushed real hard on the
Internet and on rock radio to get me in here for
all these years. Thanks so much. I know you
So you know,
when it comes to pushing for Seger's induction,
Eric Verona's RocktheHall site led the way on
the Internet, with help from a lot of great fans
The American-built Kid Rock brings his rock and
roll train to this part of the country on May 6,
Seger's birthday. How many Seger shirts --
besides mine -- do you think he'll see in the
Gets Them Dancing in the Aisles
got up and boogied; Rolling Stone founder Jann
Wenner danced atop a chair; Springsteen and pal
Little Steven Van Zandt clapped
Entertainment Weekly describes the reaction when
Seger played "Old Time Rock and Roll" at the
Hall of Fame induction ceremony Monday night.
The EW story
says Seger's first song, "Turn the Page," got
off to a slow "with a voice hoarse from
toward the end of the song (''Here I am/On
the road AGAIN''), he found new strength,
transforming his trembling rasp into his old
roar, and winning a standing ovation.
there, Seger -- backed by longtime companions
the Silver Bullet Band -- kicked into the
overplayed, arguably corny hit ''Old Time
Rock & Roll.'' But the sheer energy of
their performance -- and Seger's heroic
effort to push past his vocal troubles -- won
over the audience...Maybe presenter Kid Rock
was right to call Seger ''the baddest...of
all time.'' March
17, 2004, Entertainment Weekly.
The Scene at the Rock Hall
For more on
the big night, and more pics, scroll down.
Bob Played Tuesday Night
tribute from the master.
we've talked about the Hall of Fame ceremony,
wondering what songs Bob would play. In the end
it was "Turn the Page," and "Old Time Rock and
Roll," two all-time Seger classics.
But it was the
song that got played Tuesday night that really
sends chills up my spine. At the State Theater
in Detroit, a different Bob -- Bob Dylan --
wound up his encore the way he almost always
does, with a version of "All Along the
Watchtower" that just rips open the
And then he
came back for a rare second encore and blasted
out the first cover version of his current tour:
"I still remember it was autumn and the moon
Dylan message boards are buzzing, with some fans
are asking, "what was that song?" (yes, even in
Detroit!) and others fans filling them in.
just thinking about it. Dylan, covering "Get Out
Of Denver." Seger used to play that song to
crowds as small as 50 and now...well, it's the
perfect ending to the ceremony in New York.
higher tribute. When Bob Dylan closes his show
with your song, you're in the biggest hall of
fame of all.
Listen to an
mp3 of Dylan's version of "Get Out of Denver"
2004. Special thanks to Scott Fader for the
Rocks the Hall
The Rock and
Roll Hall of Fame is finally true to its
o'clock Monday night, the Hall inducted Bob
Seger. Free Press writer Brian McCollum reports
that Kid Rock presented Seger and "spoke of the
Michigan veteran's dignity, commitment to
family, and his bond with Michigan and
feeling great,' said Seger, decked out in a
sharp black suit and accompanied by his wife,
Nita, and a coterie of nearly 50 friends and
associate Bill Blackwell toted a handful of
throat remedies that included bee pollen. On
the day of his first public performance in
eight years, Detroit's most distinct rock
vocalist had awakened with a cracked voice.
you know it? The first voice trouble I've had
in two years,' Seger said. 'But my nerves are
OK. Nobody's going to notice -- I sing so
his Silver Bullet Band went on to perform a
pair of songs. 'Turn the Page' may have
started shaky, but by the time Seger got to
the song's rousing final chorus -- 'Here I
am, up on the stage,' -- the familiar voice
kicked in strong. It stayed there through
'Old Time Rock & Roll.'
McCollum, March 16, 2004, Detroit Free Press.
ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME INDUCTION: Bob
Seger, Detroit's leading man of blue-collar
music is at ease on his black-tie
carries a Hall of Fame piece from the AP with
some cool photos.
But to really
get the full flavor of the night, check out the
many posts at HELLUVA
on the Segernet.com message forum -- the premier
gathering spot for Seger fans from all
Row: Some sharp dressed men: Seger and Z.Z.
Row: Every ounce of energy you try to give
away: Seger on stage in New York and Ann
- March 16,
All Night to the Wind
Seger File's Hall of Fame tribute to
The trees are
swaying tonight, which means the floor is moving
a little, too. It's late and I'm in my
treehouse, and there's music coming in on the
The party that
I hear is 2,500 miles away. They're raising
their glasses at the Waldorf-Astoria and they're
cheering and clapping in Cleveland. The
black-tie crowd and the foot-stamping crowd. The
music's traveling cross-country tonight; I can
hear them all the way out here in Oregon.
They're playing songs I can feel right in my
bones: "Turn the Page." "Old Time Rock and
Roll." Seger classics.
But tonight I
want to start with a different song. I often sit
out here to write and think and work on the
Seger File, and on this special night the song I
want to hear first is an old, imperfect ballad
off the Seven album: "20 Years From Now."
It's not his
finest song, you might tell me, and that's true.
But there's so much I like about it. Partly what
I love are the young days when I first heard it,
the sense of strength and unknown adventure that
But the song
itself still moves me. As one of Seger's first
introspective ballads, "20 Years From Now," was
a precursor in both content and style to "Night
Moves" and later "Like A Rock." In the lyrics,
you can hear Seger developing as a storyteller,
discovering what to explain and what not to
explain, as in the odd and offhand reference to
"her inhaler" in the first line. The final,
abbreviated line of each verse -- "When she
went" -- is genius, giving us part of an image
and letting us fill in the rest.
And the vocals
are great. If you love Seger for his voice --
and who doesn't? -- you have to like this song.
If some confused sound engineer had taken these
vocals and plopped them onto a Van Morrison
album by mistake, with a better backing track,
the cut might have become an FM radio classic.
The first time
I heard "20 Years From Now" was 30 years ago.
When I was barely 20 years old myself, the idea
that I'd "be here 20 years from now" felt like a
certainty. Tonight as I listen to the crickets
sing, another 20 years seems less like a given
and more like a privilege -- something dependent
on good health and good fortune. What is
certain, though, is that if I'm here, I'll be
listening to Seger.
I guess that's
the first thing I want to say. Seger lasts.
Simple as this: From "Persecution Smith" to the
Hall of Fame, Seger's taken us on a forty-year
journey and it keeps getting better and better.
If it lasts another twenty years or more, I'm
definitely down for the ride.
something else I want to say before I come down
from this tree, though, and it has to do with
giving. As fans, we always talk about we
want Seger to give us next: a new CD, a boxed
set, a DVD, all those glorious unreleased
tracks. We want, we want, we want -- well,
that's what makes us fans. But as long as the
wind is blowing and the music's still playing, I
want to think about what he's given us so far.
To borrow a phrase from Seger's friend Don
Henley, call it my thanksgiving. Here's what I'm
of course. And especially the live music. I
never thought much about going to hear bands
until I heard Seger play live. Through Seger, I
discovered the energy of live music, the
excitement of the crowd, the thump of the bass
against your chest. That's major. That's
life-changing right there.
to believe in. Through a lot of hard years,
Seger never gave up. Corny as it may sound, when
I talk to my son about believing in your dreams,
I talk about Bob Seger.
root for. I've liked a lot of other bands
and singers over the years. But Seger was the
underdog, the beautiful loser, so we rooted for
him. We drove for hours to hear his gigs and
bonded in the dark bars of southern Michigan. We
wanted him to win and now he has.
truth. Listen to the words. It might be only
rock and roll when the Stone's sing it, but
Seger's lyrics go to the heart. They tell you
something about how it is to live in this world.
They remind you of something you've always
known, but forgot, or they uncover something
new. "2 + 2," "Like A Rock," "Tomorrow," "Famous
Final Scene," "Somewhere Tonight," "Against the
Wind" -- you name the song: if you're a longtime
Seger fan, chances are you've learned something
about yourself from his lyrics.
we can feel. So much popular music is just
product these days, delivered by pop stars
manufactured on TV. Seger's music is borne from
something deeper. Listen to the last 60 seconds
of "Night Moves." Listen to "Turn The Page,"
"Chances Are" or "Satisfied." When it's Seger,
every note is something you can really
friend. In the first song he ever recorded,
Seger said he was "The Lonely One"-- yet he's
kept us company for forty years. He's sung to us
in the dark and got us dancing in the
headlights. He's made us feel connected. A
friend for four decades, he's kept us from
feeling alone and called us to
and genuine joy. All these words come down
to this: His music makes it so I can't stop
smiling. It's pure, plain rock and roll
happiness, straight from the source, and when I
hear it, the only thing I want is more.
congratulations, Bob. Circle the cars from
the Hall of Fame to Fire Lake and back, because
tonight's the night for the world's biggest
grasser. Tonight the wind's blowing in from New
York and Seger fans will howl.
I'm done with
ballads for now. Tonight while you rock the
ballroom, Bob, I'm cranking up "Hollywood
Nights," and "School Teacher" and "Ramblin'
Gamblin' Man." I'm gonna play "Lucifer" loud,
and "Let It Rock" louder.
turning "Tomorrow" up to ten. I'm gonna shake
this tree and rock this house.
I'm gonna play
March 15, 2004
Free Press and the Rest of the Press
If you are
lucky enough to get the Detroit Free Press,
you've already seen some of the best media
coverage on Seger in years. Brian McCollum's
oral history of Seger's early career gives a
terrific view of the Seger story, with inside
info from the folks who were there. A must-read,
the piece quotes Bob, Punch, Dave Leone, Charlie
Martin, Russ Gibb, Rosalie Trombley, early band
members...even the Seger File. Here are the
links to it and other Hall of Fame
SEGER: The definitive oral history of his rise
of characters (Guide to the Oral
(An album discography)
(Tributes from the governor, Bill Laimbeer and
journey through stardom
fans never forget
Winners of the
Freep's essay contest:
war, an angry protest and '2 + 2 =
we would sit, listening to tunes'
wonderful memory of my mother'
Grand Rapids Press:
Seger stays home with the family and lets his
music do the walkin'
piece by writer John Sinkevics, March 14, 2004,
covers both old ground and new, including this
closing in on 60," Seger said as he contemplated
release of his first studio album in eight
"It could very
well be the last one."
Seger takes memories of Lenawee County to the
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
interesting articles by Michael S. Miller,
including Seger's advice to young
"I tell them,
if all you do is play in your basement, you'll
never know what you have until you get in front
of people, no matter how small the crowd. Then
you'll know; then you'll have someplace to
build, you'll build up goodwill by coming back,"
he said. "I tell any young artist, if you are
successful, go back to where it started; the
audience loves it when you come
For some of
us, every day is Seger day. Now Michigan makes
to the Hall
up rehearsals this week and is heading to New
York City for the Hall of Fame induction.The
official ceremony is on Monday, March 15 in the
Waldorf-Astoria's Grand Ballroom.
As you know,
rock and roll is all about stickin' it to the
man. And in this case, that means stickin' the
man for $2,500 per ticket. Not to worry, though
-- tickets are unavailable to mortals like you
If you can
make it to Cleveland, though, you can watch the
festivities at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,
which is showing an unedited feed of the
ceremony for $10. The show starts at eight and
tickets are available at the museum or through
Uncensored, Unbelievable...and Unavailable
Anywhere Else!" the museum's website screams.
And you thought the museum's mission was to
educate the world about the value of rock and
roll. Well, actually, that is the
museum's mission. But in this case "the world"
means "people living near Cleveland." Hey,
they've got to do something to keep a lid on
this induction ceremony. Otherwise ordinary
concertgoers -- you know, tramps like us, Rif
and Raf, the folks who built and support the
rock and roll industry -- might have a chance to
see it. And that could lead to, I don't know,
mass hysteria and devil-worship probably. Not to
mention record sales.)
you reside far from the Cuyahoga, as I do,
you'll have to settle for an edited "highlights"
broadcast, to be shown Sunday, March 21 at 8
p.m. and 10 p.m. on VH-1.
info is that Kid Rock will present Seger.
Springsteen will introduce Jackson Browne. Keith
Richards will present ZZ Top. Tom Petty and Jeff
Lynne will induct George Harrison. OutKast and
Alicia Keys will introduce Prince, and Dave
Matthews will introduce Traffic.
Traffic are scheduled to perform. The induction
ceremony will include an original video about
Seger (and the other inductees) by the folks who
produce the Oscars Pre-Show and the MTV Movie
you're anywhere near Michigan, keep an eye out
for the Detroit Free Press, which is running a
special Seger section on Sunday.
We've waited a
long time for this -- a long, long time -- and
it's almost here, so let's savor it. I can
Is In Great Voice; The Band Is Kicking Rock and
The quote is
from Alto Reed by way of Friday's Detroit Free
Press story by Brian McCollum. "It was as if
we'd literally come off the stage a week
before," Reed said, describing recent
Seger and the
band rehearsed for three days this past week at
a club called Clutch Cargo's in Pontiac. (Side
note: One of the equipment guys emailed to say
they ran thru "The Fire Down Below," "Turn The
Page" and "Old Time Rock N Roll" about 6 times
The Free Press
piece also notes that Michigan Governor Jennifer
Granholm has issued a proclamation [see
below] naming Monday Bob Seger Day. "Seger
described himself as overwhelmed when he got the
news Nov. 20." Brian
McCollum, March 12, 2004, The Detroit Free
night moves many
quotes Kid Rock, who will present Seger to the
gathering Monday night. Check out the entire
and stand by for more in the Freep's special
Seger section this Sunday.
News also weighs in with a piece, quoting Seger
on how long his career has lasted.
"It's nice to
have that staying power," Seger said. "That is
something I never expected would happen back
when I started." And Kid Rock explains that "I
couldn't go to sleep when I was a kid because my
parents were out rocking to him in the barn all
Mike Householder, March 12, 2004, The Detroit
News/ Associated Press. "Rock
and roll doesn't forget Bob
article is here.
March 13, 2004
Takes Seger Lessons and Other Web
Welcome to the
Hall of Fame news roundup from around the web.
asked his keyboardist Matt Fink why Bob Seger
was so successful. Fink explained how Seger's
anthems appealed to America's heartland, adding,
'Write something like that and you'll cross
the challenge, part of his plan to become a
bigger star, without giving up on being an
artist. Soon, the anthemic "Purple Rain" was
Gamboa, March 14, 2004, Newsday.
Best way to get invited to the Hall of Fame
ceremony: Marry the drummer.
"Way back in
the '80s, while Grand Funk Railroad was on
hiatus, Bob Seger was riding high with Against
the Wind and Like a Rock. For three blockbuster
tours during that period, Seger asked his Motor
City buddy Don Brewer to join the Silver Bullet
Band on drums.
later, Seger hasn't forgotten. Monday night,
Brewer will be in the band when Seger is
inducted as an individual artist into the Rock
and Roll Hall of Fame at the Waldorf Astoria in
New York. Brewer already has left his Jupiter
home to rehearse in Detroit, and Mrs. Brewer,
Sunny 104.3 midday host Sunny Quinn, will join
him in New York. 'I can't wait to go,' she said.
'We're going to have a ball.'
Smith, March 12, 2004, Palm Beach Post.
eager to celebrate
and Answered -- Seger on the Radio (and the Web
people think I just disappear, but I'm the type
of person that, you know, if I haven't got a new
record I just feel like, wait until the new
record's done and then surface, I guess.
Basically that's it."
luckiest guy going really. I couldn't be
from Seger opened his third national radio
interview in three months, which aired last week
on February 2. (The other two are the Off the
Record interview by Uncle Joe in late November
and the short piece on NPR's Morning Edition in
Pat St. John,
formerly of CKLW, Keener and WRIF (great
stations all), did the interview and provided
way more than enough deejay patter. The
call-in/chat format yielded a mix of questions,
some good and some amazingly lame. At 90
minutes, it was long enough to cover some new
information about the Hall of Fame induction
Plus in the
online portion, Seger talked to the Seger File
for the first time ever. A full report on that
follows. But -- as Terry Gross would say --
first the news:
Seger said he
and the band would start rehearsing for the Hall
of Fame performance on February 10.
at the Hall of Fame performance will include
Drew Abbott, Chris Campbell, Alto Reed, Craig
Frost, Don Brewer (drums) and Mark Chatfield
Kid Rock will
introduce/induct Seger at the Hall of Fame
ceremony on March 15.
play "The Fire Down Below" and "Turn the Page"
at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
The choice of
Turn the Page surprises no one, but quite a few
of the fans I talk to were caught off-guard by
"The Fire Down Below." Would it have killed the
interviewer to ask "Why that song?"
It was just
over a month ago that Seger told NPR's
that "Night Moves" would be one of the songs.
"The Fire Down Below" is a vocal-driven song
that shows off Seger's power, but it's not
nearly as well known as many other Seger
classics and it generally wasn't included in set
lists for the '96 tour. So what's the reasoning?
The choice of
Kid Rock also begged for a follow-up question,
since Seger earlier said his first choice for
inductors were Glenn Frey or Don Henley of the
Eagles, "because they're my oldest friends in
rock 'n' roll." I was glad about the choice,
since I like Kid Rock. But I still wanted to
know the story behind his choice. But this was
infotainment, not a straight interview, and it
was live, so on we went.
Seger said the
Hall of Fame has asked him for ten pieces of
memorabilia -- handwritten lyrics, etc. He said
he visited the museum in Cleveland in late
January to talk to the curator and see what
sorts of items they typically include. When he
talked about the things he was impressed by, he
mentioned Eddie Cochran's guitar that he played
"Summertime Blues" on, and Leadbelly's guitar
One of the
items Seger will give the Hall is the original
oil painting of the Against The Wind album
cover. (Side note: Why not just hire
take off his shirt?)
Of his new CD,
Seger said "We'll try to get that one done by
fall or something." As reported earlier, it will
be called "Face the Promise."
He said he's
recorded "about 30 songs" for his next CD since
the last tour ended in 1996. (In November, Uncle
Joe got a more precise answer -- "29 songs" --
to the same question. In that earlier interview
with Uncle Joe, Seger said he thought 22 of
those songs were really good and that 11 would
definitely be on the next album -- minus the two
he stole for GH2.)
he's written seven songs since December ("that's
how manic I am") and that he's "on a writing
roll right now."
eight songs out of the 30 that he's really high
for a week at the end of March in Nashville, and
then the album will be done.
"I would love
to...it's just a huge commitment...and I just
want to make sure that I don't show up and not
do my best...Like I said, we're going to start
rehearsing for the Hall of Fame, maybe that will
spike us to do it, but we'll leave that open."
callers seemed to be clueless about Seger's past
screening these calls? Apparently not. One
person asked where she could get a copy of
Seger's version of "Fortunate Son." Another
wanted to know if Seger's CD "Blind Love" (sic)
was still in print.
shoppers: these aren't questions you ask Bob on
national radio. These are questions you ask the
guy at Borders.
the "Fortunate Son" question led to an
interesting anecdote about John Fogerty hearing
Seger's version in a supermarket and thinking
that his label had released some live CCR --
which Seger said he took as a great compliment.
And while I
was getting a busy signal, someone asked Bob
about the motorcycle trip he describes in "Roll
Me Away," setting him up to repeat the story of
the trip, which has been recounted in a bunch of
interviews. The town 12 hours out of Mackinaw
City is Rochester, Minnesota. The motorcycle was
a Honda 1100. If you've been following along,
you knew that already.
covering real-world allusions:
Seger File reader, maybe?) took my advice and
asked Bob for the name of the song referred to
in the "Night Moves" lyric: "I started humming a
song from 1962."
answer: "Be My Baby" by the Ronettes.
I don't doubt
it for a minute, though I do note that "By My
Baby" was recorded in the summer of 1963. But
then Seger probably didn't do a Google search
(like I did) before writing the lyric, since the
Internet hadn't been invented yet.
He went on to
say that he was a huge Phil Spector fan and
still is. (Spector produced "Be My Baby."
DishDiva, the chat host, spelled his name Phil
Spectre, indicating she might be somewhat less
of a fan.)
Other stuff we
mostly knew, but hey -- not everyone's a
yes when asked if "Mainstreet" was in Ann Arbor.
(The bar in question was actually on Ann
described in "Turn the Page" was in Wisconsin.
He was touring with Teegarden and Van Winkle at
the time. He started writing the song at the
Holiday Inn that night.
lyric in "Back in '72," Seger said he wasn't
personally homesick for Lincoln Park. But his
band, Julia, lived in Lincoln Park.
him about the first line of "20 Years from Now,"
and Seger said he couldn't remember the line.
(Readers of Segernet.com
know that the actual printed lyric is "Janice
tired of her inhaler...").
Someone in the
chat room asked if he'd ever do a song with Kid
Rock. Seger said "Absolutely
country drinking song. 'Real Mean Bottle' is one
I've pointed out, but no one else seems to like
it." ("Real Mean Bottle" is a Vince Gill song,
written as tribute to Merle Haggard.)
Lennon was his
favorite Beatle. He said he was knocked out by
The Beatles "from the word go."
The Tom Waits
songs he has recorded -- "Blind Love," "16
Shells," "New Coat of Paint" and "Downtown
Train" and "a bunch of others" -- were all
recorded on the same day.
He knew "Old
Time Rock and Roll" was a great song when they
played it in Europe before Stranger in Town came
out -- audiences were hearing it for the first
time, but they would be singing along before the
song was over.
He likes the
Metallica version of "Turn the Page," and
mentioned especially liking the drums.
"I Can't Save
You, Angeline," off It's A Mystery is "a song
about a gal with a terrible drug problem, and
anyone who's been with someone like that
realizes you can't save them. So I thought it
was worth writing about even though I've never
been in that situation."
Asked to name
his favorite concert, Seger mentioned
Springsteen and James Brown but picked Stevie
Ray Vaughn playing with Eric Clapton at the
Palace of Auburn Hills -- "Twenty-two minutes of
just stunning stuff...Eric and Stevie were just
burning...I couldn't stop smiling, they were
playing so great." He described himself as a
Asked to name
some of his favorite songs to play in concert,
Seger named "Turn the Page" ("always fun because
people love Alto starting with the horn and it's
a moody song and it means a lot to a lot of
people"), "Mainstreet" and "'Old Time' is really
fun...there's just so many of them."
A caller asked
Bob which songs, beside "C'est La Vie," were
done live in the studio, or in the first take.
Seger mentioned "The Fire Down Below" and said
he was a big fan of the first take and that 9
out of 10 times, he uses one of the first seven
takes of a song. "I'm a big fan of the first
take, because it's just so honest," he
"When I write
I'm a finisher...That's how I avoid writer's
I finish everything I
He said he's
written some new songs about his children that
are "a little too close to the bone, too
"Satisfied" as being "a song to my wife,
obviously," and said the first verse came almost
effortlessly, and that, of the new material,
it's one of his favorite first verses.
lyric I'm working on right now, it took me 12
hours to come up with two lines...but then
occasionally you'll write something like
'Satisfied' that will just come right off the
top of your head."
Bot and Me
moment you've waited for all these years: the
first-ever one-on-one conversation between Seger
and the Seger File. Stand by for the complete
set-up: In my pre-interview post here, I pointed
out that my son was puzzled by the title of
"Sunspot Baby." I was taking him to school and
he made me stop the song to ask, "Why 'Sunspot?'
Isn't that a strange name for a girl?"
I said I'd try
to find out, and I thought the interview might
be my chance. I wasn't disappointed, but only
because I have a very high threshold for
disappointment. Here's how it went:
File: Hi, Bob. Scott from Seger File here.
Dare I ask what you think of the
Thank you. Because of the high volume of
questions, not all questions can be answered.
File: Hi, Bob. Can you tell us some of the
songs that will be on your new CD?
Thank you. Because of the high volume of
questions, not all questions can be
File: Will you record another studio CD
after Face the Promise?
Thank you. Because of the high volume of
questions, not all questions can be
File: My son really likes "Sunspot
Baby," but wants to know why it's called
Thank you. Because of the high volume of
questions, not all questions can be
File: Are you working on a DVD of live
material? Can you tell us when there might be a
Thank you. Because of the high volume of
questions, not all questions can be
File: What does the title of "Sunspot
Baby" refer to?
That was a goof song about a gal running off
with another guy's credit card and I thought it
was humorous. It's been a great touring song and
my sax player Alto named his sailboat after it
and now I'm a sailboat junkie with
File: Cool. What does the title
Thank you. Because of the high volume of
questions, not all questions can be
I don't know
about you, but nothing gives me a warm, happy
feeling like being thanked by a robot.
the MSNBot, a complete transcript of the online
chat can be found at here.
you'd won the WDTW "Meet Bob Seger"
contest, you could have had a picture like
the one at the top. Moving clockwise,
there's an older shot of Seger with Pat
St. John. Michelle Kwan had nothing to do
with the radio/web show, but it cannot be
denied that the word "cannot" is
misspelled with three n's. No typos mar
the photo of Seger with Scottish rocker
Frankie Miller, which is just included for
balance, and I sure wish that Seger poster
above them was bigger. Not pictured: the
three cars Seger bought at the country's
most prestigious collector car auction in
Arizona during the last weekend in
your pent-up demand. Seger's "Greatest Hits 2"
was released in early November and by the year's
end had chalked up 498,000 sales.
long-haired, rock-and-roll son of Detroit also
had a great year. Kid Rock sold 623,000 copies
of the other CD the Seger File can't stop
playing, the self-titled "Kid Rock" -- the best
non-greatest hits album of the year, according
to me. Rock also sold 1.9 million copies of
"Cocky" in 2003. Brian
McCollum, The Detroit Free Press, December 28,
Thin Line of R&B
Greg Kot, a
writer for the Chicago Tribune, recently did a
good piece on Detroit -- specifically, what
makes music from the Motor City special. Here's
what Seger had to say:
"There is a
thin line that runs through all of it, and it's
R&B," Seger says. "It's a rhythm and blues
thing that has always been part of Detroit
music, right down from Motown, and people like
James Brown playing at Cobo Hall.
"As a kid, I
grew up in a black neighborhood (in Ann Arbor,
Mich.) and the neighbors would be out washing
their cars in the summer, and I'd hear R&B.
It just permeated the neighborhood.
"I bought more
black records than white records. This has
always been an R&B town, and we have always
had great R&B radio stations here. I
certainly heard that in the MC5, and I even
heard it in Glenn Frey, who loves R&B and
brought some of that to the Eagles. Those great
Motown bass players and drummers just hammered
it, and after that, if you came out of Detroit,
you had to have some of that in your sound."
thing for people like me, Ted Nugent and Mitch
Ryder was to get out and play in front of
people," Seger says. "We hardly ever saw each
other because we were always playing. We built
up so much good will with the relentless touring
that I was able to ride out the rough spots with
the record labels, like when I got dropped by
Warner Brothers in the '70s."
December 18, 2003, Chicago Tribune.
keeps Detroit a rock
talks briefly about the Like A Rock commercials.
accuses me of sitting back and counting my 'Like
a Rock' checks," Seger says with a laugh. "It's
the only song I've ever allowed to be licensed,
and the only one I ever will allow to be
licensed for a TV commercial" (His 'Old Time
Rock 'n' Roll' also has appeared in TV ads, but
Seger does not control the publishing).
"I felt like I
was helping a hometown industry with 'Like a
Rock,' but I never knew it would turn into a
10-year ad campaign. We made it as hard on them
as we possibly could -- we have final approval
over every ad. But they keep picking up the
option every time it comes up for renewal. It's
been good for me, and it's been good for
business in Detroit."
which also quotes Kid Rock and Iggy Pop, is
worth reading in its entirety. You can find it
File Climbs the Charts
When the Seger
File came online six years ago, I was glad to
get ten hits a day. Recently the site "went
platinum," by breaking into the Top Million web
sites, as ranked by Alexa (a subsidiary of
Amazon.com that ranks traffic on web sites).
Thanks to the
excitement from Seger's Greatest Hits release
and Hall of Fame induction, the Seger File now
stands at Number 966,225 on the web in overall
comparison, the new official Seger web site,
BobSeger.com, is moving up at Number
site, by the way, has some new stuff. There's a
biography that claims Seger was born in Ann
Arbor. (They might want to check the very first
line of the Seger File: "He was born in
Detroit.") There's a discography that lists some
of Seger's albums and none of his singles --
with 30-second clips of every song on his past
There's even a
link called "Forums" that will take you to the
Capitol forum site, where you can read posts
from people dissing the new site. (Hey, if you
want to post or read posts about Seger, you
belong at Segernet.com.)
But the cool
Tom Weschler photos are on the site, along with
the Night Moves video, and a collection of
tictets/backstage passes that you can download.
Rocking, Less Shopping
promised new album, the Hall of Fame induction
ceremony and maybe -- if we're very lucky -- a
new tour, we should be seeing more of Seger in
the new year. But we'll be hearing less of him
Chevrolet is scaling back its "Like A Rock"
campaign. It will still be used for the
Silverado, but new Chevy's will be rolled out
with a new campaign, called "The American
will help Chevrolet, which plans 10 new models
in the next year and a half, raise vehicle sales
above 3 million for the first time since 1979,"
said Gary Cowger, head of General Motors' North
American business. December
19, 2003, Bloomberg Business News. "Chevrolet's
`Like a Rock' will roll a little
Seems a bit
confusing to me. The GM guy seems to be saying
that fewer Seger ads means more sales. If that's
the case, why not cancel the ad completely and
really sell some trucks?
But wait. The
good merchants of FlatIron Crossing mall in the
Denver suburb of Broomfield, think Seger-ads
would mean more sales. They requested the right
to use lyrics from "Get Out of Denver" to
convince city dwellers to come shopping in the
But I'll bet
they weren't planning to use Seger singing "All
I had to do was lay my money down and pick it
up, the cops came busting in and then we lit out
in a pickup truck." We'll never know, though,
because the request was denied.
So what do the
slickest and shallowest in today's ad-biz think
about Seger's sale-enhancing ability? Thumbs
trying to sound relevant and skew young now, are
you going to go with Bob Seger or Outkast?" asks
Max Valiquette, president of marketing
consultancy Youthography. "For God sakes, go
with Outkast if you can afford them."
Wright, Toronto Star, Devember, 2003.
maturation of the hip-hop market" says someone
named Max Lenderman, quoted in the same article,
who really ought to stop and listen to himself
for half a minute.
are having babies now," he adds, "and they're
maturing." Which -- the hip-hoppers? Or the
it means fewer of my heroes will be selling
things on TV, I'm lovin' it.
Seger File, and then there's the Seger files --
a big grey filing cabinet that I rescured from
the Salvation Army long ago. Occasionally the
older files must be moved, and when that happens
I inevitably discover a tidbit or two that I'd
previously overlooked. Like this one, still
been bugging me about doing a double 'Greatest
Hits,' but I think, maybe, somewhere down the
line, maybe a year or two from now, we'll put
out a double. I've already got a title for it,
we'll call it 'Collector's Item.'
"We'll put it
out for $7.98 or whatever we can get away with,
and we'll put all those old things on it
[with a sticker that says] 'This is for
REAL fans. Unless you're a real fan DON'T BUY
THIS RECORD.' And we'll put all the
'Persecutions' and the 'Heavy Musics' and the
'2+2s' and the original 'Lookin' Back' and all
this stuff that people can't get anymore. And
the cool thing is that they're all
two-and-a-half minute records, so we can put 15
of them on there."
those Cameo-Parkway songs, Seger
"We own it
now, Capitol bought it all. As far as I know. I
think it's public domain. I think anybody
I shouldn't say that with a tape
recorder on. But 'Heavy Music,' 'Persecution
Smith,' East Side Story,' I think those three
I mean, we just put 'Heavy Music'
on Smokin O.P.'s, we didn't ask anybody. And
nobody called. Maybe if it had been big, they
Want to guess
the month and year of the quotes? September
1980. Both are from Dave DiMartino's article,
"Bob Seger Bops Horizontally," in Creem Magazine
-- the same article, by the way, that started
the myth about Brand New Morning being buried in
Seger's backyard. In case you don't know, that
was a figure of speech. I think.
A 1977 issue
of Circus Magazine provided the teaser quote ("I
think it's a smash") at the top of this page. A
blurb at the back, titled "Seger Stars in
Six-Minute Concert," reported that Capitol was
distributing a six-minute Seger concert film "to
movie theaters across the country."
featured excerpts of Seger playing "Katmandu,"
"Travelin' Man" and "Beautiful Loser" from his
1976 concert in front of 70,000 fans at the
Pontiac Silverdome. "Although Seger knew the
concert was being recorded," the article says,
"he had no idea it was being filmed as well."
At the end of
the blurb, Seger talks about his then-upcoming
confident about the potential title song of the
LP, scheduled for release in March
[1977.] 'I wrote a song called 'Kuwait'
which I think is a smash. And I never write
smashes,' he raved, laughing."
Magazine, January 31, 1977.
The album was
actually released in May 1978 and was titled
Stranger in Town. Kuwait wasn't on it
Ears Two and I heard it in the Vault last year.
You can read about it here.
By the way,
isn't closed. There are three or four unreleased
tracks to go. Stay tuned.
ya do ya do ya wanna rock? Send
your fond dreams, lost hopes, bittersweet
regrets, half-remembered stories,
rejoinders, rebuttals, questions,
comments, corrections and contributions