My former boss at the Riverfront Times, Tom Finkel, is the world's biggest Bob Schneider fan. He's such a fan that he sent me a missive earlier today imploring all of Seattle to go see the versatile, R-rated troubadour at the Tractor this Saturday night. Here's the hand Finkel's dealin':
You've got to be careful around me. I'm like that guy back in '78 who was "obsessed" with the Grateful Dead, kept insisting they were the Best Band Ever, that a live show would change your life, man. Only it's 2007, and the Dead are dead, and I'm telling you that whatever you do with the rest of your life, go see Bob Schneider at the Tractor Tavern.
I thought I'd pick one song that you could click on and listen to that'd convince you to risk the cover. So I'm digging through my CDs of Bob's live shows, wondering which single song will do the trick. (He does about 200 live shows a year and records every one; you can pick up a freshly burned disc on the spot after the show.) The trouble is, Schneider's ever-growing repertoire whipsaws all over the map, from confessional ballads to party anthems to pearly pop tunes that stick in your head to straight funk to metallic gut-blasts to raunch that has you covering the ears of your unborn child. (If I were to draw a comparison, the restless brilliance of Lowell George comes to mind.) Schneider refuses to be pinned down.
Of course, that sort of behavior, especially when coupled with a prolific output, is anathema to the music industry. Which is what drives guys like me to write screeds like this.
So here's a song. It's called "Sugar King," and though it has not yet appeared on an album, it's a staple of Bob's live act.
This particular version is from a show earlier this year in St. Louis. Listen. Then pony up to see Bob Saturday night (November 10).
Oh, and if you buy the live disc after the show, consider burning me a copy. In return for changing your life, man. -- Tom Finkel