Bob Beland Interview by Christian Lamitschka for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show

Bob Beland Interview by Christian Lamitschka for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show

Lamitschka:
Music has many new fans throughout Europe who may be hearing about you
for the first time. How would you describe yourself and the music you
play to someone who has never seen or heard you?

Answer:
I am a self contained DIY recording artist who works in a myriad of
styles and genres – Rock , Pop, Country, Country Rock, Folk, Classical,
Progressive, Jazz, ect … whatever the song demands.

Lamitschka:  How was the last year for you? What were your highlights?

Answer:  Last
year 2018 was very good with the making of my latest record “Welcome”
that came out on the first of the year 2019. Aslo connecting and
co-writing the song, ‘The Bang Bang Theory” with Kevin Godley of
10cc/Godley & Creme fame for his forthcoming album, “Muscle Memory.”

Lamitschka:  What is your latest CD and how’s it doing?

Answer:”Welcome”
is getting wonderful responses so far. I have also released three
albums this year that I’ve never released before “Mar Vista” and ‘Mano
Sinistra” and the all instrumental classical project, “Forwards &
Backworks.”

Lamitschka:  How did you choose the title for the CD?  Is there a story behind the name?

Answer: The album title is a shortened version of the title of a song on the record called, “Welcome Me.”

Lamitschka:  Do you write the songs yourself? If not, how do you go about finding the songs for your CD?

Answer: I
have always been a stand alone songwriter since 1967. I have only
collaborated with three other artists in my career. Peter Curry from Los
Staightjackets for his surf band the Halibuts, The Legendary Fontenelle
DuClaw for his yet unreleased solo album, and now Kevin Godley from
10cc/Godley & Creme fame for his first solo album, “Muscle Memory”
due out soon this year.

Lamitschka:  Please tell us about the songs on your album (influences, etc).

Answer:  Oh wow where to begin? LOL! “Rocky
Up!” is a funky Jeff Beck like guitar instrumental. “Sha Na Na Na Boom
Boom Yeah!” is a bit like Todd Rundgren, “Basic French” could be in the
Ray Davies camp, “Riding A Wave” could be taken as a Cars song perhaps,
“Moby Dick” is a song about sexual predators like Harvey Weinstein, “The
Hurtin’ Kind” is in the Garage Rock early Pretenders vein, “What Money
Can’t Buy” is pretty self descriptive how money and power corrupts a la
Bob Dylan, “The Summer Sounds” is Brian Wilson without the Beach Boys
harmonies. It was inspired from listening to Margo Guyran’s singing on
her records. ( I wanted to get Margo, who wrote “Sunday Morning’ for
Spanky & Our Gang to sing it but it didn’t happen). “In A Peaceful
World” is an anti- gun song, “Welcome Me” is the title track that might
be viewed as being in the McCartney school of songwriting, “Poppies In A
Field” has a Jimmy Webb vibe to it, “After The Rainbow Ends” is a
political commentary on the state of things right now, betrayal from our
elected officials and the sycophants that follow them and the last “A
Traveler’s Guide” is a personal look at life in a Joni Mitchell musical
way.

 Lamitschka:  What is the difference between your last CD and your current one?

Answer:
the last one, which would be “Mano Sinistra” (Latin for “to be played
with the left hand”) is a more rock oriented album perhaps, not
exclusively but it does have more rock tracks on it. All of my albums
have the same design to them and that is to offer the listener a
collection of songs set a variety of styles and moods.

 

Lamitschka:  How much creative control do you have over your music?

Answer: Complete but I give my guest musicians plenty of room to express themselves each in their own unique way.

Lamitschka:  Who inspires you musically and how deep do your musical roots run?

Answer:
My roots run very deep. I learned a lot from being around my brother’s
musical community in the late 60’s, the Laurel Canyon crowd, mainly
Linda Ronstadt and Arlo Guthrie whom he was playing with at the time. I
really learned a lot about great songwriters through Linda and Arlo’s
records. Inspiration wise I would have to acknowledge my close friends
Jules Shear, Richard Stekol (Funky Kings, Honk) and Pal Shazar. Jimmy
Webb is way up there for me. Tom Verlaine. Lowell George. Robert Smith
of the Cure. There are so many more…

Lamitschka:  What do you think about today’s music scene versus its post and where do you see it going in the future?

Answer:
I don’t listen to a lot of current music except from people I already
know. I don’t hear a lot of great songwriting in todays music. I hear
more of an approximation of styles and sounds but not a lot of great
songwriting to go with it. I would love to see a revival of the craft of
songwriting come around again.

Lamitschka:  What do you think about today’s music industry?

Answer:
Coming from a long standing musician and a person who’s worked over 15
years in the wholesale distribution business I can say wholeheartedly
that it’s an absolute mess.

Lamitschka:  If you had the chance to change something about the music industry, what would it be?

Answer:
Bring back the record stores and physical product. They played an
important role in developing musical communities across the globe.
Meeting and talking with people in person is a great way to discover and
share music. It’s more personal.

Lamitschka:  Are you doing anything to take music beyond its current borders or are you happy where it is?

Answer:
Yes I look into other avenues and mediums to work with. I am currently
working with an ex Disney animator on a digital storyboard for a short
film based on an obscure Jimmy Webb song called, “Cottonwood Farm.” I
pride myself with thinking outside the box.

Lamitschka:  What was your big break that got you into the music business?

Answer:
Stephen Hague producing “Stealing Cars” and Randy Pitch at MCA
Publishing who took it there and got me signed in 1980. Also Freddy
Snakeskin at KROQ FM for originally playing ‘Stealing Cars”and
continuing to do so even now at KROQ HD2 on the world wide web.

Lamitschka:  What inspired you to become an artist?

Answer:
TOP 40 radio in the 60’s. British Invasion and American rock music at
the time like the Byrds, Buffalo Sprinfield, Love, the Lovin’ Spoonful,
the Bobby Fuller Four, the Kinks, ect…

Lamitschka:  What inspired you to become a songwriter?

Answer:
the songwriting of Bob Dylan, the Beatles, Joni Mitchell, Laura Nyro,
Todd Rundgren, Ray Davies and Crosby Stills Nash and Young.

Lamitschka:  What’s unique about you that will differentiate you from other artists?

Answer:
I am a left handed upside down guitarist meaning that I use a standard
right handed guitar left handed without changing or reversing the
strings. I just ‘flip’ it over.

Lamitschka:  What moments in your career stand out in your memory as highlights and achievements which you are proud of?

Answer:
Following my own career path and not anyone else’s. Having Jules Shear
sing some of my songs is way up there, hearing “Stealing Cars” for the
first time on the radio in 1980. That was a real “Rock Dreams” moment
and last but not least being picked from obscurity by Kevin Godley to
co-write with him for his solo album. I have to thank my PR person
William James @ Glass Onyon PR in North Carolina for that opportunity as
he represents both Kevin and myself and suggested that I submit some
music to Kevin fro his project.

Lamitschka:  When you get time off, how do you like to relax?

Answer:
with my family. I have two girls in their early twenties now and they
are the my heart’s delight. The youngest one is in London right now on
vacation.

Lamitschka:  Is there anything in your life that you would change if you could?

Answer:
Hatred and intolerance to one another. I would love to help change
that. Lennon was right back then and he’s still right today. It’s not
about money or fame and fortune. Love is all you need.

Lamitschka:  What has been the biggest disappointment in your life?

Answer: The world turning to Fascism once again.

Lamitschka:
Many music fans today get their information about artists online. Do
you have your own website and what will fans find there?

Answer: You can find me at SoundCloud or Facebook.

Lamitschka:  What’s your favorite song that you wish you could have recorded?

Answer:
An impossible question to answer correctly. Maybe “Steal Away” a great
song by Michael Smith from an album he did with his partner Barbara
Barrow on their first album, ‘Mickey And Babs Get Hot.”  You might know
Michael as the writer of the classic folk song “The Dutchman.” He’s
great! I would also include “Back On The Street Again” by my good friend
Steve Gillette. He also wrote “Darcy Farrow” recorded by many most
notably John Denver. I played guitar for Steve for a while. He’s a the
consummate troubadour singer/songwriter as is Michael Smith.

Lamitschka:  Fans are always hungry for good road stories. Do you have one you can share with us (come on don’t be shy)?

Answer:
I went to go see my brother perform with Rick Nelson in Sacramento, Ca
way back in the late 60’s. I walked up to the trailer where I thought my
brother was and much to my surprise Rick opens the door! “Hi you must
be John’s brother! Come on in. He’s not here right now. Can I make you
some lunch?” What?  Rick Nelson, a guy me and my brother watched on TV,
wants to make me lunch? HELL YEAH! So Rick made me a ham and cheese
sandwich (what a chef! LOL!) and sat down and talked with me for about a
half an hour before Jack showed back up. That was quite a rock dreams
moment. Knowing Linda Ronstadt early on was a big thrill as well looking
back. She was always such a sweet person to me. Always happy and
giggling she had a great sense of humor as all of them did.

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