Like there was any proof needed that Bob Schneider has been a hallmark of the Austin, TX music scene?

Schneider recently won his 54th and 55th Austin Music Awards. Austin gets and appreciates Schneider. The rest of the world needs to wake up and follow Austin’s lead (probably in more ways than one).

Schneider will bring the full band to Club Cafe on July 25.

Schneider has a prolific career with around 20 albums under his belt. He has been ahead of the curve recording his show and providing high-quality bootlegs to fans for years, he broke his last album “King Kong” down into three parts and released it as EPs and as a whole LP once the last EP was released and now he has started the Bob Schneider Song Club. Through Patreon, Schneider is releasing songs from his vault and new songs for a tiered subscription fee which will support the recording of his next album.


The Swerve Magazine recently interviewed Schneider on a wide range of topics from Bukowski to “King Kong” to being a dad.

The Swerve Magazine: You had a chapbook of poetry published last year by Awst Press. What led to this being the right time and the right place to publish your first chapbook of poetry? How long have you been working on those 15 selected poems? Did those 15 have to be whittled down from a larger collection you have?

Bob Schneider: I’ve written poetry most of my adult life. I started in earnest in my twenties and wrote quite a bit for ten years, and then stopped completely when I turned 30 and just focused on writing songs. Then about ten years ago, I started making myself write poetry again and have written a poem a week (at least) since then, so I've got quite a few written at this point. It's something I really enjoy doing and also, something that I feel pretty confident about doing well.


I thought it might be neat to be the poet laureate at some point later in my life and so I figured I needed to start getting published to do that and began submitting poems to some publishers, but I've discovered that if you are outside of the academic community, it's really tough to get published. I think it's one of the reasons poetry for the most part that you see in publications (with a few exceptions) is so bad. Of course, maybe I'm not as good as I think I am as well. That could very well be true.

SM: I read that Bukowski inspired you to get into poetry, what do you think it is about the enduring legacy of Bukowski that drew you in?

BS: Well, Bukowski is one of the very best poets. He's so good, and he makes it seem so easy as well. He's similar to Bob Dylan, in a way, because when you listen to a Bob Dylan song, you think, “Oh, I could write this. Just throw some random imagery together over a blues song, and you're good to go.” The problem that you have doing that is YOU'RE NOT BOB DYLAN. What makes those songs so great, is Bob Dylan is writing them, and he's a very interesting person with a uniquely interesting view of the world, and so is Bukowski. He's just writing down his thoughts, but the way he looks at the world is uniquely his view and not anyone else's. It's so clean and honest. It's hard to do that, and he's really funny, which helps.

SM: In the writing process, for you, what is the difference for lyrics for a song and verses for a poem? Can one be the other and vice versa? Can a poem be a song or a song a poem?

BS: It’s rare that lyrics work as poems and vice versa. You have to provide all the information in the writing of a poem, but with a song, you have melody, arrangement, instrumentation and also the actual performance of the song. You can get away with so much when you write a song. You can have some pretty lame lyrics, and the song can still be really catchy and fun to listen to. I'd say if you looked at the lyrics of a song you were unfamiliar with on the page, it wouldn't do much for you.


Here's how I would compare the two. It's like actors who want to make music and musicians who want to act. It's rare that either work out well. There's more of a chance for a musician to be a good actor (Dolly Parton, Cher, Mark Wahlberg, for example), but there's almost no chance that an actor is going to be able to write a good song (basically insert any actor that's ever played a musician in a movie and thinks they can do it in real life). There's only one exception I can think of, but I won't name them, so that if any actor reads this, they can think they're the one exception.

SM: Poet, songwriter, singer, musician, artist. You are all of the above. Is there one creative outlet that is more rewarding for you? Is there an outlet that is more difficult than the other and why is that?

BS: They are all equally easy. It's easy to write songs, poems and make art and sing. Ask any small child to draw a picture, and they do it without hesitation. They don't worry about how it looks or whether anyone else will like it. Ask them to sing or dance, and they'll do it without inhibition. It's only later on in life that we are introduced to “the critical voice.” Once that is established, it becomes almost impossible to create anything at all, unless the creative voice is louder and stronger than that voice.


That's really the only thing that stops anyone from doing anything at all in the world. As for the rewards of making art, in whatever form it comes in, the reward is the making of it. It's nice if it's good I guess, but once it's done, I don't spend any time with it after that. I'm looking forward to the next thing to make.

SM: You released "King Kong" in three parts in 2015. Do you foresee releasing future albums that way? Is it the new way to release material as it keeps artists in the listeners' ears more than a normal record cycle would?

BS: I don't know. It is hard to get people to listen to 12 songs. Even the artists that I love, I don't recall listening to their entire album in one sitting. I'm always doing stuff, so taking the time to listen to a whole 45-minute piece of music just doesn't happen very often for me, unless I'm making art and the music is on in the background.


I do like the idea of putting out albums and 12 songs seems like a good number, because it's what I grew up with, and part of me doesn't want to let that go, and I'm not the only person my age who grew up with music that way, so the answer is, I really don't know how I'll put music out going forward. The world keeps changing and the way people spend their time keeps changing, so we'll have to wait and see.

SM: You released "I Will Find You No Matter What: The Songs of Luc and Bob Schneider" last year, recorded with your son for Amazon's Music Original series. Can you talk about how the project came together? What were the more rewarding experiences of working with your son? Do you think he will follow you into music? And is that a career you would encourage for him knowing what you know about the music industry?

BS: I recorded the songs on that album with my son over the course of about five years, as something we would do for fun sometimes when we were hanging out. I had no intention of putting them out; it was more of a creative exercise for both of us. Then Amazon approached me about doing something with their music streaming service and they asked me if I had maybe some children's music or something like that, that maybe I wasn't going to put out as an album and I told them about the songs I'd made with Luc and they liked the idea of putting it out. It was really cool putting it all together and then even cooler when the guys at WEFAIL made the long form video of all the songs for Amazon Prime Video.


As for whether he'll make music or not, I guess we'll see. Right now, he's focused on sports, but he does see me doing it for a living, so I know that he thinks of it as an option in case he ever decides to go in that direction. I'll support him no matter what he ends up doing though.