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Bob Schneider was born in Ypsilanti, Michigan, and raised in Munich, Germany. Not that it should matter, since Bob will never ask where you were born and doesn't care. He only wants you to dig his music and rock your ass off at his shows. And the odds are very much in his favor that you will do both.
Left-handed as a child, Bob was quickly reformed by the enlightened nuns at the Catholic school he attended in Munich, and with his right hand he has gone on to pen several hundred songs (his first was called "Pussy Fever") and to create stunning artworks laden with tortured imagery of phalluses and feces. So the nuns spent their time well.
Performing since he was a tot, generally for the amusement of his parents and their friends, Bob gained his first real professional experience while backing his musician father on drums at numerous moonlighting gigs throughout Germany. Thus a lifelong career was born, with Bob eventually stepping into his fathers frontman shoes. His first performance as a lead singer, using the questionable handle of Bobby Blues and the Basstones, occurred at the University of Maryland at Munich, after which Bob knew that he wanted to leave talent shows behind. A gifted visual artist, he moved to El Paso, Texas, to study art at UTEP and soon discovered a second thing he wanted to leave universities behind.
And so, Bob moved to Austin to pursue the dream. There were the obligatory clockwatching stints and time spent on friends couches in the beginning, but soon he had put together his first band the Spanks which led to other bands most notably Brainiac and later the successful funk-rock group Joe Rockhead, which put out three independent albums from 1991 to 1993 and played to packed houses every week. With Joe Rockhead, Bob established his reputation as a frenetic and engaging lead singer, performing with a wild abandon, aggression and lack of pretension on stage, which he will be the first to admit is pretty much the opposite of his offstage self.
After Joe Rockhead disbanded, Bob devoted his immensely diverse songwriting talents and trademark stage presence to the Ugly Americans, a freeform soul-rock group that eventually signed with Capricorn Records in 1995. Always in need of at least one side project as an outlet for his hyperactive creative energies, he formed the raunchy party band The Scabs in 1996, the live performances of which became infamously popular and spawned four albums between 1998 and 2001.
In 1998, Bob ventured into more introspective singer-songwriter territory with his solo outfit, Lonelyland, which led to a deal with Universal in 2001. The self-titled Lonelyland album became the biggest-selling record of all time at Austins landmark Waterloo Records, toppling the corporate-machine likes of Britney Spears and N'Sync. The Universal re-release of the same album sold an impressive 80,000 copies without any advertising and scant radio play.
These days, the Bob Schneider Group, as he and his band are now called, plays weekly shows in Austin and tours extensively, with the demand for new music lighting a fire under Bob's already prolific songwriting ass. People expect to see a straight-up rock god when they go to rock shows, and Bob delivers. Unlike many performers, who tend to hit only one personality note (sneering bravura or despondent soulfulness), Bob manages to embody and simultaneously lampoon every single persona you can think of within a two-hour show. When it comes to musical styles and genres, he is a daredevil of versatility, able to go from twangy country crooner to spit-screaming punk, from Latin salsa king to mellow reggae mon, from funk soul brother to white-boy trash rapper, all with perfect fluidity and commanding virtuosity.
In addition to his chameleonic tendencies, Bob has the ability to persuade audiences to enjoy a kind of music that they may have detested previously (such as bluegrass, perhaps, or polka). He routinely sells people on his lyrics, too, which often contain language and/or subject matter offensive to the average Dick or Jane. But it's safe to say that offending the average Dick or Jane is not something Schneider is worried about. In fact, it's probably a goal. He enjoys pushing the limits his own, but also yours and there is no boundary, whether of musical sensibility or social morality, that he will not dare to cross with at least one toe and a wicked grin.
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