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Bobby Bare Jr is the Coolest Man Alive

Posted by November 13th, 2003 No Comments »

Bobby Bare Jr., Matt Ashworth's long lost (and significantly more talented) brother.Bobby Bare Jr.
w/ Mayor West, Adam Roach
Sunday November 16, 8:30 p.m.
Tractor Tavern, $10 21+
Preview and Interview by Matt Ashworth

Bobby Bare Jr. may be the coolest man alive.

He’s performed on Hee-Haw and was lucky enough to have author Shel Silverstein as a close friend of his father, Bobby Bare Sr. critique every song he wrote up through his second album. One of his band members used to be in Jesus Lizard. Oh, and by age five he’d won a Grammy for a duet with none other than Johnny…Fuckin’…Cash.

But while most child stars are relegated to a life of Hollywood Squares and deodorant spokesmanships, Bare has gracefully turned himself into one of the best gosh darn country rock performers in the world.


Bobby Bare Jr., Matt Ashworth's long lost (and significantly more talented) brother.Bobby Bare Jr.
w/ Mayor West, Adam Roach
Sunday November 16, 8:30 p.m.
Tractor Tavern, $10 21+
Preview and Interview by Matt Ashworth

Bobby Bare Jr. may be the coolest man alive.

He’s performed on Hee-Haw and was lucky enough to have author Shel Silverstein as a close friend of his father, Bobby Bare Sr. critique every song he wrote up through his second album. One of his band members used to be in Jesus Lizard. Oh, and by age five he’d won a Grammy for a duet with none other than Johnny…Fuckin’…Cash.

But while most child stars are relegated to a life of Hollywood Squares and deodorant spokesmanships, Bare has gracefully turned himself into one of the best gosh darn country rock performers in the world.

Last year, the singer/songwriter released one of 2002’s best albums, Young Criminals Starvation League, with a band that goes by the same name. His voice is unique; his songs are clever, timeless and at times downright brilliant.

To top it all off, he’s not only hip enough to include Black Francis alongside Townsend, Berry and Hendrix in his rock n’ roll call (on the phenomenal Dig Down) he covers the Smiths. Superbly.

Needless to say, we were thrilled when the fine folks at both Bloodshot Records and The Tractor Tavern gave us the opportunity to promote and present one of Bobby’s shows this weekend. In anticipation of this historic event, I chatted with Bobby to fill in the gaps from a phone conversation we had last fall; at the time I was too awestruck and dumbfounded to make any sense of it.

NadaMucho.com: I think it’s a requirement when interviewing anyone with the "Jr." tag on their name, so let’s just get this out of the way: Tell us about your dad.
Bobby Bare Jr.: Every boy looks up to their dad like a godlike figure, mine just happened to be up on stage. Most people my age and younger have no idea who he is. He’s sung on everything I’ve put out.

NM: How about Mrs. Bobby Bare?
BBJ: Mom is the best thing in family. She used to travel with Tex Ritter and has been on Lawrence Welk. She was backup singer for his road act.

NM: Our readers much enjoyed your Bumbershoot set. What can they expect from the show at the more intimate Tractor Tavern?
BBJ: More songs and volume. We stretch out a bit more when we headline.

NM: Despite residing thousands of miles away, you’ve made it up to Seattle several times since the last album. Do you have good reception here?
BBJ: We sell more CDs in Seattle than most cities ’cause of KEXP and the good people at The Tractor Tavern.

NM: You’ve recently released an EP, OK I’m Sorry. Tell us a little about that project and any plans for a new full-length.
BBJ: I already have four songs for the next album done with all the same players from the last Young Criminals record: Paul Burch, Tony Crow, Mark Nevers, Matt Swanson, and we added Doni our drummer and the Bare Jr. (Bobby’s previous band) dulcimer player Tracy Hackney. The EP was Bloodshot’s idea. I recorded one track for it, — my one political statement — "I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing. It’s the regular Young Criminals Starvation League studio band with Duane Dinison (Jesus Lizard, Tomahawk) on bass. I also wanna do a record for Sub Pop sometime.

NM: It would mean a lot to our readers if you could briefly immortalize your friend and idol Johnny Cash in light of his recent passing.
BBJ: When my sister died in 1976 Johnny and June came over and dressed my mom, took our trash out, and brought us food. They were good people, and without them it’s an entirely different world.

NM: Pardon me while I pick my jaw up off the floor. So you remember Johnny as an actual person, rather than just an icon?
BBJ: We used to go over to the Cash’s for Christmas. He’s one of the nicest people ever to live.

NM: Last time we spoke, you mentioned My Morning Jacket. What bands are currently getting airtime in your tour bus?
BBJ: I just did a "Five Favorites List." Here it is in no particular order.

NM: What’s on the horizon for Bobby Bare Jr.?
BBJ: I wanna live in NYC for awhile. I wanna live Austin for awhile. I wanna be affected by those cities and I have friends there. I guess I just wanna move for awhile.

NM: What else would you like Seattle music fans to know about?
BBJ: Did anyone notice that legendary punk rock guitarists Duane Denison was nice enough to fly to Seattle, WA to play Bumbershoot and the secret show at the Tractor Tavern the next day with us? Someone from Seattle emailed me and wanted to know who the old jazz guy was on guitar. If they only knew – he is really something. This time we’re bringing the original Bare Jr. guitarist Mike "Grimey" Grimes to play guitar.

Mayor West is a local alt-country band whose debut EP, Interstate Lullaby, is due out in December. Since they play just before Bobby 11/16 at The Tractor and are huge fans of his music, we let the boys ask him a couple questions too.

Mayor West: You reference Black Francis in the brilliant "Dig Down" (a band favorite). With rumors circulating of a Pixies reunion show, what are your thoughts? A good idea or bound to destroy the legend?
BBJ: I can’t wait. They hated each other so much the one time I saw them play that they did not even look at each other, nor did they even try to rock. So it can only get better.

MW: Speaking of rumors, we heard when you get signed to Bloodshot you’re automatically entered in a "Win a Dream Date with Neko Case" contest. Is that true?
BBJ: If she would only return my phone calls…We did some dream dates (gigs) with her at sold out shows in NYC and London. She was nice enough to let us do those acoustic opening dates earlier this year. Ashworth, circa 2001, unkowingly impersonates Bobby Bare Jr.


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