SALT LAKE CITY — Bob Schneider is one of the most prolific songwriters of his generation.
Yet, outside of his hometown of Austin, he isn’t as widely known as other musicians that come from Texas, which doesn’t seem right when one considers Schneider has won 54 Austin Music Awards — more than any other person — during his 25-plus-year career, including Musician of the Year on multiple occasions.
On Friday, July 19, Schneider returns to the State Room, where he played a sold-out show during his last visit to Salt Lake City in October 2017.
The busy Schneider prefers doing interviews nowadays via email due to time constraints, which is what he did recently with the Deseret News.
"Blood and Bones," released in 2018, is Schneider’s latest, an album highly influenced by his second marriage and birth of his daughter.
“Everything that affects how I feel is going to have an influence on what I write about. I’ve noticed over the years, that even though the characters and events that take place in the songs I write are mostly fictitious, the feelings that are conveyed are very autobiographical, probably more so than if I just journaled what was going on in my real life in my songwriting (which I usually find to be very boring). So having a daughter, of course, has brought up feelings that I couldn't even fathom before she was born.
“I do think the perspective of the romantic songs has changed,” the 53-year-old Schneider continued. “Falling in love used to be something that was going to change my life or save me, and now it's more about giving than getting something from it.”
Many of the songs on "Blood and Bones" deal with relationships, aging and mortality. The haunting “Lake Michigan” finds the subject in the song seemingly contemplating suicide.
“I feel like this is the happiest I've been in my life. I’m so grateful for my family, friends and career and feel pretty good about how I show up in the world. Having said that, I probably get more depressed than I ever have, or maybe I’m more in touch with how depressed I’m feeling," Schneider said. "It doesn't last long, but during those times I often think about suicide. But it's more of a mental exercise than it is an actual thing I plan on doing. It’s sort of a way of dealing with how I’m feeling. It's weird, because I don't really think of Lake Michigan as a hopeless sort of song. I think of it more of as a light at the end of the tunnel sort of song. However you want to approach it, the narrator of the song doesn't actually do what they're saying, they're just talking about doing it.”
"Blood and Bones" is Schneider’s seventh full-length solo record. But fans know he’s creating music and releasing songs — either as online singles or performing new songs in concert — all the time.
“I write at least one song a week and have been for 20 years. I used to write songs every day or two, but once I started having kids, I didn't have that kind of available time,” he said.
But in terms of simply creating something, whether it is music, poetry or visual art, “I like making things everyday,” he said.
“Something about taking advantage of the time you have, waking up in the morning and when you go to bed you have something to show for the time you were given that day is very rewarding and helps fend off the blues,” he said. “If it's time to write a song or a poem, I just sit down and write something. There's always something there to write about. You just have to trust the process and know that something's going to come to you. Sometimes what you end up with is remarkable and exciting and sometimes, it's just OK. Either way, you're always going to end up with something.”
Those familiar with Schneider also know that he makes a lot of pop cultural references in many of his songs, from Han Solo, to Captain Kirk, to Wizard of Oz references, and especially Marvel and DC superheroes.
“I love movies and I read comics a lot as a kid. It all goes in the hopper and is fodder for songwriting. I like using characters that people have some kind of history with. If I just say Steve, I don't know what that's going to mean to someone. But if I use Thor for example, I know all the imagery and stories that I carry around about the guy and know that most of my listeners are going to also have a lot of that same stuff that they're going to bring to the table when they hear that name mentioned in the song. It's a wonderful way to bring a lot of ingredients, often very personal stuff to a song for the listener without having to do a lot of the heavy moving yourself,” he said.
In late October, Schneider will be part of the Kiss Kruise, as in Gene Simmons et al. On paper, it seems like quite the diverse musical pairing. But Schneider said it's not as crazy as some might think.
“I know there are at least two people whose favorite artists are Kiss and Bob Schneider, because I talked to them at a show recently," he said. "I don't think there's that much difference to what I do and what Kiss does in terms of songwriting. They like to come up with strong hooks that are easy to sing and connect with people. They don't overcomplicate their songwriting and they like to entertain their audience by pretending to be these over-the-top characters, and I do a lot of those same things. I get to add some subtlety to the mix with some of my quieter material, but then they get to blow the audience away with pyrotechnics and makeup and costumes. It's pretty much a draw, I’d say. (smiley face emoticon).”
If you go …
What: Bob Schneider
When: Friday, July 19, doors at 8 p.m., show at 9 p.m.
Where: The State Room, 638 State Street
How much: $27