(sound of pool balls clacking against each other in the background)

Marc: Now, nine o’clock in the morning, there I am in a German hotel/country club and ready to meet Bobby Bandiera, one of the finest guitarists to come out of New Jersey… and what do I find? He’s already up, he’s had breakfast and he’s playing pool… now THAT’S rock and roll! He’s just finished a massive world tour playing with Bon Jovi and now he’s back on the road with Southside Johnny and the Asbury JUKES… so how does he get his head around these crazy changes of life style…

Bobby: At the beginning of the day it’s what I do… in the middle of the day it’s what I do and at the end of the day it’s what I do… whether it’s on stage in front of 20,000 or 70,000 people with Bon Jovi, or small clubs that I do with Southside, or on my own… I bumped into Dave Edmunds while I was in London and there’s a possibility that I may come over and do a month this coming year with him… so we’ll see how that goes… but it’s just a great thing to be working and making a living at playing music, as I’ve always done, and hopefully it’ll go for the next fifteen years or so or, whatever I have left in life…

Marc: A lot more than that one hopes…

Bobby: Hopefully more than fifteen, but I’ll take fifteen…

Marc: OK… so he’s playing with Bon Jovi one day… he’s playing with Southside Johnny the next… but does he feel more involved in the more intimate surroundings of the Southside tour…

Bobby: Definitely… it’s more intimate in a small room like that… it’s… I think it’s a little bit more fun in that you have a closer connection, you know… because you are closer… but it doesn’t mean on a big stage that you can’t rev it up and get that same communication goin’ in front of 20,000 or 70,000 people… I haven’t been on my own in a situation like that to know what it feels like to command it but being on the stage with Bon Jovi… I mean if you’re on stage and you’re performing, you’re pretty much part of commanding… the crowd’s response you know… all that has to do with it… but watching him is great… watching anybody do that on stage is a great thing knowing that they can get 70,000 people in their back pocket… but to answer your question ultimately, it is more fun and more intimate to play in a smaller place.

Marc: Tell me a bit about this New Jersey collective… you pop out and go and do a tour with Bon Jovi… Ed Manion’s out there playing with Bruce right now… and then you come back together… it’s sort of like you’re just a big gang of friends…

Bobby: Yeah, it’s like a family… a family reunion… you haven’t seen them for a while… you go out with Jon Bon Jovi’s thing and it’s guys you haven’t seen for a while and it’s like “How’s the kids?” and bla-bla-bla… this is great playing again, it’s fun playing again, it feels good playing again… I come home, do my local thing with one or two other people that I don’t get to see while I’m out here doing this… Bruce does a handful of Christmas shows or a party during the year for this or that…

Marc: So it’s like a networking thing… big time…

Bobby: All part of being smart, yeah…

(Only In A Dream)

Marc: That’s Only In A Dream from Bobby Bandiera’s first solo album that came out in 1993 just called, Bandiera. So getting back to the man… this diversity thing, playing with all sorts of different people, doing all sorts of different styles… does that keep you fresh and on your toes?

Bobby: There’s a lot to be said for that, right? I mean you’re expecting a little bit of a different twist in each situation but ultimately you’re asked to play in those situations because of what you do… what you bring… yeah there might be a little twist that you have to play a mandolin or a 12-string or acoustic guitar more than you’d play electric in some situations… it all goes into the pot and it comes out playing and doing what you like to do and feeling that you’re doin’ alright because you’re working…

Marc: That really leads me into your own solo work and the diversity you’ve shown in that… you really do seem to spread it around a bit…?

Bobby: Well yeah… if there’s been one thing that I’ve been pretty much warned over the years it’s when you make a record – why don’t you set more of a direction as far as a style or the style you want to be perceived as – and my attitude is, I want to be perceived as playing every style I’m good at doing and have fun at doing… I don’t have to make a record that goes a little bit of the way like country song, a pop song or a 3-piece power-pop thing… if I’m writing, and I happen to like a handful of songs that go this way or that way, and I wind up using one or two of them and make the album more fun to listen to instead of just in one direction… although record companies want to see one direction… although I don’t know if they do that so much any more… it’s just so different to the way records get perceived and made these days than it was 25 years ago or 20 years ago…

Marc: So for you to make another solo record, and indeed I hope you do, and it’s not too long…

Bobby: I’ll be working on a record within the next three months… another record for myself…

Marc: Excellent! A collaboration?

Bobby: Yeah… there’ll probably be some… probably be some… I hope to come over to Europe in 2007… here and there so if you’re out there, pay attention and come and see me!

(Change, Change, Change)

Marc: Another track off the first solo album from 1993 just called Bandiera, Change, Change, Change. I noticed at the gig the previous night that he was giving the old Telecaster a rest and playing something new and sparkly… I wondered if this was a local purchase?

Bobby: Let me see… a couple of months back, you know, you’ve got nothing to do some days that you have off… you wander into the music stores… and a guitar that I bought about six or seven years ago when I was here, a Duesenberg – and they have a new body style, they made a new style… and I happened to see it in the store and I was like… this is good… this is good, let me see if I can contact them so I don’t have to spend $2000 buying it in a store… and if they like the idea that I’ll be playing it and showing off their goods for them, out in front of an audience on tour, maybe we could work a deal… and they said “Yeah, yeah… sure we can work a deal.” So I got a great deal on this guitar and I like to stick to my end of the bargain… I told them it doesn’t have to be for free, but I said if it’s a good deal I promise you when we’re touring I’ll bring the guitar so it’s a visible thing for people to see… but it’s great, it’s great… and you know Fender is a great company… and now this company’s doin’ it… it’s just one of these things that go along with one of the perks of being a musician that’s working…

Marc: It’s a great guitar… it looks a bit like a 50’s Chevvy or something on stage…

Bobby: Yeah, it’s got that retro 60’s/50’s/60’s look to it and it’s cool and it sounds great too.

Marc: Yeah well you played it virtually all night so it can’t be a bad guitar…

Bobby: Duesenberg “Double Cat” that’s what it’s called.

(I’ll Never Find Another You)

Marc: A really great version of the old Springfields’ classic, Another You, and you can find it on Bobby’s most recent solo album, Is My Father There? – it came out in 2004. So, solo work… projects on the books… touring with the JUKES as we speak… but what about Bon Jovi… is that it for now with those guys?

Bobby: Well… I don’t know… don’t know… there could be some more… I’m not sure if it’s going to be this year or 2007 but if it is… if he gets another record done… I hope I play on it first of all, and if I don’t that’s OK too… but I’ll be working on my own record… I’ll be working whatever John’s got… like I said Dave Edmunds asked me to come over and play a little bit, I think the month of April so we’ll see if that comes to light… but if it doesn’t, whatever comes up on the table in the next year that’s going to keep me working through the year, I’ll be there.

Marc: Dave Edmunds… I’ve read that you’ve been admiring his stuff for years and years… right back to before Rockpile, even before Love Sculpture…

Bobby: Yeah right… you know… he was great to play with… I played with him for a couple of years and it’s just a balls-to-the-wall guitar rock’n’roll band…

Marc: Well, we’re going to catch up with you next year, either with that or with your own band which would be great to see you out with your own band…

Bobby: I’m really excited about getting another record done and coming to Europe to tour a little bit behind it and do anything I’m going to do in the States with it as well but I really look forward to trying to push myself more in this coming year 2007… not that I won’t accept a tour with this guy or that guy, but I really want to try and make it stick this year as far as “Bobby Bandiera” is concerned.

(Phoebe Snow – Every Night dedicated to Bobby Bandiera)

Share this: