"Rock and roll never forgets" is one of the lines from a 1977 hit song sung by rock icon Bob Seger. His fans have never forgotten. Seger is touring for the first time in over a decade promoting his newest album, Face The Promise. The singer sat down recently with VOA's Larry London to discuss the new album and current tour.
It has been 11 years since Bob Seger left his family and his home in suburban Detroit for the roar of a sold out arena.
"The kids on the last tour were one and 3.5," said Bob Seger. "I had kids really late in life, at age 47, and I just wanted to watch them grow up. It was as simple as that. I'd been doing it [music] for 31 years straight, and maybe I needed a break. I don't know, but really it was more that than anything else. I went into the [Rock and Roll] Hall of Fame about three or four years ago. They [his family] came to the show, and said, 'Dad, you can do a full-on tour!' So that's when I started getting real serious about finishing the album [and] here we are."
Although he is successful at songwriting, Seger does not understand how he does it.
"The first 12 years of my career, we basically were a road band. I didn't have much time to really write music," he said. "The beauty now is that I have a lot of time to write. And I find that that's really my favorite thing to do."
It's very mysterious writing songs. You never know where the influence comes from. You're just kind of a conduit to whatever's out there.
Seger talks about one of his musical influences, one he paid homage to in the lyrics to his hit song, Night Moves.
"I was a big Phil Spector fan when I was in high school. I was a junior in high school in 1962, so it was Be My Baby by The Ronettes," he said. "All those Spector things [songs] with the big drums and the big productions. I love the way Ronnie [Ronettes' lead singer Ronnie Spector] sang too."
Seger recently released his first recording of original songs in 10 years, titled Face The Promise, an album inspired by his children.
"The whole album is really about the future and their future [his children]," said Bob Seger. "And when you become a parent, as you know, you start thinking about their future and it becomes more important."
The new single is Wait For Me.
"In the case of Wait for Me, originally my thought was 'give your children enough space and wait for them to try things and be patient,'" he said. "Let them make their mistakes'."
The inspiration for the title cut to Seger's new recording was an album by one of his favorite songwriters. The title came to mean even more after raising a family.
"I saw an album in a Nashville record store years ago by Leonard Cohen, who is one of my favorite songwriters. It was called The Future," said Bob Seger. " I just thought to myself, 'What a great album title!' Then later, I had my kids, and suddenly I was writing this riff [repeated chord progression]. It ended up being the song Face The Promise. It started out with just a riff. I was trying to figure out where that came from and I think that's where it came from. I've always been a huge Leonard Cohen fan, and I thought the title was so big, 'face the promise to the promised land', and I could write about things that were present and in the future."
The future is now for Bob Seger. He plans to take the middle of 2007 off and do some sailing, but leaves open the possibility of more tour dates later in the year.
"Right now I'm having a lot of fun touring. I hadn't toured in so long, and I didn't think I missed it. But boy, I did!"