Dale Y the Green Guy
Bob Lind is an American folk music singer-songwriter, who helped define the 1960s folk rock movement in America and England. Lind is best known for his transatlantic chart hit single, “Elusive Butterfly”, which reached number 5 on both the US and UK charts in 1966, but continues to write, record and perform throughout America and Europe.
More than 200 artists – including Cher, Glen Campbell, Aretha Franklin, Dolly Parton, Eric Clapton, Nancy Sinatra, The Four Tops, Richie Havens, Hoyt Axton, The Kingston Trio, Johnny Mathis, and Petula Clark – have recorded songs written by Lind. His latest album, Finding You Again is a triumph of his spirit and tunefulness, and it can be found on Amazon, or anywhere albums, CD’s or MP3’s are available.
I had a chance to speak with Bob one morning recently, and this is Part 2 of our conversation.
Is it easier to write now that you are more mature, perhaps looking back with more introspection, or was it easier to write back in the day when you may have just been pounding out songs on a regular basis?
Well, that’s a really good question. I don’t know if the word easier facts into it. I don’t trust easy writing, whether it’s plays, novels, songs, whatever media it is. Now, not that I won’t get inspirational, and something may move through me and catches in my heart. When that happens, and I start to feel something in my chest, I’m pretty sure I am onto a good line. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy writing.
Does it take you more time to write a song now?
I do take more time with writing my songs now, but I don’t over intellectualize them and sometimes a song, for me, will change over the years. I’ll hear a line and recognize it as a phony line. I didn’t mean for it to be phony but…well, here, I’ll give you an example.
There’s a song I do called , “Spilling Over.” This song was on my “Since There Were Circles,” album that came out way back when. In it, there is a line that goes, “She’ll be on your mind, long after you’ve cast her out.” Now, I sang that song for 10 or 15 years before I realized that it was a stilted line. That sounds like the villain evicting the widow and her kids into a snowstorm. But ‘cast her out’ sort of rolls off and fits, and I sang it that way for years. Then one day I realized that the more prosaic ‘let her go’ is a better line. So now I sing, “She’ll be on your mind long after you’ve let her go.” It doesn’t call attention to itself, it conveys the same emotion, and it’s easier to swallow.
Yes, when you think about that, you are right!
So, I take more time to write because I don’t consider myself finished with them like I used to. I learned to write songs, in my 20’s, on amphetamines and coffee. I lived music, that’s all I did. I would write 6 or 7 songs a day. I would start out in the kitchen, pop an upper and drink some coffee with a couple of notebooks in front of me on the kitchen table. By, like, 5 or 6 o:clock, the papers, the notebooks would be full of lyrics that I had written just that day.
Now, the songs were shit, most of those songs were awful, but I didn’t know they were awful. You can’t really know how awful you are, that’s the deal here, that’s the rule. As an artist, as a singer, you have to think you’re great, and I lived under that illusion back then. But that thought process keeps you going, it keeps you writing. And of all the songs I wrote doing that, only a very few, like “Elusive Butterfly,” “Roads of Anger,” “It Wasn’t Just the Morning,” were any good. Although most of those songs I wrote that way were awful, once in a while a good song would come out.
So what did you get out of that if the songs were all lousy?
Persistence. Persistence is more important than talent, it’s more important than genius, it’s more important than just about anything. Why? Because if you persist and you keep doing the thing you were meant to do, you have to improve. Which comes back to your original question of whether it is easier to write songs now. When I’m finished, I give it some time. I don’t just jump in to make the demo now. I lay it down for a couple of weeks, or a month or so. I recognize that the songs really aren’t finished now, they can change, and I’ll change them if that’s what they need and make them better. And that’s being persistent too.
Well, the new album, “Finding You Again” is proof that what you are doing still works.
Thank you, Man, I am happy with that. I do think it is a good album, as modest as that sounds. Certainly part of it is the songs, but part of it is the working and recording talents of Jamie Hoover, of the Spongetones, who put up with my insanity, my raging and over-tight defensiveness of the songs. But he got to the heart of the songs, he was right there, he improved it and it’s because of him that the album is so good.
Do you foresee any style change in your music for the future?
I’m starting to get a little jazzier, and that may come out in future albums, but honestly, I don’t look ahead that far. What happens, happens, I’m happy doing what I am doing right now, but you never know what the future might bring.
So ends Part 2 of my interview with Bob Lind. Make sure to check out the links provided, you can both watch a little bit of his performance, and once delighted, click on the link provided that takes you to his album.
Finding You Again – Bob Lind
Bob Lind – From the Road
For any questions or comments, you can reach me at DaleYtheGreenGuy@imoveilive.com