Bob Seger on Climate Outrage, His Internet-Free Life and Hanging With Eminem
Right, but why not have your whole catalog on Spotify, or at least iTunes?
It’s an ongoing issue with my manager and Capitol Records. You have to talk to him about that. They agreed to something many years ago about new media and they don’t want to live up to it. The record business is 50 percent of what it was ten years ago, so they’re trying to cut costs. Until that’s resolved, we let very little out.
Does this stalemate frustrate you?
Yeah, it does. I wish people could get any song at any time.
Do you ever use Spotify yourself?
No, I don’t stream. I do a lot of listening to music though. I listen to satellite radio. I might listen to the bluegrass station on Sirius or the BB King blues channel. I also listen to local radio.
Do you ever go on Twitter or Facebook?
I don’t know. [Laughs] I just have no desire to be that public, I guess. It takes up too much time. I read a funny thing that said “We’re raising screen-agers now.” That’s because they’re always staring at their phones or their pads or whatever. I want to get a little more out of life than looking at a screen. Wait, I should say my office has a Facebook page for me, but I have no idea what’s on it. Occasionally, they’ll ask me a question and I’ll put my answer on it.
Do you use a smartphone?
Oh, yeah. I have an iPhone 5S. I use it for texting. I like my old Blackberry better because of the typing.
Do you ever use the Internet?
Not really. I don’t use the computer much at all, mostly just to write lyrics.
What about e-mail?
No. No spam for me! I’ve had enough commercials in my life.
I just try and write good songs. If people play them, that’s great.
The vast majority of your early albums have been out print for decades. When are you going to re-release them?
I’m going to eventually do a collection. I’ve been working on it for years. I’ve got so many albums, but I just keep waiting for the right time to release them. It’ll probably happen when the download issue gets settled.
When do you think that might happen?
Probably in the next few years.
I just looked up your 1971 album Brand New Morning on Amazon. The cheapest vinyl was $200.
Oh my! That’s probably just collectors.
Right, and it just shows how hard it is to be a hardcore fan of your work. You really gotta search for this stuff.
I’m sorry about all this. But, nevertheless, I’ve had the same manager for 49 years and he’s been right most of the time. And I hate to get into that area. He doesn’t mess with my music and I don’t mess with his area. That’s all I can say about that. [Kid] Rock followed my lead for many years. He didn’t download anything because he thought it would kill CD sales. Of course, we all hope people for the CD because that’s the highest quality.
You’re also the only artist I can think of never to release a DVD, documentary or even a box set.
I’m waiting for the right time. Once the issue is settled I can get everything out there.
How are you adjusting to your kids being out of the house?
They’re not quite out yet. They go to college near us. I’m happy as heck they’re still around because I adore them. I think my daughter is going to be the first to go. She’s 19 and wants to go to Nashville or New York next year for school. That’s going to kill me. She wants to be in music management. You know, I recently took her and her boyfriend to see Eminem and Rihanna. She got to meet a CAA agent there.
How did you enjoy the show?
It was sensational. Em is so good. The agent told us that Rihanna is even bigger than Beyoncé in Europe and Asia.
Do you know Eminem?
I’ve met him a few times. I really like him. He’s got a daughter and we talk about kids and stuff like that. I’ve used his studio and he’s always very gracious about that. He never stops working. He goes five days a week.
Do you mind that when many people think of you, their first image is Tom Cruise dancing around in his underwear to “Old Time Rock and Roll”?
No. It’s an iconic moment. I get a kick out of it. It’s been parodied by many people: Nicole Kidman, Ron Reagan Jr. . . .
When was the last time you watched Risky Business?
It’s been a while. I’m more into Liam Neeson. I never miss anything he does. I liked The Grey, which a lot of people hated. The director is from Detroit, and I was rooting for him.
Are you going to see Taken 3?
I have to see the second one first, but I will.
What’s your favorite TV show?
The Good Wife. I love the writing. I try to never miss it.
So many stars your age do whatever they can to look younger. Why do you think you avoided that mindset?
I messed with hair dye in the Nineties, and it felt so phony. You know that joke about Kenny Rogers? They had a look-alike contest and he came in third.
Are you gonna keep touring when you’re in your seventies?
I don’t know. I’d hate to be one of those people that does a farewell tour. The introvert inside me tells me, “Make the decision slowly.” I’ll know when it feels right to stop.