Bob Schneider’s latest album, I’m Good Now, was supposed to be released last year, while he was still with Universal. But mega-label mathematicians decided projected sales of 250,000 units wasn’t enough. Schneider’s not unhappy about the breakup, though. He enjoyed having full control over the disc, released in April on his own Shockorama label.
With a career that’s included fronting bands The Scabs, The Ugly Americans, Joe Rockhead and Lonelyland, Schneider has written hundreds of songs. He recorded 23 for Good, and eventually narrowed it down to 17. Universal overseers said this was too many.
“I was like, ‘No, they have to all be on there,’” he says.
But great writers are notorious for having a hard time editing their own work. So it’s understandable why Schneider had trouble, his tunes containing such quirky-yet-memorable lines as, “I can almost forget how the bees sing her name”
and “Made me a beverage, thought I had it made / turns out it was a glass of see ya laterade.”
Without the pressures of the corporate-music world, he and co-producer/Lonelyland guitarist Bill Harvey spent another six months contemplating the situation. Eventually they realized that size does matter. In this case, less was more.
The album now has 13 tightly paced songs that display Schneider’s rockin’, punky, funky and slightly reggae-ish sides; a couple of these cuts wouldn’t be out of place on a G. Love or Jack Johnson album. He’s also included a sweet ballad with strings called “Love is Everywhere,” that’s inexplicably hidden and completely unexpected. It’s a charming finish that proves what fans say about Schneider: the only certainty about his music is that he will travel wherever he wants to with it.
The prolific songwriter just finished another record with famed producer and fellow Austin-ite Gurf Morlix, that he expects to release this fall.
“You always learn something every time you work with somebody,” Schneider says. “And the big thing that I learned from him is, you never need to make a record that’s more than about 35 or 40 minutes, which is about 12 songs. Anything more than that, people are just going to get tired of. And you wanna satisfy people, but you don’t wanna overdo it.”