10 (+1) questions answered by the man who lives up to his name
(Conducted January 12, 2010 – in person)
1. I’m suspicious that Bob Villain isn’t your real name.
What makes you say that? What makes a name real?
2. Describe your style.
Alcohol-fueled strangling of a guitar that’s really simple but I try to pass it off like I’m really doing something.
3. How long have you been playing? And are you self-taught or did you take lessons?
I wouldn’t say I really “played” the first 4 or 5 years, just made noise to annoy my parents. Actual playing, maybe 10 years or so.
I guess I’m self-taught, I had people along the way that I played with that I picked things up from…or I picked things up from watching videos…”Oh, that’s how they did that.” I’ve never paid for lessons.
4. You do originals and covers – how do you pick the songs you want to cover? (thought processes, strikes of fancy, etc.)
Process on writing the originals – need a minute to think about that. Some songs I’ve written that maybe there’s this piece that’s been lying around…and I finally get the gumption to put it to music. Most [songs] came out in a 15 minute spurt. Kinda a moment thing. “There, that’s the fucking song.”
With covers, I guess it strikes my fancy. Or I think it would be funny like “Humpty Dance” [Digital Underground]. Really just having a good time with it.
I’d say most covers I do are songs I really like. Lyrical content, music, it’s a good song.
I think the original artist might get mad at me upon hearing the song. I’m not sure if I’ve enjoyed [covering] one song more than another. I will say I do prefer a cover that’s popped into my head over a request because requests are pressure, I’m never going to sound like the original and it will probably disappoint.
I was really happy when I learned Sublime “Crazy Fool.” I was happy knowing how to play that song.
5. Musical influences? And why?
I’ve always been big on words. I’ve got this thing [he plays briefly], but without words it’ll just seem empty.
Words have always been the big thing to me, big lyrical content. I was always a big Lemonheads fan. Especially the way Mr. Dando [Evan Dando] can take lyrics that aren’t really very happy and conflict them with poppy, sappy, sugar-coated music where people don’t even get what the song is about. He’s a big influence and a very nice fellow.
N.W.A. Probably one of the first albums I bought. My fat, white ass walking into the record store, about 11 years old, buying “Straight Outta Compton” before soccer moms slapped warning stickers on covers. It was different, real and raw. At the time, everyone thought it was real.
I really couldn’t pick a favorite genre.
I hate modern day country music – exact same formula. 4 line verse, 3 line chorus, repeat.
6. Quintessential music question: The five (or so) albums that you’d want if you were stranded on a desert island (and had water, food and all that kind of stuff already)
There’s beer on this island, right? [I nod]
That’s a hard question.
I’ve never been a big album listener. I like a song. I buy a CD and may listen to a song or two.
- “Pinkerton” by Weezer. Front to back, can listen to the whole album through.
- “Come on Feel the Lemonheads” by The Lemonheads. I’m not sure I even own the album anymore, but since you’re sticking me on a fucking desert island, you’re buying me another copy.
- “Orange” by The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. Cause if I’m gonna be on a desert island, I’m probably going to get very stinky. “Take a whiff of my pant leg, baby” will fit right in.
- Make me a mixed CD of some James Brown, throw Plow United’s “Timmy is An Arsonist” on there somewhere and I’ll be okay.
I do want the new Toadies’ album, from what I’ve heard so far, but I can’t say yet if I would want it on the island. I really like “Song I Hate.”
7. Best and worst thing(s) about playing out in public?
The worst is when you know nobody likes you and nobody claps and you know it’s probably something you said to them before you got on stage…that’s also kinda the best thing, though.
[Me: Well you are Bob Villain]
8. Acoustic or electric?
Depends on what I’m doing. Getting up and playing by myself, I prefer acoustic. If you’re gonna get up and play electric by yourself, you better be a badass. I’ll stick with acoustic until I have a band or a can of corn or something [haha, I laugh]. I probably have a can of corn somewhere.
9. Other interests?
I like to read.
10. Where can we hear some of your stuff? This is your opportunity to plug yourself, exciting, huh?
I have plans to make my album available for sale thru http://www.cdbaby.com/ sometime, but I’m still laying out some options. I may completely redo it.
11. Anything else?
I like your t-shirt.
Edit: April 1, 2010: http://www.bobvillain.com/