Bob Burger – The Domino Effect (Q&A)

Bob Burger, who is also a member of The Weeklings as a solo artist, has made a great Power Pop record.

Power Pop like Tom Petty, Willie Nile, Elvis Costello, and Marshall Crenshaw make Power Pop.

Again, Burger proves not only to be a great songsmith but also a great singer, a GREAT singer.

I’ll still be playing The Domino Effect three years from now. I know. It’s that good.

How did this record come together?

I wrote some of the songs, and started rudimentary recording soon after I completed my previous album, “The Day After”,  in 2012.  But then I joined The Weeklings and shifted my priorities totally toward that project.  In 2020, the pandemic slowed everything down and I found that I had time to reboot and complete “The Domino Effect.”  With an aim toward keeping my solo work separate from The Weeklings, I enlisted the help of Jimmy Leahey on lead guitars, Jerry Gaskill on drums, Lisa Sherman on background vocals, and Arne Wendt on keyboards. 

The meaning of success has changed over the years. What would success look like for the new record?

I think I achieved my goal of coming up with something distinct from The Weeklings, but still very much in the pop/R&R vein.  With that and a lot of positive reviews, I feel the album is artistically successful.  Commercial success these days is more elusive than ever!  Even if you create something that is very popular, the monetary rewards are minimal.  But having lots of people hear and like your music, is great for boosting live performances.  So success for me will simply be measured by how many sets of ears I can reach.

How great is the urge to stay creative? To keep writing songs and lyrics?

I never stop writing songs and have never experienced writer’s block.  So I guess the urge is pretty strong.  I have a number of songs in the backlog for both The Weeklings and for my next solo project.

As an artist, you choose to show your emotions to the world. Is it always comfortable to do so?

Yes, because I only expose what I choose to!  There are some songs I will never release for that reason.  The other trick as a writer is to make minor changes to mask personal thoughts.  I have read that Elvis Costello does that by changing gender, timeframes and other techniques.  Makes a lot of sense to me.

What’s the gig you will always remember? And why?

The party I played for Jon Bonjovi at his house in the Hamptons, where I got to meet and play with Paul McCartney, Billy Joel, Roger Waters and Jimmy Buffet (and of course Jon).  Other standout gigs include a number of private events I played with Bruce Springsteen, and the Max Weinberg show at City Field (Shea Stadium) in 15-degree weather!

Playing music in front of a crowd. What’s all the fun about?

There is nothing like it.  It is a form of communication that is unique and totally rewarding.  Assuming of course that the crowd is with you!  Playing in front of a dead crowd is not all that great, right?

You can’t control the way people ‘hear’ your music. But if you could make them aware of certain aspects, you think, set your songs apart. What would they be?

I hope my songs bear repeated listening.  I think people will find some deeper layers if they listen a few times.  I hope the musical production and lyrics both hold up to set the songs apart.

Those magical moments when you’re working in the studio. Which moment was the most magical?

For this record, some of the sessions with Jimmy Leahey were magical.  Jimmy is a fountain of ideas and we work together pretty effortlessly.  His guitar parts are a huge part of the sound of the album.  I also love the mixing process in general and it’s always magical for me.  Plink Giglio is fantastic at helping me to achieve the sounds I hear in my head.

The record is done, the music is out. Is the best fun done now or is it just beginning?

I love making records.  The promotion and business aspects after the record is done are less fun.  I think most artists feel that way.  Of course, it will be great fun to play the songs live.  But the real fun that is just beginning, is the work on the next record!

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