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BOB EVANS – GUITAR

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Kev Mitchell, the Clark Kent of music is hitting the road once again under the guise of Bob Evans (minus the cape and ability to leap tall buildings in a single bound … although who really knows what he gets up to on tour!). Bob Evans is embarking on an extensive national Australian tour, hitting up capital cities and regional towns across April, May and June, letting fans know he’ll be treating them to a complimentary six track EP, Zeroes To Heroes, of unreleased material for all tickets purchased from his website and online outlets.

To give fans a taste of what’s coming, Mitchell recently released a live acoustic video of My Matilda, a track from this exclusive package of unreleased material.  “The Golden Age of Showbiz” and “My Matilda” are both songs that just missed out on being recorded for ‘Goodnight, Bull Creek!’ back in 2008 and ‘Car Boot Sale’ just last year.  I just like ’em and wanted to give them their moment.”  Speaking on the complimentary six track EP for online ticket buyers, Mitchell generously offers, “I have so many songs that have almost made it on to records in the past but have just missed out for one reason or another and I’ve always wanted to share them with people and I thought this would just be a good way to say thank you to the people who support me.”

Bob took time out from packing his tour bags, checking the car oil levels and tyre pressure to answer a little guitar Q&A for us.

What was your first guitar?
My first ever guitar was a nylon string classical guitar, maybe a Yamaha or Suzuki. I was 13 I think and had chosen to take guitar lessons for a semester in high school as it was being offered as a class you could take. We looked for a guitar in the old classifieds section of the paper, as was the style of the time and then mum took me to a house in a neighbouring suburb and the guitar was purchased for about $90 I think a week or two out from my first class. I started teaching myself as soon as I got home and just never stopped playing the damn thing at any spare opportunity I had. I didn’t buy a guitar with my own money until Jebediah had signed to Sony when I was 18 or 19. Up until then I always played borrowed instruments. I was a broke student and then on the dole so I never had money. Sony gave Jebediah a small advance to buy equipment and I bought a red Japanese Fender Telecaster, which I played for quite a few years in the late 90’s.

What’s your main guitar now?
Acoustically my main guitar is a Maton Jumbo. It’s the first Maton I ever owned upon becoming sponsored by them back in 2001. I’ve collected many more acoustic guitars since but that first one is still my favourite. It’s just worn in so nicely now and once the strings have been played in a bit I just love the soft, woody tone it has. I don’t really like bright, slick sounding acoustics that much. The other great thing about Maton’s generally is they are such great workhorses when you are touring. They are strong so can take a real beating without ever letting you down. They just go and go and go, which is what you want when you’re always on the road.

Electrically my main guitar is a 1969 Fender Jag that I’ve had for about 13 years at a guess. Up until I got this guitar I was always searching for “my” guitar, something that just felt and sounded right for me and when I got this guitar it finally happened. I’ve always liked the feel of Fender’s, they are strong but light weight and they hang off the body at the right angle for me and the necks are kind of skinny and I’m a rhythm player not a lead guitarist so that all just worked. Tone wise, this Jag had been modified with a big fat humbucker at the bridge which is the only pick up I use. It’s like someone before me set up my perfect guitar and I was lucky enough to find it in a guitar shop in Perth.

Through what amp and why?
I play through a Fender Tonemaster. I think it might be 90’s made. It actually was bought by Chris from Jebediah and then a number of years ago we just swapped heads and were both happier! I was using a Labsystems head which was great but the Tonemaster is just a lot more natural sounding to me and obviously playing a Fender Jag it’s a nice fit.

Which pedals are your standards?
I’ve been a big fan of Sans Amp pedals for years now. I have distortion, overdrive and delay pedals all made by Sans Amp. I did find though that the distortion pedal, which was a Tech 21 classic or something, sounded incredible but would break and I couldn’t get it fixed so after going through 3 of them I kind of gave up and now my distortion pedal is a MXR Super Badass which I really love. It’s not as versatile as the Sans Amp was but it gives me the same tone that I like.

What’s your latest recording and when will you be back in the studio?
My latest Bob Evans solo record is called Car Boot Sale, which came out in 2016. I’d like to be back in the studio next year if possible but these things always tend to take longer than I would like! I’ve started writing for it and have about a dozen unfinished songs kind of milling around. I’ve just started demoing a couple of them. I’m feeling my way in to a kind of general aesthetic that I think I want to try for on this record, something a little less pop and a little rougher and rockier and minimal than any of my past albums.

What gigs have you been playing lately?
I had an amazing end to 2016 because Jebediah played A Day On The Green festival all over Australia with You Am I, Something For Kate, Spiderbait and The Meanies. All the bands on that bill I have been a fan of since I was a teenager so it was so awesome to be a part of. The crowds were huge and it looked like it was a real success which is cool because I think that’s the first time that festival has had such a strong 90’s flavour to it. Then about 3 days after that tour finished I started a month long tour as Bob Evans with my old mate Josh Pyke. We played as a duo, backing each other up on each other’s songs, alternating between his and mine throughout the show and played for two and a half hours every night. Those two tours back to back were probably two of the best and most fun tours I’ve ever done in my life. I’m about to go on a big solo tour throughout April, May and June which will probably be the last shows I do as Bob Evans for a little while, until I have new material.

Most memorable gig?
I’ve been so lucky over the last 20 + years to have played so many great shows and festivals in places all over the world and I’ve got to support and even become mates with some of my musical idols so trying to choose the most memorable thing from all of it is very very hard! I often offer up as an answer to this the 2000 Big Day Out festival that Jebediah played. It stands out because we were playing the main stage of the festival that when we started the band we dreamed of being a part of. The Big Day Out festival was the ultimate dream gig for me as a teenager. For Jebediah to play the main stage on that tour to the biggest crowds of our lives really was a dream come true.

Worst stage nightmare?
Well I have all those anxiety dreams every musician probably has. I’m at a gig and my equipment is missing, or broken or I start playing the guitar and the neck goes all floppy, or I’m playing with another band and I don’t know any of their songs, or I can’t find my guitar etc etc. In real life my worst nightmare is just turning up to a gig and no one being in the audience I suppose, or being too drunk to play well, which are both things that can happen on very rare occasions and it’s not much fun.

Album that changed your life?
Archers of Loaf “Icky Mettle”. It was the music that inspired Jebediah’s earliest work more than any other, except for perhaps Nirvana. The difference with Archers of Loaf was that hardly anyone had heard of them or knew who they were so, unlike Nirvana who were everywhere, the Archers felt like our little secret.  When you met someone else who loved Archers of Loaf it was massive.

What gigs are coming up in the next few months?
Lonesome Highways Tour throughout April, May and June in solo Bob Evans mode. On the Jebediah front we are playing two shows with Midnight Oil in October which is going to be pretty amazing and another one of those special kind of pinch my self moments.

A guitar tip for the kids?
Fight the temptation of going down the rabbit hole of effects. Call me a purist but I just think less is more. Effects pedals won’t write songs or come up with parts for you, well they might on occasion but generally not as a rule! That stuff needs to come from you. Effects are great and everything but so many people want to use all of them all the time and I just think that pretty much always sounds terrible.

Tickets to the Lonesome Highways Tour will go on sale on March 10 at 10am and all ticket purchases from www.bobevans.com.au and other online outlets will receive an exclusive six track EP of unreleased material.

BOB EVANS LONESOME HIGHWAYS TOUR
THU 20 APR | FRONT BAR, CANBERRA ACT | 18+ no supports
FRI 21 APR | LIZOTTES, NEWCASTLE NSW | 18+ w/ Amy Vee
SAT 22 APR | HARDY’S BAY CLUB, CENTRAL COAST NSW | 18+ no supports
WED 03 MAY | CLARENDON GUEST HOUSE, KATOOMBA NSW | 18+ no supports
FRI 05 MAY | CAMELOT LOUNGE, SYDNEY NSW | 18+ w/ Bree De Rome
SAT 06 MAY | BRASS MONKEY, CRONULLA NSW | 18+ w/ Bree De Rome
SUN 07 MAY | HERITAGE HOTEL, BULLI NSW | 18+ w/ Hannah Park
THU 11 MAY | THE SPOTTED COW, TOOWOOMBA QLD | 18+ w/ Bree De Rome
FRI 12 MAY | 5 CHURCH ST, BELLINGEN NSW | 18+ no supports
SAT 13 MAY | BLACK BEAR LODGE, BRISBANE QLD | 18+ w/ Bree De Rome + Royal & The Southern Echo
THU 01 JUN | BAHA, RYE VIC | 18+ w/ Alana Wilkinson + TBA
FRI 02 JUN | THE CROXTON FRONT BAR, MELBOURNE VIC | 18+ w/ Alana Wilkinson
SAT 03 JUN | WORKERS CLUB, GEELONG VIC | 18+ w/ Alana Wilkinson + Rachael Brennan
THU 08 JUN | GRACE EMILY HOTEL, ADELAIDE SA | 18+ w/ Bec Stevens
FRI 09 JUN | BRIDGE HOTEL, CASTLEMAINE VIC | 18+ no supports

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