Bob Schneider is a fixture on the Austin scene, having kicked around for years in various bands before embarking on a solo career in 1999. Born in Michigan and partially raised in Germany, he dropped out of the University of Texas at El Paso to front his first band, the funk and rap outfit Joe Rockhead. The band released three independent albums before disbanding immediately prior to signing with a major label. A stint with a jammy, slightly Phishy outfit called the Ugly Americans followed, which experienced some success as an opening act for the Dave Matthews Band. In 1997, Schneider went on to co-found the Scabs, where he made a further name for himself as a crotch-grabbing frontman. He then became a solo act in 1999, although performing at first under the band name Lonelyland.
Schneider’s musical approach as a solo artist proved to be as eclectic as the diverse musical styles of his former bands, combining the traditional singer/songwriter aesthetic with elements of funk, country, rock, and folk. His scruffy good looks and strong, husky voice attracted some attention, too, but it was Schneider’s music — redolent of ’70s icons from Neil Young to Paul Simon, with a slightly more modern sensibility reminiscent of Beck and edgy lyrics about alienation, drug addiction, and lost romance — that maintained his high profile around Austin. He began courting a national fan base with 2001’s Lonelyland, his major-label debut for Universal Records, and followed its release with 2004’s I’m Good Now. Schneider left Universal later that year and moved over to Vanguard; meanwhile, he continued to release albums by various “side projects” via his own label, Shockorama Records. Most of those side projects would be re-released by Vanguard, as was another proper solo album, 2006’s The Californian. Continuing to release material at a rapid rate, Schneider issued When the Sun Breaks Down on the Moon in 2007, Lovely Creatures in 2009, and A Perfect Day in 2011. ~ Mary Grady, Rovi.