Grammy-nominated ‘Bobs’ bring quirks to UAA

They might have one of the more unusual names for a music group, but The Bobs are promising good, unpredictable fun at their musical performance on March 24. And who doesn’t love songs about monkeys attacking dogs?
The Bobs are quirky, comical and one of the more successful a cappella groups around, having been nominated for a Grammy for one of their cover songs on The Beatles. The group consists of four members: Richard Bob Greene, Matthew Bob Stull, Amy Bob Engelhardt and Dan Bob Schumacher. They will be singing in the Fine Arts Building, room 150. The Northern Light interviewed Richard Bob Greene, the group’s bass singer, on Thursday, March 19.
Q: What do you try to capture with your songs?
A: They are humor, well, most of them. We are an a cappella group and about a third of what we do are covers of other people’s classics. You know, like rock and roll classics and the like. We try to take them new places. Now two thirds of the things we write are original and are about perhaps not your most normal subjects for songs.
Q: What is one of your more interesting songs?
A: Well, we have a fairly new album out called “Get Your Monkey Off My Dog.”
Q: How did you come up with that album name?
A: You know, I wrote that particular song and I was out in the park one day in Brooklyn with my dog and someone else had their monkey there, and their monkey actually attacked someone else’s dog. So I went, well, you know, not everybody writes a song about that, why not? Our motto is you can write a song about anything.
Q: How did the band form?
A: Many years ago, 27 years, there was an ad in a local free paper in Berkeley, California. A couple guys decided they wanted to start an a cappella group, and put an ad in the paper. I answered the ad because they were looking for a bass singer and apparently I was the only one who answered the ad, so I got the gig.
Q: How did you come up with the name “The Bobs”?
A: Well, you know every band has to have a name, right? And shorter is better and after a while, the name takes on it’s own meaning. So we were looking for something that was easy to remember. One of the stories that I use all the time that is vaguely true is that I was watching TV one day and I flipped channels until I came onto the Westminster dog show. The announcer was announcing, ‘Buffy the. whatever has been bob for the past four shows.’ And I went ‘what?’ so it turns out that B.O.B in an acronym for best of breed. We figured we are the best of breed. Of course, we are probably the only of breed.
Q: How did you first get into a cappella?
A: It was kind of an accident. I had been a studio musician playing keyboards and bass and I ended up singing on some commercials. I thought, ‘Hey, this singing stuff, how hard could it be?’ And the nice thing about an a cappella group is that you don’t need to carry any equipment.
Q: What is a show with The Bobs like?
A: It is a very interactive show. We like to get the audience involved. We go in with kind of a plan of what we’re going to do and most of the time, the plan breaks down. We like it when plans break down. Songs change and people yell things from the audience. You know, we like it when things fall apart.
Q: How has a show fallen apart very badly?
A: Actually, one time when we were in Anchorage, there was a bomb scare or a fire alarm in the Alaska Center for Performing Arts. At some point into the show, the promoter came onto the stage and whispered into my ear that there was a fire alarm and a bomb scare. This was a long time ago, about 15 years ago. And he says, ‘We need to evacuate the theatre but we want you to keep singing so the people won’t become alarmed.’ And we asked what about us? Is there some written law that singers have to be the last ones to leave the building? Do we have to go down with the ship? We were like the band playing on the deck of the Titanic.
Q: Has there ever been problems with crazy fans?
A: You know, I once came home and found a bunch of people sitting on my front lawn that had written the lyrics of our songs on their feet. I kind of said, ‘Hey, hey nice to see you. Now get off my lawn.’