BOB EVANS ANNOUNCES NEW ALBUM ‘FULL CIRCLE’
Five studio albums down the track and the distinguished career of Bob Evans receives the Best Of treatment via new album, Full Circle, to be released on October 5. Full Circle features a brand new single, Drowning and is accompanied by a video filmed in studio by Arlo Cook during the recording of the track. To celebrate the release, Bob Evans will hit the road for a national capital cities tour kicking off at Black Bear Lodge in Brisbane on October 19, and moving through to Sydney, Adelaide and Perth, before finishing up at Northcote Social Club in Melbourne on November 3.
Jen catches up with Bob just before the release of his new album Full Circle.
Hi Bob, hope this finds you well.
Only 2 days before release when I was writing this, how are the last-minute nerves before ‘Full Circle’ is released or after 5 albums all is good?
They’re fine actually. I think I might be more nervous if it were a new studio album but this being a best of it has a different feeling to it. I’m not trying to prove anything with this album. I know it’s a good collection of songs.
Is it a relief when an album is released? I mean even this one having previous material on it you are letting more potential fans to hear it.
Yes, there is a sense of relief whenever I release an album and also accomplishment. It’s a great feeling to hold the new record in your hands and really feel that sense of having made something tangible because I spend so much time writing within my own imagination… it can be difficult sometimes to know how much actual progress is being made.
I got a little confused when reading the press release as I thought it was about 2 people…. Kevin and Bob. Maybe I need more coffee as it makes sense now! I guess you would have felt that at some stage? Or all the time? 🙂
Yes, well recording under a moniker as a solo artist from a band that is relatively well known in Australia does come with a little confusion. The Bob Evans name was great when I started out though because it allowed me to start again and develop my own thing with my own audience that exists quite separately to Jebediah.
Tell us the story of finding the shirt in an op shop please?
I can’t really remember buying it to be honest. It was just another crappy retro tshirt from an op shop that I owned. I used to buy all my clothes, or at least all my tshirts, from op shops in the late 90’s and early 00’s. The tshirt only took on any significance down the track when I used it to inspire the name Bob Evans. It had Bob Evans written on the front and the number 15 on the back. It looked like it might have been a hand made amateur sports top, like for basketball or something.
You have a new single called ‘Drowning’ out, can you explain the inspiration behind that song?
I’ve been writing a lot of rock songs since my last album came out. I’ve kind of hit on a vein of classic rock type stuff that doesn’t have the poppy Beatles references of so much of me previous stuff. Drowning is a song that was on my list for the next album but I decided to use it for the best of. It’s a song about feeling overwhelmed by the pressures of everyday life really.
Are there any other previously unreleased songs on ‘Full Circle’?
Nope, just Drowning.
Was it difficult to choose the songs to put on the album? There were many to choose from!
Yes and no. Half the songs chose themselves and the rest were a case of me deciding what I wanted to shine a light on. There are a bunch of songs that had to be there but there were also songs that weren’t singles that I really wanted to give a second chance to in a way.
You shot a music video for ‘Drowning’ recently, can you tell me the main differences now from a music video from your first album?
Well, obviously the technology has changed immensely. Everything is so small and portable now. When I first started making videos the cameras were so big and everything was shot to film. Now the cameras are little hand held things and everything is digital. So in that sense it’s easier and much much cheaper. I think for a long time the digital thing looked pretty crappy compared to film but even that is getting to a point where you can make it look pretty good. Apart from the technology though not much has changed.
Love how you have 2 CD’s and the second one has Triple J Like a version. You have done a fair few of those. I like the Lily Allen one the best.
Yeah that one is clearly the most popular cover I have recorded. I really like Lily Allen. All my covers are sincere; they are never ironic. I think many people expected me to be ironic when I covered that Lily Allen song and were confused when I wasn’t.
You have a National Tour starting on Friday 19th October. Even better that it is actually a full Aussie Tour as you have included Adelaide and Perth. Do you always do this?
Of course! Well Perth is important to me cos it’s my home town. It’s where I started out and where my first audience grew. And if you’re gonna make the effort to go to Perth it would seem silly to skip Adelaide. I understand why they do get skipped sometimes though. It’s so expensive to tour there and for a lot of artists it’s just not worth the risk.
I bet tours would have changed since your first one! Can you give a few examples?
When I first started touring there were no mobile phones. When you arrived at a hotel or a venue you would ask for any faxes that had come through for you. That would be how you would receive all your information while on the road. Also, there was no social media, so advertising was really expensive. Flying was relatively more expensive then too, so when I first started touring I would fly from Perth to say Brisbane and then drive the whole country in a van. I would be away for over a month at a time. These days I tend to fly in and out of places over the weekends which is far more family friendly.
Thanks Bob, or Mitchell… for your time and I hope that your release goes well as well as the tour.
BOB EVANS NATIONAL ‘FULL CIRCLE’ TOUR
More about Bob Evans.
Discussing Full Circle, Kevin Mitchell explains, “I didn’t want to approach this like a traditional Greatest Hits or Best Of. I like the idea of it being presented more like an introduction to my work if you had never heard of me. This would be the record for that person. So I didn’t want to just bundle the singles together or present the songs in the order they were released. Some singles didn’t make the cut, in favour of album tracks that have grown legs of their own and found some kind of special place of significance without ever necessarily being on the radio or anything. Wintersong, for example, off my third album, was never on the radio or well known but I just love it so much I wanted it on there. There were a few songs I felt like that about but obviously I couldn’t put them all in. It was quite hard actually, trying to narrow 5 albums down to 14 tracks. But I’m happy with how it looks. I’m proud of what I’ve managed to create.”
Mitchell was already under the Australian music spotlight as singer/guitarist for indie-rock-darlings Jebediah when in 1998 he found a t-shirt in a Perth op-shop with the number 15 on the back, and the name ‘Bob Evans’ printed on the front. Coincidentally at this time he was embarking on his first solo shows in Perth and a random name on someone’s discarded basketball shirt took hold. He may have grown out of the t-shirt, but the name fit and has stayed for an impressive solo career.
“This Bob Evans guy has been hitching a ride in my life for 20 years,” Mitchell laughs. “It’s an unusual relationship to have with something that isn’t real.”
Five years into playing solo shows, the first Bob Evans album, Suburban Kid, emerged in 2003, released via Jebediah’s own Redline Records label. While it didn’t receive much attention outside of WA, it started a new momentum for Mitchell’s solo career, with EMI signing him up for his second LP, Suburban Songbook, recorded in Nashville. Led by the much loved single, Don’t You Think It’s Time?, it set a new career path in motion.
“When Suburban Songbook came out and it was embraced and was successful, I had this whole new kind of career,” Mitchell recalls. “It really saved my arse because at the time Jebediah were kind of just burnt out and taking a break, and I… can’t do anything else.”
With Suburban Songbook winning Mitchell an ARIA Award for ‘Best Adult Contemporary Album’, 2009’s Goodnight, Bull Creek! saw him return to record the last of his ‘suburban trilogy’ in Nashville. He recalls moving on from Suburban Songbook being on par with Jebediah following up Slightly Odway, their smash hit 1997 debut LP. “It was an unexpected success, certainly more than I had expected,” he says. “It’s a strange mental game, making music after that and all of a sudden you’ve got this massive audience you’ve never had before.”
2013 saw the release of Familiar Stranger, with Mitchell wanting to make a record “that sounded nothing like any other Bob Evans record I’d made. I didn’t want to make an acoustic or singer/songwriter album, none of those labels. I felt creatively and artistically very confident in that record. I’m very proud of that record, but I had such a grand concept for it that I think I got a little bit lost in it and couldn’t quite deliver it the way that I imagined I would.”
As a result 2016’s Car Boot Sale was about going back to basics. “It was very much a return to the first couple of records that I made,” Mitchell notes, “digging into that singer/songwriter thing that I’d tried to get away from.”
With Full Circle finalised and ready for release on October 5, Mitchell is taking stock of what’s next, saying, “Looking forward, I guess I’m trying really hard to be keenly aware of what I want to do. It’s such a game to keep creatively stimulated and excited.”
PRE-ORDER ‘FULL CIRCLE’ HERE
DOWNLOAD HIGH RES PRESS SHOT HERE
‘FULL CIRCLE’ TRACKLIST
CD 1 (CD, Vinyl & Digital)
- Don’t You Think It’s Time?
- Someone So Much
- Nowhere Without You
- Don’t Wanna Grow Up Anymore
- Happy Tears
- Pasha Bulker
- Hand Me Downs
- Don’t Walk Alone
- Sadness & Whiskey
- Wonderful You
- Drowning **new track
CD 2 (CD & Digital)
- Ever Fallen In Love (Buzzcocks) (Double J Live Recording)
- In Spite Of Ourselves (John Prine & Iris Dement) (Recorded with Kirsty Lee Akers)
- Not Fair (Lily Allen) (Live for JJJ Like A Version)
- Come To This (Sleepy Jackson)
- Disparate Youth (Santigold) (Live for JJJ Like A Version)
- Wide Open Road (The Triffids)
- Beautiful To Me (Little Birdy) (Live for JJJ Like A Version)
- See Through Dress (Red Jezebel)
- Liar (Eskimo Joe)
- Two Of Us (the Beatles) (Recorded live with Josh Pyke)