ABOVE: BOB SEGER. PHOTO COURTESY OF LISA TANNER
Tonight, my dear friend Stefan Marolachakis and I will fulfill a lifelong dream: seeing Bob Seger together. This wouldn’t be such a momentous occasion if the two of us didn’t have such a personal affinity for Seger and a funny history with his music. Back in the days when we were both struggling bartenders, before Stefan’s band Caveman started to blow up, we occasionally played records together under the moniker NIGHT MOVES (I was “Night,” Stefan was “Moves”). We’d use parties as an excuse to dip into all the mellow ’70s FM-radio nuggets that had most righteously informed our childhood: lots of Bob Seger and copious amounts of Fleetwood Mac, ELO, and Tom Petty. For years, Seger didn’t tour and to this day rarely gives interviews, so we also spent a lot of time talking and theorizing about what, at any given moment, Bob might be doing.
Our tenure as NIGHT MOVES peaked one night in the East Village when someone approached the DJ booth and actually requested Bob Seger’s “Night Moves.” After we screamed in his face, “Yes! We are ‘NIGHT MOVES’!,” this magic man—whose name we somehow never bothered to ask—pulled down his shirt to reveal the most beautiful tattoo ever created, a beautifully scripted “Night Moves” inked across his chest. We’ll raise a glass to him tonight at the Barclays Center as we give our due respect to the Motor City’s favorite son.
1. “Beautiful Loser”: It’s a sad fact that too many people will always associate Bob Seger with Risky Business and “Old Time Rock and Roll,” especially when Seger wrote so many beautiful songs like this one. An elegy to those who, despite their best efforts, can’t help fucking up.
2. “Night Moves”: A classic piece of Americana, this song is basically a gussied-up story about teenage sexcapades. Even though it’s about kids having sex in the woods (on the backseat of a 1960 Chevy, no less), you can’t argue with the beauty of fumbling, adolescent lust summed up as follows: “Workin’ on mysteries without any clues / Workin’ on our night moves…”
3. “Hollywood Nights”: Once, back in my graduate school days, I fell ill and spent two days on my friend’s couch suffering from what turned out to be a stomach ulcer. During my recovery, my friend (yet another indie-rock drummer) made me listen to “Hollywood Nights” on endless repeat so I could appreciate the total excellence of the percussion. I’ve loved the song ever since.
4. “We’ve Got Tonight”: This is Seger’s signature power ballad, but it also serves nicely as an end-of-the-night dictum for hanging out and having just one more drink with your homies. We’ve got tonight, who needs tomorrow? Indeed.
5. “Still The Same”: My favorite Bob Seger song is also one of his most wonderfully understated. This song, with its lead-in piano riff and sassy backup lady vocals, is one giant gambling metaphor about knowing when to place your bets and knowing when to walk away—all told from the point of view of someone who has played the game far too long.
BOB SEGER & THE SILVER BULLET BAND ARE PLAYING TONIGHT AT THE BARCLAYS CENTER IN BROOKLYN, NEW YORK.