Detroit's blue-collar rocker on his best albums
Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man
The veteran of local Detroit groups including The Last Heard – whose 1967 single “Heavy Metal” featured Jim Osterberg, later known as Iggy Pop, on drums – Seger and his band turned down an offer from Motown to join the Capitol roster as The Bob Seger System. Future Eagle Glenn Frey guested on their debut’s title track.
SEGER: We changed our name from The Last Heard because if you said it too fast, it came out bad. I’d been sitting on the song “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man” for a long time, but the rest of it, I wrote in five days and recorded in about five days. My manager’s done this to me down through the years, where he says, “We’ve got to have an album now.” Meanwhile I’m playing five or six nights a week. Worse, I did not know how to write songs. We recorded it in the basement of a bowling alley over Pampa Lanes over in East Detroit. We used that place a lot. I ended up buying the piano out of there. It’s a 1968 Bosendorfer. It’s still sitting in my house. Glenn Frey sang back-ups on “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man”. I met him when I was 19 and he was 16. The Eagles are all over my shit. As for the song “2+2=?”, I was talking about the Vietnam War. It didn’t make sense to me. During the 1960s, I saw the protests on the University of Michigan campus. I got tear-gassed a couple of times. Most of these songs, I threw together really quick. You know who loved that stuff, is Jack White. He keeps calling my office, saying, “Tell Bob I want to remix it. I want to redo it.” He wants to play on it, too.