Six Questions For ... Bo Bice
The Southern rocker who came thisclose to being an official American Idol (only to have country prom queen Carrie Underwood take that tiara) is on a rather unlikely tour: "It Was 40 Years Ago Today," a Beatles tribute on which Bice, Todd Rundgren, Christopher Cross, Denny Laine and Lou Gramm are performing songs from the band's epochal "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" album. (It was actually released 41 years, two months and 20 days ago today - but who's counting?)
The tour stops tonight at Pier Six Pavilion in Baltimore and Saturday at Wolf Trap. Bice called between rehearsals, just before the tour began.
So what the heck are you doing on a Beatles tribute tour? An Allman Brothers or Skynyrd tribute, I'd totally get. The Beatles ...
I love the Beatles. I lived in England for five years, and the Beatles are an influence on me. They're just not as much of an influence as the Allmans, Skynyrd and Marshall
Crenshaw Tucker. I'm interested in trying to be more diverse. Don't always give people what they expect. How many people thought "Nebraska" would be one of the best albums that Bruce Springsteen would do? I'm stepping out of my comfort zone and getting the old blood flowing. It's good to get out of your boundaries.
What songs are you performing?
We're all doing a couple of originals, and we're doing "Sgt. Pepper's" front to back. We're switching up the songs. I'm doing "Getting Better." Lou Gramm and I are doing "With a Little Help From My Friends." I think "Lovely Rita" is one of mine. We're working hard to make this thing go off without a hitch. If they don't, go ahead and start throwing some heckles at me. (Laughs.)
Are you going to wear one of those day-glo satin military suits from the album's cover?
If I do, which one is it? Paul had the pink one. I'm not big on pink. That's one time I'd rather be Ringo. [Actually, Ringo wore pink. Paul wore blue. It's still worse to be Ringo. - Ed.] But Ringo's doing pretty good. He got the last laugh.
So is "Sgt. Pepper's" the greatest album of all-time, or merely the second-greatest?
I was more of an "Abbey Road"/"Revolver" guy. But "Sgt. Pepper's" set the bar for concept albums and definitely holds its own for production, concept, the songs. It's a very important part of musical history. Even though it's not my favorite of all-time, I wasn't like: "Aw, man, couldn't we do 'Abbey Road?'" I'm excited to be involved with it.
Is there a network of "American Idol" alumni? Do you still talk to any of the other contestants from your season?
I keep in touch with the majority of them: Anthony Federov, Scott Savol, Constantine. I saw Nikko Smith last week. Diana DeGarmo wasn't on my season, but she lives in Nashville, and we've done a couple of events together. Kelly Clarkson. We don't sit around and pass notes and that kind of stuff. But it's really cool to be part of the alumni. I'm personally proud to be part of it. I love any chance I get to hang out with any of the past members and the crew. And I go back every year. i have a relationship with those cats. You spend a year with them and they're like your family. I've gotten probably a dozen texts from them congratulating us on our new baby.
You just had your second child, on [Aug. 5]. And now you're touring. What's that like?
It's hard. When we were doing my "Real Thing" album, I took a week off and wasn't going to record until my first son was born. But Clive Davis called that Sunday and said: "You're going to work Monday morning." I said: "But the baby's not here." He said: "You're going to work Monday morning." My son was born just in time. Two hours later, I was standing in front of a microphone, recording my first album. I made a promise to my wife when we got married that I'd do everything in my power not to miss birthdays, Christmas and the births of our kids. I try to stand by my word, but this time, I touring on the West Coast and was out there for almost two weeks before our second son was born. That was stressful for me. I was more stressed out about that than touring right after he was born.
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