Texas musician gives fans what they want

Bob Schneider said he has been playing at the Aardvark for about 10 years, and he plans to keep coming back.”The Aardvark is just one of those nitty-gritty, sweaty little clubs,” Schneider said. “You have to leave to get away from the music.”

Schneider has spent the last year touring behind his 2004 release, “I’m Good Now.” The album is a melting pot of styles and genres, ranging from rave-up rockabilly to dreamy electro-pop.

Schneider first gained attention playing with Austin-based bands like Joe Rockhead and Ugly Americans.

In 2001, he released his solo debut, “Lonelyland” to rave reviews. When not performing as a solo artist, he often performs with his band The Scabs, an Austin favorite.

Though his songs bounce among a wide variety of styles, Schneider said he approaches songwriting very simply and said the process was like an artist working on canvas.

“I approach music without an agenda,” he said. “It’s a hodgepodge.”

Schneider also said he prefers being on stage to being in the studio.

“I love that freedom,” Schneider said. “It’s the only place I feel at ease and very comfortable.”

Comfort aside, Schneider said his band knows about 300 songs that they can launch into depending on their mood.

“I don’t edit myself,” Schneider said. “We decide if we want to do a rock show or a dance party or a pop show.”

Though Schneider said he is getting more consistent in his live shows, he said anything can happen.

“I never know what I’m going to play,” he said.

When it comes to music, Schneider said he likes a diverse and eclectic range.

“I like music to be exciting and kind of frightening,” Schneider said.

He said he likes a wide array of musicians, including The Flaming Lips and Modest Mouse. He also said he respects Tom Waits for his ability to go in his own direction musically.

Schneider said he has written more than 1,000 songs.

Since his last release, Schneider has recorded steadily. Schneider said he has completed four projects since 2004, including a “country-americana” album he would like to release.

Schneider said he would like to release more experimental music in the future but he is mindful of his listeners.

“I just can’t completely turn my cheek to the audience,” he said.

Amid the diverse world of music, Schneider said he is unsure of his place.

“I don’t care where I fit in,” Schneider said. “I can’t imagine fitting in.”

Schneider said he was bit by the music bug at the University of Texas at El Paso while taking art classes during the day and drinking at night in Juarez, Mexico.

After three semesters at UTEP, Schneider dropped out and moved to Austin, where he has played music ever since.

When it comes to live shows, Schneider said the Aardvark is just the kind of place he wants to play. Schneider said he likes to play places that are a close drive from his home in Austin.

While Schneider said the Aardvark fits his definition of a good club perfectly, he said that there are a couple of warning signs for a bad venue.

“When the club is in a strip mall, or carpeted, you know that you’re in for a world of hurt,” Schneider said.

Schneider will be performing at the Aardvark on Friday.