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Being a dad, life on the road ... 'Its all good' for Bo Bice
By Amy Boerema | Daily Herald Correspondent

Bo Bice is loving life on the road and the chance to meet with fans across the United States while promoting his second album, "See the Light."

 

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Published: 3/12/2009 12:00 AM

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Bo Bice

with Brownline Fiasco

8 p.m. Saturday, March 14

Clearwater Theater, 96 W. Main St., West Dundee

Tickets: $25

(847) 836-8820 or clearwatertheater.com

Since shooting to fame as runner-up on "American Idol" Season Four in 2005, Bo Bice has spent every minute living his dream. He's loving life on the road and the chance to meet with fans across the United States while promoting his second album, "See the Light." And all's good on the family front, too, with two young sons - 3-year-old Aidan and 7-month-old Caleb - to keep Bice and his wife Caroline busy.

Despite a crazy schedule, Bice says he couldn't be more grateful to be doing what he loves - playing music. He'll be in town this Saturday, for a night performance at the Clearwater Theater, 96 W. Main St., West Dundee, with special guest Brownline Fiasco. Doors open at 7 p.m.

Before his Chicago arrival, Bice answered a few questions about his life and music.

Q. Do you look back at your experience on "American Idol" fondly?

A. Very much so. I'd been doing music for 15 years before that, and that's what helped me to know in my heart what a great opportunity it was to launch my career. (Without the help of "Idol"), I still would've been performing, but I seriously doubt I would've made it to the level I have. I look back on it with fond memories and just enjoyed the time.

Q. What was your best memory of those days?

A. Playing with (Lynyrd) Skynyrd. They've been my heroes my whole life. It was just a big moment.

It's funny; the "Idol" audience has grown. The season I was on (which Carrie Underwood won), it was considered more of a pop-oriented show. Now people like Chris Daughtry and David Cook are doing well. There have been loads of different folks and different genres of music. Lynyrd Skynyrd being on "American Idol" probably helped change the direction of "American Idol" just as much as (groups like) ZZ Top. "American Idol" and these legends have helped make it bigger than a pop show.

Q. Your two albums are very different in terms of style, and you've said your second album is a more accurate reflection of you - more rootsy, more Southern rock. What was behind the change from your first album, "The Real Thing," to your second?

A. Everyone knows I had some health issues (in 2005 and 2006, Bice underwent several surgeries for an intestinal condition), and I decided to take a year off. I started my own record label and immersed myself in writing, getting better, being a dad, not caring how much I'd worked that day. If my son came out, we played. There was not a real pressure in making the second album. Being able to produce on that was cool.

All of those kinds of experiences, all the producers I worked with, helped me to have the kind of confidence to stand on my own and do the project. It's different aspects of what I'm about. Each kind of phase (I've been through) was a steppingstone. They're monumental steppingstones, but they really led me to where I am now.

Q. How would you describe your current musical style?

A. It's a lot of Southern rock. We have a lot of fun; it's a kid-friendly show for all ages. We entertain you with the music and the songwriting. We'll make you laugh and play some good music. Not just music on my albums, but covers from bands I love, like Marshall Tucker, Skynyrd, Willie Nelson.

Q. In your years since "American Idol," and all your special performances with celebrities, is there one memory that really stands out?

A. There's been so many - getting to hang out with Willie Nelson, playing with Willie, playing with Richie Sambora, working on a project with Santana.

Some people look at "Idol" and measure success by money and celebrity, but for me, what's been the coolest are the things you can't buy - (getting to hang with) such cool people. It'd be kind of a bummer to meet your heroes, and they're jerks. I'm proud to say that's never been the case. There's two guys that were kind of - ehh - but none of the guys I've named. That to me is worth more than money, getting to meet my heroes and them being cool.

Q. Family's obviously important to you. Have the kids shown any interest in music yet?

A. My oldest, Aiden, is more of a drummer. Caleb really loves the guitar.

My wife, she doesn't take second fiddle to anything. When I walk in the door, it's time to do the dishes. The rock star stuff goes out the window and pretty quick. That's where I get balance. She's a star to me. Every day she's taking care of my kids. She doesn't raise them for me; we're a team, and we do everything as a team. (But) to me, she's the strongest part of this equation.

I used to party a lot when I was younger. But once you have a kid, there's something about your perspective - you no longer live for yourself. When we had our son, my relationship with my wife got stronger. There's so many cool things that God has opened up for me, that have shown me how small an experience all the past years have been and how big of an experience the rest of my life is going to be.

Q. What's road life like for you?

A. I love being out on the road. It takes a certain breed to do it, and it takes a really screwed-up person to love to do it. Fortunately, I'm just screwed up enough to love it. I feel alive.

I love to see the fans. I'm big into pictures and really into artsy photos, so I go into each town and try to take a piece of that town. Each town across the U.S., they're totally different, but they all have common threads. I think (road life) changes you for the better as a person. You meet people who don't share your values and belief systems, and I think that's really cool.

Q. You've used your music for bigger causes, like helping Hurricane Katrina victims and performing for the troops overseas. How did this become a priority?

A. Mostly because there's never any thought behind it. My Lord and Savior is Jesus Christ. And that's how I live my life. I've always had a relationship with him, but I am letting him lead my heart and just listening more. I love the men and women who serve our country. I come from a military family. It's the smallest thing I can do to just show up and play over there.

Q. How do you rewind from your hectic touring schedule?

A. In the summertime, my wife cannot put me in the car because I'm always on the motorcycle. I like to fish, I like to hunt. If I need to get away, I'll get on my bike and go to the lake and hang out. I go to NASCAR races a lot.

I think people would be pretty amazed. We don't live in some mansion on the hill; we've got a couple dogs, a couple kids. We're normal everyday folks. I just happen to have the coolest job in the world. We've been blessed with more than we deserve. Whatever we get handed from here on out, it's all good.