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Interview: Bob Brozman

2 April 2002

Brilliant 'madman' wows the crowd


If the East Coast Blues and Roots Festival is a celebration of the guitar, then Bob Brozman was surely the guest of honour.

Due to baggage restrictions, only three of his many guitars - a National Tricone, a Baritone and a wooden lap-steel - made it to Byron Bay for his two Bluesfest sets.

But what Brozman lacked by way of equipment, he more than made up for with enthusiasm.

"He's almost like a madman," said audience member Tom Lockwood, after witnessing Brozman's on-stage antics yesterday afternoon. "What a fantastic slide player…he's just brilliant."

During the show, Brozman clearly lost himself in the music, throwing himself around his seat, offering witty political banter in between verses, and creating his own percussion section using different parts of his guitars' bodies.

And this, according to Brozman, is exactly how people who are passionate about music and life should behave.

"The guitar can be so boring, so I'm trying to use the whole instrument in different and unusual ways," he said.

"When I'm son stage I just try to have fun. It's the only time everything's right in the world."

As well as creating good music, trying to improve the world is high on Brozman's list of priorities.

While Byron Bay last week captured his heart, he holds many aspects of his home country, the United States, in contempt.

"Don't become the 51st state," he implored during one of his sets.

Brozman hates franchises, particularly McDonald's, and believes that people in the Western world are losing rapidly sight of the bigger picture.

"The first thing I'd do if I was President of the US is send everyone to Calcutta for a month," he said. "Then let's see them come back and tell me their modem is too slow."

It's political comments like this that have helped fuel Brozman's popularity, but they are not always welcomed.

"I played a show near Byron in January, and was just chatting about stuff like that between songs," he said.

"There were a few Americans in the crowd that weren't impressed, and they asked for their money back after the show. I keep my mouth shut now when I play in the US. I'm obviously not toeing the patriotic line."

Brozman's Monday set was one of the last performances at this year's Blues Festival, an event that has been praised by patrons and artists alike for its great music, good food, and relaxed atmosphere.

Bob Brozman - King of the National Guitar

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