Q&A With Bob & Josh

The Bicycle Thief 21st Anniversary LP Reissue of "You Come And Go Like A Pop Song" is less than one month away. 

To celebrate, Nate "The Man" Pottker was able to compile footage from the band's earlier tours to create this official live video. 

A big thank you goes out to everyone who took the time to submit a question! 

We know how much this record means to all of us, so we wanted you guys to ask the band questions that were on your mind. Here are Bob and Josh's Answers:

What are y’all listening to these days? -@jonahematos

JK:  The record I’m making.

Do the bicycle thief songs still resonate with you in the same way they did 21 years ago? Has anything changed around how you perceive or associate with them? Also, favorite sandwich filling? -@navzvejas

JK:  They resonate for me more and more, everyday.  When I was 18, 19 years old, lyrics were a different thing to me.  I didn’t have the life experience to relate to certain things and just didn’t care what people had to say as much, so these songs, the feeling, the stories, more and more, ring with a truth that I used to only look for with sound.  I love listening to these songs because in a way I can see my growth, in so many ways, but particularly with how I relate to the words.  Bob is just fucking good at it, no two ways about it.

What comes to your mind first when you think of the record? Are there any special memories connected to the making of it? -@dosedbyjosh

BF: What comes to mind anytime I think of the bicycle thief album or band. I honestly just think Josh. All the moments we shared in those couple years. Wether it’s our meeting. Writing songs that would become the album on acoustic guitars at my house in echo park. Dreaming together what we wanted our band to sound like. Be like. Look like. Though there are many great people who helped the bicycle thief evolve n devolve. Become And unbecome. The Bicycle thief always really means Josh. His talent. His amiability. His generosity. His style. Back then his innocence. He was the perfect partner for me at that point in my life. I was too fragile for the harshness of the Thelonious Monster world. I was too arrogant to settle for mediocrity like so many peers of mines after careers. It had to be as good as Thelonious Monster. Without all the emotional violence. Hahaha. That is me n' Josh

JK:  The whole thing is one big special memory.  It was a brand new and enormously exciting experience  for me.  I can honestly say that every step of the way holds a special and heartwarming memory for me.  The over arching thing that I think of, is the hours spent between Bob, Marc, Josh and I laughing.  Four somewhat disparate people getting to know each other and finding common ground.  

What was your guys’ experience on that first tour? As it was Bob’s first tour in a few years and Josh’s first, how did you guys feel on the road? -@jonahematos

BF: Touring w bicycle thief is all a blur to me. I remember touring! But can’t remember what was the first one. I don’t know which it was. I knew that I was sober so it was gonna be touring like I had never experienced before. Hahaha. For 10 years, partially because touring is so emotional, I just stayed high n drunk for years.

There is a scene in the movie Sid n Nancy where Sid doesn’t even know what country he is in. That was me. Literally. So. Bicycle thief touring was gonna be different. And I Consciously had plans. Coffee n cigarettes n thrift stores n tourist stops. Travel separately sometimes just to break it up. Say see you in Denver at a gig in San Antonio. Anything to keep from the loneliness n monotony. A good friend of mine Janie Lane from Warrant said. Bob. They don’t pay us for the hour we play onstage. They pay us for the other sad lonely 23! I never forgot that. I did notice like with everything.

Josh had his own unique way of staying positive n dealing with it. Guitar always in his hands. In vans. In hotels. In parking lots. Backstage. Soundcheck. I can’t remember much of touring that doesn’t involve Josh with guitar in hand. Or buying old broken pedals n recording equipment. Hahaha. We both love to fucking shop I can tell ya that much. Hahaha

JK:  Which was the “first tour”?  The Matthew Sweet tour?  I was just so excited to be playing music live.  Getting out of the house.  I was always aware that everyone in that van was having a different experience and going through lots of their own different shit, but somehow, we still found a way to have some fun, I think.  Bob and I can certainly fuck up a thrift store.  Used books and records were often piled up in the wheel wells of the Econoline.   

What was you guys’ (Josh and Bob) relationship like throughout the period of the first record? -@allisonrowe03

BF: Josh n I have always had something undefinable between us. From the first moments we met. There is a comfortable understanding. He had needs that I understood. And I had fears n insecurities that he could only try to comprehend. Initially I think it was a little brother big brother kind of thing. But he grew up so quickly n musically that that soon shifted to buddies. Band mates. Friends.

Our relationship has been constantly changing yet somehow remaining the same. It is strange. I’ve never really thought about it. Other than I love him. Do anything for him. And I know him for me. Another thing that has been unique about our relationship is how it is interpreted by others. Wether it’s the Bob discovered him. Listen. That whole narrative is wrong as the music world crowd understands things. The Klinghoffer’s n Frusciante's n Jimi Hendrix’s of the world are not discovered by Chas Chandler or flea or me. I feel like we were just the first to meet em. Hahaha. They are the geniuses. Recognizing it is not difficult. Hahaha Josh has been many things to me. Son. Brother. Partner. Friend. But student? Never really. Did we share things back n forth from the moment we met. Yes. He taught me way more than I’m sure he learned from being around grumpy old stuck in his ways me. Hahaha

JK:  It’s funny to think about that question.  I mean, now that I’m older than Bob was then, I can’t imagine forming a band, or project with a 17, 18, or 19 year old.  Bob is a lot more generous of spirit in that way.  I think our relationship was good in the sense that we (I think, I don’t want to speak for Bob) had each other’s backs.  This thing that was forming, The Bicycle Thief, was ours together and we, as best we could, were looking out for each other and each other’s experience in it.  I was aware that Bob had already done so much and been so many places, and he was likewise aware that I had none of these experiences.  I think we always wanted the absolute best for each other and, as best we could, tried to make that so.

Any funny or embarrassing stories from your shows or being on the road in general? -@firefliesophia

JK:  I found it embarrassing to have to stand outside before and after our set at the Crocodile Cafe in Seattle due to the draconian liquor laws up there.  I met friends I still have though standing on that street corner, so...all’s well.

Are you all safe and health amidst such difficult times? -@thsvnseas

JK: Perfectly.  I’m not sure any of us are safe from the overwhelming stupidity that surrounds us, but I’m not sure that’s an easy fix. 

How does it feel to have such a strong friendship and musical relationship with each other (Josh and Bob) after so many years? What are your fondest memories of playing music and hanging out together? -@chr1sgerard

JK:  I consider any friendship that has lasted as long as min and Bob’s as an enormous success.  As I said above, or didn’t say rather, it’s hard to pinpoint specific memories because they were all great.  Driving down to Bob’s house in Echo Park whenever there were a few hours to work on songs.  Sitting round the dining room table, smoking cigarettes, celebrating a great lyric, getting to know each other.  It’s all one big wonderful memory.      

What are you guys’ favorite soups? -@owlbaybee

JK:  Andy Warhol’s

Will we get a new Bicycle Thief album? If so how will the second record compare to the first? -@inlovewithvinylrecords

JK:  Yes!  100%.  The second part of the question is impossible to answer, BUT, there is 20 years of growth behind it and A LOT to discuss!!!

- What artist have you been listening to lately?

JK:  Bruce Springsteen

- What is a message you would give your fans?

JK:  Thank you

- Do you sing in the shower?

JK:  Yes, and dance.

Would you do some covers of songs like you used to in ‘99-’00? -@eye0pener

JK:  Sure, which ones?

Which record from the album is your favorite/ are you most proud of and why? -@simon_sav10

JK:  I just think Off Street Parking is a masterpiece.  So many things about that song, but mainly the writing and the fact that I think we did a good job supporting that, though I think we did that on most of the songs.  Boy At A Bus Stop, Cereal Song, they’re all full of little triumphs and victories!

Do you guys plan to tour the UK/EU when this is all over? Do either of you have any other musical projects in the works? -@taylor.josh

JK:  Will we ever travel again?  I’ve always got something or other going on.

Which song would you play for ‘what is the Bicycle Thief? -@finnaye

JK:  Is that a thing?  Off Street Parking.

-What was the main reason to reunite the band? How does it feel?

JK:  Well, the record is being re-released.  The ‘band’ isn’t so much reuniting as much as the project and collective re-emerging.  When we were first around, I was (and kind of still am in many ways) obsessed with the notion of being in a band.  Having a BAND!  It was hard for me to grasp what this could be without thinking of it as a band.  I don’t have that rigid way of seeing it anymore, so considering that Bob and I will always be friends, and Marc and Josh are still friends, and we all still love music and have something to add to the massive pile the world keeps creating, why not do something?  It’s usually just a question of time.

-Will you do a world tour

JK:  A world tour!  Yes!  : )

-If you could collaborate with one musician (dead or alive), who would it be?

JK: By collaborate, can I just sit in the room whilst they work and watch?  Bowie in Berlin or Dylan anytime until the mid 70’s.  Usually I’m not that specific, but...I just typed it so, I guess I’ll leave it.

-What is the best advice you’ve been given

JK:  Take advice.  I just heard a great man say that. 

-If you could go open a show for any artist who would it be?

JK: Maria McKee

-What is your creative process like?

JK:  D-Day

-What is your most useless talent?

JK:  Movie quoting 

What would you be doing right now if not a musician?” -@rhcp.romania

JK:  Repelling people.

Has your process of making music/ writing songs changed over the years?” -@v.mond

JK:  Yes, very much.  Well, yes and no.  My discipline and confidence has grown.

- Could you describe your record in one word?

JK:  True

- If you could change anything about the record, what would it be?

JK:  I wouldn’t change a thing.  

- What is the weirdest interview question you’ve been asked?

JK:  This one.

- What do you enjoy/hate most about being a musician? 

JK: Ha!  (Not) Knowing how to play.

- What would you change about the industry?

JK:  When I get my degree in economics, I’ll tell you how to change not only the industry but the whole global and cultural order. 

- What is the best concert you’ve seen?” -@simonaadd

JK:  There are too many.

“Is it difficult to start music at such a young age?” -@kaleidoscoperenegade

JK:  No, I’d say it’s difficult to start later.

“How did you guys first meet and start working together? What is the secret to keeping your creative longevity?” -@antzisfab

JK:  We met through Max, Bob’s then girlfriend.  Max’s brother Brian is my closest friend.  Your second question, staying alive.

“What advice would you give to a beginner musician?” -@aleksandryarotsky

JK:  Play as much as you can.  Play play play play play play play.  Listen.  Listen listen listen listen listen listen listen listen.  Play play play play play play play.  Listen listen listen listen.  Sleep.   

“What was the last thing that inspired you?” @ksenianazarovaa

JK:  Inspiration comes from everything and at every second.

“How many songs were left out of You Come and Go Like a Pop Song? Is there a chance of having an edition of The Way It Used To Be and Rare on CD and vinyl in the future?” -@alerodval

JK:  There were a few.  I can’t recall right now how many were actually finished, and recorded, but there were a few more.  One of them may finally materialize on the second offering.

“Did you ever find the “Hurt” percussion you were searching for in the Unboxing Video, and if so, can you teach us how to play it?” -@debehnisclark

JK:  Great question!  Not yet, but I will.  It has to be somewhere!!!  Hold on...  I just texted someone who could look in a possible place they could be hiding and yes, they’ve been found!  

“What are your favorite Radiohead records and why?” -@anthonyyyyy99999

JK:  Hmmmm...That’s hard to say.  I’m not much a favourites picker.  But the Kid A/Amnesiac session.  That whole period they seemed to be reaching for something incredibly high and achieving it marvelously.  I like absolutely everything they do though so, maybe I’m not a good person to ask.

“- As songwriters/ singers / musicians, what quality or tendency do you think you share in common? Also, what are differences? Can you share one guilty pleasure song/record in your music collection?” -@pluralone_jk_fan

JK:  Bob & I?  I think we write in different ways, but I’d say we both strive for true and honest writing.  I think we both want to achieve a relatability in our writing.  I think Bob is way ahead of me though.  I’m still lurking in the  shadows in many ways. 

“Why ‘Bicycle Thief?’ Did someone steal a bicycle?” -@delmunia

JK: Watch the movie.

“How does playing Bicycle Thief stand out compared to your other musical projects?” -@k_chongi1998

JK:  See all the answers above about friendship.  I think these songs are from a special and (re)generative time in both of our lives.

“Can you tell us about the artists who inspired your records and also what artists are you listening these days.” -@sarelly_28

JK:  I don’t listen to that much when I’m in the middle of making something.  Enough to mention at least.

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