Issue 144, "retro" INTERVIEW with Bob Bunce



For those who haven’t seen th’ face above (there was a xerox photo, no longer available), it’s prob’ly ’cause Bob had his ‘shades’ on (previous interview in another ‘zine)… as you realize by now, if you’ve been with I.N. very long, Zzaj “likes” Bunce music… thought y’all might be interested in a few of his views on things – so, without further ado:

NOTE:  This INTERVIEW was first published in Improvijazzation Nation # 6 in the fall of 1992.


Name:  Bob Bunce

Age:  21 for the second time

Marital status:  3 years of wavelength compatability

Children:  21 & 18 year old, both out of nest

Residence:  Live (& unemployed) in Rochester, NY


Zzaj:  What is your background – musical, artists & otherwise?


Bob:  Took accordion lessons – ’50’s

Bass in garage band – ’60’s

Didn’t play much – ’70’s

Home recording – ’80’s

Tryin’ to make to to 2000 – ’90’s


Alive & FREE!!!!!


Zzaj:  Where/how did ‘Beyond Riddum’ come from?  How have your projects progressed/regressed through the years?


‘Bob:  Beyond’ is a major part of our household vocabulary.  It comes from my wife and lots of her friends.  They claim to have gone beyond ‘beyond’.  “We were beyond”, “Wow, that’s beyond”, “Let’s get beyond”, and “Where’s the beyond bag?” are part of this beyond dialect.  It’s just so beyond that any other explanation is useless.  ‘Riddum’ – I’ve got a bumper sticker that sez “Riddum is Life”, which sums up a lot of shit on this side of the fence… hence, the word “Riddume” becomes ‘beyond’ when squished between that which is beyond and music that is beyond.


Zzaj:  Is yer’ blooz orientation more “White-boy-Hooked” (Sonny & Brownie), ‘Catfish Hodge’, ‘Paul Butterfield’ or ‘nunna da’ ‘bove?


Bob:  Saw Son House in Provincetown Mass, summer of 1967 – first and deepest exposure to non-mainstream.


Zzaj:  Please list all your releases and release dates:


Bob:  headspace – Face the Space ’89

Mothman& Headspace ’89

Blues for a Tired Planet – ’90

Writin on th’ Wall ’91

Don’t Try This at Home ’92

Zzaj:  Do you have any CD, vinyl or video plans?  Or do you have ANY plans?

 Bob:  When the average guy can afford a CD recorded at home – I’ll have one – not the funds to do a CD release but it’s a long-term goal.  Been doing video stuff for others but none of my tunes to video yet.  Got some ideas though and my wife and I are doin’ some John Bartles video stuff currently.  As for vinyl, I don’t really relate to that medium any more, as cassettes are such a big part of how I do things!

Zzaj:  How successful is the distribution and sales of your tapes?  Does anyone else distribute your tapes?  What about trades/traders?


Bob:  I distribute my tapes with Beyond Riddum.  I sell some locally at a music store and a ‘beyond’ clothing store (Buzzo Music & Godiva’s) but it doesn’t pay the rent, so to speak.  No one has ever offered to buy a tape through the mail, though I do lots of trading.  I’m not in it for the money, so my tape production goes with my ‘cash-available-at-the-time’ rule… got a few bucks, buy some blanks, send ’em out, maybe get something back.

Zzaj:  Does your music receive radio airplay?  Is airplay important to you?  If so, which radio stations do you recommend (& against)?

 Bob:  I finished ‘Blues 4 A Tired Planet’ at Earth Day time in 1990, sent it out to lots of stations thinking that with the Eco theme, I could get a little airplay.  Success rate was low, but I tried again with ‘Writin’, sending out about 100 to stations that were supposedly sympathetic to the cassette culture and didnt receive a single reply or whatever.  So my newest project hasn’t gone to any radio people – you know, why fool myself, even college oriented stations are locked into CD laziness, with a few exceptions.  I’m having a good time networking this one and people are listening to my stuff in this way, so its’ success I’m measuring through the tapes I’ve been getting in trade that in turn open my ears up to ‘beyond’ the normal setpoint.  But… I still WOULD like my stuff to get airplay… I mean, wouldn’t YOU?  So, I keep the quality in recording as high as I can so a poor mix, or whatever, doesn’t keep an otherwise good piece off the air!  (& Bob’s NOT just braggin’ there, friends – ALL his stuph I’ve heard thus far is of the HIGHEST quality – ed.)

 Zzaj:  Who designs the labels and covers for your tapes, or is that important?

 Bob:  The covers of my tapes are very important, hopefully they’ll be some sort of expression of what’s inside.  My wife is the ‘beyond’ artists in this household and did the original design of what we call the ‘Headspace Guy’ who is on the cover of ‘Face the Space’.  She also did ‘B4ATP’ & ‘Writin’ On th’ Wall’ covers.

 Zzaj:  You have quite a few releases.  How do you work collabs?  Are they through mail, or do you just meet & jam?  Who is your favorite person/group to collab with?  Have you gotten any good ‘playing’ contacts through networking?

Bob:  Til’ now, I’ve never done a collab by mail, but lots of people do & I’ll probably do it someday.  I’ve collaborated with John Bartles here in my stuido and at live spontaneous performances.  Lots of times a friend will just stop over with their horn or whatever, & we put something down on tape unrehearsed, and some of this gets used on my finished projects.  I recently met Jon Greenbaum as a networking contact who lives nearby and we’ve had the opportunity to record and perform live together with a couple of projects to come soon, I’m sure.  I guess Bartles is probably the most fun to do stuff with, ’cause of the capturing of that particular ‘beyond’ moment that really happens when he’s ‘on’ and the other people exposed are responding in beyond likeness!

 Zzaj:  What is your philosophical approach to music?  Or ist that an important thing?  Is it more influenced by plants, animals or politicians (the lowest form of animal)?

 Bob:  My space stuff is influenced by years of abuse to my brain cells and generally begins as a momentary fleeting thing… my lyrical tunes are what’s on my mind… you know, fuckin’ up the earth & my mind all at the same time, when the ability to change things is always possible yet seldom seen!

 Zzaj:  What musical instruments and other equipment do you use when recording or performing?  What does your home studio look like?

 Bob:  1 new guitar – G&L ‘ASAT’, lots of old guitars (Airline, Panelectric, Silvertone), Kawaii K-1/11, Casio CZ101, Yamaha TX 81-2, Alesis HR-16B, Casio SZ-1 sequencer, various effects & mixing stuff, cassette decks, DAT deck, Foxtex X-30 4-trak, my brother-in-law’s ’63 Precision Bass and a Pignose 150R amp.


…..& then, HE went offffff…. into th’  ‘Beyond’!!!!!  & yet, I hear… …strains … strains …strains of…