Tangled up in Bob

By JIM SULLIVAN  |  June 25, 2007

I heard it was one of the largest divorce settlements in british history.
Hmmm. Well, more than I could afford. That was a very big strong motivation to go out and work. I’ve been doing lots of one-off tours here and there, which is something I couldn’t do before. Now, I have an English-based band, and we’re always prepared to go out and perform.

What is the best part of your job?
I think the applause, probably.

Still?
Yeah, I think that I missed it for quite a few years. I don’t know what it was: it coincided with the Roxy break-up in ’82 and when I got married. There’s a link to how bands break up and people get married and having another life. It was time when I did have a life. I had four children, and now they’re grown up. The youngest is now 16, at school, old enough that I can be away, so the last two years I’ve really started again. It’s been good.

You recently got in some hot water in England. A tabloid picked up on certain positive things you said to a German newspaper about Nazi-era art. What happened?
You’re not allowed to talk about art anymore. And I was just talking about art and style really to a very intelligent guy. We talked for about 45 minutes in January. Some of what I said got picked and distorted, taken out of context, and you name it. I was very upset about it. The one good thing was that my Jewish friends came to my defense. I have a very strong connection, almost an homage, to black American culture and Jewish culture, especially all the great moviemakers when they first came to Hollywood, the great writers, directors, and actors. And musicians also, who wrote a lot of the songs I’ve covered. What was distressing was how all these tabloids jumped on it without checking with me. First, the word “Nazi” was never used. The interviewer sent me the tape the next day. It was unbelievable, very sad. It did cause a lot of trouble. It’s the age we’re in. You talk about certain things and other people interpret them. It’s makes you think of Big Brother, freedom of speech denied.

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