Bob Nanna is a funny, funny man. He also sings and plays guitar for Hey Mercedes, which features an ex-member of Mary Me.
Click READ MORE to gather Bob's thoughts on Steely Dan, his worst show ever, what songs he's wished he'd never written, and a whole lot more. For more info on Hey Mercedes, head on over to HeyMercedes.com or Vagrant.com.
SCOTT: State your name and what you do in your band.
BOB: Robert Nanna. I play guitar and sing in Hey Mercedes.
S: First off, do you think you've lived down the stigma of the "ex-" moniker?
B: I think we're well on our way. Thankfully, we don't see it listed anymore on show fliers. And for the most part, the audiences have let it go as well. Sure, occasionally we get a jokester requesting Braid songs, but we take it at face value as… a joke.
S: Speaking of the "ex-" moniker, why has no one ever listed you guys as "ex-Mary Me" [Todd's old punk band]? I have their split 7" with Hand To Mouth, that's a good record.
B: I don't know. There are a lot of worthwhile music in our respective pasts, but everyone zeroes in on the obvious. On our new website, we'll have an exhaustive discography so that you can find some new "ex-" requests to shout out during shows.
S: Is it true that your band name comes from the Corey Haim movie "License to Drive?"
B: Completely untrue.
S: An anonymous user posted the following: "Why do you find the need to go on stage and play the most boring music ever written, and then expect people to stay awake for the entire set?" Care to answer him?
B: I don't expect people to stay awake. If you're not into it, feel free to camp out somewhere in the club. We can't be held responsible for any resulting nightmares.
S: When are you recording new material?
B: We're going to be recording a new album in February and March. I can't wait. We're writing for 2 weeks straight here in blustery Spread Eagle, WI and we're planning on recording at least 17 songs.
S: Would you be interested in playing Tijuana, Mexico? [someone asked this]
B: Of course. I don't know any rock clubs down there, though. Would the border patrol be a possible problem? Otherwise, we'd love to. We're interested in playing as many places as possible.
S: Boxers, briefs, or commando? [again, user submission]
B: I've gone from briefs to boxer-briefs to boxers. Boxers are the most comfortable way to go. Just ask your doctor.
S: Will the studio version of "That's Right, I Said It" ever see the light of day? I have a live version of it from your very first show, and I always dug that song.
B: Thanks, but I don't think so. It was always a fun song to play live, but it just didn't sound right when recorded.
S: You're a movie buff - recommend some good new movies.
B: Unfortunately, I haven't seen any new movies in a long long while. The best one I've seen recently was Amelie, which I thought was incredibly done, overall. I am super excited to see Punch Drunk Love. I will be first in line. That doesn't happen too often.
S: Ever seen "Wet Hot American Summer?"
S: If so, is it not the best thing ever since the State?
B: I liked it, but I think it could have been a lot funnier. Some of the gags were a little cheap. The State was amazing, though. I'd say their humor worked worlds better as a sketch show.
S: Again, here is a user submission: "do you like your women shaved down there, or do they prefer the landing strip?" For the record, "pass" is always an acceptable answer on these.
B: No preference. Purely the woman's prerogative. Again, comfort is the real issue. Just ask your doctor.
S: A user asked if Hey Mercedes will ever come to Australia. What say you, Nanna?
B: Yes, a million times Yes. We're just waiting for the right time. We're also extremely interested in playing Iceland.
S: You've been a lead singer for as long as I can remember, going back to the early days of Friction. Do you ever tire of being the main singer? Will there ever be a time in Hey Mercedes where someone else takes up vocal duties on a song or two?
B: I became a lead singer out of sheer necessity. Friction needed one. I sang during practice, and when we brought it potential singers, it just didn't sound right. So I kept the job… I love singing and I've devoted most of my life to it, so I'll never tire. However, I have no problem with letting Mike, for example, sing a song if he'd like. He has an amazing voice. Just pick up the Shielbound record.
S: Speaking of old bands - out of all the songs you've ever written, what is the one you regret the most?
B: Everything pre-1994.
S: Are there any Hey Mercedes songs you're just sick of playing? It seems like a lot of your material dates back as far as your first show.
B: Luckily, we switch up our setlist frequently, so no one song has gotten on our nerves. For this next tour, we have retired a few. For the moment. To let some of the new songs have some breathing room.
S: Explain the obsession with Steely Dan.
B: Just ask your doctor.
S: Are you single?
B: If you mean unmarried, yes. If you mean uninvolved, no.
S: If so, do you want to marry my friend Megan? She's a nice girl.
B: Well, we just met, and I'd rather not rush into such things.
S: What's the best CD of 2002 for you?
B: Aloha "Sugar". It's just amazing. I could listen to it over and over and never get sick of it.
S: If your house was burning down and you could only save 3 things, what would they be?
B: My computer, my journal, and my photos.
S: Describe the worst show you've ever played in any band. In detail.
B: It may not have been the worst, but Braid played an absolutely AWFUL show in Bloomington IL. We were duped into it by this band Abnormal. When we arrived at the venue, it was 21+ which sucked, and both bands were Heavy Metal… Cover Bands! And so we get on stage and trudge through songs like Jane Describes John and Quarters to the blankest of stares. And then halfway through the 4th song, I break a string. And so we just leave.
S: Describe the craziest tour story you've ever had. In detail. Bonus points if it involves nudity, Double word score if it involves nudity *and* Scrabble.
B: What are these points good for? In Florida, we thought it was a good idea to raid a hotel hot tub in the flesh. We got kicked out because we were loud. I'm sorry, I can't think of any crazy Scrabble stories. The games tend to be horribly nerdy.
S: Don't you hate pants?
B: Yes, but I love pajama pants.
S: Shameless plug time: write whatever you want here.
B: Do your best, don't worry, and smile at strangers.