The beauty of Bob’s voice is that he’s just being himself.”The album’s opening track is a version of the classic “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean,” a song with famous interpretations by Blind Lemon Jefferson and Dylan. Forrest has been playing the song since the early days of Thelonious Monster.I have been for 35 years, a ridiculous amount of time,” Forrest says with a laugh.Looking back on his career, he’s been the frontman for legendary bands Thelonious Monster and the Bicycle Thief.When they got cabin fever in the studio, Brennan took the sessions outside for a change of scenery and sound.Over the course of a week they laid down dozens of songs, with Brennan paring the album down and sequencing the tracks to tell the story of Bob Forrest’s battle against addiction and ultimate salvation.Bob Forrest is a singer, songwriter and fixture in the recovery community who has been called “the most famous drug counselor in the world.” He got clean in 1996 after twenty-four attempts to detox, and has since been a co-star on Celebrity Rehaband Sober House with Dr. In his time as a rock musician Forrest once tried to kill himself onstage and he infamously mangled the “Star Spangled Banner” so badly at an NBA game in Los Angeles that he become a minor sports celebrity. “It’s much harder to write one good song than it is to start a million-dollar rehab center,” Bob Forrest says.“The real truth of it is, I’m a musician.
Forrest worked with friend and GRAMMY-winning producer and author Ian Brennan (Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Tinariwen) to record Survival Songs.
The pair, along with a small crew of musicians that featured Zander Schloss (Circle Jerks, Joe Strummer)— who constructed many of the duo arrangements— went to Big Sur to record on a plot of property Forrest’s friend Flea owns.
He discovered guitarists John Frusciante and Josh Klinghoffer for those bands, respectively.
Both left him to join Forrest’s contemporaries in the L. music scene— a little band called the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
“Bob, to me, is one of the great ‘lost’ singers and songwriters,” Brennan says.“I really care about vocals, but for most modern American singers it’s hard not to cross the line into affectation.