Melding his classical training with years of Colorado mountain woodshedding, Bobby Yang is reinventing the sound of the acoustic violin. His inimitable sound combines the passion of a violin with the dirt of a bluegrass fiddle and the rawness of a guitar. He has surrounded himself with musicians who share his madness, his Unrivaled Players, while touring nationally. In the band, Yang’s violin acts as both the lead singer and guitarist, as the songs of Led Zeppelin, RUSH, and other rock legends, become instrumental jams.
When he isn’t performing with his Unrivaled Players, Bobby is Kevin Costner’s full-time fiddler in Costner’s new band Modern West. He is featured in Costner’s 2008 movie “Swing Vote”.
We got the chance to ask Bobby Yang a few questions about his fans, his funniest moments and of course, his music! Check it out!
What is the strangest thing a fan has done for you or at your show?
Last year, in the middle of the show, a fan offered me $5000 on the spot to play the song “Car Wash”.
What is the funniest moment you have had as an artist?
A true “one day we’ll laugh about this” moment… Five years ago, my band and I were playing a high-profile wedding at a private island resort. Because the bride’s grandmother was not fit to travel, the entire event was broadcast live via satellite. So… things are going well, and we’re in the middle of a pretty ripping instrumental version of Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar On Me” when you know there’s that part right before the 2nd verse where Joe Elliott sings, “Listen…”? Well, instead of dead instrumental silence, my drummer looks straight into grandma’s camera and screams, “FUCK!” Pretty horrifying! (For the record: he’s no longer my drummer.)
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
Other than practicing, nothing fancy. Just putting new strings on at least 48 hours before a big show. I don’t eat much beforehand, either.
If you could describe your music in one word, what would it be?
Balls-out. Dynamic. Raw. Acoustic. Improvisatory. Rule-breaking.
How do you connect with a crowd?
I try to find the least-interested person in the audience and do everything I can to get that person on their feet before the end of the set. Sometimes it’s hard to see too far into the audience – those new alien-bright LED stage lights are blinding as hell.
What is the best way to write music?
From the heart, and with a thorough knowledge of songs in the genre you’re writing in. I am an instrumental specialist – I am not concerned with lyrics very much, but I am obsessed with the bones of a song. I’ve probably got over 30,000 popular songs in my fingers – and it only takes me hearing a brand new song once to be able to recall it with both hands on the piano exactly and immediately, with vigor. I end up doing 90% of my writing and arranging with the piano…
Check out Bobby Yang playing at Eddie’s Attic THIS Friday, April 26!
Early Show 7:30pm:
Late Show 9:30pm: