Todd Snider: Danger, Sober Man at Work

When Rocks Off caught up with Todd Snider recently, the poster child for East Nashville's bohemian songwriter underground was driving across Nashville to get a shot in his lower spine for recurring arthritis.

"Yeah, I have to get a shot before every tour now," he says. "I just can't sit that long without getting some terrific pain in my lower back."

Snider then informed us that he quit drinking about a year ago. Well, in spite of his sobriety, the former Houston resident -- he ran away from home after his parents moved here -- hasn't lost his funny bone.

"When I was drinking, I'd crank up Black Sabbath and tell everybody in the room why they were the greatest band of all time, why they could destroy Led Zeppelin," says Snider. "I'd become like my dad and his rants about how great [former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger] Staubach was. I was an all-day whiskey drinker for 30 years, so there was a lot of that."

Snider, who comes to Tomball's intimate Main Street Crossing Monday night with a solo show, has his own label now, which has just released the new album by the Coal Men.

"It's weird, but people gave me money and wanted me to start a label," he laughs. "So I hired a few people and we're putting out some records. I didn't just make this stuff up.

"I've never done any quote/unquote 'music business,'" Snider explains. "I've never had these hardcore business types around me plotting a career, telling me what to sing, what to wear, or anything. So now I have a small label and I'm surrounded by this cool team of stoners and, hard as it may be to believe, we're all having a lot of fun with it."

But, for the most part, Snider is fine with delegating most of the responsibility for operating the label.

"Since I got old-ish, I realized I don't want to sit at a desk or study spreadsheets or make business decisions, I want to write songs and tour," he says. "I'm perfectly happy being on the road and making a decent living. I think that is what I was put here for."

Snider confesses that what he likes to do at night even when he's not on the road is "play guitars and sing."

"When it gets nighttime, I just want to grab my guitar and do some playing," he says. "That's why I'm in two other bands right now, the Hard Working Americans and the Eastside Bulldogs (also sometimes known as Elmo Buzz and the Eastside Bulldogs). In the Americans, I'm like the Ronnie van Zant singer, I don't play at all. But I like to play, so in Bulldog I play electric guitar too."

Story continues on the next page.

Location Info


Main Street Crossing

111 E. Main St., Tomball, TX

Category: Music

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"Since I got older, I realized I don't want to sit at a desk looking at spreadsheets" I'm Paraphasing Todd... That is a weird remark, when exactly did he do that? A while ago he sang about having "Never made it through the red tape, got this Paper Hat, Got a job working weekdays, You want Fries with that?" I could cite other examples.

Todd, Brother, I hate the soul sucking spreadsheets, but I've actually read them. I don't begrudge your escape, I'm looking for my out too. I'm not faulting your "realization" . Poets adhere to a higher truth, and they tell poignant lies to do it, or just to be funny. I am curious how you have stayed so in touch though? I'm only a pair of years younger than you. You are very clearly the voice of our generation, But how do you do it? Is it some sort of viscious soci-economic experiment? The Snider Triplets.... One of them can't find a decent job, one of them has to languish in Cubicle land albeit fairing better than his brother, finicially anyway, The last one, Todd, gets to document it in song, as a hard living folk singer, who sees what the world is doing to his brothers, and tells it so plainly you'd practically believe he had worn a paper hat, or knew what it was like to sit in that cubicle reading an excel spreadsheet.

I Hope that aint the case Or Daniel ad Peter Snider SHOULD BE PISSED!  BUt keep doing what you've always done. It's a circus out here mama, and your baby has the side show blues.


I would also like to add that Todd Snider rules.

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