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The Embrace Between

B-Sides and Judah Friedlander fondly remember the hug heard 'round the world, catches up with Bobby Bare Jr. and tells you how to download even more Robert Pollard stuff

It's been nearly five years since stand-up comic and actor Judah Friedlander (American Splendor, The Darwin Awards, Feast) incited a national hugging craze in the video for the Dave Matthews Band's hit single, "Everyday." Since that time, Friedlander has compiled a series of behind-the-scenes photos at www.judahfriedlander .com and continues to marvel at the video's long-lasting impact: "People I don't know still come up to me on the street every day and hug me."

B-Sides: How did DMB rate as huggers, both individually and as a group?

Judah Friedlander: Boyd was the only one who didn't get a boner. So I'd say his hug was the best and least awkward. Just kidding; they were all cool. Some guys were harder to hug than others because I was hugging them while they were playing their instruments and singing, and I didn't want to mess them up.

Which song from last year'sStand Up — "American Baby," "Dreamgirl" or something else — best serves as a sonic backdrop to hugging?

I'll go with "Dreamgirl," but I can hug to any song.

As a fellow actor, how well did you feel Dave portrayed backwoods characters who hang out with dogs in the filmsWhere the Red Fern Grows andBecause of Winn-Dixie?

I haven't seen any of Dave's movies. The only acting I've seen him do is in his videos. He's probably fine in the movies.

As a comedian, how well did you feel the tour-bus-dumping-human-waste-on-people's-heads incident proliferated in national comedy clubs immediately thereafter?

I don't think people joked about it too much. Most comics were too busy doing their same old tired jokes and trying to get laid instead of coming up with new jokes. And I don't talk about other people's shit incidents; I talk about my own.

Are you actually a fan of the band's music? Ever been to a DMB show? Hug anyone there?

I like DMB and became a bigger fan after doing the video. And in the video, they're really playing and singing. Usually in music videos, the singer lip-syncs, but DMB played the song live several times and sounded great. It was very cool to be in the room with them as they played. I still haven't been to one of their concerts. I'm hoping to one day go and get a backstage pass and if they play "Everyday" go on stage and hug them during the song. But I don't know how to get in contact with the band. The DMB fans have always been really nice to me, and I enjoy meeting them if they come up to me. They all seem to be really friendly people. Sometimes a little drunk or high, too, if you know what I mean. — Julie Seabaugh
7 p.m. Tuesday, May 30. UMB Bank Pavilion, 14141 Riverport Drive, Maryland Heights. $39 to $58.50. 314-421-4400.My Heart Laid Bare
Given his reputation for self-laceration and romantic cynicism, Bobby Bare Jr. remains doe-eyed about his own music, his life in Nashville and the Oedipal drama of being the wayward son of a country-music icon. Last year, he produced a crooner comeback album for his dad (Bobby Bare Sr.) and recently indulged his obsessions with spontaneity, damnation and numerology by recording a new album (due out in September on Bloodshot) of eleven songs with eleven people in eleven hours. He recently joined B-Sides in a post-European tour chat.

B-Sides: Now that you're back home, how many MySpace friend requests do you have to answer?

Bobby Bare Jr.: My record company handles all of that.

Your audience will be crushed.

My wife saw how many free girls were on MySpace and it freaked her out. I'm not allowed to be part of it.

You've always had a rather acrid take on yourself. Do you make nice on the new album?

God, I don't know. On the new record, there's a song about getting shot. And there's a lot of stuff about going to Hell. I don't know why that's in there.

Speaking of Hell, how has Nashville changed over the last decade?

Just when you thought it couldn't get worse, it got worse. Just when you thought it couldn't get cheesier, it doubles and triples. It's the most uncool music imaginable. At the same time, the amount of great music, outside of all that, has gone up. David Berman of the Silver Jews just walked through my front yard an hour ago. Will Oldham does all his records here.

And your father too. What's it been like touring with him?

It's cool, but now everybody knows I'm not using up half of my genetic potential. He's such a good singer, so I'm being exposed for being a slacker. And in the studio, he still has unbelievable instincts. His ideas are all there, everything he learned in the studio. He's still sharp as a tack and knows more about arrangements than I do.

Have you ever thought about making a "Nashville sound" record?

Not really. It's already been done. That's my problem with a lot of alt-country. Nobody's ever going to sound better than Hank Williams. You might sound exactly like him, but what does that prove? I embrace Nashville with one arm, and with the other, [I'm] molesting and distorting it. I'm just as sincere about both things.

It says in my rock-critic handbook that I should ask you about how being a father has influenced your own songwriting.

I have one song about a mean boyfriend, but it sounds like it's about being a dad. I just hate when people let parenthood take over their art. I really do. I don't want to hear them sing about it.

Does that mean you were traumatized by recording "Daddy What If?" with your father?

When I was a kid? God, no. The entire time I sang that, Shel Silverstein was tickling me. — Roy Kasten 9 p.m., Thursday, May 25. Blueberry Hill's Duck Room, 6504 Delmar Boulevard, University City. $10. 314-727-4444.THE DOWNLOAD
It's hard to mourn the now-disbanded Guided by Voices when its former frontman puts out a constant stream of new material. Robert Pollardwill release three new projects in May, including Psycho and the Birds, The Takeovers and Keene Brothers. You can score a song from each of the new LPs, along with a hefty amount of other free tracks, at his Web site. Or, if you're feeling sentimental, click over to gbv.com for an equally massive collection of rare and live MP3s. By the time you're done downloading, chances are Pollard will have recorded three more albums. Go to www.robertpollard.netfor the goods. — Andy Vihstadt

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