Seger Back In Spotlight After Decade Off

Inductee Bob Seger performs onstage at the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame 19th Annual Induction Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel March 15, 2004 in New York City.
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For a long time, Bob Seger and his music were just about everywhere: on the radio, in concert, in the movies and on TV commercials.

But if you've been looking for him lately, you should have checked on his sailboat, his garage or around the house with the wife and kids.

"Most of the time, I'm here in Michigan and I'm taking out the garbage every Monday," he told Sunday Morning correspondent Russ Mitchell. "I get up and move a couple of cans out to the edge of the road like everybody else."

Seger lives a surprisingly ordinary life that lasted longer than most musician's careers. But now, after a decade out of the spotlight and off the charts, Seger is back.

"It's really exciting," he said. "It's really fun to go to work."

Work right now for the 61-year-old is a national tour with his Silver Bullet Band — the first since 1996 — and a new album, "Face The Promise," that debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard charts. It took Seger 11 years to release a new album, mostly because he was busy raising his children, he said.

"I had kids at age 47, and very late in life, and I'd been doing it for 30 straight years, writing songs, making a record and touring and starting the process right over," he said. "Then I had the kids and [thought], you know, it might be a good time to slow down and watch them grow up — you're never gonna get another chance to see it."

The rock star-turned-house husband says that as he watched his son and daughter grow, he grew himself. And he wrote the new songs with a very special audience in mind.

"A lot of it is me, maybe in a subterranean manner, offering advice to my kids," he said. "When you have kids, you start thinking about their future and you forget about yours. So I feel I've gotta take a stand on certain things. I wanna tell them how I feel about things — this may be my last chance to do it. You know, I'm 61 years old, so I want to go on record with them a little bit."

Seger was born in Detroit and grew up as rock 'n' roll was taking form. He knew early that music was in his blood. His father, an auto worker, played six instruments and passed his passion on to his son.

"I always loved music. You know, my parents said I started singing when I was 4, in the car," Seger said. "Elvis came along when I was 10. My father gave me a bass ukulele. I taught myself how to play from a book to play some chords, so I was laying down 'Hound Dog' and things like that when I was 10 years old in 1955. That's the way I was. My ear was glued to the radio. I knew right then what I wanted to do."

After high school, he did a couple of short stints in car plants, but the assembly line wasn't for him. So he hit the road, playing as many as 250 club dates a year with a variety of bands while gaining a faithful, but mostly Midwestern, following.

"When we played, we had what it took to move an audience. We always had that," Seger said. "So we always, in a sense, felt successful, you know? We just didn't have the money and the radio airplay and the records to prove it at that time."

Seger's big break finally came in his home town. "Live Bullet," recorded at Detroit's Cobo Hall in 1975, became one of the most successful concert albums of all time. He took us back to where it all happened.

"It's pretty wild," Seger told Mitchell as they visited the hall. "I haven't been here in a while. Thirty-one years ago we did 'Live Bullet' here. September 4th and 5th, in '75, yeah — right on that stage."

"Live Bullet" shot up the charts, and turned platinum the same day a second Seger album, "Night Moves," also sold a million copies. The extraordinary one-two punch propelled the Heartland secret onto the national stage.

"I like to think we went straight from station wagons to jets," he said. "There were no busses in between. It just took off like a skyrocket."