But who heard it, then and now? Bob got one more single off that album when it came out—"Ramblin' Gamblin' Man," which is pretty good too—and then sank back into the sweatbox circuit until his more palatable retro-rock shtick finally bought him a little security. I bought both my copies of "2 + 2 = ?" in thrift stores for about 25 cents each, passed over for years by scavengers who thought they were too smart for Bob Seger—by the kids of parents who might have heard "2 + 2 = ?" and looked at each other in a certain worried way when the mail came each morning in 1968. "No one has more of a right to sell out than Bob Seger," wrote Lester Bangs, which was exactly sadly right: he'd tried it his way, when he really did have a lot to lose, and . . . he lost. And by the time he got it again in the mid/late '70s, he was all hollowed out, and the Rolling Stones were millionaires. Which is how it is today. Too much too soon, Bob, but thanks for trying anyway: "All I know is that I'm young/And your rules, they are old/If I've got to kill to live/Then there's something left untold. . . . It's the rules not the soldier/That I find the real enemy."
TURN THE PAGE: A TRIBUTE TO BOB SEGER WITH DESPERADO: A TRIBUTE TO THE EAGLES AND ONE: A TRIBUTE TO U2 AT THE COACH HOUSE, 33157 CAMINO CAPISTRANO, SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, (949) 496-8930; WWW.THECOACHHOUSE.COM. FRI., 8 PM. $12.50-$15. ALL AGES.