Is it Kevin Mitchell, or his sidekick Bob Evans?
Is it Kevin Mitchell, or his sidekick Bob Evans? Contributed

Kevin Mitchell eclipsed by his sidekick Bob Evans

BOB Evans was meant to be a creative side project for Jebediah's frontman, but Kevin Mitchell's alter ego became something of a star with Australian audiences.

So much so that if you search for Jebediah on Google, the feature box lists Bob Evans as a band member, with no mention of Mitchell in the line-up. To some, Kevin Mitchell is Bob Evans.

Mitchell invented the moniker in 1999 to play incognito to empty rooms, away from the spotlight that shone on the Perth indie four-piece, and as a songwriting vehicle.

"I had all these songs which weren't going to be used for Jebediah and, as a songwriter and artist I needed an outlet to do something with them," Mitchell said.

He has spent much of the past 14 years winning over the hearts of Australians by touring the nation as Bob Evans and releasing a swag of albums and EPs under that moniker, including the trilogy Suburban Kid, Suburban Songbook, and Goodnight, Bull Creek.

"I never dreamt where Bob would take me," Mitchell said. "He's allowed me to do things in music that, if I had only just been in Jebediah I never would have experienced."

But in 2010 Mitchell took a well-earned break from Bob Evans to rekindle the flame with Jebediah and The Basement Birds, releasing an album with each.

"Everyone assumed we (Jebediah) had broken up and I don't think anyone expected us to make another record," he said.

"But I had been working on new records in the background for some time. It was really important that these projects were given the attention they deserved. Jebediah, in particular."

During this time, it seemed Bob Evans had been retired, destined to become a few lines in Mitchell's Wikipedia entry.

"I just stopped giving him work to do," Mitchell said. Though behind the scenes, Mitchell was still writing songs, and although he didn't realise it, he was creating a new Bob Evans record.

By last year, he had written some 40 songs, some of which appear on this year's album Familiar Stranger, and its 2012 predecessor, the Double Life EP. Their new pop sound moves Bob Evans away from the familiar alt-country style.

"This record was all about giving myself freedom and doing it at my own speed," he said of the change.

The album features hit single Don't Wanna Grow up Anymore, a nod to some life and death experiences from the past three years.

Mitchell had been on an emotional rollercoaster personally and wanted to use the album to tell his audiences about this period.

"The record comes out of the ashes from a loss my family experienced and finishes when I became a father."

Now Mitchell is hitting the road with another of his babies; the songs from this new stage in the Bob Evans project.

Just remember, it's Kevin Mitchell up there. Bob's just his sidekick.

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