Most people recognize this Riverview native from stints on ABC’s smash hits The Bachelorette and The Bachelor, but Bob Guiney is actually a musician turned television host. After graduating from Riverview Community High School, Bob went on to Michigan State University. Shortly thereafter he landed his first recording contract and toured with his band, Fat Amy, for about ten years. Upon returning home, he became an entrepreneur when he and an old friend started a branch of a mortgage company together called Allied Home Mortgage, which kept him extremely busy, but off the road, musically.
Eventually fate intervened. Two of Bob's assistants at his office signed him up for The Bachelorette. He went on that show, made several appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show, and eventually went on to star in a new season of The Bachelor, reigniting his career in entertainment. Since then he has become a popular television personality and correspondent. He hosted the Game Show Network’s GSN LIVE and Bingo Blitz, as well as TLC’s Date My House. He can currently be seen on HGTV’s Showhouse Showdown. In addition, Bob is back in the recording studio with his Fat Amy band mates, and also serves as lead singer of the infamous Band from TV. The group also features James Denton, Greg Grunberg, Scott Grimes and Hugh Laurie, among others. They simultaneously have fun playing the music they love, while raising money for charities near to their hearts.
BMN: How do you think being raised in Michigan impacted the kind of person you are today?
BOB: I think the way I was raised, and where I grew up, have affected everything about me and everything that has happened to me in my life. I grew up in a very close knit family, right next door to one set of grandparents and two streets over from the other set of grandparents. I had aunts, uncles, and cousins on the same street and within two towns away. And our summers were always spent up north (near Rose City) with all different portions of our family & friends mixed in for good measure. Even now, I come back to Michigan to see all of my closest friends and all of my family for the summer holidays to make sure we're all together on the water. So, I'm a Michigan boy through and through.
BMN: What was the Spartan experience like for you?
BOB: It was an awesome experience! I loved going to MSU! Actually I just spent a weekend with my band (Fat Amy a.k.a. Bob Guiney Band) playing Homecoming at Michigan State (Rick's Cafe, East Lansing) with Dorothy, which was another band we used to perform with all of the time, and it was unreal! To top it off, we beat the Wisconsin Badgers in fine form, so it was as good as it gets! But, yes, I had a great experience at Michigan State. I played football there, was an ATO there, started my music career there. It all started there. And I still have some of the best friends of my life from my time in East Lansing. So, I'm thankful they accepted my application!
BMN: Detroit is one of the greatest music cities in the world. How did growing up in the area influence your music?
BOB: Detroit IS THE greatest music city in the world!! And that has an enormous impact on what I tried to do musically. If only from the fact that you see a lot of great music around you and you want to try to be a part of that conversation. I've always been a huge fan of the music that has come out of Detroit - from all of Motown to MC5, from Bob Seger to Ted Nugent – and of course more currently, Kid Rock, Eminem, and The White Stripes. But I also loved what Michigan had to offer in the form of The Verve Pipe, 19 Wheels, Papa Vegas, Solid Frog (and of course, Fat Amy)...so many bands from that time that made a mark. I think Detroit and the surrounding area will always be a hotbed for great music! And a lot of it, you won't even have heard on your radio...yet!
BMN: What’s your latest musical project?
BOB: Band from TV. It's a lot of fun! Greg Grunberg (Heroes) approached me about singing in a band he was starting - all for charity. So, I go to the first rehearsal and in walks Hugh Laurie (House) and James Denton (Desperate Housewives)...and two weeks later we were playing with Macy Gray and Mick Fleetwood. We bill it as familiar faces playing familiar songs - all for a great cause! And since that first rehearsal, we've added Jesse Spencer (House), Adrian Pasdar (Heroes) and Scott Grimes (ER, American Dad). We don't play a lot of shows a year, but the ones we do have been incredible and we give evenly to our charities. We've gotten to play on American Idol Gives Back and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno! To date, we've raised close to $3 million for our different charities. It's a blast! I love doing it, and the friendships and the causes put it over the top!
BMN: As you know first-hand, the life of a musician can be challenging. What advice do you have for Michigan kids who believe they want to make a living as musicians?
BOB: It can be really tough - it was my full time job all the way through my 20's and into my early 30's. I guess the key is to keep your overhead low. I saw a bumper sticker once that read "Real Musicians have Day Jobs!," and at the time I didn't totally get it, but until music IS your full time gig and can support you - you need to have something else that helps you pay the bills, record your music, and afford to get it out there. Then, once it IS your full time job, the real work begins!
BMN: You were also once a business owner here in Michigan. What is the biggest lesson you learned from entrepreneurship that others could benefit from hearing?
BOB: I had always tried to run the band like a business and learned a lot from doing that, but learned so much more when we opened our business in Michigan. It truly is all about the people you surround yourself with – and we had some great people - and a really good run for awhile. I learned that having your own business, at least in the early stages, is a tremendous amount of work and responsibility for everyone that works for you, and then, for yourself. As a business owner, you get paid last, so again, that lesson I learned as a musician - keep your overhead low! I grew up in, and then returned to have my business in the Downriver area of Michigan, and it was great because the community was so incredibly supportive of us and wanted us to succeed. It was a great experience for me.
BMN: A lot of people get their “fifteen minutes of fame” by doing a reality show, with no real changes to their lives. You seemed to take great advantage of the opportunities that came your way, to carve out a new career. What choices did you make, or steps did you take, to capitalize on opportunity when it appeared?
BOB: I have to say that I honestly sort of "dumbed my way" into each opportunity. I was having so much fun with all of it that in the beginning I didn't even realize all that was happening. After a while it became one of those things where I realized what I enjoyed doing and just started trying to be in those conversations when I knew of different opportunities. I also tried to put myself on the "other side of the carpet" for stuff. So, instead of doing every "celebrity bull riding" show - I figured I might do better by being the person interviewing those people. So I turned to Hosting instead of trying to hang on too long.
BMN: What are some of your favorite places to spend time when back home in Michigan?
BOB: Downriver!! And my family's place up North. I love spending time with my friends and family. I don't get to see my family and friends from home as much as I'd like because everyone is always so busy. So, my time in Detroit is spent going to my nephew Jack's Little league games and my friends having birthday parties for their kids or a few of us meeting up for drinks and dinner. I'm a bit of a hermit when I'm home. I love it!
BMN: We appreciate your enthusiasm for the Buy Michigan Now campaign. Why do you think it’s so important for people to support Michigan businesses?
BOB: I think we all need to support our local economy - no matter where we live - but for Michigan, as it's my home and so close to my heart - and so many of my best friends have businesses locally - it affects all of us! If people focus on supporting their local economies, it will ultimately affect us nationally as well. I love Michigan - and I want nothing more than for my family and friends, and all of the people in Detroit to be on the other side of this global economic mess - sitting real pretty! And that can happen, if we really do focus on supporting those businesses that line our streets in our hometown. My closest friend since 1st grade has his own Chiropractic Office (Donathan Chiropractic) in my hometown of Riverview. He's still my personal physician and is for my whole family as well. My mother and sister work with a company that does high school & college yearbooks (Walsworth Publishing), throughout the State of Michigan. They live and work in Michigan, always have and always will. I love that! I think too, that it affects everything. Businesses lining the streets with customers buying, looks a lot better for the real estate in that area than a ghost town! So let's take control of it and buy local!
BMN: What Shout Out do you want to share with your friends and fans back in Michigan?
BOB: I can't ever express enough how much I love Detroit and the state of Michigan! I hope to be able to be in a situation to come home and raise a family there. That's always been the ultimate goal for me. And thank you! I am so appreciative of all of the support I get from everyone there. It means the world to me to be able to come home and do an event or play a show in Michigan and see so many people that have been supporting me and whatever it is I'm doing, since day one! Lastly - I have to say, I've been a season ticketholder in the past, and am still a lifelong Detroit fan - and I can't wait for the Lions to keep building on what they've already done this year and establish themselves as a perrenial powerhouse in the NFL once again! It's been an awesome year for the City of Detroit - Let's keep it going!