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Bobby Burns

Bobby Burns will perform Sunday at the River Music Experience Performance Hall.

Through the past 15 years, Bobby Burns has played in and survived the rough-and-tumble world of heavy metal, first as founder of the band Primer 55, then as bass player for Soulfly.

But his newest venture scares him more than anything he's done thus far.

Burns has changed up his music to create a short acoustic tour, just him and his guitar.

"I've had (this) in my head for years, and the beginning of the year is as best time as any," the 36-year-old said in a telephone interview from his home in Atlanta.

While deciding where to do the concerts, he was inspired by watching bands such as Korn and Nirvana perform on the old "MTV Unplugged" series.

"That's always fascinated me, to have the songs in a different type of atmosphere," he said. "That was really cool to me."

His tour began Wednesday, stops Sunday night at the River Music Experience in downtown Davenport and runs for only a week-and-a-half.

"I don't want it to be some drawn-out thing in case it's horrible," he said. "Maybe people will dig it. I have no idea. ... Good or bad, it is what it is. You can't please anybody."

Burns, with a metal background, founded Primer 55 in 1996, balanced with the hip-hop background of singer J-Sin. The band put out an album in 1999 and had toured for five to six solid years, taking a break only for Christmas weeks.

"I didn't really want to write records anymore and being in charge when all the people in the band were doing crazy stuff," he said.

He stepped away from the band for nearly eight years, staying more in the background as the bass player for Soulfly.

Burns came back to Primer 55 a few years ago, reuniting with J-Sin for a festival show in Wisconsin. But Burns said he had changed while his bandmate hadn't: A hotel room was trashed and lights were broken.

"It cost more to play the gig than we made," Burns said. "Back to square one we go."

Burns said he partied right along with his bandmates through those years.

"I'm no more innocent than anybody else. I just got better, and not everybody else did get better," he said.

A minor stroke, which put him out of commission for several months, scared Burns into changing his life.

"That was rehab enough to scare a person into not doing stuff any more. And it wasn't as expensive (as rehab)," he said.

The band will release an album of its B-sides on Valentine's Day, with an original album out this summer.

 

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