PERFORMER / TEACHER / PRODUCEREven at his young age Bobby has years of experience professionally performing and producing at the highest levels in multiple styles of music. For years he played with the world famous DJ Skee’s Skeetox band, currently plays organ for the San Diego Padres, and has performed with Ice Cube, Jesse McCartney, Xzibit, Lil’ John, Snoop Dogg, Warren G, Bobby Brown, The Glenn Miller big band and the Tom Kubis Big Band at Goldenwest. Bobby plays in San Diego's premier corporate top 40 band, The Mighty Untouchables, in addition to several original projects including the L.A. based electro pop trio ‘Smashtronauts’ as well as his own jazz piano and organ combos.
Bobby is also an accomplished composer and producer. His music can be heard through multiple outlets including television, movies, terrestrial, streaming and satellite radio, and video games. He also maintains an active roster of students, teaching a wide range of styles to students of all ages and walks of life.
Since 2010 he has lived in the University Heights area of San Diego, although he continues to work extensively in Hollywood and all of Southern California. He has a passion for moving others through his music, whether it be through performing, teaching or composing.
A couple days ago I appeared on a show called ‘Padres Social Hour’ on Fox Sports San Diego. I discussed playing organ at Petco Park with the lovely Annie Heilbrunn and the legendary Padres columnist Bill Center. We had FUN – - check it!
Once in a while I have the privilege of tracking with some reggae legends. For a musician, whether it be reggae, jazz, blues, or hip hop, there is nothing like laying it down alongside those who were pioneers of the genre, the first to play the style and set the standard for what instruments in that style do. All the musicians I recorded with on Monday were that. This session was at Fully Fullwood’s studio in San Clemente, CA, where what looks like an unassuming track home actually hides an incredible studio for recording roots reggae. Every preamp and drum head in this place is dialed in for the exact purpose of recording reggae, and the result is that thick creamy 70′s drum sound that eludes so many modern producers with their digital gear and plug ins.
I met Fully years ago when I was called to his studio to track a quick solo on a cut on his album. Years went by without us ever crossing paths again, then one day I got a call to see if I was available for another session. I did that session and ever since I’ve been getting three or so calls a year to come up to the studio and record for some artist. Every time is a little different as you don’t know who the session will be for or who will be playing drums. Fully is always on bass and Tony Chin is always on guitar.
This video captures the typical way the tracking goes down. We listen to the artist’s scratch track, learn it, then lay down our own version of it.
One of the other great aspects of tracking with legends such as these is that they have incredible musical wisdom and share it willingly. I consider it a huge perk of these sessions to be able to stand there and listen to the knowledge that these masters have accrued over a lifetime of playing Jamaican music.
Listen to this clip of Carlton ‘Santa’ Davis, the legendary Jamaican drummer (Ziggy Marley, Peter Tosh, Roots Radics, everyone else), talking about the role of the drummer in music.
I joined a new band, joined another new band, and made a dozen minor and major updates to my performing rig. I refreshed a couple solid industry relationships in Hollywood and have rebooted the producing factory for the year. I have some catching up to do to keep other goals for 2014 on track. Let’s work!
One of the coolest things about the Padres gig is getting to interact with the salty characters that regularly inhabit the sections of the stands that the organ is in (311/313). One of these is a gentleman by the name of Ed. Ed has several singularities that make him a distinguished and unforgettable character. Ed is allowed into the park early (not sure if it’s because of a disability or because of his season tickets). Often I will be setting up the organ long before the gates are open to the general public, and I’ll see a motorized wheel chair zooming towards me in my peripheral vision. He’ll come right up to me and just sit there, waiting for me to say something first. Once I do, he’ll make some jest, talk about how the team is doing, and then find his seat. Next thing I know, a Padres staffer is hand delivering Ed a clam chowder bread bowl. I can’t get over this. There’s nothing like a giant bowl of clam chowder under the scorching afternoon Summer sun. For Ed, it’s just what the doctor ordered.
He’ll wheel past me at several points during the game and exchange words with me about how the game is going and about life. During these exchanges I’ve been able to learn that Ed takes the train down from Fullerton to come to Padres games, he fought in Vietnam, and he takes insane trans American train vacations that take weeks to complete. He also is an avid Padres fan unless the Giants are in town, at which point he sports his Giants gear. This will draw a small amount of derision from me but Ed will counter with his reasons – he is a huge Grateful Dead fan (The Dead hail from the Bay Area). He will request some Dead and I think I have accommodated his request once. G-dead isn’t the sweetest material for ballpark organ but I made it work.
I love watching Ed stand up at the beginning of each game when they ask all veterans to rise and be acknowledged. That is one of my favorite parts of the day, seeing a humble smile on this loyal fan’s face when he gets the recognition he deserves.
2 short months until we’re back at it in 2014 and I’m sure Ed will be there, right as rain, filling me in on all his off season shenanigans.
This is the look Ed gives me when he rolls up to me, waiting for me to talk first. He challenges me with a grin.