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.
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.
I could easily write thousands of words about what Jerry Coleman meant to me as a kid born in San Diego who grew up watching the brown and orange Padres of the 80s and hearing his voice on the radio. After graduating from UCSD in the mid 2000s I was living in L.A. beginning my music career. At that time I managed the print department of a music store and would stay after hours to get work done while the store was empty. One night in 2005 I somehow stumbled upon the Mighty 1090 and was floored to hear the voices of Jerry Coleman and Ted Leitner calling the game. I had been going to Padres games throughout the 90s and 00′s but I hadn’t listened to the Pads on the radio since I was a kid. And now these same two voices from my youth were giving me an enthusiastic, warm, anecdotal and descriptive account of the games that were happening that moment 122 miles away. I don’t exaggerate when I say the following: The very moment I heard their voices again, my casual fandom was transformed into a deep passion and cemented for life. That year was a tough one as my dad passed away in January of ’05, and on many of those lonely nights as a transplanted fan, Jerry and Ted provided a real warmth and comfort.
Years later I now have a part time dream gig with this same organization. I count myself beyond fortunate that I get to actually be a part of it in some way. I have gotten to meet both Jerry and Ted, though both meetings were brief hallway exchanges that I initiated and didn’t take place under circumstances that provided an appropriate atmosphere to recount my lengthily stories of what they meant to me. But as I’ve been around the press box a handful of times a year for the past couple seasons, I’ve had occasion to see Jerry going about his business and walking nonchalantly to and fro like the living legend he was. And at the age of 89, I’d known he wouldn’t be around forever. That’s why every single time it happened, I would relish the moment I got to be in the same room with him or spend an afternoon listening to him call a game. No more. The tenor of everything Padres has shifted and my sorrow is deep. But change defines life, and broadens our understanding of what it means to be human. Thank you for giving me a love of baseball Jerry; that will live on forever.
I called Darren Smith’s show on The Mighty 1090 the day after Jerry’s passing. I may have expressed my thoughts more eloquently there than I did above, and I also have a story about the time I met Jerry. If you’d like you can hear it here: