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 Tiffy Jane and the Kicks as well as his own jazz piano and organ combos. He's also a founding member of 'Western Standard Time', an 18 piece ensemble that plays the traditional ska of the Skatalites with big band arrangements.
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.
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, 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:
As the new year begins I always write a short review of the previous year with its accomplishments and ups and downs . This year I’ve been lagging because I’ve smashed my way into 2014 with an onslaught of live performances and new projects. There has been none of the customary New Year’s downtime since 2014 started. I did have a solid three hours to reflect on my flight back from my New Years gig on Jan 1. At that time I studied my journals from the year before (which I had brought along for this exact purpose) and considered how the year went.
In 2013, I:
-Played some heavy reggae for the ‘Tribute To The Legends’ with Jamaican Music legends Fully Fullwood and Tony Chin
blog post here
-Playing in the house band for Gilbert Castellanos’ Latin Jazz Jam
-Did some public speaking at a school
-Had music in a major motion picture Thor The Dark World
-Started making fresh music with Some New People
-Played my 4th year of organ for the San Diego Padres
-Elevated my game as a jazz organist and started a residency at a restaurant playing jazz organ
-Wrote another batch of hip hop cues for MTV
-Recorded music for a video game for the first time for SONY (can’t say more right now)
-Made an awesome and inspiring Trip to Chicago
-Was part of a gnarly music video cover of TLCs Waterfalls
This review comes late as we’re already 22 days into 2014 and onto newer things. 2014 is already great.
I’ve done my fair share of hanging out with famous folk, and I am not really phased by it. I’ve played with tons of well known performers and chilled with all kinds backstage. This has nothing to do with my merits as a player, it simply has to do with the fact that if you play music in L.A. for enough time, you see that everybody is hustling and we all live in that continuum between the A and Z list. That has certainly been my life for the past decade.
What happened to me when I was filming with Jane Lui for her ‘Waterfalls’ cover video was a different sort of celebrity encounter- the one where you find out after. I spent an entire evening creating music and joking around with an actress from one of my favorite childhood movies and I didn’t even know it. That actress was Tamlyn Tomita, and she played the girl in Karate Kid 2. Truly that seems like no biggie, but you have to understand I watched that movie 1000 times when I was a 9 year old boy practicing Karate on my 4 year old brother. I know every line from it and every kick, punch and drum roll. And here I was goofing around with the main character, telling her to feed me grapes as she fanned me with a piece of cardboard. The boldness of ignorance.