#7 Matthewbob says

Now where was I? Oh Yeah,

We are now The Bobs, well not quite, I think at the time were going around being cute and calling ourselves the aural bobs. Janie knows Earl who is the owner of Earl's on Solano AVE.  a little night club type place where we start to play. These are 3 hour gigs without instruments but good training ground. We are doing covers at this time, nothing original in the sets yet. "Baby Snakes and Lonesome Cowboy Burt by Zappa, tunes by the Animals. This is also where the name comes from. One night, I guess they didn't have all the letters for the marque but they listed us as The Bobs dropping the aural part. We liked it and never looked back.

#6 Now where was I, Oh yeah

Let's add another voice. That was the next faze of The Bobs. Now Gunnar could sing hi in falsetto and so could I so it was decided that we would look for a female voice but a low alto type. Again free ad in local paper but this time, having a little bit of a local rep, we got about 7 people who called to audition. Janie Scott joined the group with what was almost a tenor voice, very cool and smokey and we become the form that we will maintain for the next 33 years. Three men and one woman, The Bobs

#5 Matthewbob says

Now where was I,

Oh Yeah. Birthdays, weddings ,receptions, other free gigs and a couple of opening act spots were what came next. We were all working other gigs so it didn't matter, all just for fun!

We hadn't really decided on the name at this point. The Oral Bobs and almost Sansa-Band. You have to be old enough to get that joke. One wedding reception was the exception! The couple had hired 2 musical acts. The Bobs and The Cheap Suit Serenaders with R Crumb and R Armstrong. Wow what a double bill. Two very quirky groups made for each other. The picture is our first promotional shot. You can't really see but we are all wearing blue trench coats I got at the Army/Navy store with BOB embroidered on the front, very classy!

FirstPromoShot.png

Matthewbob says

Now where was I, Oh Yeah!

The three of us begin putting together material. My contribution to this is suggesting songs and artists. Merle Travis was on my radar at the time so he is one of my suggestions. Remember I'm an actor not a musician right now, so I am looking for quirky, funny, Firesign Theater stuff. "That Fat Gal of Mine" is the name of a tune I throw out.  So I think you can start to see how The Bobs are going to roll.  We're doing "Baby Snakes" and Lonesome Cowboy Burt" by Zappa all the way to "I've been Lonely too Long" by The Animals and don't forget "That Fat Gal of Mine". Our first semi-official performance is at an open mic at a Cuban restaurant in Berkeley, Ca.

12 flamenco guitarists and The Bobs, we were a great success, by default.

#3matthewbob says

Collaboration makes Art!

One of my favorite memories of the early Bobs was getting Richard into the group. Gunnar and I knew that having a real bass in the group would be the best . So we placed an ad in the local free paper, "Bass singer wanted for New Wave Acapella group" Richard was the only person ever to call. We actually had him come in and kind of "Audition". I had auditioned a lot as an actor and a few times as a director but never for a music group. We just sang some songs together. Doo Wop version of Proud Mary and others. Then he left. Gunnar and I are like well he's good and knows all about recording, but lets wait to see some more bass singers before we decide. A week passes, No more bass singers have called. I am the one who calls Richard back,by the way he sounds like God on the phone, and tell him he has been chosen, Ha!

About a year or so later I was telling this story on a radio station appearance somewhere on the East coast and I will always remember the look on Richards normally hard to read face.

Matthewbob says

And yet all good things end for some reason and the field of singing gorillas and super heroes put our Phillip Morris dressed people out of business. Now, luckily Gunnar and I both are living in Berkeley. One day there were phone calls. Either I called Gunnar or he called me, I don't remember but a get together was planned to talk about a way to sing together. Again serendipity plays a roll in the life of The Bobs. Both of us had recently seen a trio singing accapella, The Baltimore's,  a Do Wop sort of group and tons of fun!  I came with the idea that we should not sing old Do-Wop songs and should not try to be like The Persuasions, who would always be better at it. I suggested modern songs with Do -Wop style A La Godfrey Daniels. Gunnar took it to the next step and brought out his accapella idea for Psycho Killer by the Talking Heads straight up! Looking back its great to see the progression of collaboration that brought The Bobs into being.

 

 

Matthew Bob Says

1st installment:

The Bobs started as an idea based on my college years. I was studying acting and directing and there was a wonderful weird group named Godfrey Daniels! A group of us theater types thought they were great and off the wall. Their thing was taking well know familiar hits at the time, late 60's , and giving them a doo wop sound. Proud Mary, Hey Jude and Purple Haze are an example. Us theater geeks would learn these tunes and sing them accapella at parties. Fast forward 6 years finds me in San Francisco, working as an actor and paying my rent with Singing Telegrams. This is where Gunnar Madsen comes into the story. Gunnar is a local musician trying to make ends meet with singing telegrams as well. We both worked for Tim Curry at Western Onion Singing Telegrams! What an odd, fun and humorous way to make a living.

Richard Bobs’ Summer

I normally spend a part of the summer back at my farm in Virginia. This year, rather than flying back and forth from Seattle, Nell and I found ourselves with too many cars in Seattle and not enough in Virginia. We drove across country, and left the Subaru Outback at the farm. We logged an exhausting 4500 miles, counting the side trips to the beach in Delaware, to Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, and up and back to Delhi, NY with Nell’s parents. We did trick out this car with full electronics, so whomever wasn’t driving got to watch the World Cup! The internet reception was pretty good in most populated areas, though Wyoming proved a challenge. Or maybe Wyoming just isn't ready for soccer......

 

At the farm there was the usual fence fixing and mowing the pastures with my vintage Ford tractor. It's a 1974 gasoline (not diesel) industrial model, perfect for traversing the hilly terrain.

I do find my gear lust has changed character, I used to drool over rare vintage basses, then shifted to exotic microphones and preamps, now I can't drive by a farm equipment dealer without turning my head to ogle the backhoes..... (sounds like a band name....."ogle the backhoes")

 At some point in the next couple of years we plan to build not only an addition to the house but an outdoor concert space down by the pond - a little stage, hillside seating, cooling summer breezes, snapping turtles, no neighbors within a half mile, what could be better?

  The cattle weren’t so happy this year about having to move fields. But then again they don’t express themselves in any articulate way.

The cattle weren’t so happy this year about having to move fields. But then again they don’t express themselves in any articulate way.

I did a number of  voiceover/music sessions this summer, including one in suburban Maryland with the ever-clever Russell Ginns for his next project “The Big Reading Show.” (also on the gig was former Bob Amy Engelhardt)

End of July it was a flight to Portland, OR to meet up with the rest of the Bobs for a weekend of gigs in Pacific NW: Portland, Seattle and the San Juan Islands.

 

I spent a lot of time this summer researching and writing (as well as shedding on the string bass) for my next project — which may be labeled “Bluegrass from Mars.”I recently picked up this lovely Italian carved bass. Singing the bass parts with the Bobs has really focused my concept, now I just have to practice many hours to regain the fingering technique I once had.

In August Nell and I went back up to San Juan Island for a weekend that included walking the annual Friday Harbor loop run — once again I didn’t win my age bracket. Next year I “advance” to the next age grouping and now have a whole coterie of trainers who are going to “help” me to win.

 

 

 

And, several years ago, just for a laugh, I recorded a couple of old folk ballads. My son-in-law has posted them to Soundcloud and has suggested I do a full albums worth of nautical songs. I link to them here so that y’all may sample and if the demos are to your liking, please comment on whether I should do that record.

Richard Bob Greene