Harkening to personal advice from his idol and primary musical influence, Mike Bloomfield of the Butterfield Blues Band (“Just listen to Ray Charles’s voice,” Bloomfield told him), BOB E. – Guitar took that advice, but listened more to Mike Bloomfield, whose influence can be heard in Bob’s guitar solo excerpted from a cover of Blue Suede Shoes performed by Bats Renfield, one of Bob’s early bands, on Track 6.
Riding the New Wave of the late 70s and early 80s, Bob performed as lead guitarist and songwriter with NYLON, a band that he formed with Billy Makuta, his songwriting partner for many years. NYLON played its first gig at Max’s Kansas City as second on a triple bill that featured the B 52’s in their first New York appearance. NYLON got its first gig with the help of a four-song demo recorded at RCA studios in New York. One of the songs from that demo, I’ve Got Cleats, can be heard on Track 4.
As the band evolved, its name was changed to RUR and was based on the premise that the band members were an advanced generation of robots capable of creating music. The band used an electronic percussion machine in lieu of a drummer. Out of the band’s original compositions, the members developed a rock and roll science fiction musical and performed the music in a show case for executives from ViaCom.
The music continued to evolve, with Bob and Billy as the enduring songwriting team. They added a drummer and changed the band name to R’S, playing many times at Irving Plaza during its early days as a venue for new music and in several other Manhattan music clubs of the time, including CBGB’s, The Other End, and SNAFU. Track 5 features R’S performing one of Bob and Billy’s signature compositions, Butch the Brain.
After the R’S band broke up, Bob entered a period of seclusion. During succeeding years, he lived in New Orleans (where he developed a love of Cajun music), moved to Arizona (where he got into country music), relocated to Chicago (Mike Bloomfield’s home town with great blues music) and then returned to New York. During those years outside New York, Bob continued to play guitar and began laying the foundations for acoustic guitar compositions that are featured on his self-produced CD, There Goes Yesterday, Here Comes Tomorrow… The songs, all instrumentals, blend many musical styles and elements. Rebopaloobop and Twilight Swing are examples. Yet, the blues influence of Mike Bloomfield on Bob’s playing is still present and reflected on Blues Dirge.