The Early Influences
Robert’s interest in music started with an old box of his mother’s 45s that he found and started listening to on his record player as a small child. This box consisted of lots of early rock and roll from the 50s and early 60s, from Elvis to early Beatles. The Beatles were an early influence for Robert and inspired him to want to become a musician.
Robert tried taking some guitar lessons in grade school, but the class did little to keep his attention. He had no interest in learning Tom Dooley and other folk songs that were presented to the group. He just wanted to play rock and roll. A bit later, he began to study the trumpet in band, with somewhat better results. He always knew that he really wanted to play guitar, and eventually dug in and started teaching himself, using the trumpet method book as an example to learn to read for the guitar. He went through a few years’ worth of trumpet music in just a few days and knew he’d found his passion.
On to the Rock
Around the time Robert began his serious study of guitar, he had one of those life changing events… he bought his first Van Halen album. From the opening bass notes of Running with the Devil, Robert knew it was something a little different. Then the power chords came in, and the sound was just so… brown. Then when Eruption came on, Robert’s jaw hit the floor. He had never heard anything like that, and he knew that the sound and feel Eddie Van Halen conveyed on that album was something that would change him forever.
Eventually Robert started jamming with other local musicians and started to develop a style of his own. He played in several bands before joining Black Dove with Marc Pugh on guitar, Dean Pugh on bass, and Charlie Swift on drums. The lineup changed around a bit over the years, but Robert and the Pugh twins remained a part of that band though much of the 80s.
Eventually Robert left Black Dove and began working as a sound engineer and started studying the engineering and production areas at Fullerton College. He still had the bug to play in front of people, so he then formed The Finger with Scott Gray on bass and James Maciel on drums, with Pete Freeman filling in while James studied for a year at Percussion Institute of Technology in Hollywood. The Finger played around Orange County through the early 90s and eventually went their separate ways.
In 2004 Robert partnered with another old friend from Oregon, Bob Nicolas, aka Buni Savidge to form Vicious Yuppies. He placed an ad for a bass player and Don Read, aka Dr. Funk responded. Sadly the band only played a couple of parties, one featuring Steve Castro on drums and another with former The Finger drummer James Maciel. Vicious Yuppies did band together with drummer Harry BFD Bawls to record an album in 2006.
Computers and Music
Robert spent a lot of time over the next few years recording and honing his engineering and production skills. Several friends suggested that he should take his technical expertise and start working with computers, and that inspired a career change for his day gig. It also meant major changes in the way he looked at music. Now Robert uses the computer for recording and has evolved into making the most of the digital age with his music. He incorporates a variety of software synthesizers and effects plugins into his DAW of choice, and his music has evolved from his hard rock beginnings to use elements of industrial and even dance and techno type sounds as additional textures.