Kevin Robbins Remembers Bobby Sheehan
It was a sizzling Cinco de Mayo in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the night I first "met"Bobby Sheehan. I had come to my first Blues Traveler show ever, not knowing what to expect. I had my Travelers and Thieves CD booklet ready to be signed, along with that trusty Sharpie. Roaming around near the stage, after Soulhat had finished their opening set, I spied Brooklyn Bob coming off the stage after he'd adjusted something on his rig. I yelled out his name, and he turned and quickly walked over. I held up my booklet and the Sharpie. He made some small talk, and gladly signed the book. What stunned me was that he thanked me for coming to the show.
Almost a year later, and perhaps my favorite memory of Bob, was in Little Rock, Arkansas. Inside a remodled Dillards department store, in a now defunct place called the Blue Rock Cafe, I watched an incredible Jono Manson opening set. I looked over only to find Bobby standing about five feet away. He was bouncing his head and getting into Jono's show. He looked at me. I looked at him. We shook our heads as we enjoyed what was happening onstage. I think I asked him to sign my BT hat. He did so happily. He shook my hand in a huge arc and headed back to the back, as Jono started his last song of the night.
In 1996, I got introduced to Bobby. I was in Denver on July 1st, 1996 and managed to get ahold of Dave Precheur. Dave and I had been talking via e-mail for some time. When he got my call, and realized that I was this person he'd been talking to on the internet, he invited me to join him in Boulder that night to see Jono Manson open up for some band known as "ekoostik hookah." Upon arriving, I see Bobby walking around the venue. We speak briefly, but it's clear that he's preoccupied with something. Jono comes out and does a frighteningly good set with just himself, a bassist and a drummer. Mid-set, out walks Bobby and he guests on a couple of tunes. The whole time, I had been looking for Dave P., not entirely sure of what he looked like. Finally, upon finding Dave, he was in the bar with Bobby. I walked up, and Dave introduces me to Bobby. I have met a number of musicians. Many of them have been cool, many of them have been less than human, but Bobby Sheehan ranks among the coolest. As we sat and talked, Bob's drink was running low, not knowing at the time that his drink was Jack and Coke, I asked him what he was drinking. As I stood up, he did the same, and said "Jack and Coke, can I get you something?" Here it was my intent to buy him a drink, when he turns the offer around.
After that, I have other memories of Bobby, but nothing outstanding, except the last time I talked to him. It was during Fall Tour 98 in Rolla, Missouri. The band was greeting a number of fans outside the venue. They came down the line, we were all behind a fence away from the band. When John walked up to spend his few moments with me, I mentioned that the Runaround that night was the best one I had heard in three years. Check the setlist from Rolla and you will find the notation that it was a "Fucked Run." It was like I had spoken startling revelations to them, as Chan, Bob, and John all moved much closer. John questioned me about what the crowd was like, Chan was smiling and standing behind both John and Bob. Without missing a beat, Bobby leans in, and in a voice that suggested I being let in on a huge secret, says, "We call that the Fucked Run." That was the biggest thing that I will miss about Bobby. Even though I knew him, we weren't close. I am quite certain that he didn't know me when he saw me. Even though we weren't close, every time we talked, he made me feel like we were long lost friends.
Now, if only we all could do that with everyone we meet, that would be a fitting toast to Brooklyn Bob.