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FYI

A Conversation With ... Bob Segarini

What About Bob?

I needed a day to consider the loss of Mr. Bob.

A Conversation With ... Bob Segarini

By Bill King

What About Bob?


I needed a day to consider the loss of Mr. Bob.

Art and those that make or embrace - the many contrasting personalities I’ve spoken with - leave me much less judgmental.

I’ve interviewed a few thousand folks in the past 35 years, and I receive their words, hear their voices, and understand that relationship with the spiritual on another level. And yes, art is spiritual. Books, film, dance, music, painting, acting, etc., are spiritual acts. There’s grand passion, and energy spent pursuing a career or making a statement. Bob understood the pratfalls. Many regrets lingered. Once you are gone, you are absent. This is what it is. It’s life. You ride the big wave as long as your heart is beating. Death is forever. As they say, leave a tidy after presence.

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Bob and I don’t have a long history. I suspect that if we’d crossed paths in the early 80s, neither of us would have spoken again. Macho Americans. Opinionated. Pissed off. Political, earnest, yet upbeat.
The Bob I got to know suffered no fools.

I warm to self-assured folks. Bob was confident of his feelings. He expressed them as settled law. I’m not offended by that. Segarini could expertly draw on history. Point to a consequential moment in music and draw correlations and insight. He was also a terrific writer who could tow those impressions from the mind to the written page. This is where I’ll pause.

Bob was a writer first. An observer. A wordsmith. Others recognized his ability and tried to hold him in place, but it didn’t last. Despite this, I hope a book from Bob will someday serve as a case study.

I love laughter. Bob and I had some big ones.

I booked Greg Godovitz and Segarini on my CIUT 89.5 radio show several years back—a Thursday 9 AM start. Greg arrived with words in his head. No Bob. En route. Twenty past the hour, Segarini strutted in, partially clothed in whatever was worn the night before, lugging a mostly spent bottle of vintage Kentucky bourbon and shot glasses. Bob’s on fire. Hilarity. Goddo and Segarini are ribbing each other. Bob hands me the bottle and insists we drink on air. First, that will not happen. Second, it was the last inch of possibly a 40-ouncer and looked filthy. Greg and I have nothing to do with this. Bob then twists the bottle back into the crumpled bag and hands it to me for some travel music. ‘Don’t waste this. It’s the very best. I’m thinking you being a Kentucky kind of guy will appreciate.”

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From there, the interview was fabulous. Bob’s unscripted life in a nutshell. After that, Bob would call asking for an ongoing drop-by. We did this on another occasion with Jane Harbury and Roxanne Tellier. We crossed paths on stage and jammed. Always great energy.

The past couple of years were brutal for Bob. Growing into your latter years in an unforgiving economy is a cruel slap in the face.

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Artists make art, and others exploit it. Artists survive on pennies; the exploiters drive to the cottage. The NFL and even Hollywood have figured this out. Serious-minded people who dedicate themselves to music often end up impoverished despite their best efforts. The story is centuries old. People will make more money by telling the artist’s story than the artist will make himself.

With every inch of space given over to profiteering developers, only a minimum of affordable land is still in play. Let us rethink our priorities. Housing the helpless, lost, impoverished, and lonely is imperative. I would have loved to witness Bob finish without fearing eviction or homelessness. There is not enough money or resources to counteract this. I worry about humanity. All of us. We are better than this.

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That conversation is this week’s FYIMUSICNEWS.ca Podcast. Have a listen!

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