By Doug Thompson
Bob Segarini lived life on his own terms…and he left life the same way.
Bob died in his sleep on Monday night July 10th at Etobicoke General Hospital where he’d been for the past several months.
There was no halfway with Bob. You were either on Team Bob, or you weren’t. For the past 15 years or more, I was firmly on Team Bob.
Make no mistake, Bob was definitely a curmudgeon. In fact, he may have been the Grand Poohbah of curmudgeons, but he was our curmudgeon.
And damn it, Bob Segarini was one talented son-of-a-bitch.
He co-wrote songs with Harry Nilsson for gosh sakes. How cool is that?
He hung out with The Monkees in LA and played squirt gun with them in the lobby of the RCA building on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. RCA’s security guards were not amused.
The Grateful Dead asked him to join their merry band. He passed.
His career in the music business should have been uphill all the way, but Bob hit a few snags along the way to fame and fortune.
After a few personnel changes, his California-based band The Family Tree, signed with RCA Records and their debut album (actually, their only full-length) Miss Butters, an early concept album, was released in 1968 and produced by Rick Jarrard, who also worked with Nilsson and Jefferson Airplane. After album sales did not reach the record company’s expectations, RCA dropped them a year later.
His new band Roxy was signed to Elektra Records by founder Jac Holzman.
Then there were The Wackers (also on Elektra) and, later, The Dudes. Both bands recorded in Montreal.
Well, didn’t Bob just fall in love with that city!
He obtained landed immigrant status and became, as he put it, a proud ‘CanAmerican’. Montreal was home for a few more years, then he migrated southwest to Toronto and had a successful solo career.
Gotta Have Pop anyone?
Also, for several shining moments, he partnered and performed with pal Greg Godovitz as the Anger Brothers.
Bob easily adapted his talents to any medium. CHUM-FM Program Director Warren Cosford turned Bob Segarini into the Iceman and put him on air from 10 PM until 2 AM. When that gig ended after 6 months, thanks to a Motorhead interview that was supposed to last 10 minutes but instead went for 3 hours, Gary Slaight hired the Iceman at Q-107, and again, a few years later, Gary gave Bob a show on the Iceberg channel on Sirius/XM Canada.
During the mid-1980s, Moses Znaimer handed Bob the reins of CITY TV to host Late Great Movies. If you Google ‘Late Great Movies Bob Segarini’ you’ll find several examples of Bob’s antics. Here’s one.
If you were a friend of Bob’s, you knew he could talk…and talk…and talk.
But nowhere did he talk better than on his monthly Bobcast, which was one of the earliest podcasts.
Oh, how he loved the Bobcast. Especially working with co-host Roxanne Tellier. They were like two peas in a pod. Both had the gift of gab, but both were fun and funny. Bob’s persuasive powers were such that he convinced Cherish Stevenson, the owner of Cherry Cola's in downtown Toronto to open her Bathurst Street club on a Monday night so he could produce the Bobcast with a live audience as well as a live band, known then as X-Prime, they’re now James Blonde.
I attended most of the Bobcasts and, occasionally, when a guest didn’t show up, I was shanghaied into the guest chair. One cold, stormy winter night, his announcer, Michael Tomasek couldn’t make it, so I became the announcer for that show.
It was hard to say ‘no’ to Bob Segarini.
When I still lived north of Toronto in Aurora, I would drive into the city every month or so, pick Bob up at his apartment and treat him to lunch at the Centre Street Deli. I never knew anyone who craved smoked corned beef sandwiches more than Bob. He’d say to me, “Doug, you have got to try this sandwich” and I’d remind him that I was a vegetarian. He’d respond with “Then for the next minute, don’t be a vegetarian. Take a bite.”
As often as he tried, he was never able to convince me.
Prior to and during the early Covid years, Bob’s pride and joy was working on his daily blog, Don’t Believe A Word I Say (or DBAWIS for short) which, in addition to Bob, featured regular columnists Roxanne Tellier, Darrell Vickers, Jaimie Vernon, Gary Pig Gold, Pat Blythe, Peter Montreuil and Cam Carpenter among others, including yours truly. Bob was as excited as a kid in a candy store when he was concocting photoshopped memes or finding just the perfect photo for the various columns.
Those columns are all still available at https://bobsegarini.wordpress.com.
Just over a dozen years ago, I profiled Bob for my Hi-Fi channel series “Hi-Fi Salutes”. Naturally, we taped his interview at his favourite watering hole, Cherry Cola's. You can find that episode on YouTube.
Bob loved discovering new music and passing it along for others to enjoy. He loved his daughter Amy and his grandkids. His heart was so much bigger than he would ever let anyone see.
Bob had unending talent, infinite ideas, a wicked wit and a brain that moved faster than any supersonic jet.
What he didn’t have…was time.
Robert Joseph ‘Bob’ Segarini left us at the age of 77.
– Additional reading about Bob: