I met Bob on what was to be the last day I would ever see his brother, Matt. On that day the Psychotic Submarines were jamming out on the deck of Donovan's Reef in Sea Bright NJ. Matt was the cool cat ripping away on guitar and Bob was an absolute animal on bass with his hair completely covering his face the entire time. I remember chuckling afterwards that I might not recognize Bob if I see him again because I didn't really see his face at all behind the hair. On and off stage Bob was so full of energy you just could not help but be blown away by him. But nothing was comparable to the energy he and Matt had onstage together, and I am so honored that I got to see it at least once.
The second time I met Bob was at Matt's wake. In a room full of pain he focused on the joy of Matt's spirit, showing off his guitar and photos of him playing. Later on Bob read a eulogy to his brother that filled the room with inspiration and joy, and declared a determination and passion to live a life dedicated to honoring the brother he lost. My God has he ever!
Bob has become one of the hungriest musicians I have ever come across. His skills on bass spans everything from bluegrass, rock, grunge, reggae, all the way to progressive jam music. From the stage to the studio Bob will jump in head first and tell you yes before you even ask. Her also plays a kickass Trombone! He's living his purpose, and most of all he understands that his purpose heals others.
The first time I played with Bob was January 26, 2020. We played the most amazing mashup jam of the Grateful Dead's Shakedown Street with Pink Floyd's Another Brick In The Wall (all 3). He sent me a scribbled note of how he wanted it to go down (see pic). Like I said, there's no shortage of ambition in Bob and CJB was always down for the unrehearsed magic, so we made it happen! He was so psyched he called me "Brotendo" in a text (true story). What was truly moving was Bob asked me to play this crazy mashup (as well as a very emotional Sugaree) on Matty's black Fender Stratocaster. Mine would be the first hands to play the same strings that Matt played right in front of me on that fateful day at Donovan's almost 5 months prior. There's so much I will tell about that guitar and Matty further down the line, but suffice it to say it was an honor that I just can't put into words.
Bob and I have now had a few opportunities to jam, each one full of love and stories. My personal favorite was at Jamian's in Red Bank. Kevin Hill and I decided to throw a Grateful Dead tune called Crazyfingers at him. Bob had no idea how to play it and here we are onstage throwing it at him with the old "here we go and a 1...". To put this in context there are multiple key changes and all sorts of exotic chords and melody in this song. I spent months at Bob's age rewinding and replaying the song, painstakingly learning note for note. Months!! So here we are throwing this at Bob completely unrehearsed and live and he didn't even flinch. You could hear him finding his way, fumbling here and there but each pass around he got tighter and tighter. By the 3rd verse he had the entire song nailed. Completely nailed. Like I said earlier, you will not find a hungrier, more passionate person. No matter the difficulty he will find a way.
Most of the tracks I've received from musicians for Send The Flowers have been handled in the digital world, but in this case with Bob I got to go to his house to record bass for two tracks. This was to be my first time as producer sitting in a "studio" recording a musician in person so I was a bit nervous, but that was put away the moment I stepped inside. We sat in the finished garage hangout room that was the scene of so many of Matt's videos playing guitar or hanging with friends. Any ounce of anxiety I had was immediately gone and I felt a sense of comfort and ease completely envelop me. I could easily say it was Matty's presence but honestly the Scholz family is one of the warmest and kindest families you will ever meet, so it only makes sense that their home is one of the warmest and kindest homes you'll ever step foot in. Bob worked through his parts with every ounce of the passion and determination that has come to define him while he laid down magnificent bass tracks for Slow Burn and My Destruction. I left that day with a heart full of pride as well as that black Fender Stratocaster that would go on to record the solo of My Destruction, thus imprinting Matt's spirit on my album as well. I owe the world to the Scholz family. My heart is forever changed for the better for having known them. I spend time often wondering the "what ifs" in life, but I also find myself thankful for what is. Bob and the Scholz family treat me like family, and I'm determined to make them proud.
You can catch Bob currently with the amazing Pete Tonti Band, formed recently out of the flames of Covid with Pete Tonti, John Crow, Brian Abrecht, and Kevin Cooper. Bob brings his passionate energy giving PTB an edge of fearlessness and power that has been a staple of theirs from the start. You can also find his studio work with Matt and Psychotic Submarines on ITunes, Spotify, and all other streaming services. For me, I'm excited to play with Bob again in just two Sundays for the Sandy Mack jam. I love Bob like a brother, and I can't wait to see his dreams blossom to reality and continue to inspire others to live their lives with the same hunger and passion.
Pete Tonti Band: https://www.facebook.com/petetontiband