I was channeling surfing when I came upon the Dr. Drew-hosted trainwreck that is Celebrity Rehab and - like a car crash - I felt the need to crane my neck at take a peak.
And much to my surprise, the gaggle of washed-up stars were in group therapy moderated by Dr. Drew and...
Bob fucking Forrest!
Bob was in a seminal late-'80s LA band called Thelonious Monster. The Monster featured ex-Weirdo Dix Denney on guitar. Over the course of the band's existence, they would get by with a little help from friends like John Doe (X) and Flea and John Frusciante (Red Hot Chili Peppers). The band was once championed as possibly being the next best thing out of Los Angeles but Bob's sporadic, drug-addled behavior eventually railroaded the band.
They were an odd duck for my musical tastes at the time which consisted of a strict diet of hardcore and metal but being a avid skateboarder at the time, I was well exposed to plenty of alternative music (Chili Peppers, Jane's Addiction etc.) that I would soemtimes listen to as a break from all the bar chord noise going on in my head. Something about Thelonious Monster spoke to me whether it was Bob's lyrics or their drunk punk attitude (close cousins to the Replacements) and somehow they managed to secure a lifelong spot in my collection.
Several years ago, Bob Forrest came through Chapel Hill on some triple-bill of songwriters and played an acoustic show at the sandwhich shop/used book store called Skylight Exchange. Not having heard from him since the demise of Thelonious Monster (nobody ever informed me about the post-Monster outfit Bicycle Thief) I felt pulled to go see him.
As I browsed the books during one of the opening acts playing (that I can't remember) I bumped into Bob - dressed in customary suit and hat despite it being the middle of the summer in the southeast - and struck up a conversation with him. It was far from the fanboy type as I had learned over the course of my music journalism days that that kind of conversation gets you nowhere, and more on a level of book geekdom.
He left to buy some books and then put them in his car. As he was walking down the alley back to the club he noticed me walking out with a book in hand.
"Whaddya get?" he asked.
"Howl" I said. I was in the midst of a City Lights Pocket Poetry chapbook collecting spree and it was a pleasant surprise to stumble upon this Ginsberg classic in this ramshackled location.
"Nice!" he said.
"I was thinking to myself that if it was still there after my set I was going to buy it!"
Bob played barefoot.
It was good, not great.
He appeared sober.
And that was the last I'd heard of Bob until spotting him on the show.
So this one's for Bob Forrest...well and my sister (who's not born-again by the way).