About Rob Anthony!

About Rob Anthony!

My first influence in music came as a child.  My mom and dad both liked to get their groove on at one time or another.  I distinctively remember trying to stay up late just so I could hide in the shadows of the hallway door and watch the grown ups get their drink on and party to Al Green, Marvin Gaye B.B. King, Bobby Blue Bland, The Dramatics, Luther Ingram, Johnny Taylor, Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions, Joe Simon, Joe Tex and Jo Mama if she was there.  It was an easy association to form- music meant parties and drinking and women, yeah, what's not to like about that?  So as a young impressionable piece of clay, I molded myself into a statue of, of, uh, mmm, well a statue of something. (What? You have been smoking something). No, really I haven't been. (Oh, I see, you're just crazy) I'm not crazy. (You're talking to yourself, aren't you?) No, I'm talking to... uh, uh, O.k., I see your point.  Anyway, I do music.  

Through the years, music remained a vital part of my life.  I remember singing "Oh Girl" by the Chi-Lites at our Friday night home produced Talent Show.  Our audience of mom and dad was kind enough not to mention my off-key rendition of Eugene Records classic.  I vividly remember my older brothers and I pretending to be the Jackson 3, it would have been 5, but my oldest brother never joined in and neither one of my sisters were willing to play Tito.  Yeah, that's right, I was Michael because I could do the best Robot to "Dancing Machine."

In the fifth grade, I think in Brownwood Texas, we got our first piano and only piano.  I don't know what possessed mom to get it because I can't recall anyone in the house at that time displaying any sort of talent whatsoever.  My big sister brought home a few ribbons from choir singing contest, but didn't they give those to everybody just for being in the choir anyway? It wasn't until later when she matched Denise Williams note for note on "Free" that I realized that she had some talent.  She couldn't quite get Minnie Riperton, but then again, who could?   It was my big sister who taught me my first song on the piano, Bill Withers' "Lean on Me".   That was the only song I ever learned on the piano for over 12 years.  I don't know what happened to that piano and my Dad's house didn't have one.  So it wasn't until after I went into the Air Force did I play piano again, seriously I mean, if you can call me playing 8 measures of Lean on Me serious. I used to dabble a little bit in the music class at Jones Jr. High and Coldspring High in between classes because I didn't take any music classes there. It wasn't required like Football.  Once I got into the Air Force, Castle A.F.B in Atwater California, I met my music mentor and best friend for life, Roderick Plummer a.k.a. Rodrico Esquella.   I met Rod and Matt at the Military liquour store, better known amongst G.I.'s as the "pakish sto'".  Ironically enough, we had all just been on the base for a couple of days and we were all from Texas.  We hit it off immediately.  Rod told me played Guitar, Matt either did play or wanted to play bass, and me, well I wasn't going to be outdone, so I said I played piano.  The only one with any talent was Rod.  He was a God on guitar.  He played Jimi Hendrix, Parliament, Funkadelic, Santana and then there was Humble Pie, and Led Zepplin, Earl Klugh etc.  He had a wide range of musical taste.  One day we all decided to meet at the Rec Center to have a jam session.  The rec center had a piano, so Rod brought his guitar and we started to jam only I couldn't play, and Rod and Matt got real tired of hearing same version of 'Lean on Me' either sped up or slowed down.  After a while of trying to give me a chance to warm up, Rod just looked at me and said, "Man I thought you could play."  It wasn't a question, it was a statement of disappointment.  It was then that I told myself I'm gonna learn to play this thing.  So everyday Mon-Fri I spent 4 – 6 hours a day in the rec center honing my now diminishing skills.  On weekends I was in there 10 or 12 hours a day.  I did this for the rest of time at Castle.  By the I moved out of the dorm and got my own place I was getting pretty good. My first room dog, as it was called, moved out and Rod moved in.  That was the beginning of my music apprenticeship from Master Rod.


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