P1030025PeteBob got his start in music at about age 6, when he saw the trombone player on Bozo’s Circus on TV. After convincing his mom to score him trombone lessons, the music store informed them that “his arms aren’t long enough,” and suggested he take up a shorter instrument with a few more strings.

Before he knew it, he was the proud owner of a short-scale Harmony acoustic guitar. The love affair lasted three years. PeteBob said at the time, “I don’t feel like taking guitar lessons any more.” And that was that.

In sixth grade, PeteBob’s school held a meeting with parents to discuss the creation of a new band program. Sensing an opportunity to reconnect with his first musical love, he hounded his mom and dad into purchasing a Bundy trombone…an instrument that would last him throughout his high school and abortive college career, much to the instrument’s regret.

Yet by the time PeteBob was a junior in high school, he had realized a fundamental error: girls didn’t date trombone players. Pretty much no one dated trombone players, not even if they were on the chess team. Seeking redemption, he purchased a bass guitar from a friend for 15 dollars. He had no amp, so he plugged it into the microphone input of his stereo. Yes, stereos had microphone inputs back then. And people had stereos. He learned the bass part to Fire, by Jimi Hendrix, albeit poorly.

The next few years were a series of starts and stops. He obtained an amplifier. He learned to play trombone parts on the bass. He tried to convince women he had only played the trombone ironically. When a friend walked into the Red Lobster where PeteBob was working and offered him a spot in a band, he jumped at the chance. Specifically, he jumped out a window. Not literally, because that would have hurt. But he knew he wasn’t good enough and told the friend “no.”

Fortunately, the guy was hard of hearing, playing in a band and all, so PeteBob became one-third of the reformed “The Aftermath” and learned to live in fear, for every evening at the end of rehearsal, his friend would tell him, “Good night, PeteBob. Good work. Sleep well. I’ll most likely kill you in the morning.”

The years passed and PeteBob did not die. Indeed, he actually improved his performance skills on the bass, almost to the point of understanding what the G string is for. He played in a plethora of bands (plethora is a Greek word meaning “three”). Eventually, he landed in a group where everyone had the same second syllable and knew he’d found a home.

And that’s how the leopard got its spots.