I like weird music. Well, “weird” to most people. Certainly the bands I love are well outside the mainstream. I’m good with that.

Because my tastes tend toward the obscure, most of the live concerts I attend have a small-but-mighty crowd. (I’ve been to gigs where the people on stage outnumbered the audience.)

Believe it or not, there are other folks who share my musical tastes. You start noticing the same faces at shows. And for a long stretch in the late 90s and early 2000s, it seemed like every show I went to — especially singer-songwriters shows– I’d see the same older dude with a ponytail. The Venn diagram of our musical tastes overlapped significantly.

So I finally introduced myself to him, and every show after that, we’d compare notes on new albums we liked and upcoming shows on our radar. His name was Bob Gregory (I called him “Hippie Bob”), and he taught photography at Sycamore High School in suburban Cincinnati for decades before retiring to a life of going to sparsely-attended shows and being bothered by some music nerd (c’est moi!). He was a sweet dude, soft-spoken, funny, and kind.

The last time I saw Hippie Bob at a concert, several years ago, he was having some health issues and wasn’t able to attend as many shows as he’d like to.

I’m now at the age where I follow the Carl Reiner morning ritual:

“Every morning before having breakfast, I pick up my newspaper, get the obituary section, and see if I’m listed. If I’m not, I’ll have my breakfast.”.

Carl Reiner

Last Sunday I read that Hippie Bob had passed away earlier this month at the age of 82.

We weren’t exactly buddies. Just kindred spirits. But I always enjoyed catching up with Hippie Bob. The world could use more people like him, not fewer. R.I.P. my music friend.

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