The Bobby Rock Newsletter #60 (5-28-2022) - Transitions
The Bobby Rock Newsletter #60 (5-28-2022) - Transitions
Hey All -
Welcome to issue #60! Thank you again for being here. On Monday, I had a pretty good idea of what I was going to cover this week. But all that began to change on Tuesday, as a different sort of theme began to unfold. Let’s embrace it and jump right in...
In This Issue:
In This Moment: Live Update
Drinking the Dirt this morning...
Ok, so as I'm finishing up this week's Newsletter, I took a quick break to make some Dragon Dirt... only to find that, for possibly the first time in three decades, my sleep-deprived ass actually forgot my motherfucking blender back in LA. I panicked for a moment, then went to the front desk of the hotel to ask about the unlikely prospects of whether there might be a blender somewhere on site. A woman nearby—who was apparently working hospitality at the show tonight—said, "No problem. I have a blender for you backstage, along with some oranges and bananas."
"You're shittin' me," was the best I could come up with.
You must understand, I don't EVER recall seeing a blender backstage at one of our gigs. It is simply not a rider item precisely because I always bring my own. Plus, the fact that she exclusively mentioned "oranges and bananas"—my go-to recipe for a Dragon Dirt smoothie—from a trey that also included apples, grapes, and tangerines, leads me to ask... "Could this be the work of St. Georgie, looking after me?"
Read on for context, and understand that I had already written the three paragraphs below before any of this happened.
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It’s been yet another tough week where transitions are concerned… transitions of the heaviest variety. I realize the passing of our beloved is not the most uplifting topic. And yet, as I’ve always said, Nothing makes you think more deeply about life, than the contemplation of your own mortality, which is typically brought on by someone around you checking out. Beyond the crushing empathy of loss you feel for the dearly departed and the many friends and family affected, it really can bring a magnifying glass to your own existential reflections—which can then bring a deeper level of (hopefully) gentle scrutiny to how you are spending your valuable time here on earth.
I have no real answers today, but I’ve been grappling with some pretty worthwhile questions! I’ll let you know what I come up with in a later edition, as I’m still doing quite a bit of grappling.
For the moment, I’m in the great state of Oklahoma, stepping into a full day’s worth of “show prep,” without our main man in the Lita Ford camp, George Marshall, at the helm. It’s weird and surreal, but it’s life. And life is good… even as it shifts, bends, and spins out in ways we often don’t see coming. Plus, we know that “St. Georgie” is looking down on us today, smoking a cigarette, and shouting out those raspy one-liners as we all glide toward showtime.
Let’s explore for a moment...
Just wanted to offer a bit more insight into the uniquely transitional nature of the week.
First, we say goodbye to “Mamani” (pronounced “Mama-knee”), a Persian title of endearment for “mother.” Mehrtaj Sefai (Rahbar) was my BFF Minoo’s mom and, by extension, my designated LA “fill-in” mom, as my own loving mother has lived far from the west coast for many years now. Mamani was a renowned poet and educator, and an ass-kicking force of nature who took no shit from a male-centric, Middle Eastern culture that could be unfathomably harsh and unreasonable toward women. Powerful doesn’t even begin to describe her.
Accordingly, I understand that Mamani could at times be curt, blunt, and cuttingly to-the-point in her opinions, observations, and instructions. But to me, she was always just a "sweet ol’ lady" because she spoke almost exclusively in Farsi and I could never understand what she was saying!
But Mamani could also cook up a storm, as she prepared, from scratch, plenty of authentic Persian dishes through the years, vegan-style, for me, my BFF, and bro-in-law, Jackson. (Some of my best meals ever!)
It was a great day on Mother’s Day in 2019 when my own mom and Mamani had a chance to meet for the first time.
That's my beautiful mom on the right (kicking-ass herself at 82 now)
with Mamani on the left. Me and my extended LA family will be
missing Mamani moving forward, for sure.
Mamani made it all the way to 93, making her transition just last week. But on the morning of her burial this past Tuesday, we got news of another transition, this one entirely unexpected.
Here’s what I wrote about it on social:
We are all still processing the unexpected passing of our main man, George Marshall: tour manager, sound engineer extraordinaire, ringleader, sounding board, voice-of-reason (and much humor), glue-gun to the Lita Ford organization, and, of course, loyal brother to us all.
That’s George to the right there, with Patrick, Marty, and me, in a cargo elevator on the road.
For the past six years, he’s been the guy behind the curtain, juggling his ass off around the clock, and keeping everything moving forward. And then this past Tuesday, while asleep at home in the early morning hours, he simply slipped off to his next adventure.
Georgie had a storied career—with a million stories—traversing the globe with Twisted Sister (and many others) for years before he did the same with us. He was also an accomplished guitarist and studio engineer, and a devout family man. But mostly, he was a warm, friendly character who left smiles and good vibes in his wake wherever he went: Truly beloved by so many.
And now, we will all get on a plane and head out to Oklahoma to play a show this weekend, because that’s what we do—and we know George wouldn’t hear of any other option. He was a “show must go on” kinda guy if ever there was one. And with that in mind, we will figure out how to “go on,” moving forward…
Blessings, my brother. “Who loves ya, Holmes?”
Every Life is a Masterpiece
I realize that to say “Every life is a masterpiece” sounds like some kind of hokey-ass greeting card sentiment. But, I believe there’s truth in it… even as we consider those aspects of one’s life that we, in our judgment, might deem as flawed. When I think about Mamani and George, two very different people who were on two very different paths, I can truly see the magnificence and perfection in how they both lived.
Mamani could be terse at times, but her tough nature served her well, given her life circumstances. She was the matriarch of a family whose lives were completed upended via one of the most tumultuous revolutions of the 20th century. There was plenty there that she successfully (and safely) navigated. Can you imagine the kind of mental constitution one must have to see that through to the other side… and then carry on in a new reality, far from all you’ve ever known?
And I was never crazy about George's smoking as he dealt with his various health challenges. But this motherfucker was living a life of three people for the six years we worked together. He had to balance sound engineer, tour manager, and general management duties around the clock, often untangling those complex webs of touring rock band logistical issues on his laptop and cell phone, deep into the night. Perhaps the smoke-breaks were a non-negotiable therapeutic aspect of how he dealt with all of that stress and strain, who knows? Plus, frankly, he loved his cigarettes!
The point is, you don’t over-scrutinize a masterpiece. You accept it for all of its attributes, just as they are, and understand that the parts that strike you as “flawed" are just as essential to the Whole of a person as the parts that strike you as “flawless."
Now, if we could only apply this level of empathy to our own masterpiece lives, right?
Still working on it...