Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Thanks Dave

(Contributed by Chris H.)

Thanks Dave, You will always be remembered by me for your endless desire to cheer people up. The humor may not have always seemed as tactful as we commonly think humor should be but his message was never lost and one could hardly not laugh at some level. Try to be happy. That was your message. That is what you have left with That I will keep. Here I find myself on the other side of the world when a good friend passes. The shock is slowly fading but the empty spot persists.

Uncle Dave

(Courtesy of Susan Jendryka)

David Wesley Robison

David Wesley Robison
Born in Rolla, Missouri, April 26, 1965.
Died in Kent, Washington, September 21, 2010

David came in to this world at a whopping 11 pounds. He continued to live life in a big way. As a child he was known for taking apart anything within reach. Sometimes he was even able to put things back together. When he got shocked by putting a key in an outlet, he had to try again as any good scientist repeats all experiments at least once. He was an inventor and a creator. Growing up, his favorite place to shop was the thrift store because there was always some thing to buy and rebuild.

He, along with friends and family created a Puppet theater and the characters to go with it. He would put on shows at church that entertained and delivered a message. He also created a few life size costumes that were spectacular. He was also involved in the Boy Scouts.

David graduated from Oregon City High School, attended Clackamas Community, graduated from Centralia College, and Clover Park Technical College. He loved metal shop and wood working, and even taught courses to younger students.

Besides building, his other big love was music. He both bought and made many guitars in his life and loved playing them all. He played in school bands and informally with friends. He loved hard rock and Christian rock. He was innovative with his music, and according to friends, had some ground breaking ideas and inspired others in their musical ventures.

He was the unofficial chauffer of a large group of friends known as the gang, driving a big brown station wagon anywhere a couple dollars of gas would take you!

He spent four years in the Army as a Tank repairman. Spending only one day of those four years in Operation Desert Storm he still managed to travel to Turkey..

He worked many jobs using his many skills as an electrical repairman, panel creator machine repairman and more. He traveled to Singapore, Ireland, and Puerto Rico, but was always happiest at home.

He spent many years building a huge tractor from the ground up. It was functioning and big!! Although he never achieved the dream of mass producing it, he did give his sister a few grey hairs while building it in the garage. He also inspired a love of tractors in his nephew Stephen, and most generously passed on his collection of “toys”.

He built model trains and belonged to a Railroad club in Lewis County. One of his last outings was one more ride on the Chehalis Steam Train with his Mom and Dad.

Above all. David will be remembered for his kindness and generosity. The nickname Mr. Fixit fit him well. If a car broke down, or a stove needed installing he was there. He built a magnificent Swing set for his nieces and nephew to play on and a giant sandbox too! He would carefully build Lego toys for the kids to break apart. He would visit patiently with the kids without ever talking down to them, and they were always glad to see their Uncle Dave.

David is survived by his parents, Jim and Sandy Robison, his Sisters Susan and Sarah and his brothers-in- law Kyle and Brian. He is also survived by his nephew Stephen and His nieces Kristin and Kaela. He is also survived by his Aunts and Uncles and cousins.

He died in his home with his faithful dog Byron by his side. He had the Bible and the novel “The Shack” nearby, and I am sure he found comfort in those books. He now resides in glory and peace in heaven.

(Submitted by David's sister, Susan Jendryka)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Music Man

(Contributed by Mike M.)

Dave was a couple years older then me and we went to different high schools. We met through some mutual friends at my school and as we were both active in school bands had something to talk about. Various musicians I met during the 80's had their own way of being adventurous, but none quite like Dave. He put a whammy bar on his bass, because he figured if guitar players can, why not the bass player? I remember other friends of mine who played the bass thought it was strange. Maybe it was, but while they were trying to convince kids in orchestra to borrow a violin bow because of something they saw Jimmy Page do, Dave was grabbing a welding torch and doing something original.

After high school he wrote and recorded an original song for a class called "Crusader." There was nothing unique about the song, other then Dave did everything! It was an original composition, he recorded all the parts himself for guitar, bass & drums. The vocals did require assistance in recording, but then he did all the mixing himself. Now, "musicians" do this with the aid of ProTools but in 1985 he had to do it all himself playing real instruments.

The last time I saw Dave was 1995 at an impromptu gathering for a friend in from out of town. We left the gathering at the same time and talked on our way to our cars. At the time, I would always quote Jimi Hendrix whenever I said goodbye to old friends I didn't think I'd see again. "If I don't see you no more in this world, I'll see you in the next one and don't be late." This is the last thing I said to Dave and rest assured Dave, I'll be sure to look you up when I get there.

Dave and His Station Wagon

Dave and his trusty station wagon represent one of my best memories from growing up. He was the first one of a group of friends that was old enough to drive and even had a station wagon that could fit everyone. They just don’t make station wagons like they used to. I suppose the monster SUV’s of today have replace them. Regardless, like many of us growing up, we didn’t have much money, but that didn’t matter, one or two dollars thrown into the gas tank got you an evening of fun and adventure with Dave and the rest of the gang every weekend. The times we spent hanging out, cruising around that stretch of the Willamette river between Oregon City and Milwaukie is one of the best times of my life. Another great memory was the trip a bunch of us made to Southern Oregon to find gold. Dave had a great gold sluice he built and we tried our best to strike it rich and found a tiny bit of gold. That was really the first big trip I made with friends and, of course, Dave and his station wagon made it happen. When I left for college and then the Air Force, Dave and I never really kept in touch. I heard about him through other friends, like Dave Stegemeyer, but that was the extent of it. I was truly shocked and saddened to hear about Dave’s passing. His friendship early in my life will remain a great influence and a warm memory .

Saturday, September 25, 2010

More Pics

Dave R 2008

This is the way Dave looked during his "mountain man" phase in 2008.

Lord Byron

Dave's faithful companion (Lord) Byron, who was at his side when he died.

Friday, September 24, 2010

A House on the Hill

I'll say that I was one of the younger members of the "Clackamette Gang". Dave Robison always seemed so much older: he had a car, a cool bass guitar, and at one point he even had a house. I remember joining Kevin, Dave, and a bunch of other people over at his house for a game of Fed-War. I was a new-comer (the group had been playing a long campaign), and I picked up some NPC or maybe something I rolled up really quick (I don't remember the details). Anyway, something happened that caused everyone in the party to blow up in a fiery explosion, and the game suddenly ended. I remember Dave laughing it off, and that was that.

That's just how Dave was. He always seemed to have something funny to add to the conversation, and definitely had a big heart. The time I spent with him, though few and far between, are all good memories.

I was surprised many years later when I got an e-mail from Dave Robison. He was interested in what was going on with me, and it was cool to hear about what had been happening in his life. He set up a blog and a website, and had lots of very interesting tidbits of information that always kept me smiling. I appreciated his interest in the mysterious side of science (anybody watch Fringe?), and was completely impressed that he actually built and tested an anti-gravity machine based on a theory that he read. Cool stuff!

I'm not sure what happened after that, but I heard less from him, except for an occasional comment on one of the other blogs. When I heard that he had passed, I was honestly stunned (still am), and now I wonder how this could be.

Dave, I will miss you, and I am truly saddened to hear that you are gone from this world.


Rock'n'Roll Days

The One Who Got It All Started

One day back when we were in junior high school, Dave made a surprise announcement. He'd been playing trumpet in his school concert band, but his director had asked him to switch to tuba. Dave wasn't keen on the idea, so he had responded with a counter-proposal: bass guitar. The director had agreed, and thus began a major turning point in both of our musical endeavors.

We started jamming together, him on his bass and me on my father's classical guitar. We were both interested in playing rock, but there wasn't much chance of my getting an electric guitar anytime soon. Instead, gadget hound that he was, he constructed a sort of clip-on pickup for me to attach to the classical guitar. He also built both of the amps we used at the time. It seems totally ridiculous now, but it was a significant first step for both of us. We started out playing mostly Judas Priest and Kiss songs, but it wasn't long before we both started writing songs. I'd been composing tunes since I was about four years old, but it was the first time I'd actually started putting real effort into songs that were meant to be played the same way more than once, possibly even for an audience. Dave also added his own contributions, and we even co-wrote a few tunes.

By the time we got into high school, Dave and I finally had a bit more legitimate gear. I had a Drifter Les Paul copy and a 20-watt Guyatone practice amp. He had a Fender bass that he had rebuilt plus one or two homemade ones and reasonable amp setup. We tried to form a genuine band based on our duo, but we didn't have much success. For one thing, we couldn't settle on a name. (First it was "Hyperspace", then "Kinetic Oscillation", and finally "Corona". There were some other ones that didn't last more than a few days, so I won't bother listing them here.) We also had trouble putting together a lineup that stayed together for any length of time; although Don was a more or less regular member in the vocalist and/or keyboardist slot, we had a couple of different guitarists come and go and had some rather doubtful hangers-on. We also went through four different drummers in quick succession, only one of which stayed with us for more than one rehearsal. That last one, James, was a steady and loyal member for a while, but cracks quickly began to form in the whole operation.

The fact was that Dave and I had started going in very different directions in terms of musical taste. He was a dedicated metal head (who was tending toward Christian metal), but I was becoming more interested in progressive rock and even new wave. Even so, despite James' constant efforts to get me to break away and form a new band with him, I remained solidly loyal to Dave despite my doubts. James finally gave up and left to form a different group (together with a lead guitarist Dave had just brought in). That was kind of the last straw as far as I was concerned, so I finally did break with Dave.

After that I sort of drifted around. I played in a hard rock band called Vital Connexion for the better part of my last year of high school, had my first real pub-gig experiences with a new age/funk outfit called IncogNation in my first year of college, kept getting hired and fired by a band whose members wanted me in but whose manager didn't (because I wanted to play originals), auditioned with a couple of different groups (who said my playing style was "too heavy"), and did a number of guest stints here and there. However, every once in a while I'd get together with Dave for some kind of musical endeavor, such as a simple jam session or even a party gig. Most important of all, however, was his introducing me to studio recording.

Dave actually took a course in studio engineering at Clackamas Community College, and he used me as his demonstration project. We put together one of my compositions with the help of IncogNation's bassist and a drummer I knew there at the college. It wasn't a sophisticated job; it was recorded using a 4-track reel-to-reel recorder and some very basic equipment. (My vocals were pretty bad, too...) However, that experience was what first made me aware of studio recording and got me started thinking about it. Dave took those thoughts up to an even higher notch a number of years later when, during one of my breaks from the university, he showed up with a 4-track cassette recorder of his own and used it to record a demo tape of several of my tunes. I knew I was hooked from then on, and buying a multitrack recorder of my own was my first priority when I graduated from the university and came to work in Japan.

The rest is history. My treasured Yamaha 4-track cassette recorder eventually gave way to an 8-track MD recorder and then a DAWS (Digital Audio Work Station) setup. Dave followed pretty much the same path, but though he always seemed to be one up on me in terms of gear (and generally VERY critical of my musical work), I far outpaced him in terms of productivity. (Shameless plug here.) In fact, from at least the early to mid 90's he hardly seemed to produce anything. He'd often talk about work on new material, but then nothing would surface. That stagnation continued right up till the end. I always thought it a shame, and now that my music is starting to get some small degree of attention, I'll still never forgot that everything I ever did in my home studio...or ANY studio...or even any rock band...was all thanks to Dave's influence. Without him, it's quite possible that none of it would have happened.

The Captain of our Teenage Years

Dave was the captain of the USS Station Wagon. His trusty ship took us away from our mundane home ports and off to exotic lands such as Clackamette and Meldrum Bar. For occasional gas money, he brought everyone together and helped us escape for a while.

I remember one of our late night "stops" from the police at Clackamette where the officer said he would leave us alone for a dip of chewing tobacco and then proceeded to stuff a quarter of a can under his lip. The police were also amused (not) by Robin's present of a gasoline can full of M & Ms.

Now Dave brings us together again under much sadder circumstances. Thank you Dave for steering us safely and kindly through our teenage years and I am sorry we did not part on better terms.