Interview: Bob Bossin January 16, 2018
I’m sitting at Bob Bossin’s and Elizabeth Shefrin’s dining room table, set on Gabriola amongst the rustling of trees outside their kitchen windows. Fresh orange juice and coffee, recording app aimed somewhere between Bob and I. And, we talk.
Carol Martin: How can you possibly stop?
Bob Bossin: Touring is different than writing. It’s a lot of off-stage concert effort. I’m not stopping. If I am going to perform, it will be for the pure pleasure of it. I’m looking at Robin and Linda Williams Bluegrass approach out of Virginia, “We don’t want your pipeline”, bringing justice to the forefront in song. I’ll be rewriting some of my works, putting them up online and see where that goes. In the words of Victor Anthony, I want to re-embrace my amateur status. I want to see friends I don’t see too often, Elizabeth and I will go back to Europe, visit old friends there. Less pressure. More fun.
Carol: What is it that twitches inside you, “I gotta do something about that!”?
Bob: Peter Gzowski interviewed Leonard Cohen with that same line, upon which Leonard replied “If I knew that, I would go there more often.” It’s all in the details of things. The honesty of the situation whether it is a love song, or a tenuous situation that needs to be brought to the forefront. Ideas come from left-field more often than not. Storytelling in the form of music. It’s the process gets me excited.
Carol: Your father was called “Davy the Punk”. There’s a story there, for sure?
Bob: The family business of Davy the Punk has had me researching all my life. Gambling. Horseracing. What’s the story I can tell here, the passion, the antagonist, combining the characters. Will it be a thing of history, a short story or a novel? Interesting guy, my father was. I knew him until I was 17 when he died. Everyone thought he was virtually mute, didn’t speak, short – curt when he did. Stories upon stories. I hoped no one noticed me, a spot on the wall. Gangsters had their own code of ethics in the neutral territories of Toronto and Miami. Meyer Lansky and Frank Costello ran things in the time of the 30’s.
Carol: What made you smile during that time?
Bob: Well-known guys, the gangster sort, were sitting poolside in Miami playing cards. A known to them reporter wandered over, and discovered they were
playing for dimes of all things! Dimes? But hey, they were sitting around telling stories.
Carol: You’re 72, with 50 years on stage under your belt. What are your thoughts for after 72?
Bob: I’ve made my mark. We’ll travel Elizabeth and I. I want to see my kids more. There’s a plethora of works out there. Odds are I’ll continue to write songs, tell those stories where a story is to tell. Cover pipelines with social justice. Sing those love songs. The “Honest” is that I really mean it!
With that, I hummed “Shirley Ann” all the way home, peppered with thoughts of pipelines, salted with storage tanks and stories yet to come. Thank you Bob!
Bob Bossin’s Farewell Concert. Honest. Performs to sold out crowds on Gabriola, Thursday, February 15 and Friday, February 16. You can catch Bob Bossin on Saturday February 17, in Sidney, actually, at the Winspear Centre; and Sunday February 18, at Vancouver’s WISE Hall.
And that’s it. Honest!
Written by Carol Martin, Gabriola. Permission to publish given by Bob Bossin January 31, 2018