Global Lifestyle: Legendary Music Producer Bob Rock On Why He Has Lived In Hawaii For 20+ Years
July 6, 2019
Since its Hamburg debut in 2006, the Reeperbahn Festival has grown to become one of the most important meeting places for the music industry worldwide. The Reeperbahn Festival recently came to New York City thanks to the festival’s “Sequence Tour,” a part of Wunderbar Together, which is a year-long celebration of U.S.-German friendship across the United States featuring German-inspired events in all 50 states. Wunderbar Together also coincided with A2IM’s Indie Week conference.
Reeperbahn’s three-day event culminated at New York City’s Rockwood Music Hall to reveal the ANCHOR Jury, a board of artists and music industry executives who will convene in Hamburg to award The ANCHOR, the Reeperbahn Festival International Music Award. Some of high-profile jury members on-site at Rockford Music Hall last month were producer Bob Rock, multi-faceted musician Peaches, actress and singer/songwriter Kate Nash, and producer Tony Visconti. Performing artists included Yes We Mystic, ORI, Mira Lu Kovacs, Leoniden, Surfbort, GURR, and Renata Zeiguer.
In my humble opinion, Bob Rock needs no introduction. But for those who do not read liner notes, Bob Rock was the producer of Metallica’s self-titled album — also known as The Black Album — and Mötley Crüe’s Dr. Feelgood. He has also worked with the likes of Bon Jovi, Aerosmith, Michael Bublé, Bryan Adams, 311, The Cult and David Lee Roth. Rock has received 17 Juno Award nominations, is a Canadian Music Hall Of Fame inductee, and is inarguably one of rock’s all-time top producers.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Bob Rock by phone, thanks to the Reeperbahn Festival team, and highlights from that chat are below. As he does not appear to have an official website or social media accounts, more info on Bob Rock can be found on the Internet with a simple Googling of “Bob Rock,” while more on the the Reeperbahn Festival is online at www.reeperbahnfestival.com.
When did you move to Maui with relation to Shep Gordon kind of becoming a mayor out there?
Bob Rock: We bought the land in ’93 and I had to rebuild our house. So we moved emigrated to to the U.S. and we moved in ’95. Slowly over the years, you always end up kind of knowing Shep. He is literally the mayor, not the true mayor, but the mayor to a lot of people there. It’s great, continuing to evolve. It’s a small island, so everybody kind of knows everybody there, and he’s a wonderful man. I’m lucky to call him a friend.
We all get together every New Year’s and do a charity for the food bank or the arts and cultural center in Maui on New Year’s. Everybody that kind of lives there, like Michael McDonald and Steven Tyler. Lots of other people. Alice Cooper gets there every year. So we do this charity and it’s a lot of fun. So that’s Shep, he puts it all together. He does all these wonderful things.
Later today, ironically, I’m interviewing Todd Rundgren who I understand is another Hawaii guy. I know he has a tiki bar out there that he doesn’t super-widely promote but it’s clearly his. Do you have any kind of a business out there? Or is it really where you go to unwind and Vancouver is where you do the music?
Bob Rock: Well I did have a studio there for a long time. Because of the music business changing there’s really no budgets to bring bands… But yeah, I don’t have any other business. I tried a lot of things, like I thought my life would be slightly-different. I thought I’d probably surf, but I was born in Winnipeg, there’s not much surf there. Everybody, including most of the kids, were better surfers than me. So that didn’t work out. I tried though, but I’d rather be playing, writing music and playing my guitar, so basically that’s what my life is. I have a family there and we’ve got a ranch there. We have a lot of horses and a cat colony and stuff. So it’s really exciting.
It’s been really good for me for my life, to have a place where it’s just not music . Even though I still do it, but it’s just kind of a great balance. My life there is it’s perfect. I come back over [to Vancouver] because Warehouse Studio, the Warehouse is arguably but I believe with the best studio in the world… I feel like it’s home.
And also on the international end, you did some judging recently for the German music conference the Reeperbahn Festival. Do you like to travel to New York being that you are in such a relaxed place like Maui so much of the time?
Bob Rock: Yeah… I love the fact that because there’s a limited amount of culture in a way [in Maui]. So when I get to travel I really appreciate the fact that I can be in another place and I can go to the museums and I get my fill. Usually my two weeks or three weeks there usually is all I need is that I need to get back on-time as the island is my home. My home is basically the island… So I’m lucky enough to, like I say, travel and that’s enough culture for me.
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