Rob's Roots

Born in West Virginia, Rob grew up listening to his father, Bob Whitlock play jazz guitar and pedal steel, a very difficult instrument with complex tunings. Bob was sought after at a very young age, was featured on "Bandstand" on T.V., won contests competing against as many as 800 contestants and played in clubs. He also taught guitar, and Rob now confesses that much of what he learned from the senior Whitlock was heard through the door while his dad was teaching. At one point, Bob was teaching Randy Berensen, and another friend of Jaco Pastorius', Bernie Adamkewitz. But that part is for later in the story...

Rob was in his first band at the age of 12 pictured with Dave Vanderpool and Bill Whelan in the History Album page. His next endeavor was a big undertaking for guys so young. He co-led a band called Bullet Park with best friend Richie Carsello & Dave Schrenk. They played at parties ( pictured top of this page) and even got paid! By this time he was 14. The guys decided at one point to have a horn band so that they could play songs from "Blood, Sweat and Tears" and "Chicago Transit Authority" That was also very big for guys that age! Rob and Richie did other things together like making speaker cabinets and fiberglassing the outside of them (don't forget to mix the paint in with the fiberglass next time).

Jaco introduced himself to Rob when Rob was seventeen years old. He used to tell Rob to tuck his shirt in and keep a good attitude if he wished to succeed in music. Jaco sat in on bass at "The Button", where Rob was working in Ft Lauderdale with some friends of Jaco's. He played "Disco Inferno" like you've never heard it played before! He stopped Rob who was trying to get past without being seen ( he was a little shy and a bit intimidated by the older well known bassist ). "Hey Whitlock, Your Dad's been telling me about you" Thus went their first encounter. Jaco recommended Rob to Othello Molineaux for keyboard in his band.

When Jaco was a young teenager, he used to skip school and go to the organ store where Bob Whitlock (dad ) was selling organs (now we know why Rob began on organ instead of guitar, his first choice). Jaco would watch Bob playing to a captivated crowd gathered around and wait for the chance to ask questions; a lot of them! When Bob needed to get back to work, he would scoot Jaco out the door and tell him to go to class. Little did Bob know that this scrappy kid would end up accomplishing so much on his instrument. When he finally did hear Jaco's debut record, he was shocked.

By the time Rob was in college, he was in the Big Band class playing Piano and Bass. John Georgini, the instructor was impressed enough to offer Rob either chair. It was Rob's idea to share the two spots between three alternating musicians. Mr. G., as he was referred to by the guys, was an accomplished session player on trumpet, who played on "the Bee Gees" records, also Bobby Coldwell's and "K.C. and the Sunshine Band"s. John was responsible for having Amber, Rob's future wife sing with the band. That's one of the classes where they met. John is on Rob's second cd on a couple of tunes, one of which is sung by Amber (a reunion of sorts).

Rob met another fellow in college by the name of Bernie. He was taking lessons with Rob's dad. Rob was looking at a Jaco L.P. cover one day which started a conversation about why Bernie was studying with Bob. It seems Bernie had met Jaco in Germany and he invited the guitarist to come and live with him and take lessons with Bob Whitlock, so Bernie was there for that reason.

After that,Rob was over at Jaco's house all the time, listening to his music. That's where he listened to the " Word of Mouth" album before it was released. That's also when Rob learned to love writing and it's still a source of inspiration to this day. It's also funny how Jaco got inspiration from Rob's dad years before. Rob has since played with Jaco's twin sons Felix and Julius ( a bass player and drummer ). The thread still weaves itself through the years. Rob's daughter, Heather (pictured with Jaco) who is now a bass player, is friends with the boys and she is inspired by them.

There was a concert for Bernie's recital for his guitar class (taught by Bob Whitlock). Jaco played at it , but he hid behind a curtain and started playing before people could actually see him. Then he popped out and shocked everyone! He loved to tease and fool around. Peter Erskine, Othello, and Bobby Thomas were there that day too playing with Rob, Bernie and friends. A page in a scrapbook of memories.


Click to see photos of Rob's history






sketchin' / projects / interviews / amber / bio / gallery
promo photos
/ clips / amber / press
/ history / artists / rob's corner / shop / contact / calendar

©2005 Rob Whitlock. All rights reserved.