On most nights, it’s easy to find the nearly-80-year-old man Bob Rodman with his long white goatee jamming to some local bands and snapping photos at the Wayfarer in Costa Mesa.
And while the man may look like a band member’s grandfather or even great-grandfather, he’s just simply a dedicated music lover at heart. Still, the musicians consider him family anyway, as well as a rock star in his own right.
OC’s music scene will collaborate June 16, coming together in support of Rodman, who turns 78 the day before the event.
“Bobfest,” as the event has been lovingly dubbed, will include half-hour performances by some of OC’s hottest local acts, including Jeramiah Red, Big Monsta, Robert Jon & the Wreck, The Sugar, Parker Macy Blues Band, Shape Pitaki, Annie McQueen and Andrew Corradini at the Wayfarer. Billy Kernkamp will emcee the evening, which takes place at the Wayfarer beginning at 6 p.m.
While the concert celebrates Rodman’s birthday, it is also being put on in support of the man, who has recently found himself homeless.
Rodman, a Costa Mesa native who first began surfing the OC music scene a decade ago after his wife died, had moved to his son’s home in Highland three years ago. A little over a month ago, Rodman was suddenly asked to leave with no notice. Since then, he’s been couch-surfing with friends and family in Costa Mesa and Aliso Viejo.
“I don’t have any animosity toward it,” Rodman says of his situation. “It’s been just so amazing that everybody’s rallied around me and wants to help. At my age, I find it difficult to get jobs.”
(Luckily, he notes, the ride-sharing service Lyft has taken a chance on him by recently offering him a position as a driver.)
Parker Macy, one of the friends allowing Rodman to stay with him and the owner of the Creme Tangerine record store in Costa Mesa, says it was a no-brainer to help Rodman.
“Bob’s my best buddy,” Macy says. “The only thing that becomes a priority when your best buddy needs help is to make sure he gets to where he needs to be.”
The process of developing Bobfest started about two months ago, says Jimmy Hua, frontman of Big Monsta. At first, the idea was playful, but once Rodman found himself without a constant roof over his head, Hua and Macy began thinking about the idea more seriously.
The process of finding the bands was even easier, Hua recalls.
“When Parker and I started talking about this, it just clicked,” he says. “We knew anybody who cared about Bob would do this, no problem and no questions asked.”
Rodman recalls tearing up when about 20 OC band members and influencers in the music scene gathered around him at the Wayfarer one night after a show and told him about their plans to create the show in his honor.
“It was very emotional,” he says. “I still think about it and I get choked up. They’re great friends. I wasn’t expecting anything like this. I didn’t have a goal set. I just wanted friends around me for my birthday. It was all a big surprise.”
This isn’t the first time the music community has rallied together for Rodman. When he had heart surgery and received a pacemaker in 2012, members of his favorite bands showed up in droves to share their support. He recalls music publicist Ashley Eckenweiler gifting him an iPod with all of his favorite songs so he could feel close to the music, even if the hospital lacked a music venue.
Music has always played a pivotal road in the now-great-grandfather’s life. In his younger days, in the 1940s to 1960s, Rodman attended gigs for surf rockers like Dick Dale at the Rendezvous Room in Balboa. He also proposed to his wife in 1968 at an Italian restaurant that would one day become the Detroit Bar, now the Wayfarer.
Proceeds from June 16’s benefit event — including ticket sales and some merchandise — will be donated to Rodman in hopes of helping him find a place to live. A raffle will also be held to support Rodman.
Macy says there’s no set goal in mind of how much the group would like to raise for Rodman. However, he says, they’d like to raise enough for at least the first month’s rent and deposit, although that number is unknown until Rodman finds a place. Ideally, Rodman says he’s looking for an affordable spot to rest his head after gigs that also has a parking space for his pickup truck.
Hua says the event is the epitome of what a local show should be nowadays. He believes they have to mean something.
“We just can’t be playing or booking shows simply because we’re in a band,” he says. “Unfortunately, the situation with Bob came about and we all couldn’t think of a better thing to do than just rallying our friends together that he loves and knows.”
For many, Rodman is described as the quintessential element that holds the OC music scene together.
Parker notes that Rodman, even at his senior age, would regularly attend up to three shows a night when he first entered the scene.
McQueen, the only woman on the Bobfest lineup, says that dedication has made him an integral part of the scene.
“More than anything, we’re really happy to do it and really excited,” she says. “No one would even give it a second thought. There were more people that wanted to be part of it that we didn’t have time for. We all love him so much that it’s like, ‘Hell yeah, we’re going to party for Bob.'”
Ian Cullen, lead vocalist and guitarist of Jeramiah Red, recalls Rodman being one of his band’s first supporters. Now, the group is opening for the likes of artists like Lynyrd Skynyrd.
He says every show in OC is like a “family gathering” now, with Rodman being that loving member that always faithfully shows up.
“We didn’t know a lot of people coming into [the scene],” Cullen remembers. “We were a little bit of the outcasts. One of the first people we got to meet was Bob. He came to one show and just never stopped. He was always there taking pictures and hanging out. He’s like family, and you take care of your family.”
Even though Rodman could be mistaken for someone’s father or grandfather, age doesn’t play a factor in anyone’s feelings toward him, Macy notes.
“I think we all feel like Bob’s family, but he’s really a big brother to all of us,” he says. “We all respect and love him like an elder as well.”
Bobfest featuring Jeramiah Red, Big Monsta, Robert Jon & the Wreck, The Sugar, Parker Macy Blues Band, Shape Pitaki, Annie McQueen and Andrew Corradini at the Wayfarer, 843 W. 19th St., Costa Mesa (949) 764-0039, www.wayfarercm.com, Saturday, June 16, 8 p.m., $10, 21+.
By day, Brittany covers hard-hitting city news in San Diego. By night, she’s prowling the Orange County music scene, and is usually a regular attendee of local ska and punk shows. Reporting and music have always been Brittany’s passions. She wrote for her middle school and high school newspapers and studied journalism at Cal State Long Beach, where she graduated in 2012. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her French Bulldog, watching probably too many Disney movies for someone her age and napping.