Robert "Bobby" Burns
Born in Minnesota on 25 Apr 1925 and died 16 Sep 2000 in Sacramento. Bobby died from complications of liver failure due to decades alcoholism. Bobby was a downtown Icon. He was one the most entertaining drummers you would ever want to see, even in his 70's, and drunk off his a$$. I remember him doing a show with Jackson Griffith at the Stucco Factory, and boy could that old bastard spin the sticks! He'd throw them in the air 10 feet catch them and keep on playing without missing a beat, incredible coming from a guy who almost always was so drunk he could barley speak or walk.
He was rumored to be Frank Sinatra's Manager, He was a drummer in the big band hay days for bands like Tommy Dorsey. He reportedly played also on the I love Lucy TV show in Desi Arnez Jr's band. He also claimed to have once owned a big night club in Chicago during the late 50's where stars like Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr hung out.
During his life in Sacramento you could mostly find him at either the Weatherstone, sitting around with the likes of Celeste Doerr, Steve Vanoni, John McCrea of Cake, Jerry Perry and Jackson Griffith etc...or you could find him at local watering holes like the Zebra Club, the Press Club or the Old Tavern. Most often he was so sh#tfaced he could barely mumble. Everyone who knew him bought him drinks, often he would reply with a indistinguishable comment, a Bobby laugh, and a few bars from his mouth trumpet...You could always carry on conversations with him for hours it seemed, he would laugh, gesture and gargle out some sort of unrecognizable Bobby speak, and yet it was always enjoyable to sit and have a drink with him. To be cliche, he was Sacramento's own Norm, everyone knew him.
During Bobby's time in Sacramento, the 80's and 90's, Downtown-Midtown was a much different place than it is now (2008). Back then the a verage student, musician, artist or slacker could afford to live downtown. Now the yuppie hipsters and developers have destroyed the free spirit of the great downtown scene. Those who lived downtown during those days knew it was a special place; the developers also saw this and wanted a part of this hip and cool scene to market and profit off of, so they commercialized and sold to young urban hipsters and trendy-pseudo-greenies a packaged and well marketed version of a "downtown lifestyle" with their overpriced lofts and vertical strip malls. Downtown will never be the same again, and Bobby Burns helped make this town a special place during those times and he is missed.
Bobby is memorialized by the annual Bobby Burns Urban Golf Tournament.