the hear and the now

I don’t wanna turn into a crabby old man telling the youth what’s wrong with them. I teach middle school- it keeps me on my toes and have to admit that building rapport with kids makes it easier to fill their heads full of those healthy important ideas that I’m contractually obligated to communicate to them. All that being said, one can’t wander through more than a few decades of life without getting stuck on some experiences both lived and received that affect that way one perceives the here and now. 


I recently paid for a spotify promotion in France with the tagline, “Explore the beauty and brutality of American life through the songs of Bob Gaulke.” The bots are now telling me the ad is underperforming, but….zut, alors…

Painting by Bernardo Navarro Tomas


American life. I'm into warts. BG July 4, 2022


Why don't you grow up?

I guess you could say that these are pandemic songs only in that for various introverts who are already mostly living in their heads, the prospect of staying home, saving time on transportation, and being two steps ahead of your bosses, felt like an unexpected bonus in some ways. 

I was attempting an online relationship at the time and it seemed like another escape that was colored with the same sense of unreality that I feel towards writing songs/making music- I seem to mostly live in my imagination with very scant evidence of making an impact on this exterior life.  

I woke up wanting this- we seem to have clearer thoughts upon waking; though they do have to be reconciled with our evening fears, don’t they? 

The Indoor Troubadour- apparently Xavier de Maistre beat me to the punch 230 years ago with Voyage Around My Room, but perhaps we’re drinking from the same source. 

Dating My Shrink- I’m too fascinated by my own patterns, at times.

You Left The Meeting- I sometimes get into the character I play at work and the oppressiveness of it all; then, songs like these slip out.

Recurring Whale- My father was a big man. He now lives in my dreams. 

Have You Seen Me? We’re different people with others. What does “feeling like yourself” really mean? 

What’s Up With Steven? A pretty straightforward journalistic effort, twisted into middle school Brecht with added angst delivered by Emilia Cataldo

Adventure- Ahh, the weight of my bookcase prevents me from escaping entirely. 

I received a small grant from NYC which I took to mean I’d spend almost double on it doing silly things like buying string arrangements. The person I was in a long distance relationship once said of my music, “Why do you put all that stuff on top of your songs?” by which she meant horn sections, keyboards, drums, etc.. OK. I was listening to some quieter stuff (70’s Caetano and João Bosco) and these songs started out as acoustic solo things, but when you live next to people like Carlo Nicolau (violins), Juancho Herrera (acoustic guitar), or Gil Oliveira (percussion), things quickly get out of hand. 

The missing element was flute. By this I mean that flute is so predominant in so many 70’s era Brazilian arrangements, but apparently it’s an instrument that has largely fallen out of favor. Had to search high and low to connect with Henrique Band in Rio to do the honors. 

The album was once again lovingly mixed by Martin Scian in Patagonia; a cellist when not a sought-after engineer. For all this, I am grateful. 

Streaming everywhere June 6th, 2022

More to come...

More to come...

Don't explain your art

(unless your culture's falling apart)

Why not spell it out? Why waste time being ironic, circular, poetic, veiled, or hinting at the matter? The planet's on fire. I'm not getting any younger. OK, so here's another 10-pack of invisible hit tunes breaking it down for you. Lots of familiar names involved. Some disparate parts coerced together, but it works for me. And honestly, I write for myself. What's it about: 

1. The Music. A decade back I met a mixing engineer who left his country to pursue the American Dream, working in a top project studio producing absolute crap. It hit then hit me that it's really hard to lie well with a song. If you're some hustler, your game's naked on tape. 

2. Like Christian Sinclair. Any similarities to persons living or dead is entirely coincidental. Larger than life characters buying into creation myths are entertaining in their thirties. For a few years, at least. 

3. For Art. The artist as abused spouse to her creation. Based on a billion true stories. 

4. Nothing is Wasted. I live in a barrel. It's easy to catch fish in the Bronx, although I release them before eating. 

5. Into the Past. Nostalgia was considered a disease in the 19th century. I keep moving things forward or I cry too much. 

6. Made for Other Things. I'm a card-carrying member of the Late Bloomer Society. We meet in festive underwear. 

7.  Shedotoomuch. Every successful relationship finds its equilibrium. I was quite amazed at the stories I was told while working as a substance abuse counsellor in the South Bronx. 

8. Fearless. We're all Americans now. 

9. Runningintoyouwithoutstopping. I don't remember why I wrote this. Was probably in love/infatuated with someone at the time

10. Astronauts. Sometimes you feel so good you just achieve escape velocity. 

OK. "Why I Write" will be streaming on September 1st, 2021 on all major platforms. Thanks for listening. 

Bob 07/17/21

Eating Tomorrow...Out Now

                                                                                                      collage by Kevin Sampsell

collage by Kevin Sampsell

I’m trying to not feel too whorish; or desperately, pathetically middle-aged. I write daily. Stuff builds up. Like gametes. And demands release. This is my second mini-album of 2021. 

I think these songs were written around the same time as the ones that formed “Insomnia”, but perhaps technically because they seemed like full-kit rather than percussion ones, they were put aside for later. Probably before the explicit concept for Insomnia came to mind. It’s ironic because the overall vibe on these tunes is a bit mellow, but Gil felt they demanded full kit. 

And they marinated. And I cut some vocals. Kevin (drums and trombones) got a home recording situation going, and things were grooving well with Leon (keyboards) and Paulo, to the extent that the songs didn’t see to call for much else. Just Emilia (backing vocals) for a little sweetening. 

Kevin Sampsell’s a writer friend and publisher of Future Tense books, as well as being a collagist. I had the title for the songs before the image, and it, the title, and the songs all seemed to fit a certain vibe. I can be superficial that way. 

The mixing engineer is Martin Scian. He has quite an impressive resume. He starts next week (April 20-ish). I’m very excited to hear what will happen and hope to have the album streaming by my birthday on June 6th.

Second Guessing

Second Guessing- 

This can often cripple a work. The inspiration of the moment lost and now the editor’s running wild with his hammer and scissors. I moved to Salvador da Bahia around 2002 and just left the mind on record. I couldn’t change a lot of my wiring, but I felt a lot of my songwriting misconceptions drop in the ocean. I brought a set of songs back and tinkered on them for some time and released Sunga in 2016. 

And some things worked and some things didn’t. My friend Marcos Kuzka created a best-selling beach-themed surf soundtrack in “Pasti” and I thought he might be interested in remixing it. 

He heard a lot of technical shortcomings that he didn’t want to mess with. I had recently reconnected with Sean Flora, who beyond his mixing skills has a pretty good ear for harmony. 

Sean went to work on the tracks and a few back and fourths have brought Sunga back into shape in 2020. Enjoy. B

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