Bob Gamble

2015 - Iowa Rock 'n Roll Music Association Lifetime Achievement Award

Bob is a Spirit Lake native who became interested in the bass when his brother, Denny, started playing with the Torkays (later a co-founder of the Dentairs).  Bob started with the Ascots in 1964 and then the Torkays and Broken Glass through ’68 with singer Terry Mccall.  They worked with fellow Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Vickie Lynn, Steve Lutes (Torkays), Bob York, and Al Klein (Sensational Soul Company),  During this time his bands won 2 of the battles of the bands at the Roof Garden.  In the summers of  ’67 and ’68, he and Terry were the “house band” on the Empress, using local musicians as needed.

He went to Los Angeles for a short time in ‘69 with some friends and jammed with one of the original members of Jefferson Airplane. Upon returning, he freelanced and performed with Shane von Holdt and various groups like the Sticks and Stones, and later with Dee Jay and the Runaways, among others, through ’70.  He became skilled putting together bands with other musicians to perform on short notice.  On several occasions, Darlowe Oleson would call on Monday or Tuesday needing a band for Friday or Saturday night at the Roof Garden.  After a few phone calls Bob would find musicians to play.  He was able to get a group together that had enough talent to work up enough material to play after 2 or 3 days of rehearsal.  More than once the band had no member that had performed with all the other members prior to this job.

In ’71 he  was elected the first president of the ILCC music department.  Through that decade he played in the college’s music groups, was the bassist for KC Jones, with band members Randy Warrington, Tom Osher, Daryl Hillberg, and Don Fude and was original bassist with the band Spitfire.  He also gave bass lessons for college credit, as well as to some high school bassists at their band directors’ request, one of them winning Best Soloist at a state competition.

His versatility allowed him to play in area big bands, such as the Mike Day Orchestra and the Billy Redmond Orchestra as well as the Dixie Knights, a small jazz/Dixieland band.  He played musicals (Jesus Christ Superstar) at ILCC and 3 others at the Okoboji Summer Theatre.

He went to Boston in ’75, where he played with a small alternative group while studying at Berklee College of Music, then returned to Iowa.  He again played in big band orchestras and was on staff for 3 years at the Reggie Schive Jazz Camp in Storm Lake for junior high and high school students.

He moved to the Dallas area where he played country rock and big band, then to the Washington, DC area where he currently resides.  He has performed with the Manassas Community choir as well as performed at local  church services.

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