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Guitarist Andrew Cheshire's "The Four Ages of Bob" - A Peek Inside

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This short story was reprinted from the liner notes of Andrew Cheshire's latest release, The Four Ages of Bob.

The CD is currently available at CD Baby.

I got the idea for the title “The Four Ages of Bob" after thinking quite a lot about the times we live in today. Every era presents us with new trends and new challenges, and we are constantly trying to adapt and adjust to those trends as we also try to cope with rapidly changing conditions in our world. There is not a person alive that isn't or won't soon be affected in some manner by soaring technological advances, globalism, the corporate behemoth, terrorism, pollution, rising energy costs, and a long list of social concerns. Indeed most people I talk to believe that we are at a cross-roads in our society, and many of us are sharply divided as to exactly what path we should follow to get the nation and the world back on track. No single person is more acutely aware of the inadequacies of modern day society than the artist or creative person, who boldly refuses to accept the world as it is. Instead he dreams of a world absent of all strife and turmoil; a world filled only with beauty and bliss. A forward thinker; the artist sees all the potential for greatness within the world he lives in, only to become frustrated and ultimately disillusioned by the stark reality that the perfect world he envisions will never come to be. Broken-hearted, he retreats from the world, rather than become engaged with it. His creativity suffers, and he begins to be plagued with doubts about his future of his creativity, as well as the future of mankind.

Sound Samples
Bob Attends a Love-In
Bob Takes a Bad Trip

Enter the story of “Bob." Think of Bob as anyone who ever believed in something and tried in someway, be it large or small, to make a difference. I bet you have known a Bob in your lifetime (or maybe you're even a Bob yourself!) He's the guy that seemed to always be on the cutting edge of whatever was cool. He's the guy that's always exploring the boundaries of his own creativity, being able to jump from one medium to the next, seamlessly and effortlessly, according to whatever his muse at the time. Bob represents that select group of people who have witnessed the gradual erosion of civil, moral and cultural standards in our society, but has strived not to buy into the super- ficiality and mediocrity of popular culture and the powers that manipulate and exploit it for their own greed. To the contrary; the Bobs of the world would rather follow their own path however regarded as unpopular, even if it meant being ostracized by the corporate mind-controlled masses. Of course, Bob desires to be loved by all, but has come to the conclusion that he has a higher calling in life than to become lost in the mire of conformity.

Sound Samples
Bob Discovers Scientology
Bob Buys a Pet Rock

If you look at the picture on the front cover, you can see all the Bobs. There was sixties Bob, with his long hair and tie-died shirts, his peace medallion and bell bottoms. Sure, back in the sixties he may have tripped on acid once or twice, but he also was doing good work like spreading the word of love, patience, and understanding. In the early seventies, Bob's attendance at university was not predicated solely on the basis of increasing his prospects for monetary gain after completion of his studies, but rather because of the intrinsic value of receiving an education to expand one's mind and personal knowledge of the world around him. Bob truly believed in personal development and then to share that growth within the community at large. And of course, Bob was not totally immune from the adverse influences of the external world, as there were several low points in Bob's life, beginning with the mid-seventies. Maybe it was the polyester shirts, or possibly even the pet rocks, or maybe just too much Disco dancing till the wee hours of the morning. But Bob -for the first time in his life- started losing focus. Suddenly he couldn't slow down fast enough to see that he was drifting away from the things that mattered to him the most.

Sound Samples
Bob Meets a Beautiful Girl
Bob Joins a Garage Band

By the early 1980's it seemed that Bob stopped believing in himself and in his creative powers, developing a state of mind that manifested itself in some very ugly ways. People who were a part of his inner circle began noticing several changes in both his personality and appearance. He shaved his head, got a number of bizzare tatoos, and had his body pierced in unmentionable places. Soon he was playing in a garage band and was living the hard life of sex, drugs, and Rock n' Roll. In a drug-induced psychosis, Bob began going on buying binges, acquiring large quantities of consumer electronics like vcr's, tape recorders, and big screen projection TV's. But even the aquisition of all these material possessions did not make Bob any happier; in fact it had the opposite effect as he found himself slipping deeper and deeper into debt. Bob at one point was so hard up for cash that he was forced to get a day gig selling used appliances at the mall. He also went door to door selling kitchen utensils. It was a dark and disturbing time for Bob. But he wasn't about to give up just yet. He had too much pride for that. So little by little, Bob began to get his act together. Shaking most of his vices and cleaning up his appearance, Bob was ready for change. As a matter of fact, Bob changed so much over the course of the next few years, even people who knew him well had difficulty recognizing him.

By the dawn of the nineties, Bob had totally re-invented himself. He had a high paying job working for corporate America as an information technologist. He lived in a posh apartment on the upper west side, wore expensive suits, and drove a fancy italian sports car. In many ways his life was on an ascendancy. But on a cold January day in 1997, while working on an industrial computer main frame, Bob got in-between the power supply and ground and was instantly electrocuted. In a flash, Bob was suddenly and inexplicably no more; his soul now destined for an other-worldly place. Bob's passing went quietly and mostly without notice; his funeral was attended by a small group of friends and family members. A woman dressed in black emerged from the procession to lay a wreath of flowers on his casket, as she wiped a tear from her cheek. A moment later she had all but disappeared and was never to be seen again.

Sound Samples
Bob Encounters a Moment of Truth
Bob Enters The Land of Lum

It saddens me to know that Bob is no longer with us, and I too wish that the world he imagined will someday come to be. I wouldn't be surprised if he was watching over us this very moment and flowing positive energy our way. I think he wants us all to aspire to greatness and realize our fullest potential - something that eluded Bob during his lifetime. Of course this just may be a fantasy of mine, or maybe not. In the last several months, people in various parts of the world have reported seeing a human image on their computer. The image pops up intermittently and without notice, then quickly disappears. No known explanation has been given for this occurrence. The image appears to be that of a mans face. I have seen it with my own eyes, and can tell you that it looks very much like the face of Bob. The image has appeared so far in 88 countries, and is being propagated through the internet. Exactly who is this “Cyber-Bob"and why is he appearing at this time before the eyes of so many? We may never know the answer, but my theory is that the essence of Bob has drifted into a region of existence known as “The Land of Lum;" a quasi-parallel universe where people can become their dreams and never look back.

Andrew Cheshire
October 27, 2004

Track Listing:
1. Bob Attends a Love-In - 5:10
2. Bob Takes a Bad Trip - 8:39
3. Bob Discovers Scientology - 6:4132
4. Bob Buys a Pet Rock - 8:50
5. Bob Meets a Beautiful Girl - 10:11
6. Bob Joins a Garage Band - 5:19
7. Bob Encounters a Moment of Truth - 9:09
8. Bob Enters The Land of Lum - 5:39

Total time: 60:13
Personnel:
Andrew Cheshire - guitar
Lance Koonah - tenor
Jessie Green - piano
Joe Michaels - Bass
Adam Stranburg - Drums

This story appears courtesy of All About Jazz.
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