Bob Lights

"Underhero" of the San Diego music scene asks for help and gets it

Bob Wilson: “I did lights for Stone Temple Pilots when they were Mighty Joe Young, and for all the bands Eddie Vedder was in before Pearl Jam."
  • Bob Wilson: “I did lights for Stone Temple Pilots when they were Mighty Joe Young, and for all the bands Eddie Vedder was in before Pearl Jam."
  • Image by John Hancock

“It started as a joke,” says veteran rock jock Mike Halloran about the fundraising concert he’s spearheading for a fellow veteran of the local music scene.

“I announced on Facebook that Chris Cantore, Steven Woods, and myself should start a Distressed DJ gofundme page to raise money so that when iHeartRadio goes bankrupt we could buy one of those stations and put ourselves back on the air.”

The semi-serious joke is based on the realities that Cantore, Woods, and Halloran recently left their local radio jobs, and that the iHeartRadio chain, which owns seven stations locally, has been labeled a “distressed” company over its seven-year-old $20 billion debt.

Rock jocks Mike Halloran, Chris Cantore, and Steven Woods were jokingly planning a "Distressed DJs" benefit when Bob Wilson reached out. Halloran: “Then I hear from Bob Wilson who said it would be nice if somebody did a gofundme for him.”

Rock jocks Mike Halloran, Chris Cantore, and Steven Woods were jokingly planning a "Distressed DJs" benefit when Bob Wilson reached out. Halloran: “Then I hear from Bob Wilson who said it would be nice if somebody did a gofundme for him.”

“Then I hear from Bob Wilson who said it would be nice if somebody did a gofundme for him.”

Halloran reached out and discovered that Wilson, who was the light tech for some 300 shows a year at the Bacchanal music showcase in Clairemont Mesa from 1986 to 1993, could use some help right now.

Halloran says Wilson, who just turned 60, has been one of the “underheroes” of the local music scene for decades and is now trying to bounce back from a stroke.

“I’ve been recovering little by little,” says Wilson. “I can speak better, but I still have problems with my right side. I had a broken knee 20 years ago and they discovered I had bone chips that need to be taken out.” He says the need to take medication to deal with recently discovered a-fib, prevents him from getting that operation. “The cardiologist says I couldn’t get the operation until I got the a-fib under control because I would bleed out.”

And working is not an option at present.

“I’ve exhausted my friends who have given me places to stay,” says Wilson. He says a successful fundraiser would allow him to visit his mother and help with his rehabilitation.

“I almost gave up a while back,” Wilson tells the Reader. “I was feeling like I didn’t know where to go or what to do.”

Until recently Wilson had been doing lights at Mother’s in Ocean Beach with his homemade lighting rig.

Halloran has set up a benefit show Wednesday, March 22, at the Music Box in Little Italy. Performers include the Beat Farmers, Schizophonics, Dani Bell and the Tarantist, and Voices.

Bob was a key part of the Beat Farmer/Bacchanal legacy.

“I did all those Beat Farmer shows and for every spinoff band they came up with, like the Snuggle Bunnies, Pleasure Barons, Power Thud, and all of Joey Harris’s bands.”

Al Howard, who will be performing at Wednesday’s show with Dani Bell, remembers Wilson. “Bob used to run lights for the K23 Orchestra many moons ago,” says Howard. “When I heard the name Bob Wilson I was like, ‘Oh, you mean Bob Lights?’ He’s a great soul and always gave you one of those big hugs that counts. He deserves the best and I hope we can help in any way.”

Music Box

1337 India Street, Little Italy

Wilson started doing concert lighting soon after graduating high school in 1975, working at the Spirit Club (the predecessor to Brick by Brick), Club Rios, Club Mirage, Sound FX, Dream Street, Winston’s, and the Rhythm Lounge. He’s illuminated Alice in Chains, Nine Inch Nails, Faith No More, The Tubes, BB King, Chuck Berry, Little Richard...

“I did lights for Stone Temple Pilots when they were Mighty Joe Young, and for all the bands Eddie Vedder was in before Pearl Jam — Bad Radio, Mookie Blaylock, Indian Style.”

Halloran said anyone who wants to help but can’t make the show can contribute to the gofundme: gofundme.com/bob-wilson-benefit-w-beat-farmers.

Mike Halloran will speak about the Bob Wilson fundraiser Tuesday morning on the Bob and Coe Show on KGB-FM.

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