The Doctor Bob Concert Series

by E. "Doc" Smith on December 5, 2008

Looking to take a musical walk on the wild side? Tonight at the San Francisco Community Music Center comes some of the area’s best artists in every sense of the word. “The Doctor Bob Concert Series” a series of shows featuring Edgetone Records’ Doctor Bob and special guest artists. Doctor Bob is a project of avant cellist and vocalist Bob Marsh and nouveau lap steel player and film maker David Michalak. They play songs for a dark and turbulent world ranging from scary to the surreal. This show will feature new material from their upcoming release called, “Chance” as well as songs from their “Dark Times” CD on Edgetone Records.  Andre Custodio will join the duo on drums and percussion. Pamela Z is an international composer, performer, sound artist, and extended vocalist will feature some new works for voice, electronics, and video. Ms. Z has been commissioned to compose works for new music chamber ensembles: the Bang On A Can Allstars; Ethel, the California E.A.R. Unit; the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble; the Empyrean Ensemble, and the St. Luke’s Chamber Orchestra. These are two of my all-time favorites in a not to be missed performance.

Marsh is a well seasoned improviser whose work has involved shaping sounds words images ideas. Originally from Detroit, Marsh arrived in the Bay Area in 2000 after ten years in Chicago where he played with most of the avant improvisers in that rich and varied scene. Since his arrival on the west coast, multi-instrumentalist and composer Marsh has been busy with several projects. He currently leads or directs String Theory, a string ensemble focusing on textures and microtonics; the Che Guevarra Memorial Marching (and Stationary) Accordion Band, structured and free improv for six to fifteen accordions; Robot Martians, electronics and processed voice; the Out of the Blue Chamber Ensemble, a mixture of reeds and strings; Opera Viva, voiced physical theater; the Quintessentials, a quintet specializing in interpreting graphic compositions based on alterations to the Michelin Road Guide to France; and the Illuminated Orchestra, structured improves for large ensemble.

Additionally Marsh is a member of Romus/Diaz-Infante’s Abstractions, Jim Ryan’s Left Coast Improv Group, Moe!chestra and Tom Bickley’s Cornelius Cardew Choir. Bob Marsh tours frequently with his long term partner saxophonist Jack Wright. Bob has recently been presenting a solo work involving violin, voice and tap shoes. Marsh’s educational background includes a BFA in sculpture and an MA in humanistic clinical psychology. He has studied classical piano, classical guitar and vibraphone and has taught himself various other instruments. He currently is active with cello, accordion, violin, voice, vibraphone and electronics.

David Michalak plays a Fender lap steel guitar and an assortment of odd percussion instruments. While he is more commonly known as a filmmaker (50 films with original soundtracks since 1971), the visual art side of him seeps inherently into his solo performances and group compositions, which are characterized by shimmering passages, abstract snapshots and haunting representations of natural elements. David plays in his instrumental ensembles Reel Change and Ghost In The House as well as the duo, Dr. Bob. Some musicians that he is currently performing with are: Tom Nunn, Andrew Voigt, Bob Marsh, Carla Kihlstedt, Karen Stackpole and Kyle Bruckman.

The extraordinary Pamela Z has toured extensively throughout the United States, Europe, and Japan. She has performed in numerous festivals including Bang On A Can at Lincoln Center in New York, the Interlink Festival in Japan, Other Minds in San Francisco, and Pina Bausch Tanztheater’s 25 Jahre Fest in Wuppertal, Germany. She has composed, recorded and performed original scores for choreographers and for film and video artists, and has done vocal work for other composers (including Charles Amirkhanian, Vijay Iyer, and Henry Brant). Her large-scale, multi-media performance works, Parts of Speech , Gaijin, and Voci, have been presented at venues including The Kitchen in New York, Theater Artaud and ODC Theatre in San Francisco, the Museum of Contemporary Art Theatre in Chicago, as well as at theaters in Washington D.C. and Budapest Hungary.

Her one-act opera Wunderkabinet (co-composed with Matthew Brubeck) premiered in 2005 at The LAB Gallery in San Francisco, and was presented at REDCAT in Los Angeles and the Open Ears Festival in Canada. Her new inter-media work The Pendulum is scheduled to have its San Francisco Premiere at the Royce Gallery in 2008. She has had audio works included in exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and the Erzbischiöfliches Diösanmuseum in Cologne. Her site-specific, multi-channel sound works have been presented at the Tang Museum in Saratoga Springs NY, the Dakar Biennale in Sénégal, and the Hellenic Museum in Chicago. Her work has also been presented at the San Jose Museum of Art, El Museo del Barrio in New York, and La Biennale di Venezia in Italy.

Doctor Bob Concert Series Operation #1
Doctor Bob and Pamela Z
San Franicsco Community Music Center
544 Capp Street Between 20th & 21st
Friday, December 5th, 8:00 P.M.
$10, $5 students

E. “Doc” Smith is a musician and recording engineer who has worked with the likes of Brian Eno, Madonna, Warren Zevon, Mickey Hart, Jimmy Cliff, and John Mayall among others. He is also the inventor of the musical instrument, the Drummstick. He can be reached via

Filed under: Arts & Entertainment