BIRCH, Bob Legendary Bassist Bob Birch, 56, Finally at Peace, by Michael Anthony Perna To quote one of my favorite Elton John songs, "We're crippled and we're dazed. A gardener like that one, no one can replace." Bob Birch was a legendary bass player, a devoted husband, a proud father, a loving son, a kind brother, a family man, a giving person, a loyal band mate, a wise mentor, a true friend and a die hard Detroit Lion's fan. He was also the definition of cool. Bob's smile was contagious. His demeanor was mild. His eyes were bright, but his spirit was even brighter. It would light up not only a room, but an arena as well. Everything he did, he did with the passion and enthusiasm of a teenager, whether it was performing in front of a hundred thousand fans or at home making meatballs and gravy (red sauce for those of you not from back east) for a few lucky friends and family members.
The only thing greater than his genius talent, was his humility. Not many people know that he played not only bass, but every instrument in the band, composed, engineered, produced, taught, mentored and was the one person you could always go to for honest advice and encouragement. Bob was the best at what he did and worked his way up the food chain in the music business to play with the top world class performer of our time, Sir Elton John, and he deserved it. He also played with Billy Joel, Eric Clapton and Stevie Wonder just to name a few. Those of us lucky enough to have played with him know that we were playing with more than just a great bass player because somehow his spark would always thrust the band to another level. After a tragic accident seventeen years ago when he suffered a broken back and two broken legs, he spent the remaining years of his life fighting to manage his pain and suffering in silence while living an incredibly productive life. He was a true warrior. After fighting the good fight for all those years, on August 15, 2012, his body had finally no more to give. We are devastated at our loss over this past week and only through the strength of the message Bob Birch gave us through his years of giving has afforded us the strength to move forward. I know he would have expected nothing less from us. Bob was full of love. And one of the best definitions of God I know is: God is love. That tells me that Bob is with God in heaven. He is finally out of pain, and probably on the way to play the Hendrix gig. Bob Birch is survived by his wife Michele and his son Jonathan, a loving family, a host of friends and a world of fans. Donations can be made in the name of Bob Birch to the Elton John Aids Foundation. The world is truly a better place because Bob Birch was in it. I love him and his family and will miss him dearly, but I just feel blessed to have known him at all. Rest in peace brother. Services Sunday August 19th, 2012 at 2:00PM, Mount Sinai Memorial Parks and Mortuaries, Simi Valley.
Published in the Los Angeles Times on Aug. 18, 2012