Bobby Easton is a versatile multi-instrumentalist, band leader, producer, and educator who has contributed extensively to the Southern California cultural landscape.
Born in Long Beach, CA, the son of a US Army colonel and a Korean army nurse, somehow Bobby Easton took the artist’s path, discovering the wonders of art at an early age. After pursuing art through to university studies, he had an epiphany that music spoke to him as the most powerful artistic medium. Along the way he had already absorbed a dizzying array of music. Childhood piano lessons, learning how to load the reel to reel tapes of his father’s collection of classical, jazz, and world music, studying West African drumming, funk, early hip hop, SoCal airwaves, punk, reggae, and the greater counterculture movement. Upon discovering Maggot Brain by Funkadelic, everything changed.
His first several bands were all original music. In college, he started a funk band called Fiya Bahl, which soon became Delta Nove. With 8 releases, several compilations, and extensive national touring, the Long Beach band has evolved into a 7 piece powerhouse of world funk. Bobby began to be known as Dr. Fuzzy to Delta Nove friends and fans. Years of touring has brought the band to festivals like High Sierra Music Festival, Wakarusa, 10,000 Lakes, and many more. They’ve shared the stage with artists like Dr. John, Ozomatli, Michael Franti, String Cheese Incident, War, and Burning Spear.
During all this, Bobby had been heavily drawn to global music, playing for years in a steel pan orchestra, listening to mixtapes of Fela, Afro Cuban music. But it was Brazilian music that truly enchanted his soul. He has made several extended trips to Brazil, most of his stay divided between Rio de Janeiro and Salvador, studying music and capoeira. He has worked with a collective of LA Brazilian bands Os Zagueiros, Samba Society, and Moforro, and served as co-musical director of Viver Brasil Afro Brazilian dance company. Brazilian music has brought him to stages like the Hollywood Bowl, the Palladium, Nokia Theater, Ford Theater, American Idol, a 5 year run at Disneyland’s California Adventure, and playing with artists like Sergio Mendes, Janelle Monae, Van Halen, Beck, Carlinhos Brown, Jorge Aragao, Fundo de Quintal, and many more.
In 2009 Bobby conceived and founded the Long Beach Funk Fest, arguably the most pure, uncut funk event in modern times, featuring legendary artists like George Clinton/Parliament Funkadelic, Mandrill, the Family Stone, Dawn Silva and the Brides of Funkenstein, Charles Wright and the Watts 103rd St. Rhythm Band, Shuggie Otis, and many more. This all-ages, sustainable event featured solar powered stages and eco-friendly vendors and has drawn up to 15,000 in annual attendees from around the country and the world and featured the best in legendary and modern funk bands, dj’s, artists, and raised money for music education in Long Beach. Bobby produced 6 years of the LB Funk Fest, whose mission is ‘Sustaining Our Future Through Funk.’
As his musical path evolved further, Bobby turned more towards freelance music work and recording and producing music, forming his own production studio Fuzzy Sound Lab, and producing events. He has recorded, produced, mixed, or performed music with artists like George Clinton, many members of Parliament Funkadelic, Ozomatli, the Big Ol’ Nasty Getdown, members of Red Hot Chili Peppers, Trulio Disgracias, Dennis Coffey, Kid Creole and the Coconuts, Fred Wesley, Onyi, Moforro, capoeira music albums, and many more. He has served as bassist for afro beat drumming legend Tony Allen and bassist for Trinidadian legend Calypso Rose at Coachella. He has produced many live music events from Long Beach to LA to Mammoth, drawing thousands of attendees.
Bobby has also been an educator for over 25 years. He started teaching elementary music classes while attending CSU Long Beach and has taught 4th and 5th grade, Brazilian drumming classes and has guest taught and lectured at universities like UCLA, CSUN, Northern Arizona University, and University of Idaho.
After a short stint as band director at St. John Bosco High School, Bobby assumed the role of director for the new Watts Conservatory of Music, headed by Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The new conservatory, where children of all backgrounds have access to learn to play a musical instrument, will provide free music lessons to the community of Watts.