Bob Malone: Road Warrior

By 
Peter Gordon

Bob Malone '87
Bob Malone '87

For an indie artist, the path to lasting success is often long, built on perseverance and a commitment to the music. Exhibit A is Bob Malone ’87.

Throughout his time at Berklee, Malone was constantly gigging, doing solo appearances, piano bars, original bands, and essentially paying for his college education. His career path since then has had a blue-collar organic flavor that is still defined by working hard.

He grew up as a rocker and, during his time at Berklee, added significant jazz chops. In 1990, he moved to Los Angeles and began to develop his distinctive piano and vocal style, which has a New Orleans flavor with a clear nod to artists like Dr. John and Leon Russell. After settling in Los Angeles, Malone put a band together and focused on the music he loved. He developed a following in Los Angeles and in San Diego, where he had a residency at Croce’s, a well-known blues club. The residency enabled him to develop his voice and appreciate the value of being a complete entertainer.

By 1996, Malone wanted to reach a wider audience and he took to the road. In the beginning, he toured solo because he couldn’t afford a band. “I didn’t know what I was doing,” he says. “I simply tried to sell enough CDs to keep going.”

In 2006, he reached out to blues festivals in Australia. Never having played the country before, he just sent e-mail messages to everyone connected to the festivals. One recipient offered to fly him down for a show in Queensland. In typical grass-roots fashion, Malone has built an audience Down Under and now performs there three weeks a year.

In 2010, a fan who remembered him from his days at Croce’s connected him with Grammy Award–winning artist John Fogerty. Malone has been touring and recording with the former Creedence Clearwater Revival frontman ever since. A career highlight came during a recent concert at Hyde Park in London, England, when Bruce Springsteen sat in with the band. Fogerty has a new CD that is scheduled for release in February, and Malone plays a prominent role on the recording.

Malone’s own CD will be released in the spring, and then he will likely hit the road again for a tour of festivals and major blues rooms. For more on Malone’s journey, visit www.bobmalone.com