Lonesome Onry and Mean: The Disturbing Ballad of Bob Woodruff, Part 1
Over the course of a few Cactus Music in-store performances, the Chronicle 's Andrew Dansby asked LOM several times if we'd ever heard Bob Woodruff. Nope. So one day Dansby walks up and hands us a disc with "Bob Woodruff" scrawled on it. LOM took the disc home and was blown away - we couldn't believe we'd never heard even a whisper about this guy. According to Dansby and Cactus Music GM Quinn Bishop, Woodruff should have been the next Dwight Yoakam. Instead, after two albums in the mid-'90s, no one seemed to even know where he was anymore. So LOM went looking for Bob Woodruff. Not an easy thing to do, since there is a much more celebrated TV news personality of the same name. But a few days later a publicist buddy of mine in Los Angeles sent me a MySpace link for Bob Woodruff, country singer. LOM sent a message asking Woodruff what he was doing these days, why had he gone missing in Nashville, what was his story.
Well, it was quite a story. Here's part of what Woodruff wrote us:
"After Imprint Records went bankrupt, I met with a number of labels and publishers in Nashville but no offers were ever forthcoming. Interscope Records in New York paid for some demos that I recorded, but no record contract ever came from that. I began to despair of ever making another record for a label, or getting any songs cut by other recording artists and fell into a pretty deep depression. "I moved back to New York City to be closer to my mother who was very sick, and I took a job in a warehouse. I began to use heroin regularly, and by the time my mother died I was strung out on the drug. I played the odd show in NYC and also toured in Sweden, but less and less time was devoted to my career in music. As time went on, my addiction proved to be a full-time job. I tried to quit cold turkey many times but to no avail. Eventually I went into detox, some rehabs and even got on methadone maintenance a couple times. "In 2003 I was kicked out of a rehab in Long Island and I began a series of failed attempts to get clean in the country homes of ex-girlfriends around the nation. I had the ill manners to OD in several of these poor women's bathrooms, which did not seem to inspire their trust in my sincerity or ability to quit using. "After a particularly harrowing event in Nebraska when I was forced by paramedics to drink several cups of liquid charcoal - a viscous, foul-tasting mixture which neutralized and flushed the drugs out of my system and for a week or so allowed me to honestly declare that my shit did not stink - I wound up in an intensive care unit in Omaha. "The late and saintly Buddy Arnold from Musicians Assistance Program (MAP) was called, and he agreed to place me in one more rehab, providing it was the same one that he himself had gotten clean at in L.A. back in the '70's (Buddy had already placed me in a couple of treatment facilities back east, including the one I was thrown out of). "That may be way too much information but it's the how and why I came to L.A. Happily, I've been clean now for nearly 4 years."
Check back later this week, when we'll continue Bob Woodruff's story of what happened to him and what he's doing now.
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