Bobby Bandiera, giving his all in music and for those in need
There’s a Jersey shore music icon that has given so much of himself to both the music scene here in New Jersey and those who are in need. Bobby Bandiera is a good friend of mine and we’re friends because Bobby is funny and most of all he is a good guy.
He pulls no punches, he tells it like it is and expects hard work and the best use of talent from the musicians who work with him. When Bruce Springsteen was looking for a new guitarist to join the E Street Band, Bobby was in strong consideration but the job went to Nils Lofgren.
Bobby, who was with Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes left when Jon Bon Jovi asked him to join Bon Jovi. He toured for a few years and was also the musical director for Jon’s Kings of Suburbia Band .
When Bruce wants a band to back him for a special occasion he calls Bobby. When Bruce wanted to teach his son the guitar, he called Bobby. He’s worked with legends in the music business including Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton and other big names.
Bobby has tremendous compassion for those in need. Very quietly he’s been a volunteer for the non-profit group Holiday Express who deliver music through music shows along with the gift of kindness to those in need. Holiday Express goes to soup kitchens, hospices, development centers and other places that serve the less fortunate. He’s been doing it for over 25 years.
He hosted and was the musical director for The Hope Concerts held at The Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank. Every year calling on friends such as Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, Southside Johnny, Gary US Bonds, Darlene Love and so many other big name artists to raise significant money for great local charities. In nine years The Hope Concerts have raised over three million dollars, all for New Jersey based charities. I’ve had the pleasure of hosting most of those concerts.
I enjoy Bobby’s company, we have a lot of laughs when we get together. He’s a great cook, as am I and the dishes that are served at my house are outstanding. Sitting around the table sharing stories and laughs over a good glass of wine with our friends has become the norm and I cherish it.
Bobby and I drove down to Key West a couple of years ago from New Jersey. We listened to the classic hits on the way down talking music and life. It was a great experience that he says he enjoyed although Bobby took a flight home. I don’t blame him!
He’s a lover of pets, good food, music and fun people. He’s also a treasure here in New Jersey. Thank you Bobby for all that you do for so many and most of all thank you for our friendship. Salute!
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