A Musical History of ROB TIMBS
Rob Timbs was born in Gosport, Hampshire, England on the 30th January 1954 and migrated to Australia when he was five years old. He grew up in Torrens Park, Adelaide and attended Scotch College.
As a teenager he applied to work in recording studios throughout the UK but had many knock backs. On leaving school his main interest beside sport was commercial art, so he worked in the printing industry. Later he got a job in a music store and taught himself how to play many instruments.
Rob started his musical career in a band called “Nashville County” in 1973 as part of the rock scene. He replied to an add for a rhythm guitarist and occasional vocalist. He later joined a band called “The Fuzz”.
His favourite musicians were ‘The Beatles’ - particularly John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Marc Cohn, Bruce Cockburn, Leo Kotke, Eric Bibb, John Mellencamp, John Hiatt to name a few. He respected them all. Rob had an enormous LP record collection of different artists and styles of music which influenced his work during the late 1970’s and 1980’s.
A Christian workmate persuaded Rob to visit Maughan Uniting Church in the Adelaide CBD, where he found a new purpose for his life and music. Rob met up with Maxine Hancock at the church youth group called "Rendezvous". He married Maxine at Maughan Church on the 18th December 1976. They had one daughter Sarah, born on the 1st June 1983.
Rob became a singer/songwriter and moved to solo performances in 1976. He was a self-taught musician, taking on many different instruments which were used on recordings of his 12 albums. Rob's songs were filled with deep thoughts and lyrics that reflected on human behaviour and the work of God in the world.
He was involved with music at churches, regional centres, concerts and high schools. Rob travelled South Australia with ‘United Christian Forum’ (UCF) and ‘Schools Ministry Group S.A.’ (SMG), participating in High School ‘Christian Option programmes’. He also accompanied ‘God's Squad Melbourne’, reaching out to many young people around Australia with his music.
“The Flying Fettuccinis” were an experimental comedy troupe that performed around Adelaide in the late 1980’s. Rob formed the Fettuccinis with Phil Hoffmann, Jessie Byrne, Paul Turley, and J.S. Hudson. The Fettuccinis wrote their own material with all members contributing and collaborating. Rob wrote many of the comical songs.
Rob originally recorded and produced his own compositions on his 4 track TEAC reel to reel recorder in the lounge room at his home in Blackwood. His first “release” under the 'Good*God' label, was “I’m Just the Singer - Not the Song”, in 1977.
Chris Adams recounts, “I developed a friendship with Rob through his regular visits to Good*God studio. I took on the role of tape engineer for a number of his albums. This arrangement allowed him to focus on his playing. We continued the musical partnership right through to the mid 1990s, working on six albums together. I feel very privileged to have known Rob and to have worked closely with him during that period of his recordings. I have continued to work on the legacy of Rob’s music, by mastering the albums he created over the journey.”
“Rob had an enormous appetite for humour, and we sparred on many occasions, repeating well known lines from prominent acts, movies, and comedians. He felt an affinity with Spike Milligan, and knew a lot of the Goons routines off by heart.”
Max Timbs reflects, “Rob was a very private person with very high expectations of himself and his music. He agonised over every word, song, vocal and musical performance expecting nothing but perfection. He never wanted to draw attention to himself or his musical abilities.”
Rob sadly passed away at the age of 48 on the 21st June 2002.
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Above: Some of the team from 'United Christian Forum' (UCF).
L to R: Fuzz Kitto, Rob Timbs, Pete Arthur and Trish Treagus. Geoff Boyce, on right, was the first coordinator of UCF from 1981-86.
Above: "The Fuzz" Band 1974. Back: Rob & Graham. Front: Mick & John.
Above: "The Flying Fettuccinis" May 1984. Paul Turley, J.S. Hudson, Phil Hoffmann, Rob Timbs, Jessie Byrne.