November 20, 2012
Missing The Maddog (1943 – 2012)
“If you met him once, you’d never forget him”. That’s how nearly everyone describes Bob Rainey, better known as “Maddog,” who left us on October 27th. Maddog was known as jokester, always with a joke at the ready. More often than not, it was an inappropriate one. That was part of his charm. He loved to shock people.
He had a knack for getting his hands into everything. His wife Tomi says that Bob “completely immersed” himself in anything that caught his interest. When she was publishing a Rottweiler magazine, he helped by learning how to light, shoot, and develop his own prints. When the astronomy bug hit him, he read books on math, physics, “learned the whole solar system,” and built his telescopes.
Those other interests fell by the wayside when music came along. Maddog veered towards Hawaiian and bluegrass, but he loved everything. He created several instruments from scratch, including an electric cittern, and his infamous “salad bowl ukelele”. He also amassed a ridiculous amount of (to name a few) ukeleles, guitars, and accordions.
Although he loved to kid and could sometimes come across as a bit of a curmudgeon, Maddog had a dirty little secret: He was a big, very generous, sweetheart of a guy. He supported anyone who played music, attending shows, buying up merchandise, and making sure that many obscure artists had an audience (either by hosting a house concert or dragging people to a show) when they came through town.
And he was there for me more times than I can count. Years ago, when my web site only had pics of my guitar (and not me), Maddog showed up with Tomi and a car full of cameras and lights, and we spent the day on a shoot. They repeated this several times, taking most of the shots for all my CDs.
I’ve been running the Wooden Nickel Open Mic (here in Watsonville) for eight and a half years (I just did the math). Every month, Maddog was waiting there at the door, helping me unload and set up, and again striking and packing at the end of the night. We’re dedicating December’s Open Mic to Maddog, and the Nickel’s going to post his photo on the wall behind the bar.
We don’t get folks like “the dog” very often. If you knew him, count yourself among the lucky. And if you didn’t, just be happy that this good, wacky, and very generous soul was with us for awhile.