Sleep Well, Sweet Prince, Bobby "Load" Johnston, 1970 to 2012

bobby load.jpg
Punks don't die, they walk into the sun!!!

Writing obituaries is a miserable way to make a living, especially when you've known the person who passed. But such is life, and if did know the dearly departed, as in this case, sitting around and getting down on yourself is not the way to tackle things. 

You bring the pills, I'll bring the alcohol.

My first skirmish with Load was back in the '90s when they opened up for the Ramones at The Edge.  Forever seared into my memory was frontman Bobby diving offstage and crowd surfing his way to the bar. Which prompted Jeff Tucci, if I remember correctly, to lead the band through an instrumental whilst trying to get Bobby's attention on the microphone.

It was hilarious and sad to see his attempts fail to the tune of, "Hey Bobby, when you get a chance, err, can you come back on stage, we're not done yet..."

That's fucking punk rock.

See also:
- Wrasslin', Plaid Shirts, and Mofos Who Can't Remember: Load's Lumberjack Death Luge
- 50 Best Miami Bands of All Time: From 10 to 6
- Local Album Review: Psycho Daisies - Return From Blood Island

It's not even that, is it? Did I not introduce myself to Bobby at least eight times from that show until two years ago? Did he ever remember me? Fuck no. And why should he? Bobby Load lived it his way. From Load to Southern Flaw to his last engagement with the Psycho Daisies, a band who's known its fair share of death, but who understood the nuances of genius and unfortunately remain criminally under the radar.

Bobby had been under hospice care for some time relating to some health issues I'm not particular clear on, but we can venture to guess that alcohol might've had something to do with it and we only do so because it is part of the myth. From the friends who helped him celebrate his forty-second birthday a week ago, we know that he was peaceful and surrounded by love.

But I'm a little Johnny-come-lately to some of this. Friend, Blowfly's cracker and former New Times writer Tom Bowker knew Bobby back then and this Facebook update's as close as you can come to summarizing it: "The best way I can think of to celebrate Bobby Load's life, is to go over to Aesop Dekker's Cosmic Hearse, download the records we rolled funny cigs on 20 years ago, and turn that good shit up to 11. Then, reconvene at a bar with cheap beer and tell Bobby Load tales until sunrise."

You might want to book a couple of contiguous sunrises because the tales do span that long. He might've been a weird drunk who always looked sweaty, but Bobby Load was without a doubt the finest front man any punk band has ever produced in the dirty south. He embodied the writhing nastiness of Iggy, the Devil-may-care-and-shit-on-you attitude of GG and he was soft on the eyes of many a broad a la Kurt.

Regardless of which, any gig that featured him would undoubtedly be a treat. Equal parts poet and idiot savant, Bobby had a commanding and mesmerizing presence that will go unequaled for a very long time. 

Sleep well sweet prince, raise some Hell wherever you end up. Give the afterlife a South Florida flavored racket!

Punks don't fade, they walk into the sun!

Bobby "Load" Johnston 10/12/1970 to 10/19/2012, check here for funeral arrangements and donation possibilities.


Load - 1997 at Churchill's




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2 comments
paul808waxman
paul808waxman

Anyone who remembers my open mike night at Sneakers in downtown Hollywood from the mid-90's to 2004, remembers Bobby.  Bobby "Load" who people all over the Miami punk scene knew and revered would come to Sneakers and play his songs, solo,acoustic. Whether on his guitar, my guitar or another.  Often with less than six strings. He poured out his soul to our tiny little audience and thanked me for the opportunity to play.  That's pure rock and roll.  Yes, he was a weird drunk.  But, he was also a talented, complex, compassionate, deeply and beautifully flawed work of art.  I knew that if he was in the bar,  it would be a good night.  Over the years I got to know many sides of Bobby Johnston and I will never forget him.  He was and will remain an inspiration to me and his passing is a loss to all those that will never have the pleasure of meeting him.

scottyrebels55
scottyrebels55

Yeah Bobby was classic. Just an awesome and a really sweet individual. I miss seeing him around. Bobby was always very cool to me , and even seemed to remember me ( for the most part) .

People such as bobby load are NEVER appreciated while alive. Its seems an unfortunate trend, and it is. I get really pissed off when I hear people sing his praises, and those same fuckers laughed and looked down on bobby while he was alive. Not cool, and if that's a trend, I'll happily stay off (and as far away) that bandwagon.

To those people ( you know who you are), FUCK YOU ! : )

To bobby, may you rest peacefully brother.

You are true individual, and i'll raise my pint and salute you any day of the week !

Thanks for some fun memories bobby load.

Scotty

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