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Bobby Bullet: Bio

Bobby Bullet

Celebrating over fifty years in the music business as a writer/performer, Bobby Bullet, born Robert St. Germaine in 1942 on the Lac du Flambeau Reservation, continues to draw from a life and career filled with uncertainty, joy, love and difficult decisions to create memorable lyrics and heartfelt music. He considers himself a Country/Folk songwriter; his audiences, however, know him to be much more. He is a cross genre musical performer, humorous, multi-faceted performance artist who reaches across generational lines to gently assault the consciousness about critical issues. His journey is the journey of a generation of Indian men born into tumultuous times seeking identity, fading traditions and language, the way to live with one foot in each cultural world and the strength to forge a new way still grounded in and old world of resourcefulness and honor.

As an infant, moving with his mother and stepfather to the growing urban area around Madison, Wisconsin, Bobby was unaware his natural father had died saving his army buddies by covering an exploding hand grenade with his body in 1945, when Bobby was two. Adopted by his stepfather; it wasn’t until Bob was ten that he was told by his mother’s sister who his natural father was and that his heritage connected him to a community and extended family that he did not know. Even frequent traveling the family did back to Lac du Flambeau, Wisconsin didn’t solidify his tribal connections. The family grew and settled into an urban environment and Bobby became a part of that

The young boy drawn in and nurtured by generations of family musicians and cultural music traditions tied closely to life and the earth took to performing at age ten with all the enthusiasm and showmanship still evident in every one of his performances. That he was born to sing was clearly evident from the first time he took the stage standing tall and belting out the lyrics to Country standards accompanying himself with acoustic guitar. Mesmerized by the music and the possibility for personal expression and creativity Bobby began to write music and lyrics. At twelve hearing his music teacher play his first attempt at musical notes on the piano as a cohesive musical work became a turning point in his life; changing him from a singer to a singer songwriter.

Struggling to find his place in the fifties and early sixties Bobby rubbed shoulders with the legal system, found himself with a sensitive Probation Officer despite his undercurrent of anger and growing addiction to alcohol. He enlisted in the Army, served in Germany, entertained on the Troop ships with his music and through his Army buddies was exposed to rock, blues, jazz and soul. His creative juices jumped at a chance to incorporate his new knowledge with his country and tribal roots. Discharged from the Army in 1963 Bob began a continually changing series of occupations at home in Madison. He became a part of the growing music scene and developed a close-knit family of musicians with whom he still plays today.

A marriage in 1963 lasted five years. During that time Bob began to seek his own tribal roots, Family and begin to understand his connections to heritage and tradition. Being of Indian/French descent Bob knew that personal connections were the only way to track his heritage. He was able to establish those relationships at Lac du Flambeau and also in Canada. Reconnecting with his community and establishing a network to begin learning his own spiritual path, Bob settled into what would begin a lifetime of learning, teaching and healing. He studied with Tribal Elders practicing traditional ways, incorporating new pieces into lyrics and music. In 1970 Bob married again, became a stepfather and father himself in 1971, when his daughter Dawn was born. In his trying to figure out where he “fit in” and how to find the true path to his dreams. He began a process of seeking the “sounds of the earth” focusing on becoming an “open channel” receiving clear messages and “catching the songs as they cam flying by.”

With every spare minute consumed by his music Bob performed locally, traveled and immersed himself in pursuing his singing songwriting career, all else was secondary. The seventies found him back and forth to Nashville, meeting everyone he could meet and at times becoming shuffled and misdirected by an established system with which he was unfamiliar. He was looking to record and sell songs. “Like others before me, my footprints were all over Music Row,” In 1978 one of his recordings “Gonna’ Get Your Lovin” was reviewed in Billboard Magazines’ weekly review and identified as the song to watch. Not ready to give up performing and concentrate on writing songs for others to record Bob continued to pursue his own artistic career. Bob formed a band in 19789-1980 and recorded an album, Bobby Bullet with the Weekend Warriors. His gentle nature and ever present desire to help and support others sometimes worked against his where his own self promotion was concerned. He struggled but never quit writing. Bob continued to capture his own struggles and those of others in his music creating a vast archive of songs and many stories yet to be told.

Divorced in 1982, Bob continued his travels to Nashville, performed locally for social caused, benefits and occasional paying gigs and maintained his desire to reach his dreams. By the Mid-eighties drinking was wearing thin, Bob’s spiritual focus was moving him forward, ”my spirit and body were dying”, so by 1986 he quit drinking entirely. New personal priorities found Bob working on his physical health and spirituality. Professionally he started writing new songs and found a “respect for my guitar and my music.” He began with a “clear mind” to realign himself with respect, honor and a new commitment to himself, his heritage, his music and the earth.

Concentrating on embracing the lessons he had learned and bringing them forward in his music and daily life Bob became interested not only the message of his music but also how he could be a “builder of bridges’. Everywhere he looked the divides between people kept them separate and distrustful of each other. He took country, the blues, rock and traditional drum music to prisons in the U.S. and Canada. In the late 80’s and early 90’s, Bob was actively participating in traditional Ceremonies where he met Pam Nesbit who he married in 2003.

By 1995 Bob and formed a network of individuals committed to the traditional values common to all peoples. In 1995 he helped form Turtle island Distribution Enterprises Inc. as a 501-C-3 organization and under an elected Board of Directors. T.I.D.E. is a Native American organization committed to building relationships and networking partnerships with all nations and cultural groups through providing opportunities for goods and services, educational workshops and traditional Gatherings to all persons who have experienced racism, discrimination, disenfranchisement, isolation and victimization. Live music is a core piece to every aspect of T.I.D.E.’s work, bringing the sounds and flavor of all cultures together.

Turtle Island is a volunteer organization with members across a large portion of the mid-west and Canada. T.I.D.E. is aware that blatant racism thought the entire spectrum of people’s experiences grows daily in education, economics, social structure, health and the religious community and many more subtle forms thought history and today which are less evident. Turtle Island is committed to identify all those issues and present them in a whole community format. Only through bringing all cultures and races together will the opportunities for change take place. Each of the world’s peoples has been given sacred elements to nurture, protect and pass on in a healthy way to future generations. T.I.D.E. is committed to bringing all peoples together to share, discuss and seek visionary workable solutions to issues that separate the peoples, through a consistent focus to find similarities.

In 2000 T.I.D.E. formed a partnership and received grant funding from United Way of Dane County, Wisconsin lasting seven years. In 2005 T.I.D.E. formed a partnership with the Otto Bremer Foundation receiving grant funding for three years to bring together representatives of all nations to educate each other, discuss differences, similarities and to focus on the issues of social economic and religious discrimination common to all nations. They worked with children and youth of all nations to build bridges, teach traditional values and customs through that teaching effect the future of those children and youth in a positive way.

In 2003 Bob and Pam moved to Iron River, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula where they provide traditional teachings, hold gatherings and travel extensively now to provide nurturing support through Bob’s musical performances and traditional teachings. In 2009 he formed Appaloosa Sky L.L.C. his own production company as a vehicle to work within the music business to build bridges with his work. Appaloosa Sky L.L.C. is currently partnering with The Wisconsin Arts Board to mentor songwriters. Under Appaloosa Sky L.L.C Bob has also devised a unique and innovative band as only Bob could do. Appaloosa Sky has no permanent members with the exception of Bob, his wife Pam and daughter Dawn. The band is as fluid and growing as Bob himself and is made up of whoever is available and interested at any performance location.

And always, music continues running throughout Bobby’s days. It is the driving force behind his commitment to actively participate in the past, present and most importantly the future. There is an edge and underlying tension tempered by a pervasive gentleness of spirit evident in Bobby’s music; a frustration of what could have been and might still be, in life’s journey. Lives are fraught with choices barely visible though the tumult of individual and collective history, Bobby works to clarify that vision.

The consummate storyteller, an elder versed in reaching beyond the appearances of what is, thought tough the possibilities. Using stark reality to keep us from blinding ourselves with institutional prejudice, he touches spirits. Using traditional teasing and humor to expose raw emotions; he speaks of generational grief and pain in a loving way. He is a gentle warrior, one among many who reach through time to expose the “holes” in the fabric of our history that weakens the cloth that covers us all, keeping us separated from the true unity of spirit. The thread of peace and understanding runs through all Bob’s work His song “Children of the Rainbow,” to promote racial harmony is recorded with a group of inter-racial school children from Wisconsin and appears on his first CD “Scrapbook”. With simple music and a voice described by some as “reaching through by skin” when heard a cappella accompanied only by the Drum. He brings clarity of spirit to those who are truly ready to listen.