As a nice change from organizing my Pump & Circumstance notes for the November issue, I went to hear renowned female physique photographer Bill Dobbins sing and play the guitar at a cute little club in Hollywood called The Gig on Wednesday night. Yes, you read that right, and before you ask—he was terrific. Blew me away, man. I mean, like, who knew?
I did know that Bill had been a performer and had appeared in the musical Hair way back when, but his history as a folk, rock and blues singer-songwriter in the ’60s and ’70s (my kind of music) came as a complete surprise—although not a shock. Bill is an amazing guy when you consider all he’s accomplished in his role as world-famous physique photographer and writer. His books, including those written with Arnold Schwarzenegger as well as his photo essays highlighting the muscular female physique, set him apart on their own. That he was one of the first in the bodybuilding industry to use the Internet successfully both as a commercial venture and as a dispenser of information has always impressed me (find him at www.BillDobbins.com and www.BillDobbins.net). The music just extends those talents in another direction.
After a long layoff from performing, during which he became that world-famous physique photographer we all know, Bill got onstage again just a few months ago. You’d never have known it from his strong performance of original songs the other night. The audience at The Gig included an interesting array of Bill’s friends from the bodybuilding world and beyond. IRON MAN publisher John Balik was there with his wife Stephanie and Scott Hagerman of CHEMI Nutra. Betty Weider, with iron game historians and Arnold Strongest Man organizers Terry and Jan Todd and Betty’s niece Theresa Katz, also came out to enjoy Bill’s performance, as did fitness celebs Cynthia Bridges and Brenda Kelly, writer Brooks Wachtel (“Dogfights”) and director Jon Zeiderman. Fitness model Viviana Soldano and actress Cassandra Creech, both of who have appeared recently in IRON MAN via Dobbins photos, were on hand, as were Robin Coleman, a former World’s Strongest Woman contender, and a few other folks I didn’t recognize across the darkened venue.
A very nice break indeed, but now it’s back to the column. To hear Bill’s music—and read about his fascinating years in the music business—click on to www.BillDobbinsMusic.com.