About Robert Pasenko
A popular drummer on the Chicago blues scene, Robert has played countless nightclubs, festivals, concert halls, pool halls, dance halls, VFW halls, city halls, stadiums, radio shows, television shows, funeral parlors, churches, bowling alleys, train stations, gangster hangouts, skating rinks, city parks, downtown plazas, sidewalks, restaurants, house parties, block parties, loft parties, corporate parties, barn dances, dive taverns, sports bars, biker bars, yacht clubs, burlesque clubs, quinceañeras, football fields, juke joints, county fairs, state fairs, transgender conventions, wakes, governor's mansions, river boats, parades, memorials, nudist colonies, marathons, triathlons, weddings, you name it. He's had his drum heads slashed by a jealous drummer, had blood squirted all over him and his drums, had people thrown into his drum set while he played, seen knife fights, guns pulled, bottles thrown, and massive brawls. He's drummed his way through numerous elbow injuries, knee injuries, ankle injuries, wrist injuries, shoulder injuries, broken fingers, cracked ribs, broken toes, black eyes, and a variety of other hard times, good times, aches and pains, and enjoyed every bit of it.
As a teenager, Robert traveled with a rock-and-roll band and had the opportunity to gig with ten-time Grammy Award winner, Bobby McFerrin. He played street parties and "dances" all over Chicago with a group of Hispanic guys who taught him to speak Spanish and play cool Latin grooves. He cut his blues teeth on Chicago's notorious west side, where he appeared often with his close friend, Harmonica Kahn, a harmonica-wielding, bone-clicking, tap-dancing, singer, who billed himself as the "The Greatest Show on Earth". He played the Thunderbird Club, The Garfield Park Social Club, Seymour and Phil's Joint, Rooster's Palace, Bossman's Blues Center and Wallace's Catfish Corner, all west side clubs, with Johnny Dollar, Sammy Fender, Harmonica Kahn, Ice Mike, Zora Young, Tail Dragger, and others. He played in the house band at Lee's Unleaded Blues, a bona-fide juke joint on Chicago's south side, where he appeared regularly behind just about every blues and soul singer in town. He beat his way all around Chicago with a former Fats Domino guitarist/vocalist who schooled him in the ways of New Orleans drumming, and he participated in Buddy Guy's jam sessions for some ten years, where he really got an education in blues.
For the past decade, he's been the first-call drummer for blues/gospel vocalist, Tommy McCracken, an incredible entertainer, known for pushing drummers to their absolute physical limits. He's played hundreds of gigs with blues artists such as Sammy Fender, Quintus McCormick, Aron Burton, Michael Dotson, Holle Thee Maxwell, and his friend Ron Michaels of Blue Plate Special.
For close to 3 years, Robert played ringleader at his "Hot Dog Blues Jam," in a club on Chicago's south side, where he gave out close to 4,000 hot dogs, millions of tortilla chips, dozens of turkey and ham dinners, and countless other goodies. Robert publicized the Hot Dog Blues Jam all over the world and managed to draw over 400 musicians and countless blues lovers; they came from NY, L.A., New Orleans, San Francisco and from 20+ foreign countries. Eventually, a violent street gang made the club their home, the city threatened to throw him in jail for serving food -free food- without a license, and Robert threw up his hands and quit.
Born to play drums, Pasenko continues to bang on them any chance he gets, which includes countless practice sessions in his rehearsal room, gigging with a variety of bands, and sitting in with various friends around town.
Be sure to check back frequently for new and exciting updates. : )
Robert has worked with many artists, including:
He remains forever grateful to his close friends and band-mates, some of the best musicians in the world, for passing on the experience they gained while working with artists such as Willie Dixon, Freddie King, Sonny Boy Williamson, Albert Collins, Buddy Guy, Hound Dog Taylor, Albert King, Johnny Winter, Robert Cray, John Lee Hooker, Junior Wells and Muddy Waters. Their teaching in the subjects of "pocket", "groove" and good drumming has been invaluable.
Charlie Love and the Silky Smooth Band
Sammy Fender and the Blues Masters
Eric "Guitar" Davis
Bobby "Top Hat" Davis
Tommy McCracken and the Force of Habit Band
"Killer" Ray Allison
Harmonica Kahn, "The Greatest Show on Earth"
Eddy "The Chief" Clearwater
Joe Kelly, of the Shadows of Knight
Les Getrex and Creole Cookin'
The Sons of Slum
Morry Sochat and the Special 20's
Mondo Cortez and the Chicago Blues Angels
Holle "Thee" Maxwell of the Ike Turner Review
Pee Wee Hayes
Bobby "Too Tuff"
Johnny Drummer and the Starlighters
Tom Crivellone's Two for the Blues
Felix Reyes, of Felix and the Cats
The Arkansas Belly Roller
Will Jacobs and the Dirty Deal
The Delta Blues Hog
Brother John Katke
Blue Plate Special
Venicio Del Toledo
Jauqo III X
Scott "Mad Man" Madden
He plays often for the following "Special Guests":
Elmore James Jr.
Big Time Sarah
Billy Boy Arnold
Junkyard Dog (Leroy Jones)
Little Al Thomas
Artie "Blues Boy" White
Lil' Ed Williams
Sidney Joe Quall
Pat "Soul" Scaggs
In addition to his music, Robert Pasenko has taught Computer Science at Pace University in New York City and has developed software for such companies as American Airlines, Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Mercedes-Benz, Gillette, Walgreen's, Wells Fargo, The Jane Addams Hull House, The Lutheran's Association, Minute Maid, The National Grid, and the State of Illinois. He has studied literature in the Spanish language for more than 15 years.
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