In Memory of Robin Campbell

Posted: Friday, May 14, 2010 by •»¶hê ƒRëq»•-)•–––– in

To Many, Robin Campbell was the Sault's answer to Sanford and Son or  junk collector Eustace Haney
on the Green Acres t.v. shows.   Robin was the ultimate collector, pack rat and smiling flim flam man.   He was quite the character yet to most of us, he was a wonderful person, eager drummer and singer, good friend and father, but most of all,  someone that just lit up a room when he walked in.  I knew Robin for decades and enjoyed many hours of talking about cars, drums and life in general.   Robin had the knack for finding gold mines of rare musical instruments in his travels and getting them dirt cheap.   Of course he always wanted to make a huge profit so you had to know how to bicker price when dealing with Robin.   If he liked you, he'd cave on price as long as you stayed and talked with him a while. :-)   For years, Robin drove a van that was full top to bottom with used music gear to sell or trade.   When he found something you might need, he would pretty much drive to your house and start his mobile auction at your door step.  He use to make me laugh when he'd come to my home because as he was talking the sale of the stuff he had, he would be scanning your yard, garage or basement for stuff  he wanted to buy from you even though it wasn't for sale.    I owned a 1964 Corvette years ago and he tried his hardest to trade stuff for that car.   He loved cars.  Robin use to drive an MG car if I remember correctly but he had so many that I'm not sure of the model.   One of the last and Robin's most favourite drumsets was his Rogers cutting board finish drums.   They were mint and he bragged about them so much.  The kit was beautiful.  I last saw that drumset in Robin's new garage that he built but sadly didn't enjoy long.

Robin use to visit so many bands on a weekend and each bar he visited loved it when he got up and sang.  He had a huge fan base.   I always let Robin up to sing a few songs of which one of his faves was the Chuck Berry classic "Johnny Be Good".   The place would go nuts.   To a younger crowd you might shrug your shoulders now a days and not think twice about this person singing but Robin had a giant personality that touched people more than anyone I've known since.  True, you may not have had the chance to have known him very well, but bring his name up in a conversation with older musicians and they'll know who he was instantly.   He was one of a kind.

Robin eventually retired the van and started a flea market on Bruce Street.   Sadly the building is long gone and is a vacant lot now but at the time, It was huge.   I have great memories of that place because it was a watering hole for musicians even though Robin was selling everything under the sun.  He still had a corner for music gear.   My favourite vision of Robin is going into that shop and seeing him sitting next to his antique fridge (1940's) and him sucking back a pop. He loved soda.  He drank a lot of pop in his final years.   Robin's business moved onto Queen Street for a short time and then one more time to Wellington Street.

I knew at the time he was moving his shop around that he was on hard times financially but he was still chipper and he always seemed to hide his disappoint from you but if you knew him like me and a few others, you knew something wasn't right.  Around the time he moved his shop to Wellington Street, I had my own flower shop with my wife on upper Wellington Street and we'd visit each other every other day.  Instead of trading music gear, we were trading flowers and nick nacks |O|.   One day, I went to his shop and it wasn't open.    I thought it was strange but never thought too much about it but asked fellow musicians what was up.  No one knew.    Less than 2 weeks later, Robin was dead.    Rumour has it he went in to the hospital complaining of stomach pain.  He needed an operation and during the operation found out he was full of cancer.   I'm not sure if this is true or not but I do know he was fine the last time I saw him which was 2 weeks before his death.   Robin was in my store chatting up a storm like he always did.  To say it was a shock was an understatement.   To go from laughing together one day and then never seeing him again a few
weeks later was a shock.

His store and the items in it were liquidated and a lot of us musicians were there for that.  It was a sad end for such a sweet guy.   I still have an eerie feeling when I think about being their during that sale of his property.  Most of us musicians didn't buy a thing.   In my case, like many others, we were there to pay our respects like we always did at his store when he was alive.   The building was broken down and just crammed full of stuff.   It's just a haunting memory for me. Seeing his old desk empty was heart breaking.

Robin's funeral was attended by many musicians as almost every musician at that time knew him.

It's been a long time since his death and I can probably speak for most musicians that knew him that we're
all missing him in our lives in some small way.   When I walk into a pawn shop or music store and see some old used music gear, a thought of him always pops into my mind and I just know he's looking down over my shoulder trying to bicker the price. |O|   I have an old Broadview Snare that he gave me that I still have.  It's broken with no skins on it.  It's rare.   He wanted a fortune for it when he first got it but then one day, he just
gave it to me and smiled and said have a nice day.   I never fixed the snare and it remains in that same condition because in a way,  it reminds me of him.   He always tried to sell you broken stuff and this snare just makes me smile |O|.   I miss him.

glen "the freq"


  1. Anonymous says:

    You said everything perfect! He was a great guy, I would spend countless hours drinking coffee, and talking about everything under the sun with Robin, he was always smiling and happy, and had time for everyone.
    He will always be remembered, and yes sadly missed.
    Cheers for making my day with this story Glen!

    Dale Corcoran