If you’re a frequent listener of The Best Show, then you may already know Avalanche Bob. He’s one of those unknown “regulars” who relentlessly calls into independent (and otherwise) radio stations in search of that precious airtime. There may be someone like that on your town or city’s college station or morning show. While the nature of the discussion might be for casual banter and a couple of “look at this guy” laughs, lest not we forget that these are some of the world’s best self-promoters on the line. Most of which have something menial for sale, like their music or other obscure offerings. And they will just keep on hustling to get by with life.
Avalanche Bob was born Robert Cribbie in Hudson, New York. At an early age, young Bob picked up the unfamiliar form of singing known as yodeling. Bob describes his dedication as having stemmed from a dream he had, in which he heard a sound that he could not describe. That sound soon became a yodel and it was then realized that any song could be sung through yodeling. Having recognized that his bizarre form of music could potentially materialize into something other than just a gimmick, Cribbie hoped to push “rock yodeling” into the mainstream.
‘Rockabilly Yodel’ by Bob Cribbie (1959)
Bob released his first single in 1959, appropriately titled “Rockabilly Yodel.” I’m not entirely sure how the song was received back then, but it was his last for nearly sixty-years. Despite the huge, unexplained gap in his musical narrative, Bob has never stopped yodeling. He has recorded “thousands” of original songs to tape, half of which were written about the extreme sport of snowboarding. Oh, and he doesn’t want to perform as Bob Cribbie any longer - now he’s Avalanche Bob.
When Cribbie first got into songwriting in the 50’s and 60’s, the Beach Boys and surf music were what was popular. Everyone wanted to be part of the phenomena, but only few actually lived near the ocean to participate. But it didn’t matter so much because it was more of a rhythm and a feeling. That sensation is what Avalanche Bob is going for with his recent discovery of a so-called “snowboard revolution.” According to the revolution, snowboarding is the solution. To what, you may ask? Bob didn’t exactly specify. But, someday snowboarding could be “as big as the WWE,” Cribbie often cites. Maybe someday. The high-velocity brand was originally to be centered around skiing, but I can see why Bob went with snowboarding.
So with a little backstory, it now partially makes sense why Avalanche Bob has dedicated at least some of his life to yodeling and the snowboard revolution. Last year, Cribbie teamed up with New York musicians Owen Kline and Sam Kogon to self-release Avalanche Bob’s debut record, High Power Snow Power! To The Stars! Protect The Earth! With hits like “Drivers of the New Rock (Snowboarding Nation),” “The Hoodoo Man,” and “Rock ‘n’ Roll to the Winter Olympics,” Bob transforms doo-wops into “snow-wops” with his truly imaginative and oftentimes unhinged style of songwriting. It’s all about the powder and the slopes for this yodel-punk maestro.
Robert Cribbie self-portrait
Avalanche Bob has yet to actually go snowboarding. At eighty-four years old, he is hopeful that he will someday. Cribbie has already been on Kimmel, however, and was the subject of a 2017 indie short that bears his moniker. Bob’s main focus right now is to get his commercial idea to Red Bull and, let’s not forget, to release the thousands of songs he has allegedly already written. He also has four musicals ready for Broadway.
It’s been a bizarre and even supernatural journey for Avalanche Bob. A true-to-life outsider musician and a cosmic yodel-punk navigating the mountains of the snowboard revolution, one cannot help but to love the guy and everything that he’s pushing for. And once again, I’m not entirely sure what that is.
Listen to Avalanche Bob’s debut record ‘High Power Snow Power!’ after the jump…