Skip to Content Skip to Navigation

DOC WALTZ: Bio

~THE HISTORY~
Robert “Doc” Waltz wrote his first song in 1966 when he was 15 years old. Titled “Blue Doll” it was written on a small Stella parlor guitar he found abandoned in a Beatnik coffee shop his uncle owned in Doc’s hometown of Fullerton, California. Over the rest of his teenage years he wrote about the subjects of the time – love, peace, and war.

After serving in combat in 1969 and early 1970 with the 25th Infantry Division in Vietnam, he returned to California, specifically San Francisco and Sausalito. It was here that he wrote his first “album” of original material. This work included the California Country rocker “Gentle Warrior,” a song about a Vietnam Vet who has difficulty blending back into civilian life, “Leavin’” (which was written in its entirety on a flight from Orange County to San Francisco, and “Down Again.”

Over the next 4 years he interweaved his original songs with cover songs in small clubs, restaurants, and open air venues in the Bay Area and Hollywood. In 1973, he and his high school friend and first collaborator, Steve Conger, recorded an album of original songs at Sound Recorders Studios and shopped them around Los Angeles for a record deal. While “Gentle Warrior” and “Down Again” received very positive responses as solid album cuts, and “Leavin” was “a nice little song” the overall effort was deemed as missing the proverbial hit single.

As happens with many young and unsigned artists, making a living took precedence over making music, and he walked away from it in 1974. He would occasionally compose, as evidenced by the 1980 song, “Bullets,” written the day after John Lennon was shot and killed. This song is particularly poignant in that the third verse was written about his friend and collaborator, Steve, who was shot and killed in Hollywood in 1979. “Bird on a Sill” was also written in 1980 after learning of the death of a singer/songwriter friend. “October ’69,” a haunting story of revenge and redemption within the backdrop of war, was written on Veteran’s Day 1983, but has never been performed before a live audience. This song will be included under a new title, "Remuneration (War Song)" on his upcoming 2009 album, "What Makes a Man."

Doc briefly returned to the small club and coffee house scene in 1984 with a set list that included both old and new material, once again sprinkled with a few cover songs. One of his audiences' favorite sets was his "Pocket of Neil", where he performed a medley of Neil Young tunes. In 1985, however, the promise of an increasingly successful career in aerospace, and a new relationship that has now lasted over 23 years, gave him cause to once again set the guitars aside.

~THE PRESENT~
Thanks to the friend of one of his sons, a guitar was left at Doc’s house in October 2005. After ignoring it for about a week, he picked it up and started picking. Slowly but surely, some of the skills returned, and then the songs. Old ones were rediscovered and new ones written. Songs that survived years of neglect in his Briefcase of Memories include “Down Again,” “When I Was Younger,” “Everyday Girl,” “October ’69,” "Bullets" and the always popular “Gee Songs,” a collection of short, humorous songs written in the key of G.

New songs written between December 2005 and Winter 2007/08 include “Drifter and the Angel,” the true story of how his maternal grandparents met, the autobiographical “Homewood Days,” “This Old Country Waltz,” “Willoughby,” a new California Country rocker, “Kick Up Some Dust,” with an intentional nod of deep respect and remembrance to Country Radio Station KZLA, "Rusted Car", and the live show closer, “Cowboy Good Night.”

Today, after a career in aerospace, an earned doctorate in educational leadership, a successful new career at Azusa Pacific University, Doc has put together a blend of old and new material. No matter when it was written, Doc’s songs tell a story as only an artist who has lived it can sing it.

Music and horses have been a part of his family for generations. In fact, early musical influences came from his family (grandmother and mother on piano, uncle Eddy on guitar, and uncle Pat on banjo). Cowboy influences came from his grandfathers, one (Ike) a true cowboy in Oklahoma and Texas, the other (Jack) an avid horseman in North Orange County, California.

Recording artists from the 1950’s and early 1960’s, such as Johnny Cash, Hank Snow, Johnny Horton, and Frankie Laine were household names. Later, it would be Bob Dylan, The Beach Boys, The Beatles, Buffalo Springfield, The Byrds, CSN(&Y), The Eagles, Warren Zevon, Joni Mitchell, Dan Fogelberg, and Tom Petty.

Doc adds his own unique style to songwriting and performing while trying to stay true to the roots of those Singer/Songwriter days of the late 1960's and early 1970's and the Americana Music of today….good story telling about true experiences set to good music.

Doc's EP, "Country Sampler", a collection of some of his Country tunes, was released on November 29, 2008. It quickly sold out by January 2009. A second release of "Country Sampler" was made available at subsequent performances.

He continues to work on his first album, "What Makes A Man." No release date has been set.

Updated February 2015