In the kitchen with Bob Nicholson

| 20 Sep 2012 | 02:19

Years ago Bob Nicholson was a rock and roller playing in a band at an upstate New York venue. A young lady named June came to the concert, met Nicholson, and the rest is history.
Married since 1978, the Nicholsons have two adult children. A 36-year resident of West Milford, Nicholson is currently the chairman of the town’s Economic Development Committee.
Back in the day, Nicholson’s band was quite popular and Mercury Records was interested in signing them. But the music scene changed to disco and punk rock.
“The industry is fickle and label interest went the other way,” he said.
Living together on the road as a band was difficult, he said, citing artistic temperaments. He doesn’t have to worry about that any longer since he now plays locally and sometimes just for himself.
He’s mellowed out, prefers his acoustic guitar and doesn’t care to carry the equipment or stay out until the wee hours. He feels there’s little demand for his type of music now at local pubs.
“People like the drive of the drums and the beat of the pounding rhythm," he said. "The bars want cover and classic rock bands.” So now he plays at fairs and occasionally at Music at the Mission in town.
Nicholson graduated from Kinnelon High School in 1966. At first he was interested in studying entertainment law, but music won out.
“I knew more than my father,” he said. He eventually worked as a freelance producer and recording engineer for such companies as Mercury and Arista.
Ever the musician/songwriter, an inspiration came to him one snowy day while gazing out the window of his West Milford home. He thought about the Revolutionary War soldiers, those who started this country, their ultimate dedication and how they could have been right in his backyard. “Lady of the Light” was the end product, a song both patriotic and anti-war. The “lady of the light” signifies death, sometimes preferable to the soldier’s agonies. “War is hell,” he said.
Nicholson is an avid supporter of West Milford Township. Serving on the eight-member volunteer Economic Development Committee since its inception two years ago, he said the board tries to present opportunities to local businesses to help sustain them. “To help them if they want our help.” He believes the population of the town is not sufficient to keep local businesses afloat and hopes to draw in non-residents.
He’d like to see West Milford as a day-trip destination and also be a great place to live for the residents. He believes the town needs to work on its appearance, suggesting better signage and cleaning up the landscape of weeds and litter. It takes a village to keep a town appealing.
Tourism was the bedrock of West Milford and Nicholson would like to see that return. “We need to take what we have and bring people back.”
With the new bicycle pump track set to open at Farrell Field, Nicholson imagined a family from Bloomingdale bringing junior for a day of fun. Maybe mom wouldn’t be interested in sitting there, so what does she do? Maybe she’d like to shop or go antiquing or visit a flea market. “We have to reinvent ourselves, we are in a new time,” he said.
West Milford sprawls over 80 square miles and town center is surely not convenient to all residents. From Nicholson’s home it takes 25 minutes to get to town hall. In that time, he said, he could almost be in Rockaway. It’s a case of wanting to support the town – so make it more enticing.
When asked how residents can assist in polishing the town’s image, Nicholson said they can help by keeping their property tidy and reporting anything that needs the town’s attention.
“If you feel good about yourself and your town, other people will feel good about it. It just takes more awareness,” said Nicholson.
In his spare time Nicholson likes to swim at Bubbling Springs, read a good book or enjoy a local park. He’s not much for cooking but claims the culinary responsibility of official taste tester in his home.
“Frying an egg is too hard,” he said, and admitted to going out for an egg sandwich and indulging in junk food when he’s away from home at meal time. He gets confused by recipes that call for a pinch of this, a dash of that. “I need very precise directions.“
Nicholson recalled his mother’s fantastic Italian cooking and feels that anything he makes will never measure up. That’s his story and he’s sticking to it.