In the early 1990s, the Columbus punk and rock music scene was red hot. All up and down High Street from Stache’s to Chelsie’s, clubs and bars were alive with local bands making great music, and threatening Seattle and Austin. And, more than a few bands were getting real contracts and touring around the country. To try and name them all here would invariably leave someone out, so let’s not name-drop. In June, during those halcyon years, ComFest stages lit up with those bands.
Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments (TJSA) was one of the great ones. They took over the Bozo and Off Ramp stages many times in the nineties and aughts. (Fun Fact: The first track on the ComFest 97 CD is TJSA’s “Down to High Street” from the Bozo.)
Formed in 1989, today they’re recognized as punk legends. And TJSA’s guitarist, Bob Petric, was a player and stage presence to behold.
Bob passed away in April. He was 56.
As Petric’s friend and chronicler of the 90’s scene Bela Koe-Krompecher wrote in Columbus Alive after his passing: “Petric was playful on stage, his crooked grin and laughter belying his approach to playing. He was a literal powerhouse whose muscular approach to guitar was cemented by the way he almost flexed the instrument.”
Similar sentiments were offered by Jerry Dannemiller another fixture in the 90’s music scene (Moviola) in a post at Aquarium Drunkard:
“While onstage with TJSA, [Petric's] playing sizzled, equally blaring and highly musical,” Dannemiller said. “Offstage, Bob could be kindhearted, acerbic, and quick with a wink or encouraging word from the end of the bar. Every TJSA show was a communal can’t-miss moment, it was a thrill to witness Petric’s singular guitar fireworks.”
More recently, Petric remained a presence in the Old North Columbus neighborhood, reliably present at shows encouraging local musicians and helping friends when times were tough. He’ll be remembered as a towering figure in Columbus punk both literally and by the mark he left on a vibrant scene. Bob Petric left us far too soon.