Busker HoF 26 – Robert Nelson – The Butterfly Man

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Episode Notes:

  • Content pulled from conversations with: Robert Nelson, David Aiken, Henrik Bothe, Woody Keppel, Kim Potter, Amy Saunders, Eric Amber, Pete Sweet, Mike Wood, Jeff Moche, Linsey Lindberg, Baffle-o Bill Smith, Dan Menendez, Nick Nickolas, Jason Billows, Robin Chestnut, Al Millar, Kumi Nelson, Dave Altman, Brian Hulse, Ted Killmer and Haggis McCloud.
  • Original Recording Dates/Locations (in chronological as clips appear in this episode):
    • Prologue
      1. Robert Nelson with David Aiken, Henrik Bothe & Woody Keppel – October 28, 2011 (Pahoa, Hawaii/North Vancouver, BC Canada) • “Is it Bald and Tattooed in here or is it just me?” & “Oh Butterfly, Your So Funny”
      2. Robert Nelson with Kim Potter – January 11, 2012 (Pahoa, Hawaii/Martinborough, New Zealand) • “It’s been a great life…”
    • Stage 1 – Remembering the Legend
      1. Amy Saunders – September 7, 2012 (London, England) • “Wake for Robert”
      2. Eric Amber with David Aiken – November 23, 2012 (Calgary, AB, Canada/North Vancouver, BC, Canada) • “Tattoo, Toothbrush & Guest Bathroom”
      3. Mike Wood with Pete Sweet – September 12, 2012 (London, England) • “Robert and Jason Garfield”
      4. David Aiken with Jeff Moche – October 29, 2012 (North Vancouver, BC, Canada) • “Who is this guy?”
      5. Robert Nelson with Linsey Linberg – February 16, 2012 (Pahoa, Hawaii/ Austin, TX, USA) • “Character”
      6. Baffle-o Bill Smith – May 14, 2013 (Pittsburgh, PA, USA) • “Any Adverse Reactions?”
      7. Robert Nelson with Linsey Linberg – February 16, 2012 (Pahoa, Hawaii/ Austin, TX, USA) • “Character”
      8. Dan Menendez – September 12, 2012 (Saint Jose, CA, USA) • “Renegade Stage”
      9. Mike Wood – September 19, 2012 (London, England) “IJA Fest in Niagara Falls”
      10. Robert Nelson with Kim Potter – January 11, 2012 (Pahoa, Hawaii/Martinborough, New Zealand) • “Travel & The Hang”
      11. Robert Nelson with Nick Nickolas – November 16, 2011 (Pahoa, Hawaii/Glenthompson, VIC, Australia) • “Mickey O’Connor Said…”
      12. Robert Nelson with Jason Billows – January 12, 2012 (Pahoa, Hawaii/Ottawa, ON, Canada) • “Freedom to Fly”
      13. Robert Nelson with Nick Nickolas – November 16, 2011 (Pahoa, Hawaii/Glenthompson, VIC, Australia) • “Meeting Keno”
      14. Robert Nelson with Eric Amber – February 8, 2012 (Pahoa, Hawaii/North Vancouver, BC, Canada) “My Dead Father’s Credit Card…”
      15. Robert Nelson with Nick Nickolas – November 16, 2011 (Pahoa, Hawaii/Glenthompson, VIC, Australia) • “Traveling with Waldo in Australia”
      16. Robert Nelson with Jason Billows – January 12, 2012 (Pahoa, Hawaii/Ottawa, ON, Canada) • “You’re Gonna Grow…”
      17. Robert Nelson with Kim Potter – January 11, 2012 (Pahoa, Hawaii/Martinborough, New Zealand) • “Pitch Dynamics”
      18. David Aiken with Robin Chestnut – November 20, 2012 (North Vancouver, BC, Canada/Teulon, MB, Canada) • “Robert at C.A.M.P.”
    • Stage 2 – Life with Kumi
      1. Robert Nelson with Linsey Lindberg – February 17, 2012 (Pahoa, Hawaii/Austin, TX, USA) • “Meeting Kumi”
      2. Robert Nelson with Al Millar – November 28, 2012 (Pahoa, Hawaii/Boston, MA, USA) • “Doctor’s Office”
      3. Robert Nelson with Amy Saunders and Kumi Nelson – January 15, 2012 (Pahoa, Hawaii/Diamond Harbour, New Zealand/Nagoya, Japan) • “Skype & iPhone”
      4. Robert Nelson with Linsey Lindberg – February 16, 2012 (Pahoa, Hawaii/Austin, TX, USA) “How’d She End up with Me?”
      5. David Aiken with Kumi Nelson – October 1, 2012 (Pahoa, Hawaii) • “Proposal”
      6. Robert Nelson with Nick Nickolas – November 16, 2011 (Pahoa, Hawaii/Glenthompson, VIC, Australia) • “Kumi’s Birthday Dinner”
      7. Robert Nelson with Amy Saunders – January 15, 2012 (Pahoa, Hawaii/Diamond Harbour, New Zealand) • “Interesting as Hell!”
    • Stage 3 – Goodbye Butterfly
      1. Robert Nelson with Nick Nickolas – November 16, 2011 (Pahoa, Hawaii/Glen Thompson, VIC, Australia) • “Do you miss it?”
      2. Robert Nelson with Dave Altman – December 2, 2011 (Pahoa, Hawaii/Atlanta, GA, USA) • “Laughter Ring Tone”
      3. Robert Nelson with Al Millar – November 28, 2012 (Pahoa, Hawaii/Boston, MA, USA) • “Lifestyle”
      4. Robert Nelson with Brian Hulse – November 25, 2011 (Pahoa, Hawaii/Ashiya, Japan) • “In the company of greats – Will Soto, Bounce”
      5. Robert Nelson with Al Millar – November 28, 2012 (Pahoa, Hawaii/Boston, MA, USA) • “Talk Story”
      6. Robert Nelson with Ted Killmer – January 10, 2012 (Pahoa, Hawaii/Danbury, Connecticut) • “Still Connected”
      7. Robert Nelson with Dave Altman – December 2, 2011 (Pahoa, Hawaii/Atlanta, GA, USA) • “Podcast Mission”
      8. Robert Nelson with Ted Killmer – January 10, 2012 (Pahoa, Hawaii/Danbury, Connecticut) • “Heros”
      9. Robert Nelson with Jason Billows – January 12, 2012 (Pahoa, Hawaii/Ottawa, ON, Canada) • “Big Circle”
      10. David Aiken with Kumi Nelson – October 1, 2012 (Pahoa, Hawaii) • “Finding Happiness”
      11. David Aiken – April 8, 2013 (North Vancouver, BC, Canada) • “Saying Goodbye”
      12. Amy Saunders – October 3, 2012 & November 21, 2012 (London, England) “That’s Showbiz”
    • Epilogue
      1. Robert Nelson with Haggis McCloud – February 12, 2012 (Pahoa, Hawaii) • “Seal Statues”
      2. Robert Nelson at the 1997 Edmonton Street Performers Festival (Edmonton, AB, Canada) “Ring Tone”
  • Date: Aired: May 26, 2013
  • Music Used in this Podcast:
    1. Robert’s Intro Theme Music: “Pendulum” Royalty Free Jingle available in Apple Computers’ GarageBand.
    2. Additional Music: “The Song is Ended,” “Ain’t She Sweet,” “When You’re Smiling” & “It’s a Sin To Tell a Lie” as played by Hokum W Jeebs on his Piano ala Cart CD.
  • Mixed and edited by: Linsey Lindberg, Magic Brian and David Aiken for the Busker Hall of Fame

Comments: After Robert Nelson’s metamorphosis into The Butterfly Man, the charmingly-aggressive style he employed during his shows quickly turned the guy who had once called himself ‘The Musical Juggler’ into a legend amongst buskers.

On his home pitch during the 80’s, San Francisco’s Pier 39, he was unstoppable. After honing his persona on the Pier, The Butterfly Man then spread his wings and traveled to Europe and Australia where his mythical status had long proceeded him. Show after show he got to see the world, meet other legends from the scene and grow as each country and every pitch had something new to teach him.

By the late 80’s his travels took him to Fukuoka, Japan where, thanks to a fortuitous accident, and his mischievous sense of humor he found his way into the heart of the woman who would become his wife, Kumi. For over two decades he tried to keep up with her sense of humour and playful mean streak which always kept him guessing and very much in love.

After building homes in San Francisco and Los Angeles, the two eventually ended up in the small community of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii and it was there, away from the larger than life character that he had created during his performance career that Robert was able to escape the persona that so many people expected from him and find happiness.

Robert Nelson died on August 27, 2012 surrounded by close friends, his wife Kumi and his two dogs Kabi and Sabi.

This entry was posted in Al Millar, Amy Saunders, Bio-Episode, David Aiken, Linsey Lindberg, Mike Wood, Nick Nickolas, Robert Nelson, Street Performing. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Busker HoF 26 – Robert Nelson – The Butterfly Man

  1. Jeff Moche says:

    Besides my 15 nanoseconds of fame in this episode, it’s just a great pleasure to hear Robert’s voice and those of some of my other friends, and to be reminded of what great times I had over these years. Thanks David!

    • checkerhead says:

      Thanks for being a part of it Jeff! Sorry it’s taking a while to get your interview released… But we’ll get to it eventually.

  2. checkerhead says:

    For anyone who downloaded this episode and found an audio glitch around the 34:00 minute mark… This glitch has been fixed…

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