In 1985, Bob Gatewood and Calabash started in the Flats of Cleveland and quickly became the house band at several clubs, most notably Fagan’s. Within a year, they were also playing the Round House on Put-in-Bay and Sloppy Joe’s in Key West. They were to become the benchmark in all three markets. They set sales records and then broke them the following year. Playing a blend of their own songs and lots of favorites, 150 shows a year turned into 300 as they added the Virginias, the Carolinas and Georgia. Calabash, always a top notch band, has in it’s alumni Chad Szeliga of Breaking Benjamin, and 4-time Academy of Country Music Best Guitarist, Tom Bukovac.
But things changed. They tore down the Flats. Three 1,500 mile trips a year to Key West turned into just one. And, there was one place tugging at Gatewood harder than all the rest. So much so, he moved the whole operation up there. It was the place where they always wanted to hear him sing that song he wrote when he was a kid, “Friends-of-the-Bay”. You guessed it. Put-in-Bay.
Since then, Gatewood still plays solo and and tours with Calabash, but mostly just to the other side of the island. The tour bus is mainly a golf cart, but he still kicks out great rock’n'roll, some his own and some not. He leaves the island for an occasional festival or yacht club gig, but mainly kicks out about a hundred shows a summer on the beloved island community he calls home. In winter Gatewood leaves to write songs and work in Florida or Mexico with his wife, then records the songs in Nashville with some of the best in the business. His 2001 effort, FINALLY HOME, garnered a Best of the Year Award from the Cleveland Scene Magazine, and the Plain Dealer nodded him as a local legend.