|Rob Grill Memorial
Service – July 30, 2011
Marty Angelo - minister/friend/former
I am honored to be here today… not only to minister at Rob’s memorial service… but to also be here as his friend. Thank you, Nancy… for giving me this opportunity.
Family, friends and fans …. We are here today to honor a great man… Robert Frank “Rob” Grill… who not only was an excellent singer and an accomplished musician but was also a very down-to-earth humble father, husband and friend… who loved life to its fullest… and wanted to do good… and make a lot of people happy… not only in this room… but to the millions of his fans all over the world.
Rob and I go back almost 40 years to the day. I was his manager in the early ‘70s. I remember walking into Rob’s house after being interviewed by his band partner at the time, Warren Entner… for the gig as manager of the Grass Roots. Warren had given me the ok at his house but handed me off to Rob for his final approval. Entner said, “Hey if Grill approves… you got the job.” I thought “Oh great! I just hope I don’t have to deal with a big rock star’s ego…. along with a ‘I’m better-than-you attitude.’” Boy was I ever proved wrong for
first thinking that about Grill!
Marty Angelo and
Rob Grill - Las Vegas - 1970
Rob welcomed me into his house with open arms. I could not believe what a nice guy he was. Within one minute he made me feel completely at home!
He offered me something to eat and drink… and before I knew it I was relaxing on his couch. I said to myself…“I thought this was supposed to be a job interview? This is more like a house party!”
Rob showed me all his fish (including live piranha) in his fantastic looking fish tank. He asked me if I wanted to shoot pool. He showed me his stuffed wide-mouth bass collection on his wall and also his wall of lifetime career achievements.
We sat around that night and listened to just about every record he owned. He
never…. not even once … asked me one question about my ability to be his band’s manager.
Here I was sitting in a man’s house that literally sold over 20 million records, received two platinum albums, two gold albums and thirteen gold singles and he was treating me like family! I had never met anyone like him… in all the years that I worked in the entertainment business and afterwards. There is only one Rob Grill. God threw away the mold when He was done with him.
As we walked to his door much later that evening I didn’t even know if I had the job. We never talked about it once.
Grill just shook my hand, gave me a hug …. and said…. “See you next Friday at the airport, Marty. We have to be in Minneapolis that night to start a new tour.”
I learned over the next year or so working with Rob that we were kindred spirits in more ways than one. We had similar situations happen in our lives… We both were bitterly divorced… We each had one child
at the time who we adored… We were both very lonely… and extremely broken-hearted.
We liked to put on the “I am fine face” and pretend nothing bothered us. But eventually we shared each other’s burdens and became very good friends.
Rob never once treated me as only his employee.
Most of the guys in the band at that time had wives or special girl-friends who met them at the gate when we arrived back
at the Los Angeles airport from a concert tour… but not for Rob and I.
We always lagged behind together… sometimes being the last ones off of the plane… because we knew no one was going to be there to greet us… so we wasted our time on the plane pretending it didn’t really matter or did it bother us much.
However, sometimes Grill… after finally leaving the security of the airplane… would run up to a garbage can in the airport lobby and hug it and say, “Oh hi honey… thanks for coming to meet me.” It was kinda funny… we would laugh… yet it really was very sad…. but he got through it.
After my years as manager, Rob and I stayed somewhat in contact with each other. I unfortunately went off the deep end … but Rob stayed as focused as he could… to keep his music career moving forward.
I ran into him at a gig in Baltimore one time. I had just gotten out of prison for cocaine possession but had become a Christian through-out that time.
God changed me into a new man… one that I always wanted to be. I was so excited to share this with Rob and I found him backstage and surprised him by saying, “Hey Grill… Jesus loves you and so do I!”
He turned around… and took one look at me… ran over and threw his arms around me… and gave me one of the biggest hugs I’ve ever received in my life. We caught up for the moment… but had to move on… Grill with his gigs… and me with my newly formed prison ministry.
I learned over the years from Rob that he had met and married a wonderful and very beautiful young lady. I was really surprised. He told me with a sparkle in his eye, “Her name is Nancy!” He told me all about her… and how much he loved her… and how happy he was… and that his life was really all turned around for the better.
He attributed that directly to Nancy. I was so thrilled to hear him say that. I flashed on his numerous airport garbage can hugs and chucked to myself, “Rob truly has finally found peace. Thank you Jesus.” When I eventually met Nancy I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt exactly what Grill meant.
When I said to Grill that time in Baltimore that Jesus loved him…. he told me… “I know that Marty…. I have known that most of my life… more now so.. than ever before.” I know Rob never wore his faith on his sleeve but he was a believer in Christ deep in his heart never-the-less.
I never thought that I would be standing here today at a memorial service for Rob Grill’s passing. He was way too young of a man… to be gone so soon. I know he really struggled with so many different ailments… and every time I talked to him it was always something new… or an old problem re-surfacing.
My heart ached for him knowing how much he suffered. I prayed God would help and heal him. And actually He finally did. In
1 Corinthians 15:55,57 – it states:
O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? … But thanks be to God… who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Rob won his fight …. He finally has victory … He even beat death. His illnesses only made his faith in Jesus Christ grow stronger and stronger over the years. They didn’t make him weaker… They made him stronger so when he finally got to the end of his life… he was ready for the final note to play… so he could continue on into eternity.
Grill knew he was in good hands. I am sure he was sad having to leave his family and friends behind knowing how much he loved them. However, he knew he would see us all again on the other side. We spoke about this many times.
That is the beauty of having faith in Jesus Christ. He promises anyone who believes in Him eternal life. In the scripture
John 3:16 states:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Christ is not bound up in man-made religions…. but allows us to have a deep personal relationship with the God who created us in the first place.
I know Rob knew this as he progressed along in life. He is now reaping the spoils of his battle with his flesh… and is a living free spirit in heaven… In
2 Corinthians 5:8 it reads:
We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
I am sure Grill is belting out one of his smash hits for all his family, friends and fans who greeted him there upon his arrival. His late son Christian must have been thrilled to see his old man walk through the door. I know how much Rob really loved him and was truly crushed when Chris passed away. But now they are together again.
The Bible teaches us that God has special times arranged in all of our lives.. when he fires his spiritual arrows
(Psalm 64:7) at us to get our attention. When things seem to be going along ok in life… we have
a tendency… to forget about God.
However, when those Godly arrow situations hit us… we can easily turn them into huge wake-up calls.
As we think over our own lives today… we might all remember when God used some very serious situation to get our attention… be it a death of a loved one… a sickness… possibly an arrest, a divorce or maybe even an addiction problem .. or now.. even today… here at Rob’s passing.
God’s arrow is usually some very larger-than-life situation that we absolutely have no control over… and is so big that we really need to rely of God’s help to get us through it.
We can either listen to what God is saying… to draw us closer to Him in
our time of need…. or turn negative… and blame Him… and bitterly continue on in life… missing the opportunity to get right with Him… All that really does is to “kick the can down the road”… for another day… another arrow… at another time.
Jesus said TODAY ….NOW…. is the day of salvation. We can all have fulfilled lives
now… as we turn to our Savior for grace, mercy and love. So when
we…. as Rob did… get to the final round of
our own lives… God will be there ushering us into His full presence saying, “well done, my good and faithful servant.”
I sure hope we will use the arrow God directs at each one of us today with Rob’s passing... to search our hearts and to use this time to listen to that still small voice within us saying…. “It’s ok…. I love you… I forgive you and I am here for you. I have a much bigger plan and purpose for your life. Trust me.” If it is not today in your life that this happen… then I pray it will be soon. Please… let’s not let God’s salvation opportunity arrows just hit us without searching our hearts for what God is really trying to say to us today.
Thank you, Nancy. I love you so much for taking such great care of Rob. You were really a huge blessing to him… and I know how thankful he must be… and is also so proud of you today to bring us all together this way to celebrate… not his death… but his life. He is still very much alive…. and the promise is… we will all see him again someday… and at that time… it will be forever.
Rob Grill and former manager Marty Angelo