top of page

Robert McCuen

Rob McCuen, Musician and Writer, Dies At 67 Robert David McCuen was born in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, on December 1, 1953, to Charles R. McCuen and Alice Barnes McCuen who preceded him in death. He died of natural causes on August 11, 2021 in Oskaloosa, IA, where he was staying to attend auto races in Knoxville. Rob graduated from Mount Pleasant Community High School in 1972 and graduated from Truman University (Kirksville, MO) in 1977. His books, Square Dancing in a Round House; Shut Up and Listen: Me vs. Me — Confessions of a Bipolar Rock and Roller and Tales from the Crypt of an American Working Class Hero: More Confessions of a Bipolar Rock and Roller, speak of growing up in the middle of America in Rob’s colorful, inimitable voice. Rob might have been born with motor oil in his blood. A lifelong auto racing enthusiast, he wrote sprint car racing features for Flat Out Magazine. His other passion was rock and roll. Like many kids in his generation Rob was bit by the bug early and began a drumming career that led to a move to Milwaukee, WI, where he was a part of the music scene up until his passing. Among the many bands he played and recorded with were the RPMs, Red Ball Jets, Plasticland, Liquid Pink, Trance and Dance Band, Mark Shurilla’s Greatest Hits, Wanda Chrome and the Leather Pharaohs, The Riverwesterners and The Carolinas. He was working on another album at the time of his death. A natural showman not unlike his hero Iggy Pop, he would also front bands Love Bully, Rob McCuen and the Ruins and White Hot Tizzies. McCuen assembled the group Animal Magnets and in 2013 released the album Step on Your Neck. Backed by a stable of Milwaukee’s stellar musicians, the album is the equivalent of taking a ride in a vintage muscle car with Rob at the wheel. Decades ago Rob was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Myriad Facebook posts depict Rob ricocheting and deflecting friendships. Many of these anecdotes ultimately resolve with a genuine fondness that folks will remember him for. He always had a lust for life and had hundreds, if not thousands, of friends and fans. For the last 5 years, Rob enjoyed traveling and spending time with girlfriend Carmen Bayliss in Elk River, MN. Rob treasured his relationship with Sean Nolan, whom he thought of as a son, and Sam Wensing, his Godson. Rob McCuen is survived by sister Mary L. McCuen (spouse Diane Vazis) of Goodyear, AZ. He will be cremated and laid to rest in Forest Home Cemetery in Mt. Pleasant, IA. A celebration of life in Milwaukee, WI will be announced at a later date. Contributions can be made in his memory as a suicide survivor


bottom of page