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HOLMBERG: RVA’s Coby Batty – 60 years of life with more than 50 years of acting and music

Posted at 12:13 AM, May 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-26 00:13:30-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- What makes Richmond, Richmond?

Certainly the land, its history, its river, its college, arts, buildings and neighborhoods.

And its characters.

Coby Batty is certainly one of them.

In his 60 years he's been in dozens of bands, including the GriefBirds, NrG Krysys and, of course, New York City's kings of avant garde, The Fugs.

Coby Batty

Coby Batty

And if there's a movie shot anywhere near town, it's a safe bet Coby is in it, from "Lincoln" to the new "Loving" movie about Virginia's game-changing interracial couple.

Yes, he's got just a small role - the telephone man - but it’s the kind of story Coby believes in.

"The Lovings just loved," he said. "They only loved and that was it. They didn't want to be anything, but it turned out they had to be THE thing."

He's also in most James Franco's films.

I caught up with Coby during his regular Thursday singing and drumming session with The Rhythmasters at The Savory Grain to find out what makes him tick.

Coby Batty

Coby Batty and the Rhythmasters

It was a bit of a surprise to find out his adoptive parents started him in music and art classes at Richmond Professional Institute (now Virginia Commonwealth University) when he was in the third grade.

Yes, he's fun, theatric, spontaneous, and very difficult to describe, so make sure you watch the video to get the full flavor.

And don't miss his most important statement to all of us in these divisive, volatile times - delivered Coby style.