- Lieber Memorial Teaching Associate Award (1986)
Born and raised in Rochester, N.Y., David Baas came to Bloomington in 1982 to attend graduate school at IU. He planned to study freshwater ecology and become a biology professor. David received rave reviews from students and was awarded the Lieber Memorial Teaching Associate Award in 1986. However, as he gained experience in the field, he realized that politics played a much larger role in the academic world then he initially thought.
Baas made the decision to leave academia in 1985 and turned to another passion, music. Baas got involved in the Bloomington music scene while he was a student. He recognized the financial struggle it could be to make a career out of playing music, but remembered a friend who used to repair guitars to subsidize his playing. Bass set out to learn the trade of repairing guitars, and continued to be inspired by musicians like Charlie Musselwhite, the Rockets, and the Beatles.
Baas opened his first store, Roadworthy Guitar & Amp, a retail and repair shop, on Walnut Street in 1991 when he was 36 years old. He was the only employee. Five years later, Roadworthy had outgrown the space and moved to another location in downtown Bloomington. Baas continued the business, simultaneously pursuing his own music career. A music enthusiast, he has an affinity for the blues and plays in the band Built for Comfort and the band Tone-o-Matics, a blues band that features mostly cover tunes. While others might question the decision to leave a teaching job behind and pursue a career in the music business, Bass feels confident that he spends his days doing what he is passionate about.