R.I.P. Numbers Owner Robert Burtenshaw, aka DJ Robot

Categories: Gothtopia

Monday morning the official Numbers Facebook page changed its profile and cover pic to flat black images as rumors of a tragedy began to swirl among the goth and club scenes in Houston. In the initial silence a sad story began to take form. Owner Robert Burtenshaw, better known as Robot to the folks that had attended shows and dance nights at the old club for 35 years, had passed away suddenly last Saturday, July 27.

"Robot changed the landscape of Houston nightlife forever back in the '80s and influenced us all to this day whether you realize it or not," said the official Numbers statement delivered via DJ Wes Wallace, Robot's longtime collaborator. "To say he will be sorely missed is an understatement and to continue operating Numbers without him will be tough, but that is our intention and his wishes, so that is what we aim to do."

Burtenshaw will be interred in a small private ceremony for family and close friends, though a more public remembrance celebration will be announced by the club soon. Wallace's statement continued, "Burtenshaw saw many friends succumb to HIV and AIDS over the course of his life, and in lieu of flowers asked for donations to MFAR, AIDS Foundation Houston, or your favorite AIDS organization."


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The Numbers statement also encouraged all fans and patrons, "If you know someone struggling with depression, please try to reassure them that things will get better."

The details behind Burtenshaw's death weren't revealed. An anonymous source remarked that Robot was a wonderfully friendly person when mingling at the club, "But when he stepped away from people his face would just fall."

It's impossible to deny the importance of the club Burtenshaw built. Without Numbers, who would have introduced Houston to R.E.M., or The Cure, or Siouxsie and the Banshees? Green Day played there when they were nobody, as did the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. Sheryl Crow was there back when she was just some chick opening for Blues Traveler, and GWAR strutted the stage covered in condiments as they rose to prominence. Until recently, a giant mural drawn by the band was the dominating fixture of the backstage dressing rooms.

It was the last place Shannon Hoon played before he overdosed. When it happened, Burtenshaw somewhat prophetically remarked, "He was just having a general good old time. He was rocking and rolling."


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300 Westheimer, Houston, TX

Category: Music

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RIP man, I have been going to numbers since the mid-eighties.  Excellent live venue.  Like Classic Fridays too RIP man!  GREAT PLACE TO GO CHILL!


WoW! Hate to see this. Even though I haven't seen or talked to Robot in over 20 years, the year I spent working at Numbers still holds a special place in my heart. Great guy he was. Rest easy.



beautifully, beautifully written for a valuable soul. 

rest easy, sir.

MadMac topcommenter

RIP. I saw a lot of good shows but I never knew the man behind it.


I haven't been to Numbers in years, but I went there often in my teens and twenties. I fondly remember seeing Jane's Addiction there for only $6. In 1994, I spent many nights there both dancing and cheering on the Rockets as the big screens showed the playoff games while the music of Nine Inch Nails, Ministry, etc. made up the soundtrack.

Burtenshaw is a Houston legend who will be missed.

Susan Joachim Hurta
Susan Joachim Hurta

So sad- brings back some cool memories- - for example, I was once in a crazy fashion show at numbers back in the eighties-great club- amazing that he was there the whole time.

Jonathan Barbeito
Jonathan Barbeito

As a kid growing up in the 90's spring tx you were an outcast if you didn't listen to George straight or Garth Brooks so to find #'s @ the very young age of 14 it was a godsend because it put me in contact with people who were like me, shakers of the norm, I would spend many a night dancing, hanging out upstairs and outside just excited about all the people that shared my love for non top 40 music and a different life than the ones my peers so pressed for. Numbers will always have a special place for me in my heart as a place that help me accept who I am and who I am now. I hope that the rest of the guys there can keep the place around for another generation and maybe when my son is old enough I can hear stories abour his time there.... thank you robert for my church and of course record rack

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