While growing up in the Canarsie section of Brooklyn, New York during the 1970's and 80's, Robert and his siblings had to endure their father's violent temper. Robert's brother Warren found solace in music, first joining Frank Zappa's band, then co-founding the group Missing Persons, and eventually becoming the lead guitarist for Duran Duran.
Following an encounter with a violent sociopath and witnessing a mob murder, Robert became a heavy drug user by the age of sixteen. By his twenties, with his cocaine use spiraling out of control, he got involved with associates of the Lucchese Crime Family and found himself the target of a corrupt police detective.
Desperately seeking to escape the neighborhood, Robert volunteered to serve in Operation Desert Storm, where he witnessed death and destruction on an unimaginable scale. Suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress, his drug woes continued as he experienced one life-changing event after another. Following a felony arrest and facing eight years in prison, Robert was forced to confront his demons.