Dear Mr. Reuter,
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Monday, October 5, 2009
I remember thinking to myself as I stood there with a much needed and almost overwhelming feeling of happiness, that I would remember that set for the rest of my life. I can't make anyone else understand it, but it's etched in my memory forever.... it was moving, to say the least. It was moving because you're fucking amazing and you're real and you're legit.. and you made me convinced that you meant every word you said. And you would make me convinced every time in a new way if I heard you sing the same song a thousand times.
I needed to get happy. Thanks, more than I can say.
Much love- X
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
Essential to Reuter’s photographs/music/writing is a great, familiar sense of being alive in the moment. His photographs, noir as they might appear, are contemporary moments captured. Unlike documents, Reuter’s photos are complete with the sense of time. That sense that it’s Thursday. That sense that it is 2:00pm. Bob’s songs are visceral and of a legendary quality. Reuter’s stories are actual legends. All are about Bob.
- I come from a different time
- I can tolerate way more pain than the average person
- And I'm very good at what I do!
Thank you for the interview Bob!
- To learn more about the Bob Reuters stories please visit his website.
- To purchase Bob’s photographs, visit his shop.
- Bob's Scratchy Records is presented each Friday at 2:00 pm on KDHX.
- For samples of Reuter’s music, check him out online.
- Please join The Studio Chronicle next week when we present Journey Beyond The Artists Studio: Gina Alvarez.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
2. Rolling Stones 1972
3. The Who 1967
4. The Ramones
5. Jimi Hendrix
6. The Doors
7. The Nazz
8. Janice Joplin
9. New York Dolls
10 The Faces
11 Prince 1982
12 Eric Burden
13 Buddy Guy
14 Springstien 1975
15 Black Diamond Heavies as a trio and a duo
16 Uncle Tupelo -went with them on Frozen Corn Tour in Iowa
17 Dick Dale (opened for him)
18 Jim Carol in Ciceroes basement
19 Townes Van Zandt (opened for him twice)
20 George Jones
21 The Ronnettes
22 Willie Deville
23 Willie Nelson 1974 in San Fransisco
25 John Harford
26 Roy Orbison
27 Elvis Costello and the Attractions at River Daze 1978
28 Dresden Dolls at Fredericks Music Lounge (I did sound!!)
29 Link Wray
30 Hazil Atkins
32 The Remains
33 Niel Young
34 Ray Charles
35 Bob Dylan bob Dylan bob Dylan
36 Sonic Youth
37 Robert Gordon
38 Jonathan Richmond
39 Paul Revere and the Raiders (my first concert!)
40 Nick Lowe
41 Wreckles Eric
42 Steve Earl
43 John Prine and Steeve Goodman
44 Captain Beefheart
45 Chuck Berry
46 Fontella Bass
47 Oliver Sain
48 The jayhawks
49 Jomi Mitchell
50 BB King
51 Chuck Berry
52 Bobby Bland
53 Al Green
54 Loudon Wainwright the III
55 Ronnie Hawkins
56 Everly Brothers
57 Gladys Knight and the Pips
58 Mel Torme
59 Eugene Chadborn
60 Tom Robinson Band
61 Dead Boy and the Elephant Men at Frederick's Music Lounge
62 The Soledad Brothers
63 Mitch Ryder
64 The Young Rascals
65 The Blues Magoos
66 The Cream
67 T Model Ford
68 Alex Chilton
Monday, August 3, 2009
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Our show in St. Louis was really good too...the venue was kind of weird but everyone there was really cool and we made some new friends from the band Thee Dirty South who played blues rock and the last song was so awesome - the singer put down his guitar and sang the hell out of the song and walked around and kicked stuff and was REALLY into it. He kicked a whole in the stage which was totally badass....he was probably in his 50's(?) I'm bad at guessing ages but he was awesome as was the rest of the band. We exchanged info and will stay in touch for sure. He gave us a rad photo that he took of St. Louis as a souvenier - it's black and white and all grainy and cool.
"Is that guy, Crazy Bob here????"
and well, I'm not about to answer to "Crazy Bob" so I go, "Bob on Friday afternoons? That's me..."
and he goes,
"I just love you, you crack me up - keep me laughin all the time when I listen to you while I'm workin"
I go, "What do you do" and he says,
"I put 'the boot' on cars that have too many tickets" and I go
"Jesus, I've always wondered what kinda person does that - I been booted twice now - cant you get no honest work???!!"
He says, "I'm trying but this is all I can find"
I go, "You could put dogs asleep at the pound."
he's like, "You crack me up Crazy Bob?"
"I'll let'em know when he gets in" I say
I go, "K, bye"
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Big Muddy Records Bar B.Q. - August 9
1 - till 9:00 PM (no bottles please)
Tower Grove Park - all Big Muddy artists will perform - Rum Drum Ramblers, The Monads, Pokey LaFarge, Hooten Hollers, Say Uncle, Get Born
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Thursday, July 9, 2009
I have less patience for bullshit. I don’t suffer fools gladly.
Amazing photographer. Iconic musician. Legendary radio show host. Crotchety old man. Bob Reuter is a lot of things. He has a lot going for him in his life- a life that he regards with a little more reverence due to a decade of health troubles. But when his time is up, he hopes to be remembered for it all.
Reuter- a staple in South St. Louis- has the kind of life that many dream of but few get to live out: doing what he loves for a living. Though he is unemployed due to health issues, Reuter isn’t just content to lay around the house sucking off the government tit. Between being strapped to a guitar, behind a microphone or spending time in the dark room, he finds plenty to keep him going, and he is gladly taking us along for the ride.
A lifelong St. Louisian, Reuter, 57, grew up in North St. Louis in the 50s and 60s. He turned to music as a child to escape the rough neighborhood’s violent calling.
“I grew up in a bad ass place- North St. Louis City. Well, I was never gonna be a real tough guy… woulda wound up dead for sure. But I COULD rock your ass with a guitar - I COULD be a MUSICAL bad ass! Music was a survival thing.”
Living in a crowded house with extended family also taught him to escape into his own mind when privacy was in short supply.
“My family was pretty screwed up- no real privacy- I'd go inside my head, that interior world to get away.” He would daydream about “songs on this big black plastic radio we had. And at the time, they were songs of Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard and some other mad men.”
It would be this music that Reuter would carry with him well into his adult years. If you tune into KDHX 88.1 FM on Fridays at 2pm, you’ll hear Bob spinning the music of that era, something he’s been doing for seven years now. And if you go see him perform, you’ll hear the influence of it in his own music. Music that has garnered the multi-talented Reuter the designation of Best Male Singer/Songwriter by the Riverfront Times in 2009.
PTSTL: Where does the music you make come from?
BR: From deep down in this landscape and deep inside of me. It involves red brick buildings, the river and the flight path of jets on the North Side landing at the airport. It involves my whole life story and comes from the most primitive of sources.
Do you draw on your own musical knowledge for your radio show? Or do you rely on friends and listeners to suggest artists and music?
I'm constantly searching and I do that based on what I already know. I try to stay away from "the usual things" when possible. I hunt for the roots of the roots of stuff and of course it's got to fit this need I have for a slamming back beat or some other kind of primal chord I've got inside me.
What has been the high point of your musical career at this point?
Hmmm. Playing at CBGB's on south Grand a couple of months ago. It was a Monday night and we didn’t even go on till 11:00pm but the place was packed like 19 year olds to about 23, a lot of which were singing along with a song I wrote in 1978- long before they were born- "Rock and Roll Moron" as the name of the song and it features the line, "You can’t close the door on, this rock and roll moron!" It was on a 45 we did it in a band called The Dinosaurs. As I was singing the song I almost felt like I could be in a movie- I kept seeing the faces of all my dead friends! I was really grateful.
What were the nature of your recent health issues?
Quadruple bypass about a year and a half ago. I had lost my license and had to ride my bike for a year. I kept getting out of breath really easy and didn't seem to be able to build up any resistance. The clinic I go to ran a bunch of tests and finally determined I needed the operation. It was fucking gigantic in my life. Scared the fuck out of me. Still kind of does. It's one of those things that makes you feel like you're closer to the end than to the beginning of your life. Makes you think more about what you do- 'bout what's right. It colors everything! Made me feel a certain amount of grief, a certain amount of feeling sorry for myself... Now, a year and a half later I feel like I'm getting in pretty good shape for a guy in my shape! I'm eating good and all that crap. Makes me feel like there's a whole lot more I wanna do- whole lot more I wanna say before it's all over- hell yeah!
Have your health issues played a role in the kind of songs you write these days?
Only in the sense that the feelings are deeper than they'd have been otherwise. I dig deeper into the primordial ooze. I have less patience for bullshit. I don’t suffer fools gladly.
What was your first band/project?
We were called The Group and then the Cough Medicine Company (see the cheap drug reference slip in?) It was 1966 and we played garage rock- still in high school, but we played for college frat parties. It was a kind of education!
What are your thoughts on new media as it relates to spreading music to a wider audience?
Not much. The real stuff will always be confined to a relatively small group of hard core freaks. It only spreads out as it gets more and more watered down, till finally it's getting played by sports enthusiasts in the suburbs and then sold at Wal-Mart.
Who are some of your favorite St. Louis artists/bands from the past and present?
One of the first was a band from 1966 called the Acid Set who played at a teen club called Castaways out on Airport Road. They always seemed like they were grown men from San Francisco or something, but they were from North County. Public Service Blues Band was another really cool band, though they didn’t own their own instruments and they'd have to borrow some to play gigs. I think they opened for Cream one time. Oliver Sain and Black Cat named Cecil Davis who had the Cecil Davis Review were ass kicking soul groups when I was in high school. The Aardvarks were cool. They were like this town's version of the Beatles. More recently I loved the Vultures and the Reactions- two very young bands that broke up way too soon. The Highway Matrons were amazing. They always seemed like they dropped down from some other planet or something!
What was the inspiration behind your recent project, Bob Reuter’s Alley Ghost?
Well, I was approached by the kids of Big Muddy Records. They had this idea of bringing me to a wider audience- younger kids who would love my songs, they thought, if I was presented in a little bit different way. The average age in the band is about 23 but in their hearts they're, like, twice that. These boys eat, sleep and drink music- the real stuff. I'm honored they got it in their heads to back me and I'll be eternally grateful to them!
What do you think about the current state of the St. Louis music scene?
Well, it's big. There's probably whole chunks of little scenes that aren't even that aware of each other, but in general I'd say it's really good. Wide ranging and rarely does anyone expect to "hit the big time" so that frees them up to do what's in their hearts instead of what they think they're "supposed to do" in order to "make it!"
If there was one musician you would like to play with, any musician at all, whom would it be? (Time and mortality not being an issue)
Sun House, Skip James, Bob Dylan, Al Wilson (AKA Blind Owl) of Canned Heat, Keith Richards, Otis Redding, John Lee Hooker.
What is your favorite St. Louis venue?
Right this minute, Off Broadway I think. Good sound, comfortable room… Steve and his wife Kit, the current owners- good people.
How do you feel about being an inspiration to St. Louis musicians?
I hope that's true! I'd like that a lot.
What is it about the South St. Louis that it produces so many artists and musicians?
Cheap rents, crumbling old buildings and "like minded others" I think. A lot of kids from small towns in Missouri tend to wind up here cause they can be who they really are, which they couldn’t do in their small towns. We make our own fun in a lot of ways.
What is your favorite thing about St. Louis? Least favorite?
I think St. Louis is the fucking Garden of Eden. At any rate it is what it is- it's home, the only life I've ever known. The St. Louis Cardinals, the parks and trees... What I like least is people who live here and say they hate it. I think they should leave for a little while and come back.
Reuter is also just as passionate about his photography as he is about his music. His grainy, black and white photos evoke a feeling in the observer of fleeting moments perfectly caught on celluloid. Even with his portraits, he captures the raw in-the-moment-ness of his subjects in such a way that the photo ceases to be a simple two-dimensional object, but rather a living, breathing work of art. His use of light and shadow gives each of his shots an instantly nostalgic and noirish feel and his subject matter represents the underbelly of St. Louis in all her glory.
He has shot his fair share of local personalities- musicians, beautiful women and other people of interest, but he has also been called upon to shoot nationally known artists such as Black Diamond Heavies and Jay Farrar.
When did you first realize that you had a knack for photography?
In 1997 I was diagnosed as having blood clots up and down both legs. I almost died. I NEARLY died. I lost my house ‘cause I couldn’t house paint anymore. The state tested me and said I'd be good in the ARTS. They wanted me to study Graphic Design but I wasn’t that good at making all my lines straight an' shit. Then I took photography as an elective and I felt like I had found my home. They said that they wouldn’t support me doing that ‘cause they said my legs weren’t good enough to be a photographer and I said, "OK, see ya later. Rather see ya than BE ya! Smell ya later!"
Digital or film?
Film and paper in the dark with poisonous chemistry!
What is your favorite subject to shoot?
People. Misfits and such- rock and rollers, artists, pretty young women. Anyone who goes against the system in their way.
Any formal training in photography?
Yeah, I took some classes, but mostly I learned from doing it and talking to other shooters in the dark room over at Forest Park College.
What is your favorite photo that you have taken?
Many that I've taken of my first muse, a rock and roll girl and artist named Shanna Kiel - she touches something moves me deeply and she always comes out looking a little bit different each time
What, if any, legacy do you hope to leave when your time is up?
A large body of work- songs, photos, stories, drawings, whatever!- a lot of which you can check out on my Web site. But I know this one friend of mine- our guitar player, Matt's girlfriend Jen- would probably say, "Well, he was crotchety!"
All photos by Bob Reuter.
Next week: Gravity Plays Favorites
Saturday, July 4, 2009
Went to a back yard bar-b-q this afternoon after a session for the documentary - this town rules on the 4th of july - fireworks abound though they're illegal here in the city - it stops NOTHING! the air just reeks of burnt sauce covered pork steaks and gun powder - it's every where! It drizzled all after noon but not enough to drive you inside - world war III was taking place out back in the alley - all kinds of bottle rockets and firecrackers through the afternoon and some one brought underwater explosives as well - firecrackers you drop in water which makes them like depth charges - increases the impact - they had a big pot of water - you drop a lit cracker and the pot damn near flips over discharging all the water - some grown woman I'd met last year - a wonderfully twisted chick dropped one in a water filled wine bottle and "BOOM!!!" glass was like EVERYWHERE! The hostess was NOT amused! The woman and her partner both felt bad and swept it all up right away... I was all like,
"You ARE BAD, so BAD!!! But oddly, my respect for you has never been higher!"
Then some kid dropped one in a can filled with water and it ripped a big hole in it's side - I aint ever seen a standard modern day firecracker rip a hole in the side of a can! And they say the military industrial complex has added nothing to civilization....HA!
So then once it was dark, I headed little further downtown to this club called Off Broadway where some friends were having their big cd release party...
I love St. Louis in the summer! Every fucking fourth of July the whole city's like some urban fucking jungle warfare scene or something - Viet-fucking-Nam in my own home town! 'Specially in the more black neighborhoods - bottle rocket wars, fountains exploding in the middle of the streets, old colored ladies handing out sparklers to little kids and lighting'em up so they chase each other around with these little red hot wires and maybe jam'em into each others eyeballs - hee hee! Gotta maneuver around all this shit just negotiate yer way down the damn street! It's all hot and drippy humid which holds the smoke down to streetlight level - seriously, there's just smoke everywhere - gun powder clouds and the smell of pork, rocket's red glare all bursting in air, giving proof through the night that the street trash is all still there! And I mean, no shit, on my way home the streets were just rife with the cardboard and paper carnage of fireworks everywhere - just big old piles of the shit all over the place - just left where they lay! It's all hot an'wet...damn! God Damn I LOVE this man town - fuckin' garden of Eden!
Monday, June 15, 2009
So I scheduled some studio time right after my show on Friday and he drove up from Springfield MO where he had played the night before - that's about a three hour drive and he literally just gets out of the car and walks in sets up his shit and performs in front of four of us who he don't know from Adam and he fucking just ruled!!! I mean he brings in this wooden platform that he sits a stool on and pounds his foot and the platform's about four inches high and so it amplifies it so all of a sudden this six foot three kid with long stringy red hair, his eyes get real big, lines form on his face and he's all like...crazy and this voice comes out of him that's like some seventy year old man who's possessed by the fucking devil or somethin'. It's like the devil's defiantly in the room - like he's eaten up Harry Smith's dead body and is spewin every mutilated confederate soldier, wound or insult the south's ever taken - every dead mule!!
So, the studio's already backed up cause it's Twangfest weekend and they've got bands stacked up like planes over O'Hare Airport and there's a guy with a stop watch is policing Red Mouths one hour jealously... But man, when he cut into his last song - BOOM! Everybody just stoped what they were doing at and just stared into the studio!
So here I am, there's this cat from fucking Alabama and I want to buy him a meal or something but I got no money and neither did he so I come up with this idea and we go down to U. City and play on the sidewalk in front of vintage Vinyl, out on the sidewalk, the two of us and there's all these college kids and tourists and young black kids and the whole Twangfest crowd (it was alt country weekend and all these liberal young professionals were going to that and that was weird cause I know a bunch of them and they were sneaking by kind of like I was embarrassing for them...) and, anyway we wound up making like $48 bucks which we kinda split - gave him the extra eight bucks and we took twenty a piece and then we went and bought a roasted chicken at the grocery store and tore that apart with a little container of potato salad.
And then went down to a bar downtown to the Tap Room and watched Magic City, Peck of Dirt and some out of town band called Slick (who were nothing if not the living embodiment of Black Oak Arkansas, complete with a heavier version of Jim Dandy himself) It was kind of a warped southside anti-twangfest celebration with all my southside rocker pals. We hung there for a while but beers were five bucks a pop so Red Mouth ran out to the van periodicaly to drain another 7-11 Stag. We split before Slick broke into "Jim Dandy To The Rescue".
Then Saturday we slept half the day then ate Mexican down on Cherokee street where I introduced him to this wonderful trash pile of a "drugstore" we got called Globe Drug where you can but all kinds of railroad salvage bargains for hardly anything and Red Mouth buys himself a case of energy drinks for six bucks - he says they taste like ass but he's got to stay up twelve hours to get back to the gulf! - So we ate Mexican down there, (the street's kind of a little barrio of it's own so there's plenty o'great places down there to tie the feedbag on!) and that rocked.
Later we went to a party that my band, Alley Ghost was playing that night for our friend Larry's 47th birthday. The house where the party was, is owned by this great couple named Ross and Kim who are both unbelievable cooks/punks/hippies/really cool folks with a huge garden about seven dogs and cats and this wonderfully bizarre house that they moved into and forged out of the ghetto wilderness - they lived their for at least two years with no electric power or heat.
Anyway, given the playing that me and Red Mouth had just done the night before, we worked out a deal for me and my band to back him up - so he got to do a gig after all - It was fucking great!
We played in a bedroom on the third floor - filled with about thirty people in the room and bout twenty more in the room just below us downstairs - Red Mouth became the old crazy fucker again just a slappin tambourine and stompin' his foot - then he sat down and played another on a Fender electric and then we got up behind him and jammed out another two which together went about ten minutes all total, and all we were doing was jammin on a G chord on the both of'em - crazy - some crazy ass white boy hill country trancin' shit like ol' RL Burnsides used t'do - Damn man, my band's the fucking best! - I mean they hadnt ever even seen this cat before let alone heard his music and we were just wreckin the room - Red Mouth kept turnin his head to look at me with this big shit eatin grin on his face, "GET RIGHT CHURRRRCCCHH!!" he was a shoutin! Then he moved over and we kicked into our own set.
Christ, the room went wild! I kept on lookin' out into the crowd and could see kids mouths movin like they knew all my words - they were singin along, pumpin' their fists are just dancin!! Hee hee! by the time we got done it was like 3AM, Red Mouth grabbed him a last beer and I went around with my hat beggin Red Mouth some gas money for his trip back home- S'mazing how big drunken hearts can be - he made enough for gas and for us to eat one more meal! it was five AM by the time we got back to my crib and we just crashed - he slept in my front room on a water stained futon that took up the whole floor - we slept till noon the next day and went out to my fave natural foods restaurant (Shangrala!) to do our usual Sunday brunch - (the owner has named our little group as the "hipster Algonquin round table") Well, we ate our fill and then he hit the road back south about three in the afternoon - I'm gonna play his session on this weeks radio show - little bits of it anyway! Fuck. what a weekend. Wish they were all this good!
Monday, June 1, 2009
ALSO If you are interested in having your band, wedding or any other sort of event or your family documented in an artistic sort of way involving black-white- and all the glorious grain you could ever hope for - My rates are again more than reasonable compared to comparable digital artists with much less track experience!
give me a call at 314-489-3957
Friday, May 29, 2009
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
So I spent my own day in hell and when she didnt call me I called her - she said she was in a much better place today and that she still wanted to have her picture taken but that now she didnt have any money cause her dog got hit by a car and she had to take him to the vet and now he's ok but her money was all gone. When I hung up the phone I was cursing myself cause I guess I should have known right from the start that this is how the whole thing was destined to end - i should have just said,
"OH HELL NO!" I shoulda said,
"This whole phone call's got dog death smeared all the over it!" I shoulda gone,
"Get your fucking dog a tag and call me back when you save up some money again!" But I didnt. I went,
"OH, well sure! O-FUCKING KAY! I'll take your picture and I'll have the $25 accident compensation check post marked and sent off today to fucking Cleveland so they wont take my god damned driver's license away and maybe I'll also buy myself a little food to eat and...! Wont that be fucking good???"
So now I have thirty cents in my pocket and I've got SOME money in my checking account but I have no idea how much, cause that's how everybody in my family has always done it - you write a check then the next day you call the band competer to see how much you've still got in yer account and you wonder how many checks havent actually cleared yet and before you know it your fucking bank account's at like negative hundred and ninty seven dollars!!! So I call every couple of hours now to see if I can write some paper to buy a couple of cans of beans or a dozen eggs and some bread - Shooo-o--o-ooooot! I'm getting hungry just talking about it - I've got about a half a bowl of chili left and about a quarter jar of spagetti sauce - maybe I should have some chili mac tonight!
I got this theory on life that I believe in whenever I can build up the faith...Let me start by saying that for fifteen years I was a house painter - a distracted house painter - meaning my mind was only ever half into it ,it was just something I did to make money - you kinda got to want to do something to really be any good at it - i worked for yuppies an'shit - had to make mortgage payments - five hundred a month or lose the fucking house that my ex-wife just HAD to have - the house that two months after we'd finally gotten it - she had an affair with some married Black Yuppie. - See, she was always finding some new thing, some new guru, some new diet, some new program, some new fad that was gonna make everything alright and and this time she found this thing called Re-Evaluation Therapy, where all these folks would get together and the leaders would teach the basic structure - you'd partner up with another person in the group and for half the time you'd do a session with them, they'd be the therapist for the first half and then you'd be the therapist for the second half. You could do this with however many different partners you want but always just two at a time - the idea was the more you were able to cry or laugh or something like that, while the other person held you or said things to continue to assist you in crying, the more you'd let out all the negative energy that gets trapped in your body!
So I went with her to this shit and I thought the gal who taught it was kind of cute so I went along too. So some how my ex and I were both doing sessions with this Black guy which is kind of funny cause me and him were each dealing with our feelings about men of the other race - So like I'd be releasing all this stuff about how I felt anger and fear toward Black men and he'd be releasing the same shit about white men and...HE WINDS UP FUCKING MY WIFE BEHIND MY BACK!!!!!! Hee hee, well, i can kind of laugh about it now but it was really fucked up at the time and I wound up throwing her out of the house and I kept it though I had never ever actually actually wanted to be there.
So I maintained my job and housepayments for like ten more years and granted, I had neither the time nor energy to work on it or take care of the yard and such, but I WAS able to hold on to it cause I figured if I lost it then that would prove what a worthless piece of shit I really was and everybody would point and sneer at me, going, "Look at that worthless piece of shit, he lost the fucking house him and his wife bought!" So she went off with this Black guy and I kept going till 1997 when I developed blood clots up and down both legs and almost died. I had hundreds of them. One can kill you if it goes to your heart of your brain so we're talking some serious shit here! So there I was in the hospital lying on this gurney not knonwing if I was going live or die and I made this promise to myself and God that if I did wind up living, i would never again work a regular brain dead day job. I decided I'd rather die in the gutter than do that shit again - I would henceforth make a living using my true God given artistic talents or die. It was the first time in my life that I didnt have a mother of wife or girl friend or some other female power figure in my life telling me what I should or shouldnt do. There's be no one to say I was crazy - I'd become my own mad scientist and my own insane expieriment all rolled into one!
"Follow your bliss!" said Joseph Campbell.
"Follow your heart and the money will come" said Oprah Winfrey.
So I've been rolling along for twelve years now and doing alright. I mean I'm living pretty close to the earth - you know, it's a no frills lifestyle but I've been ok - paying for car shit, getting medical care through the kindness of the state and other strangers... I've kind of developed this theory (remember when I started to tell you about this theory?) and it goes like this- You know how you learn in school about how atoms are created from protons and nuetrons spinning around in these little orbits? They do! and they never go out of their orbits, they just do what they're supposed to do - I'm guessing that unless some other force comes in and does something to change that, to prevent them from doing what they're there to do, it always works out. Well, my theory is that if we can truly tap into what it is that we're supposed to do and dont fuck with it in some way ourslves, (ie drinking too much, doing too many drugs, beating up and or hurting others or god knows what all else people do to fuck up their lives- you're probably gonna be alright. In other words, just dont struggle and you wont get hurt!
Now if you come from a fucked up family, you learned real early that there must be just thousands and thousands of things in life that can fucking destroy you. You have to be ever vigilant or they will! Chances are you have SEEN this shit happen with your own eyes! Nuns and children are raped - baby ducks are stomped into mud with Doc Martins, uncles fuck nieces and nephews leaving the girls to raise bastards alone, storms rip down powerlines and kindly old ladies burn to a crisp in puddles of rain, cigarettes fall from drunken mouths and whole families go homeless. Jobs are lost every day and there's no more money or food! Is it any wonder? How do any of us ever sleep at all???!
Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. (Matt. 6:28-29)
My theory is that as long as we are following our hearts we can not go wrong. Now that doesn't mean it's easy. Most of the time it takes an act of fucking bravery to follow your heart - Especially if you've been raised in the wilds of dysfunction. If everything you've ever known has come out broken and fucked up why in the world would you trust your heart of hearts??!! No, what we're talking about here is an absolute leap of faith in that power higher than yourself. This doesn't mean that bad things wont happen - not at all. What it does mean is that maybe we're not always the best judge of what is and isnt a bad thing to begin with. Somebody once said,
"Every time I've ever learned something new, it's felt like I've also lost something important to me"
There will always be something new to grieve - that's the fucking nature of life! Everything comes to an end -if it doesn't we become lulled into a different kind of death - the death of spirit - we stagnate - shrivel up and die - too much security will kill you - rot your brain and you may never even know - you just roll out of bed one day, land on your face and you cant even feel the thud - you drown in the dog pee in the carpet and never even wake up - I swear, it can happen. It happens every day!
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
"Good morning Blues, come on into my room!"
I think maybe I'm allergic to something with my bed clothes or from the peeling paint on the wall behind my head in bed or the old permanent indoor/out door carpeting that's been in this room forever - my place aint really so bad - rent's really cheap but my landlord lives in the same building and his wife just lost her job. sometimes i walk past his back door when I'm emptying the trash late at night and I can see him walking back and forth across his kitchen chain smoking and looking down at the floor. While i'm out in the alley dumping my trash. i hope the screen door stays shut cause i've heard possums scraping at it some summer nights while i'm inside - i hope one of those things dont get in my kitchen, i think that'd bout finish me off, I really do - you ever run over one of those icky ass things in your car?? It aint pretty, ain pretty at all!
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
To: Bob Reuter
Date: Apr 3, 2009 2:44 AM
Subject: It's probably the whiskey ..
I feel like writing tonight.
I used to write alot--but the beer and the drugs swept away all that potential. And I don't know why I feel like writing tonight. I'll blame the whiskey; and the fact that the boys aren't home. Solitude breeds literature; punk rock breeds drunks; and the blues breeds domestic beasts that live for cooking dinner and supporting the pack--at least as a woman trapped at the crest of that unbridled wave.
And somehow your records always crop up. Old sessions with bands I've never met, which bleeds into solo sessions at Mangia--when you play songs I never expected to hear live, which end up spewing from crackled blown speakers in the Volkswagen I've trolled the city in since I was seventeen.
Six years is a long time when you're only 23. Less than 25% of a life--all though I've never trusted my math.
When Vonnegut died, I wrote a eulogy "awake on some stranger's speed." It's been a couple of years, and I've become social packmates with that stranger, but I still find myself resorting to his Ritalin bullshit when I'm drunk and not ready to give in to the night.
It'll be a long night tonight--but not as long as others. And there is a mild existential solace in no expectation of company; other than that of our tuxedoed cat (who is currently trying to pilfer drinks from my Early Times and water).
Bad, Charlie. You won't know what hit you.
Eh--anyway. That song .. "After the money from Mama was gone;" I'm not sure if that's the title, but you know what I'm talking about. It always reeks of those years when I officially fell out with my parents, and made a hasty and desperate relocation to Pine Lawn. There was nowhere else to go; I cut the family off; and the money from Mama (or Pops, in my case) was absolutely gone.
I'd had inklings of real life--Richard hung himself (no, really); drugs abounded; and between Oregon and Europe I'd grappled with the fact that the world was much bigger than my St Charles upbringing, but reality had never hit me so hard as that year on the Northside.
I was the only white girl for five miles in any direction. I was broke like all the worst jokes. I lived on Ramen noodles and Tabasco sauce or Sam's Club bulk animal crackers and peanut butter; I drew pictures of bats and crawled out onto the roof to collect shells from the bullets that had rained down onto our house over the preceding New Year's. It was my ghetto coast; like seeing the ocean for the first time; breathing the saltwater air and reveling in every unfamiliar minute of it.
And I was in love.
In love with an illiterate O'Fallon boy, who'd been duped into buying his first house in a neighborhood that no God-fearing O'Fallon boy belonged in. The realtor had brought him there on a Sunday when all the neighbors were at church. He was in over his head even deeper than I was. If I was cautiously testing the coast, he'd fallen off the edge of the reef--way past that safe waist-line water, past where ships run aground--into a seventy+ grand mortgage. We were pallid shipwrecked aliens. And I soaked up every minute of it.
We had a roommate named Dan. He was a Dungeons & Dragons throwback who gobbled up every recording and mixing gadget he could afford under his billing and coding salary. There was thousands upon thousands of dollars of equipment, stowed away in our collapsing basement--a basement where any bacon grease that escaped down the kitchen sink erupted through the cracks in the cement floor like a true blue collar pork-loving American kaleidoscope.
And Dan had some crazy microphone (boom mic, I don't know ..) that could collect the noises from miles around if you sat on the front porch on just the right night (for some reason it had to be humid and July--the plateau before St Louis' end-of-summer climax). We'd pass around the headphones, as ravenous as potheads suckling on the last hits of a roached joint, and listen to the beat of the neighborhood: We'd hear parties and the metallic echoing bass of speakers in the backseats or trunks of janky old cars; we'd hear the hollers and yowls of the dogfights in our neighbors' basements; we'd eavesdrop on the domestic violence ensuing half a block away, or the hasty comings and goings of cars to the crackhouse on the corner.
And then HYACK! .. somebody would shoot off a round.
It was deafening if you were the unfortunate fool with the headphones; your ears would ring for days. The other Mohican porch-dwellers would snap erect; eyes scanning the cross-streets and undamaged ears pricked to discover if the onslaught was headed our way.
You see, our street was engaged in some kind of war with the street two blocks over; some old bad blood that never involved any of us, but that meant we had to duck beneath the stone railing or into the house and below the windows if a car rolled by at night a little too slow with its headlights off. White faces make great targets. Dead white bodies on the Northside are kept on the media downlow; otherwise somebody (county dumbshits with a cause) might give a crap about what happens up there.
But five years ago I was smug and untouchable; I'd never had a gun held to my head. I was fearless and cackled into the full moon from the roof--a wolfen punk rocker, striving with blood, sweat and tears to break away from the safe county roots I'd been born into. Pine Lawn was my proving ground and my trial by fire--or so I'd gone insane enough to believe.
I "grew up" in that collapsing punk rock dive: I fucked my boyfriend recklessly, I swilled beers like water and picked fights at the parties we'd religiously throw there--we had learned real fast that Brothers and Sisters don't call the cops on anything, much less their "Tony Hawk" cracker neighbors, regardless of how late we blasted unlistenable music into the streets or how many folks projectile vomited from the front porch.
Broken bottles, bleeding necks and puke-soaked steps (both indoor and out); that was Pine Lawn. Mattresses on the floor below the windows; a three-legged pitbull plodding about the back yard when his shitfaced owner would head out on a bender and leave Jeff and I to "babysit;" a broke-down Yamaha motorcycle chained to the back porch and somehow ..
Somehow that song of yours brings me back home to all that; that mess I try not to think about too much these days. By dwelling on the past, you can never move forward, right? But you can't deny where you come from. And the sick honesty of it all is that my street these days isn't too far of a cry from Arden: we've had drive-bys; our old roommate got carjacked just as brutally as our house eventually got cleaned out in Pine Lawn by young buck thugs trying to prove something. It's a full circle of bullshit that I guess none of us can ever pray to escape.
Bah .. when I sat down to type this, I thought it would be more worthwhile. But a couple of drinks in, that's always the case, isn't it? But oh well .. this is the most coherent drunk rambling I've had in a while.
Thanks for the music.
Bob Reuter's Alley Ghost
(Big Muddy Records)
By Christian Schaeffer
Published on March 24, 2009 at 11:36am
You could staff an entire basketball league with the amount of local rock and folk musicians who have accompanied Bob Reuter over the years. In fact, the south-side denizen is the closest thing St. Louis has to a modern troubadour, a musician who teaches his collaborators as much as he draws from their talents. On Alley Ghost, members of the Rum Drum Ramblers, 7 Shot Screamers and Johnny O & the Jerks back Reuter with snare drum, banjo, upright bass and harmonica. The resulting songs are an inspired mix of young and old — Reuter sounds invigorated by his younger counterparts, and the young Alley Ghost stallions put their love of prewar music to good use. Certain tunes rely on well-worn folk-and-blues arrangements, while other songs capture the off-the-cuff feel of a guitar circle. The enthusiasm and soulful skill of the musicians lift these songs above the standard singer-songwriter fare and give wings to Reuter's lyrics, which remain (as always) funny, poignant, twisted and true. "Rock & Roll Moron" serves as a rallying cry for the music-scene lifers around town; on it, he sings, "You can't close the door on/this rock & roll moron." Thankfully, with the help of Alley Ghost, no one will be putting Reuter out to pasture anytime soon.
Soulard Art Market's Notes
Our current exhibition "Rock Paint Scissors" will be on display until April 5th, be sure to check it out! This exhibition features the work of three of Saint Louis' most incredible artists, Bob Reuter, Julie Malone, and David Langley.
Naomi Silver from Culture Surfer interviewed the "Rock" part of this exhibition, Bob Reuter.
Bob Reuter's photography pieces are simply amazing. The often rough and edgy black and white photography will let you reminisce of different times. They are dramatic and darkly romantic in other ways and will allow your curiosity to spill and make you wonder who these folks are, and especially who is this lovely Bob Reuter character.
Bob's work, the astounding black and white photography generally contains subjects that he meets all over. He is Truly fascinating! Be sure to check out his website for more information about the man behind the camera.
(bob says, "Holy fuck!")
Love the site. It was great hearing some of the old songs. The way I remember (which is fuzzy) we gave Don the name Frankie before the song. The song I thought evolved from him getting upset with his dog (Keesha?), by getting in the way of his pedals during a rehearsal. He pushed her away and that was so out of character the song was written. I may be wrong. I remember when Janice (my x) was in the bathroom out in St. Charles and she overheard girls talking about how he did time for murder, thusly the song was true.
The Legend lives on!
Stay in touch.