Sunday, November 27, 2011

LIGHT FUSE AND RUN BOOK RELEASE BLAST!


Bob and Cold Water Press publisher, Suzy Rust at the big release party of "Light Fuse and Run" held at Off Broadway today in South St. Louis.
THANKS TO EVERYONE who braved this first cold ass icky weather to help make the book release A RESOUNDING SUCCESS!!

Special thanks to House of Ross and Kim and Mark Stephens for supplying such amazing food! WHAT A BLAST -

COLD DIRT PRESS, ALLEY GHOST, DOOM TOWN AND BRICE AND THE COOKERS ALL THANK YOU -

THE BOOK WILL BE GOING IN LOCAL STORES THIS WEEK!!!


To Order Light Fuse and Run online go to:
http://www.etsy.com/listing/85628098/light-fuse-and-run?utm_source=OpenGraph&utm_medium=ConnectedShop&utm_campaign=Share

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Bob's new photo book, "LIGHT FUSE AND RUN"


Few St. Louisians—hell, few Americans—can command and claim the kind of effortless cachet that Bob Reuter does; fewer still would want to. The Southside rabble-rouser weirds up the airwaves every Friday with his long-standing, hallucinatory KDHX program, Bob's Scratchy Records. He's captured local luminaries and nameless ingenues alike in his iconic black and white photographs, and this sunday he's releasing a book of film photography called Light and Run. The singer-songwriter has tapped Doom Town to perform, and of course, Bob's band the Alley Ghosts will be in tow. First 50 folks in the door get $1 deals on Pabst, and word is there'll be free vegan and omnivorous eats at this early show.

To order go to:http://www.etsy.com/listing/85628098/light-fuse-and-run?utm_source=OpenGraph&utm_medium=ConnectedShop&utm_campaign=Share

Thursday, August 18, 2011

bob's 60th birthday gig with Alley Ghost




"I Couldn't Break Your Heart" and "Jungle Fighter"

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A collection of travel journal entries I did when Porkchop and I went out on the road in February!


pork chop the sequal
by Bob Reuter on Thursday, February 17, 2011 at 3:11am


Pork Chop's car got totaled in Hannibal tuesday night-he's ok but it fucked up one of his guitars (not the National) unbeknownst to him, his license had been revoked for failure to pay a parking ticket he got for a parking ticket he got three years ago when he lived in Nashville so he was cuffed, arrested and brought back to the station where he was written a ticket and released - he called me and asked if i knew anybody who could get him to his next gig in Minneapolis - i was the only one i knew without a regular job so I hit the road in my 94 Geo - a donut tire on the back, twenty five bucks and a half tank of gas - the whole car shaking like a bitch every time I hit 60 - long story short, We're up here in the land of eternal winter right now - we're staying at the home of the guy who stages the Deep Blues Festival in Minniapolis- Large bag o'Barbecue awaited us when we pulled in at midnight! two gigs in two days, here and in St. Cloud - no one will be home here tomorrow so we plan on sleeping till like two in the afternoon

on the road with bob and pork
by Bob Reuter on Friday, February 18, 2011 at 5:13am


Porkchop played a gig at a place called the White Horse tonight in St. Cloud Minn - i played his break - each of us individually had chicks up dancing which was pretty f'n cool but DAMN is this state COLD!!!! People ujp here thought it was warm tonight just cause it wasnt near zero, it was like 38 but the wind just rips right through ya!! Anyway, i sold some pictures so made a little bit of monies!!

We're staying at the home of Chris Johnson who puts on the Deep Blues Fest which is a big fucking deal if you're into sort of gut bucket non polished and punk ass type blues!! The fest ran for like three years but now Chris owns a little Q joint called Bayport BarBQ so he can book individual acts year round and also sell some really fine Q! The joint's multiple tv screens showing all the great acts, Chris has booked - all now personal friends of his!

So Chris and his wife and kids have this great place outside Minneapolis where he lets all these blues cats stay and that's where we are - tomorrow night it'll be us, the band Henry and June, Johnny Walker"s (who's band was the Soledad Brothers) plays bass for them - it's actually a re-union of a band that broke up quite a while ago - the white stripes covered one of their tunes so some interest developed and they're doing this gig to maybe sell some of the original cd's all playin tomorrow night for hte big grand opeing of the joint!!

Anyway, today was a lot less wacky as i think our kind of hard travelin was just generally catchin up with us plus Porkchops having totaled the car and the reality of ii was really startin to settle in - You cant even imagine the road conversations - it's really starting to hit me what a brilliant mind this cat has, I mean considering he's nearly entirely self educated (he was kicked out of high school for pulling a pistol on the school principal) In so many ways we're really beginning to feel like twins separated at birth - the pattens of our madness, the childhood fucked upness we endured... our total obsession with the music that's enabled us to work past it all...

i asked him what his mama said to the news of why he'd been kicked out of school... he said,

"Are you alright sweetheart?

"yes Mam. They say they want me to go into a hospital for a little while"

"and what do you think baby?"

"I guess so mama, i'm just really tired and mixed up right now"

"OK then baby."

I feature keeping this man as a friend for life.


Pulled into a town i was sure was Iowa City - asked a woman on the street how to get to the university area and she said there wasnt one in town - I said, "No university in Iowa City??" she said, This isnt Iowa City , this is Cedar Falls!" then she told us how to get to the highway and on our way to the Highway and it started raining and i didnt have any rubber on my wiper blades though they still functioned some -but they also said "SCREACH- SCREACH SCREACH!!!" very loudly, - like i say, we couldnt see at all without them so I just began screaming, OH I BEEN WORKING ONTHE RAILROAD ALL THE LIVE LONG DAY!!!" and the next thing i knew Porchop was screaming along with me! next thing we knew we were miles down the road and found an auto parts store where Pork bought us some new wiper blades - the local who came out to put'em on took one look at the rubberless wipers and and was like,

"So, drove ya mad Eh?"

We traveled about twenty more miles and saw a sign that said, "Cedar Rapids 35 miles" so who was crazy?!

Later Porkchop said of my singing "I been working on the railroad" - "that it was a fine example of a man with advanced survival skills!"


long last day up north for bob an'chop! OR pork and the professor at the festival of meat!
by Bob Reuter on Saturday, February 19, 2011 at 3:42am


jesus, slept in - I scored one of Chris's son's room - members of Henry and June were downstairs where I slept last night and I scored a room of my own! I'm being treated as a hero for getting porkchop up here for this gig! We kinda slept in - round 1pm

Today when we finally left the crib, we headed into Minneapolis looking for film and a tambourine that would fit his foot (he'd lost his somewhere along the way) So we met us some photo and music people - non squares with those "Fargo type accents" - when yer traveling with Mr. Holder, you're like part of the medicine show, I found myself working in tandem with old boy - we'd walk into a joint doin this whole vaudeville routine, i'd lob one to'im and he'd knock it out o'the park! Another thing is that if you have any inkling of a southern accent yourself, close contact with old Doctor P Holder, your drawl's gonna increase exponentially - Pork took to introducin me as "Professor Bob Reuter" and it felt right to me.

Meanwhile back at the bbq joint we were fed like kings again and i set about shootin pictures which continued all night - if ya didnt catch my earlier posts Chris Johnson who's put on the Deep Blues Fest (a celebration of dirty, punk, jook joint and just broken fucked up blues acts by bands heavy on the dirt, grit and ragginess - T-Model Ford was on the bill) for the past three years (a pure labor of love which had to have lost him like 50 grand per year) decided to take another tact by setting up Bayport BBQ - "a Deep Blues Joint" where he could serve some truly fine Q while hosting his friends and favorite deep blues cats from all over the map!

What i always love shootin best is the players shootin the shit, laughin - drinkin - catchin up -getting ready to play and just generally being amongst their own tribe. I LOVE catchin that shit, seeing what only the players and a select few others get to be part of and sharing it with the rest of the world! I shot like three rolls of film in the green room alone - in this case, in the basement with the forty-five dollar a plate revelers moving back and forth cross the hard wood floors over our heads sounding like a hear of cattle bein moved in a very un-orderly fashion towards the slaughter.

Now to be honest I gotta say that an event like this could have been like a million times better had this all taken place back home with a roomful of my unwashed brothers and sisters of the great St. Louis Southside but you take your holy rituals where you find'em and to hear Mark Porchop Holder, the Rue Moor Counts and Henry and June all playing some hot as hell blues rockin sets backed by a glass wall and a backdrop just the other side, of huge shattered hunks of broken ice just slid down off the pitched roof - a truly jarring sortof juxtaposition. The crowd was a bit upscale for my taste but though reserved, they really WERE an appreciative audience and who can ask for anymore than that?!

Anyway, so after the gig and the squares filed out, a little make-shift lo-fi recording session went down and I got a crack at pickin up Pork's beautiful Stella guitar while he wailed on harp by my side! - then more shootin the shit, "coming down" and exchanging recordings I'll be bringing back and playing on the radio show - Bob's Scratchy Records for you to hear!- did a little discussing the possibility of bringing some of these great sbandds back to the Lou at some future date - I'm thinkin it's a match made in heaven so if you dug seeing Porkchop at CBGB's or Kid Congo Powers at either CB's OR Off Brfoadway - wait'll you get aload of THESE cats! It could happen - we're still talking!

Tomorrow - the nine hour plus ride back to heaven including a stop in Hannibal so that Mr Holder can get another look at his hillbilly scrap heap of automobile which being a po boy from Chattanooga he has not YET surrendered to a MO state junkyard grave! He's threatening to mask what's left of the shattered windshield with see through tape - takin' a hack saw to any metal twisted up and in contact with the front wheels and driving the pile of foreign steel, on back home to tennessee under cover of night when it's profile would be less highly visible. More will be revealed- a nine or ten hour ride - Christ i'm ready to go off meat for a good long while!



honey badger dont care!! - end of pork and bob on the road!
by Bob Reuter on Sunday, February 20, 2011 at 7:44pm


Where do I even begin?! It's now four in the afternoon on Sunday, I've slept in two hour bursts since I passed out at six this morning. I'm back home safe at the crib and there's seventeen inches of snow headin for Minneapolis.
I woke up at Chris's place yesterday morning on five hours sleep - went to the Q joint to say our good-bye's - by the time we got there it was already late afternoon, a few customers were lingering but he'd already locked the door - there was a woman two tables behind us periodically crying over her brisket and cole slaw and an old man ordering that last slice of pecan pie - Chris brought a tray of assorted meat - pork, halves of chicken, brisket and pulled pork, then another of sides - potato salad, slaw, beans and big mason jars of ice cold water. each of these deliveries came slow as we were getting it for free and came only as he was able to get to it. The man's a giant, a huge viking gentle giant of a large hearted northern american republican deep blues fanatic - Hey, this is america he'd say, you can have whatever you want as long as you can pay for it (my mind flashed to Mark Porkchop Holder wearing shorts that broke just above his two ace bandaged legs, which had been scraped of dead flesh twice a week for eight weeks till they "looked like nothing so much as a couple of fried chicken drumsticks" He stands up with his cane in the front row of a town hall meeting back home in Chattanooga last summer,
"You know..." he says, "If health care was something I could steal, if I could take it from some rich man by force, I'd just pull out my pistol and take it, there's be no problem at all...!!" and the Black folks in the crowd had all jumped up and cheered)

But Chris aint a bad man, aint stupid, mean or lacking compassion, that's clear to see in his face, in the way he deals with strangers and shit - maybe we all just are what we are.

" Johnny Walker", who had taken that name when he dove deep into the blues in his own deep way so many years ago - (he told me what his real name was, or something at least close to it - it was something that started with an "H" and just screamed Russia or eastern europe or Jew) Back when he and Ben formed the Soledad Brothers taking up the name of the fallen seventies Black revolutionaries (George Jackson's family had had given their blessing to the use of the name). Anyway, Johnny's doing music as a more of a hobby now he says- he's gone back to being a doctor - Psychiatry. He works with people who are seriously fucked up and lost now - they wonder out loud whey he dont talk to them like a shrink,

"Cause half my friends are just like you." He tells'em and then he excuses himself saying he's got to answer a text he just got about a particular client back home in Ohio.

So we didnt even leave town till like four in the afternoon - plenty of time for reflection, plenty of time for Mark and I to tell our stories - you know how stories of your life pour out in cars or planes, busses or trains going a long ways from one place to another - like maybe you might die so it dont matter, same as how you think no one can ever see you picking your nose when you're in yhour car alone - safe in your personal space. - and the drill rolls on - Mark lights up a smoke, cracks the window, north wind chills our little chamber, I crank the heat, get overly hot crack my own window, kill the heat, he dowses the tube, wind chills us again, i crank up the heat, start to get hot and then kill it again... mile after mile, frozen fields all stark and white, beautiful in their desolation - hella fat full cartoon, big ol'moon - moving grey clouds cross it and you get peaks of cold black sky - all so beautiful and lonely.Silver pellets of sleet exploding n the road - thousands of'em smashing down in shine of our brights! - grey sky covers the frozen plain like a roof without walls you can see the cloudless black on the horizons. Then it's lightening and thunder - our new wiper blades work like champs - "Next time you're screachingly bladeless" says Johnny Walker later, tie socks on'em, works every time!"

Somewhere into Iowa again we're on the "Avenue of the Saints" which runs "from St. Paul to St.Louis" sounds like we're almost home but fat chance, five more hours minimum and Mark gets a "black rumbling" in his belly - Quick trip toilet - ever notice how safe QT feels, how you can BUY your every possible need, all the comforts of home... pre packaged lovin. I ask a gramma Iowa lady with name tag badge i never read, on her red QT smock.

"How long till Hannibal?" i ask

She almost takes me by the hand, "let's go look at my favorite book!" she says as she cracks open a softbound copy of a road atlas - this is where she tells me about "Avenue of the Saints", this is where she tells me bout driving to her sisters who lives near Hannibal, this is where she asks me if my big friend needs any help and asks about his maybe being sick since he's gone back to the can a a couple of times. "Here" she says, "bring him these saltiness they'll settle his stomach" she says, "or ask him if he'd like some Imodium" she says, "That would always fix me right up!" sxhe says, "That was before I found out I was lactose intollerant." I tell her, yeah I am too. Then I glance at the Chester's Chicken heating bins - I ask how often Chester brings his chicken in - the old bitch behind the food counter dont get that I'm jokin' I go back to gramma. - I point to the pre packaged cheese burgers in their tin foil wrappers, "Would you eat one of these I ask, "Oh no!" she says, "I wouldnt even eat one of those if they were fresh!, I love the chicken sandwiches though!" and here her eyes swell with delight! I buy the dry chicken on a tough bun and grab a mayo packet then go grab one of the chairs flipped on top of the dining tables and sit by myself with a bag of chips - some "farmer looking" young man approaches my table, "Excuse me", he says, "I think you might have dropped out of your pocket" he says extending to me a bent and twisted twenty dollar bill. What the hell??!! Where the hell are we? are we in heaven??? No. Iowa. The Imodium and two Kools settle Pork Chop's belly and we head back out on the road.

OK, see Pock Chop's a country boy - pig sloppin country then raised up in town - them people dont waste a thing so he's bound and determined to head back to Hannibal and drive the wreck back home - he aint like us. I try to pretend he's just talkin shit, like he'll change his mind when we get close, then again half his shit's still in there and we're already looking like the god damn judd family bound for California...!

You ever been to Hannibal?? You know them scoundrels Sam Clemens wrote about - well this is their kin - man, it's this dirty ol'river town, cool as fuck in a lotta ways but dont know that you'd really wanna live there. We pull in round two thirty in the morning down this dirty old industrial drive type road and just as we do, and remember there's no one anywhere around as far as you can see...'cept for this tow truck driver, same one that towed Porkchop three nights before and they talk and cash for storage is exchanged and we hit the road again - hillbilly a rollin! Hell yeah! ol'boy's down the road makin the limit and up into the seventies - totally spiderwebbed shattered windshield, hood smashed up like an accordian - hunk of the body hammered away from where it rubbed on the wheel, deployed air bag all tied back and pulled aside...made it all the way to bout a half hour out past the St. Louis airport - we stopped to'pee and the wreck wouldnt start again Ol'boy went mad, I shot some pics then Mark declared he was just too tired to fight for the night - we'd head back to Saint L get a rest and fight again in the morning and in another three hours we was home - cept then we hadda hit QT to buy Pork some dinner.

Last I saw Mark he was headin out my front door three hours ago, wearin his bibs and holdin a claw hammer in his hand - Ryan from my band Alley Ghost comin to pick him up and go make another run at the wreck - if they get it goin he'll be back and keep the thing runnin while he packs up his shit - dont try and change a hillbilly's mind, i dont feature it'll work.

Off shoots - I got to meet, eat, play, shoot pictures and then left an alley ghost cd with Chris the deep blues connection. Me and my pal Mark Porkchop Holder got plans to do little music makin tours throughout the south and up north like maybe three times a year together - we been baptized in the blood, in the fire and
ice - through chest pains and bein sick in truck stops - through hell screachin wiper blades - hell buddy, the Honey Badger dont give a good God Damn!!!




Saturday, June 11, 2011

Well I was Walkin Through the Jungle...

hangin on the corner across form where i lived as a kid was a confectionary - that's what they called little neighborhood stores that sold like milk, bread, candy, soda and just all kinds of sundry shit you could need in the neighborhood. First it was called, "Millie's" and then it was "Uncle Frank's" cause it was bought by some dago from some big family down the block and everybody got to callin him uncle frank- next door was a barber shop and between'em was a phone booth - the barber, al, drove a big black 63 Desoto which looked like some kind of gangster ride, he had to be doin' pretty well - this was pre-beatles and long hair...Next door to that was a family with a kid who couldnt play cause he was "a bleeder". my mom set me down and explained that the reason he couldnt come out was cause he was sick and if he even just fell down he'd bleed to death and it'd be all my fault! I didnt even know there WAS a kid there, i mean, i never saw him. but that was probably cause he was a bleeder and didnt come out - him knowin' i was waitin out there to kill him.

so anyway, this little store was a natural enough place to hang out there on the corner. the street was made out of bricks and there was this one little spot where the bricks had kinda sank down cause there was like a water pipe broke or somethin' and there was always a little puddle there where the pigeons and stray dogs could drink no matter what the weather. I used to think it was maybe built on a spring but the broken pipe theory seems to (forgive me) hold more water.

So you could go to this store any school day round seven in the morning and see jimmy sisco eatin his breakfast of powdered donnuts and an orange sodie. Jimmy's mom was a hair dresser who always wore high heels and she left before him so she'd give him the money to buy breakfast. Cross he street was this big ol'bean pole of a guy named dennis who lived with his aunt and gramma - a fuckin hillbilly, looked like a goofy ass six foot howdy doody and he played guitar out on the front steps - an electric with a little bout ten inch amp. he only played parts of country songs. he had a cousin though who came and stayed sometimes, his name was lenny, he was a good lookin greaser of the james dean variety and all the teenage girls had crushes on him. all he had to do was drive a fast car. one summer night the news came down that he died in an auto accident somewhere out in the country. there were two girls with him when it happened but only lenny died. details were few and i dont think we knew the girls anyway so that was kind of the end of that.

There was this kid, little ricky who'd come up to the confectionary from like three blocks away. he was about six and kind of cute, always wore a brown leather bomber pilot jacket with a pink rabbit's foot hangin from the zipper. he was a charismatic little fuck and the older guys would teach him dirty songs. a couple even had little dances that went with'em. One was like, ricky would do this little walking in place move and sing at the top of his lungs,

"well i'm goin out west where i belong" then he'd swing one arm up over his head like he was about to lasso somethin and with the other hand he'd grab his dick and go.

"daw daw daw daw daw daw! duh daw daw daw!!" for the little guitar part

"where the girls are horny all night long -
daw daw daw daw daw daw duh daw daw daw!!" and he'd repeat the dick grabbin and throwin the invisable rope. the song just kind of stopped there. his big number though was this one was like a finger snappin beatnick rap that went,

"well i was walkin through the jungle with my dick in my hand
i'm a real cool fucker from the congo land, i looked up a tree and wha'did i see
a big ole nigger pissed on me, i picked up a rock, hit'em in the cock, and he fell
down on an elephant rock!!"

That was his money number. people'd throw him change. the kid was a charmer. problem with bein a charming little kid is that you get good at it and ya get lazy - your drive to learn and work hard kinda dwindels to nothin'. I mean i dont know for sure cause i never been all that charmin, least not back then but that's the way it looks to me from a distance.

now back behind or place, across the alley was a a big old place - used to be a mother and her three daughters lived there. I dont know, it was two floors and I'm thinking maybe eight rooms. Well niether the mother or her three daughters had been all that bright to start with and one by one they all died cept for edna. edna was a scary ass freak show, least to us kids, her face was all twisted and retarded she was kind of fat and wore all these, what they called house dresses - looked like they were from the thirties or forties. some of'em were patched an'shit. edna wasnt so bright and didnt exactly draw friends. when we'd be playing ball in the alley she'd throw open her side window stick her spooky ass head out and yell in a screachy voice.

"YOUSE kids quit throwin that ball - ya wanna break a winda r'somethin and it'll be all your fault??!!"

I mean we'd just freak! and dont EVEN let her come waddelin down the alley cause, i dont know what we thought she was gonna do but no one wanted to find out! on the other side of edna's back yard was some r. crumb lookin mother fucker livin in a little house completely over run with vegitation- grass and weeds - shit was just everywhere with no reason or rhyme, his whole yard was edged with honeysuckles which drew bees and wasps an shit - we called the guy "jungle jim" kids'd always be edged along the outside of his yard in the summer catchin bees in jars and suckin the stems of honeysuckles - i remember my sister havin a mason jar with no lid so she figured to make do with using her other hand -what she found out was that bees must sting them metal lids cause that's what they did to her hand and it swole all up till they had to run her to the doctor.

One time jungle jim, who rarely ever showed his face outside his little house, was out in the alley smashin up a porcelin toilet bowl with a sledge hammer. he had it smashed into some big old pieces and was gonna just leave'em there like that when my grampa came out and read him the riot act for gonna blow out somebody's auto tires when they rolled over his toilet hunks! well ol'jim went nuts and started screamin how every body already knew my grampa was a known nigger lover and a catholic marrier and he better keep his mouth shut. grampa stood firm and jim eventually hauled the toilet chunks away. i dont think anybody ever really understood exatcly why jim had called grampa a nigger lover but i do know i felt pretty proud to be his grandson for a good while after that even though grampa never did speak to me all that much and never seemed to really understand what it was that made me seem stranger than most of the other boys in the neighborhood.

Yeah that was a time - they had these big water tank trucks that would come down the streets onece a week and shoot water out into both gutters while a team of men swept the trash and leaves stream down towards the sewers. we'd all sit on the curbs with our shoes off and let it splash us like our own little city swim party - when it was hot in the summer the milk man would come round and we'd all grab a rag and he'd break us each off a little chunk of ice to lick while we sat on the curb - would i shit you??!! christ i actually remember junk wagons driven by crabby old men and there big ass draft horses wearing blinders -

"dont try and pet the fuckin horse or he'll trample and kill ya and it'll be all your own damn fault!!!"

anyway the beatles came out one year and a bunch of us got guitars and started letting our hair grow longer - Al the barber with his stacks of orange "confidential magazines" and old boys tellin dirty stories just stopped talking to us altogether as though we were conspiring against him on a personal account. across the street, the guitar playing fool, dennis had gone nuts and got thrown out of his aunts house and word was he was doing drugs and stopped takin baths. sometimes he'd go over to the barber shop and play harmonica or dance then ask the men to throw him change. Roger the teen age boy next door, was shootin some kind of speed, livin in the row apartments with a dancer gal and dyed his hair bright orange - nobody did crazy shit like that in 1966 - not in north st. louis anyway.

Well round about then the Blacks started moving in and marking out their new turf. seemed like they'd move in during the winter but you wouldnt really notice till it got warm out - civil rights was heatin up and the streets were a war zone. i kept spending more and more time at the band house down off broadway near the river and only touched down back home on occasion. One of the last things i remember is hearing a big commotion over cross the alley - old edna had gone blind and for several years would just sit on the her front steps waiting to hear somebody pass at which point she'd screech.

"HEY YOU!! watt TIME is it???!!!" if you gave her that, she'd ask could you go to the store for her then before you could answer she'd cry out about the time again - moslty folks'd just shuffle off. so this one week i hadnt seen her out for a while and when i asked about her i was told,

"aintcha heard? you heard about that aintcha??!!" i'd say i handt and they'd say

"'member little ricky??? cute kid with the dirty songs??! well, he'd heard stories bout edna and her mother's money and broke in over there sayin he'd go to the store if she wanted, then when she went to her purse he beat'er with a rubber hose he had. anyway, she's in the hoepital, nah she aint dead or nothin and littel ricky, they took him away - the cops!

I'm all like "Rickey??!"

and they were like, "oh yeah, thart little fucker got mean!"

"he get anything?!"

"few bucks, nothin really."

"to old edna... for a few bucks???!! Ricky??!!

"tha's what they say."

"Damn. little ricky."

Things change, ya know? I guess i always knew but that was the day it really hit me. damn.

"well i was walkin through the jungle with my dick in my hand..."

The sun's going down on Grand and Gravois

The sun's going down on Grand and Gravois as a skittish Mexican hairless makes it's way east 'cross four lanes of traffic. This town's beginning to look a lot like some foreign country - barefoot goat herding survivors of floods, cat in a turban leads his llama through the Tiny Bubbles Launderette - proverbial Black Hole of Calcutta, giant Negro pirate with a bird on his shoulder

"Why you hardly seem Black at all, in fact you sound like some tea swilling Brit!" she laughed.

Sittin' at the Taco Bell drive up window awkwardly shoving your money over the top of your door cause the electric push button windows no longer work and you run out what's left of your last quarter tank of gas. Six minutes left on the "pay as you go" piece of shit Chinese phone in your pocket. Gun shots off in the distance as sweat burns your eyes. I been spending like a broken yo yo for weeks without feeling the least bit better and now it's really time to pay! What the hell YOU lookin at?! This is AMERICA GOD DAMN IT!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

so i was walkin through the jungle...

hangin on the corner across form where i lived as a kid was a confectionary - that's what they called little neighborhood stores that sold like milk, bread, candy, soda and just all kinds of sundry shit you could need in the neighborhood. First it was called, "Millie's" and then it was "Uncle Frank's" cause it was bought by some dago from some big family down the block and everybody got to callin him uncle frank- next door was a barber shop and between'em was a phone booth - the barber, al, drove a big black 63 Desoto which looked like some kind of gangster ride, he had to be doin' pretty well - this was pre-beatles and long hair...Next door to that was a family with a kid who couldnt play cause he was "a bleeder". my mom set me down and explained that the reason he couldnt come out was cause he was sick and if he even just fell down he'd bleed to death and it'd be all my fault! I didnt even know there WAS a kid there, i mean, i never saw him. but that was probably cause he was a bleeder and didnt come out - him knowin' i was waitin out there to kill him.

so anyway, this little store was a natural enough place to hang out there on the corner. the street was made out of bricks and there was this one little spot where the bricks had kinda sank down cause there was like a water pipe broke or somethin' and there was always a little puddle there where the pigeons and stray dogs could drink no matter what the weather. I used to think it was maybe built on a spring but the broken pipe theory seems to (forgive me) hold more water.

So you could go to this store any school day round seven in the morning and see jimmy sisco eatin his breakfast of powdered donnuts and an orange sodie. Jimmy's mom was a hair dresser who always wore high heels and she left before him so she'd give him the money to buy breakfast. Cross he street was this big ol'bean pole of a guy named dennis who lived with his aunt and gramma - a fuckin hillbilly, looked like a goofy ass six foot howdy doody and he played guitar out on the front steps - an electric with a little bout ten inch amp. he only played parts of country songs. he had a cousin though who came and stayed sometimes, his name was lenny, he was a good lookin greaser of the james dean variety and all the teenage girls had crushes on him. all he had to do was drive a fast car. one summer night the news came down that he died in an auto accident somewhere out in the country. there were two girls with him when it happened but only lenny died. details were few and i dont think we knew the girls anyway so that was kind of the end of that.

There was this kid, little ricky who'd come up to the confectionary from like three blocks away. he was about six and kind of cute, always wore a brown leather bomber pilot jacket with a pink rabbit's foot hangin from the zipper. he was a charismatic little fuck and the older guys would teach him dirty songs. a couple even had little dances that went with'em. One was like, ricky would do this little walking in place move and sing at the top of his lungs,

"well i'm goin out west where i belong" then he'd swing one arm up over his head like he was about to lasso somethin and with the other hand he'd grab his dick and go.

"daw daw daw daw daw daw! duh daw daw daw!!" for the little guitar part

"where the girls are horny all night long -
daw daw daw daw daw daw duh daw daw daw!!" and he'd repeat the dick grabbin and throwin the invisable rope. the song just kind of stopped there. his big number though was this one was like a finger snappin beatnick rap that went,

"well i was walkin through the jungle with my dick in my hand
i'm a real cool fucker from the congo land, i looked up a tree and wha'did i see
a big ole nigger pissed on me, i picked up a rock, hit'em in the cock, and he fell
down on an elephant rock!!"

That was his money number. people'd throw him change. the kid was a charmer. problem with bein a charming little kid is that you get good at it and ya get lazy - your drive to learn and work hard kinda dwindels to nothin'. I mean i dont know for sure cause i never been all that charmin, least not back then but that's the way it looks to me from a distance.

now back behind or place, across the alley was a a big old place - used to be a mother and her three daughters lived there. I dont know, it was two floors and I'm thinking maybe eight rooms. Well niether the mother or her three daughters had been all that bright to start with and one by one they all died cept for edna. edna was a scary ass freak show, least to us kids, her face was all twisted and retarded she was kind of fat and wore all these, what they called house dresses - looked like they were from the thirties or forties. some of'em were patched an'shit. edna wasnt so bright and didnt exactly draw friends. when we'd be playing ball in the alley she'd throw open her side window stick her spooky ass head out and yell in a screachy voice.

"YOUSE kids quit throwin that ball - ya wanna break a winda r'somethin and it'll be all your fault??!!"

I mean we'd just freak! and dont EVEN let her come waddelin down the alley cause, i dont know what we thought she was gonna do but no one wanted to find out! on the other side of edna's back yard was some r. crumb lookin mother fucker livin in a little house completely over run with vegitation- grass and weeds - shit was just everywhere with no reason or rhyme, his whole yard was edged with honeysuckles which drew bees and wasps an shit - we called the guy "jungle jim" kids'd always be edged along the outside of his yard in the summer catchin bees in jars and suckin the stems of honeysuckles - i remember my sister havin a mason jar with no lid so she figured to make do with using her other hand -what she found out was that bees must sting them metal lids cause that's what they did to her hand and it swole all up till they had to run her to the doctor.

One time jungle jim, who rarely ever showed his face outside his little house, was out in the alley smashin up a porcelin toilet bowl with a sledge hammer. he had it smashed into some big old pieces and was gonna just leave'em there like that when my grampa came out and read him the riot act for gonna blow out somebody's auto tires when they rolled over his toilet hunks! well ol'jim went nuts and started screamin how every body already knew my grampa was a known nigger lover and a catholic marrier and he better keep his mouth shut. grampa stood firm and jim eventually hauled the toilet chunks away. i dont think anybody ever really understood exatcly why jim had called grampa a nigger lover but i do know i felt pretty proud to be his grandson for a good while after that even though grampa never did speak to me all that much and never seemed to really understand what it was that made me seem stranger than most of the other boys in the neighborhood.

Yeah that was a time - they had these big water tank trucks that would come down the streets onece a week and shoot water out into both gutters while a team of men swept the trash and leaves stream down towards the sewers. we'd all sit on the curbs with our shoes off and let it splash us like our own little city swim party - when it was hot in the summer the milk man would come round and we'd all grab a rag and he'd break us each off a little chunk of ice to lick while we sat on the curb - would i shit you??!! christ i actually remember junk wagons driven by crabby old men and there big ass draft horses wearing blinders -

"dont try and pet the fuckin horse or he'll trample and kill ya and it'll be all your own damn fault!!!"

anyway the beatles came out one year and a bunch of us got guitars and started letting our hair grow longer - Al the barber with his stacks of orange "confidential magazines" and old boys tellin dirty stories just stopped talking to us altogether as though we were conspiring against him on a personal account. across the street, the guitar playing fool, dennis had gone nuts and got thrown out of his aunts house and word was he was doing drugs and stopped takin baths. sometimes he'd go over to the barber shop and play harmonica or dance then ask the men to throw him change. Roger the teen age boy next door, was shootin some kind of speed, livin in the row apartments with a dancer gal and dyed his hair bright orange - nobody did crazy shit like that in 1966 - not in north st. louis anyway.

Well round about then the Blacks started moving in and marking out their new turf. seemed like they'd move in during the winter but you wouldnt really notice till it got warm out - civil rights was heatin up and the streets were a war zone. i kept spending more and more time at the band house down off broadway near the river and only touched down back home on occasion. One of the last things i remember is hearing a big commotion over cross the alley - old edna had gone blind and for several years would just sit on the her front steps waiting to hear somebody pass at which point she'd screech.

"HEY YOU!! watt TIME is it???!!!" if you gave her that, she'd ask could you go to the store for her then before you could answer she'd cry out about the time again - moslty folks'd just shuffle off. so this one week i hadnt seen her out for a while and when i asked about her i was told,

"aintcha heard? you heard about that aintcha??!!" i'd say i handt and they'd say

"'member little ricky??? cute kid with the dirty songs??! well, he'd heard stories bout edna and her mother's money and broke in over there sayin he'd go to the store if she wanted, then when she went to her purse he beat'er with a rubber hose he had. anyway, she's in the hoepital, nah she aint dead or nothin and littel ricky, they took him away - the cops!

I'm all like "Rickey??!"

and they were like, "oh yeah, thart little fucker got mean!"

"he get anything?!"

"few bucks, nothin really."

"to old edna... for a few bucks???!! Ricky??!!

"tha's what they say."

"Damn. little ricky."

Things change, ya know? I guess i always knew but that was the day it really hit me. damn.

"well i was walkin through the jungle with my dick in my hand..."

Monday, May 23, 2011

Bob Reuter's first 7" ep Got Dreamin - LOST and now FOUND!




















Went over to the Record Exchange the other night and Gene, the owner says,
"I've got a little box of your records upstairs." I go like,
"What?" and he says,
"A box of records you made, with sleeves and everything"

So I go upstairs and over by the record player is this little cardboard 45 pack that I recognize, it held 25 copies of a four song 45 EP I released in 1982 - and Gene had said, they were in the jacket sleeves me and my (then) wife put together that included a little insert I'd written up. I hadnt seen any of them, in jackets or with the insert, since sometime in the middle eighties. All I could think was that somebody had ripped me off but as for why or who, I got no idea. Gene later said he didnt know the person who brought them in but that they claimed to find them in a house they were clearing out. I've still got no clue.

Let's say just say, i was feeling lost when i released this record, we had just moved back from a year in Syracuse NY where I'd discovered tons of new music, vicariously experienced art graduate school and was aching to do something musically different. Some recording time had fallen right into my lap and I put some guys together to cut three songs I had burning a hole in my brain. As close as i can come to describing what it wound up sounding like is, "punked out arty shit" or "art saturated post punk wet brain" I was drinkin quite a bit at that time and was achin to come up with something i could get excited about! the results were mixed - It was the last thing my old pal Frankie ever played on and i really reigned him in cause i was feeling pretty fed up with guitars - He died shortly after and I felt forever guilty for not having let him run wild - Fojammy and Dominic Schaeffer of Wax Theatrix played primitive synth and sax parts, I played hard edged punk bass like i did in the Dinosaurs and Kevin Griffin of the Zanti Misfits played drums.

The record was called "Got Dreamin" cause i'd been getting inspired reading about Aborigines and their music, the concept of putting ones self into states of trance and seeing what you come up with. Well, the whole thing was somewhat confused by drinkin and drugs, my wired out city boy sensibilities and various personal neuroses... but I WAS out there trying.

Local rock critic Steve Pick damned the project in Jet Lag, sighting our use of tenor saxs rather than alto (whatever that meant) - NY Rocker sent he a postcard saying they didnt care to waste space killing a record that couldnt possibly sell over 500 copies anyway... and i just generally i drank my pain away into oblivion. I tied real hard to just put the whole thing behind me.

Highlights of the record were 1.) the first recording of the song "Jungle Fighter" a song I wrote after listening to the stories of a Mexican American Cat I befriended while working day labor up in Syracuse. The song is pretty much a straight ahead retelling of what i kind of forced him into talking about - bout people he had killed in VietNam, how he came back home and realized that the way he operated in the jungle was actually the only way to operate in the barrio and so he did till friends staged a forcible intervention... I still do "Jungle Fighter to this day with my band Alley Ghost.

2) The song Flashy Graphics which I had begun doing up in Syracuse with my band Serious Journalism - a song preoccupied with Nazi's and fear I felt already beginning to surface in the American psyche.

3) A very odd and fucked up dub version of the song "Jungle Fighter" done as only a couple of fucked up white city boy drunks (myself and Dominic) could dream up - we was literally bent and twisted on champaign and reefer as we twisted and turned control board faders and knobs much go the chagrin of the studio owners - this was our baby - this was the first and really only case of punk ass dub that I have ever heard!!

The odd part now is that the college age kids I've played it for today all seem to like it pretty well. Go figure.

The cover was inspired by the art work of Eve Kahn, that gal I lived with (and eventually married and then divorced) and the sleeves were assembled by the two of us - these are the last 25 copies in existence. When Gene bought them for nothing he says he figured I ought to have first crack at buying them back - Well, I did. Any body interested in buying a copy give me a holler - I think by it's scarcity alone it qualifies as a "collectors item"!

Monday, March 28, 2011

not a dram or a drop


broken boned and waiting. on back streets in the dark. come over here baby and look at my face.
bring me that shard of glass would you please - i cant bare this second guessing over what it is that you see. back over here darlin, just follow my voice. what? i'm alright, that shit just burns in my eyes. on a long dark night, such a long time ago - it was a gasoline town back then. i was waiting near the brick yard and you leaned your cold nose into the base of my neck and kissed my chest. it was the second week of winter and the north side of everything was blown white was blown white with snow. and the wind stung my face and your breath warmed my skin.

now look here in my eyes, the frenzy of hell is raging inside and the horror that you feel when you hear me speak aint a dram or a drop compared to that sea where the god wind strikes, an armada goes down. can you hear the screams? not a dram or a drop compared to that sea. and everyone with me is now long since gone. and what you've been fed is pure mother's milk compared to that sea...

when you turn from my eyes without saying good bye like jennifer beals just forgetting her lines, i'll be feeling the cost of every last lie...broken boned and waiting... with burning eyes...

and dont life always hold just one more surprise.

the cops are on their way

Phil Ochs - No More Songs - by Bob Reuter

Phil Ochs - no more songs
by Bob Reuter on Saturday, March 26, 2011 at 4:53am
I was actually kind of blown away tonight by the crowd for the Phil Ochs tribute. I dont really know what I was expecting. I guess I wasnt expecting anyone at all. I mean the largest part of Ochs catalogue is pure uncut "protest singing" - what Dylan never was. Ochs was a weird cat from the get go. His father had been a doctor who was drafted and spent his tour of duty trying to put soldiers back together on the battle fields - he came back somewhat shell shocked and depressed - bounced around from hospital to hospital and was never able to establish any kind of personal medical practice anywhere. He was also never able to be close to his wife or family

Phil was born in Texas but spent the bulk of his childhood in Ohio so he was pretty much a midwest city kid. That was maybe one of the draws for me, he actually looked like somebody from my neighborhood - long haired greaser haircut and black leather but not a motorcycle jacket, the kind hoods wore. He had actually gone to college and then dropped out cause he couldnt figure what he was there for. He hit the road and wound up spending two weeks in jail down in Florida for sleeping in a park. He later said he decided during that fifteen days in jail that he wanted to be a writer. He went back to school with that intent but right off the bat he was writing political stuff that the school paper wouldnt print so he started his own alternative paper.

He'd always been a musician - clarinet player for school orchestra as a kid - good enough to make first chair. Now some where along the way a friend taught him to play guitar and turned him on to Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie and Cisco Houston - that was pretty much where it really started.

I had always been a fan but I needed more than just politics, that scene seemed pretty fucking Spartan to me. It wasnt till he hooked up with Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin who were forming the Youth International Party or the Yippies and he went with them to Chicago to take part in the Festival of Life that was taking place in Chicago during the 68 Democratic convention that something started coming apart inside him. The police violence, culminating in massive arrests including he himself was too much to deal with and where as Abbie and Rubin rode the absurdity of it all, Phil was more of an idealist and the reality of what went down began his unraveling. It was shortly after that, that Ochs realized America was never really gonna warm up to a protest singer - he realized what it was gonna take was a cross between Elvis Presley and Che Guevera to reach the American people! He commissioned Nudie Cohn, who'd made Elvis's, to make him a Gold lame' suit and went on tour culminating with a gig at Carnegie Hall doing some of his own songs mixed with Elvis and Buddy Holly covers which he had always loved. I remember reading about this shit in Creem magazine at the time - it had been an insane thing for him to do, the largest part of the audience HATED it, didnt get it at all - didnt know what the hell to make of it. Oddly enough this is what really sealed the deal on Phil Ochs for me. The idea of rock and roll revolt had appealed to be too - Anyway, A&M his new label put it out on a record under the title "Shoot Out at Carnegie Hall". I dont think they ever actually released it in america though,it was a "Canada only" thing. I never actually even heard it but I didnt need to - the concept alone was enough I was a fan for life.

Several years later I put my favorite cuts from "Rehearsals For Retirement" on a cassette tape with Tim Buckley's "Greetings From LA" (which was an equally insane release) on the flip - I labled the cassette "Desperate Dead Men" (I made another with Howlin Wolf on one side and Captain Beefheart on the other at the same time but that's another story) "Rehearsals For Retirement" featured a grave stone with Ochs name on it declaring him dead as of 1968 the year of the Democratic Convention.

See as much as I had his back as a protest singer for all those years, it was the start of his crack up that really won my heart - that's what spoke to me, this cat looking his total deconstruction straight in the eye and moving forward with it. Then there were stories of his drinking, of another personality "John Train", killing Ochs and taking his place. There were bar fights and his getting jumped on the street in Africa by a couple of street thugs trying to rob and strangle him - it fucked up his voice for the rest of his short life and added to to his destruction and then the final news that he'd taken his own life. I died a little when I heard. I bought up several of his late period albums and held them close for years.

Two months before I heard of this Tribute Night, I'd gone to Record Exchange and rifled through their vinyl folk section looking for cleaner copies or to replace stuff I've lost along the way and I grabbed up a used copy of "Rehearsals" and as I took it up to the counter to pay for it I noted the obligatory hand written name scrawled across the label of the record was that of a girl I knew back in 1972, an old friend. Two months later I was on the bill for this show and my old friend was in attendance.

I put off learning the four songs I had agreed to, till the very last moment. I've never been one to pick up songs my other artist, preferring to write my own but especially not if the songs were as complicated as Ochs' stuff. The four songs I'd chosen were, "Pretty Smart on my Part" a completely unhinged rant of a quintessential american paranoid freak, set to a off kilter semi Bo Diddley beat - "My Life" who's first line, "My life, was once a joy to me..." has always just tore my guts out. I almost wasnt even concerned with the rest of the song, he just sings that line so sadly, it speaks reams each time I hear it. - "Chords of Fame" his most countryish tune about a singer/songwriter who he finds dead on the side of a stage and features the chorus,
"So play the chords of Love my friend,
play the chords of pain,
but if you want to keep your songs,
dont dont dont,
dont play the chords of fame!"

And finally, "No More Songs" one of his last tunes ever.

Three days before this gig and I realized I couldnt put it off forever if I was gonna do this gig so the first day I just listened to them over and over - the second I got the chords and words off he internet and then late that night, played them several times while lying in bed with my unamplified electric guitar. The night before the gig I got out my acoustic and just cranked'em them over and over. I played them for my roommate Mark and his band who had been down in the basement practicing their two songs for the gig. It felt like I was playing them in an insane asylum which was just what I needed. See I dont know if you can get this but once I started really getting inside these things I almost felt like I was getting a look inside Phil himself. I got it, I understood. I kept getting this sensation of almost wanting to cry but couldnt. Anyway, I "got it" ! I felt like I wasnt all that far removed from where he was. I'm not trying to compare my self with him - our lives are different I KNOW that - I will never know what he lived through but I DO think I have an idea.

So anyway, it seems that Phil Ochs people or either kind of old or fairly young. The kids who staged this thing are in their early twenties - old souls I think but still, in their early twenties, the same age Phil was when he wrote his best protest stuff. The songs I chose were his later work, the shit he wrote while coming apart. The room there at Foam was the most crowded I'd seen it, older and younger fans, the middle ground was noticeable in it's absence. I played my four songs - the one I chose to end the night with ( I DID play last) naturally enough is called, "No More Songs". The whole time I was learning it I could feel him - what he must have been going through, he HAD dried up according to all reports, the songs had slowed to a halt, the guy Dylan had marveled at, thought he could never keep up with, had become kind of a burned out shell, had given all he had. And this song doesnt sound like he even wrote it, it sounds like he was the radio tower that picked it up and relayed it to the world. It sounds like it had been written hundreds of years ago, an ancient folk song, but he DID write it, it says all he knew to say right there at the end,

"Hello, hello, hello Is there anybody home?
I've only called to say I'm sorry.
The drums are in the dawn,
and all the voices gone.
And it seems that there are no more songs"

Phil Ochs was 36 years old when he took his own life.

dem bones dem bones...


She ran the damn roost when her old man was alive. you'd hear her screamin orders at'im all day long, you'd see her during the work day sneakin in the apartments she rented, when the tenants were away - then she'd snipe at the kids down the street. when the old man died she she came all apart, you'd hear her cry some nights by herself. i still remember her out front of the row apartments, bow-legged, feet planted firm, her body weavin' like a fighter an' singin' that old song bout dry bones and a red dress, how she missed'em - and then it started raining from somewhere up inside her skirt and i could hear it crakle an'patter on the dried leaf covered sidewalk.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Broken And Wonderful - a review from "Ephemera Etc." -

Broken and Wonderful
Posted on January 29, 2011 by erineph
Every couple of years or so, I write a love letter to St. Louis. Not like a real love letter, because that’s trite. But more like a statement, a testament to why I live here, or, more specifically, why I came back. The easy reason is that I was unhappy with a shitty marriage in Southern California, and that’s partly true. But the other reason is that even though, at one point, I couldn’t wait to leave, eventually I realized that the place I felt most at home, the place where I knew the streets and the weather and the dialect in my bones, was here. I knew it every time my plane touched down in St. Louis, every time we drove home from the airport past the total decay of North City, every time I remembered how to interpret the signals at the most convoluted South City intersections without a second thought.

I know it’s uncool to stay where you grew up. I know it’s extremely uncool to stay in the same ZIP code, but fuck you guys, it’s cheap here, and I’m home. Plus we’ve got people like Bob Reuter, one of my favorite people on 88.1, whose photos and music look and sound like St. Louis feels. If you want to come back but you can’t for some reason, watch this 11-minute documentary about Bob, Broken and Wonderful:


(The first several seconds are audio only. Soldier on, you’ll be glad you did.)

My friend Shannon (local activist, running for alderperson of the 20th Ward, all around Better Person Than I Can Ever Be) is friends with Bob. I mean, Bob is my friend on Facebook, but so is that one girl I’m not really friends with but am keeping around because I’m sure that one day I’ll get to witness her complete psychological meltdown. So, you know. I told Shannon that I occasionally see Bob around at caf├ęs and shows and I always want to introduce myself but the lameness of the introduction stops me: “Uhm, we’re friends on Facebook and know the same people? Derrrrrp.” Then she pointed out that if I need an icebreaker, I could always tell him about the time I threatened to kick his ass for getting the pots and pans she offered for free.

Which is a good icebreaker and I’d forgotten all about it, but to be fair, whose ass haven’t I threatened to kick at one point or another?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

ME AND MY SISTER ON THE BLACK ICE OF WINTER

me and my sister on the black ice of winter

by Bob Reuter on Friday, December 17, 2010 at 12:44am




dark dark dark - the world's a sheet of black ice tonight

i got this friend, a black guy, told me he came home one winter night and his chickens were layin dead in the yard. said he didnt know they'd die

said he always gets rid of'em now in the fall

us city folks dont know shit about chickens, we learn it as we go - like learnin bout cars as each part breaks down

somebody told me today

my older sister

said she never really knew me

stopped me cold

felt like a chicken frozen on the black ice ground

that whole track of dirt

round the spike in the middle of the yard

that holds the chain hooked to the old dog's collar

feel like that ol'dog

that orbits that spike

spike

patches of grass

orbiting dirt track

never let that dog come in

never really got to know'im