Remembering Bob Reuter: St. Louis Speaks [Multiple Updates]
Tom Huck, Artist, Huck's Evil Prints
First off, let me say that this is being written with the most profound sense of hurt and loss I have ever felt. I miss my friend. This is gonna be tough.
Bob was an art warrior and not a civilian. I consider myself the same. I have not found a lot of them. By "art warrior" i mean those few folks out there who do it solely for the work, are made to create and are engineered to do nothing else. This condition can be a dangerous one, usually not for the warrior him or herself but for all those folks caught up in the wave ( family, friends, pets, etc.). I've been fortunate enough in my life to meet a few of the greats in art and music, and i'm even more fortunate to count some of them among my friends. Bob is one of them. See, the shitty thing here is that i didn't tell Bob any of this when he was alive. When you're engaged in daily trench warfare, trying to make a living in and surviving the arts, these things are rarely said. My heart is broken because of this.
I knew Bob's work for years before i met him. Then one day i was sitting outside in the Delmar loop, having a miserable, heated meeting with "colleagues" whom I taught with at a "prominent" local institution of higher learning. (Bob would later help me mentally get the fuck outta there). Anyway, I'm sitting there, dying inside, and from across the street this dude comes over and interrupts the meeting by asking loudly, "Holy Shit are YOU TOM HUCK?!"
Now, it happens sometimes that I'm recognized out and about. 99% of the time i'm delighted to talk and answer questions or let someone buy me drinks. But this day i responded to the guy "sorry man I don't have time for this right now." The guy quickly said "I'm sorry to bother you" and retreated off somewhere into the Delmar loop. I then went back to my horrible meeting with those horrible people, and thought nothing more of the encounter.
Until that evening. I arrived home and got on Facebook. In my mailbox was a message from Bob Reuter. My heart jumped with pride and i thought HOLY SHIT a message from BOB REUTER! The message read something like "sorry to bother a big shot like you but obviously don't have time for guys like me!" And i was sooooooooo embarrased, shocked, and ashamed that the guy I blew off earlier that day was BOB REUTER the legend. I immediately apologized profusely and told him what the situation had been that day, and he in turn quickly forgave me and we decided to meet up at Mangia the following night.
That night I found my greatest friend. We discussed everything that mattered. Why Patsy Cline was so great. How much we both loved Johnny Cash, the Sex Pistols, and god knows who else. We talked about record hunting, our studio work, and how much fun it was giving the middle finger to society by just surviving on your art. My heart that night was filled with new dedication to my work, and Bob just made me feel that everything was gonna be OK in the big picture. Truth and Justice in music and art always wins!
I found out from a friend later that after I blew him off that fateful day Bob immediately walked straight into Vintage Vinyl and yelled out "hey do any of you guys know Tom Huck?" After most in the store said yes he screamed out "Well that guy is a DICK!" So here I am, at my house in the country. I've been crying almost non-stop. Bob has been dead now for three days.
I don't know what to do. I miss my friend. I can work. It absolutely kills me that I'm never going to see him come into my shop to work on his stuff, play his guitar, or bitch at me about how much music sucks these days. I think that Bob was not meant to go out in a way that most mortals do: a long drawn out illness that allows the nearest and dearest to get accustomed to the idea of not having him around. NO, not BOB. Bob went out like a warrior for art, quickly, leaving us with no choice but to recognize how great he was. I am so lucky and fortunate to have had him in my life. He taught me a lot. It's going to be a really long time before i can hear his music and look deeply at his photographs again.
These warriors I speak of are few and far between. When you cross paths with one, you know it right away. Problem is, they're gone before you realize the beautiful damage they've done to your soul.
Damnit Bob, I love you so much.
With tears, Your friend,