Remembering Bob Reuter: St. Louis Speaks [Multiple Updates]
Matthew Frederick, St. Louis musician, Rats & People Motion Picture Orchestra:
Sometimes a person is described as an "open book." Bob Reuter was open volumes. Through music, photography, written word and over the airwaves, Bob shared all of himself --- every facet of his personality and every thought and emotion --- with all of us. Bob's life and work was a constant and continuing gesture of a remarkable boldness. Bob was sincere, and sincerity is a most difficult kind of courage. It's also the kind of courage vital to any kind of artistry, which is why so many of us admired and continue to admire Bob so very much. The sum of the whole of Bob's life and work is greater than the sum of the volumes. This always will be so, because Bob is so good.
Jeff Hess, KDHX DJ:
Our radio-show transitions were always a hoot. On weeks when I didn't play any vinyl, he would scowl at me then grab the plastic cover shells from the turntables and throw them violently across the room. He finally broke them outright right before his very last show this past Friday. We traded insults fairly often. My final and lasting image of Bob is him yelling at me to leave after I started making fun of a song he was playing. I'm going miss stuff like that the most.
Brett Underwood, KDHX DJ, St. Louis poet and concert booker:
I was spinning records at KDHX during the first year of seven of The No Show. I had the grand vision to play Lenny Bruce live at Carnegie Hall while I had a recording of Charlie Parker live at Carnegie Hall on the other turntable. I was on from 4 to 6 in the morning and didn't have any inhibitions or fear (besides answering the callers on the phone), just wanted to mix the shit, open some minds and let it flow. In other words, I had no idea what I was doing, but it was raw.
I think it was the next day, while I was eating lunch at Mangia Italiano, when Bob walked in and commented that he loved the set.
He often walked in amidst my show and commented that he loved the crazy shit I was spinning and that he felt like he did when he used to do drugs... or something. I don't remember. I had often walked to the station with a bag of music on my shoulder from Dogtown, had plenty of drink and waited my turn to open the mic. I was careless at the time and looked a lot like I could be living on the street: ruddy complexion, graying beard, wildish hair, boots, worn jeans and a hoodie fit for the Unabomber. Whatever. It kept the assholes away.
At some point during this time, I remember Bob shooting a picture of me at the station. I was undoubtedly stoned, maybe drunk, too, but was fueled with the intensity of spinning another episode of the show mixed with noise, comedy, Bukowski and whatever I had mixed in my unconsciousness at the time, which was fueled by the bullshit of war and politics and feeling put upon by the "man." And the hapless fucks you meet in the service industry, including yourself.
At the same time, my father was suffering from the effects of Parkinson's disease, and I was feeling further unhinged. I let the freedom of late-night radio take me in its wings... and I would see Bob during many of those nights.
What I'm saying is, we have some sort of unspoken connection. We suffer our heartbreaks and maladies. We live through them. If we are lucky, we express ourselves throughout.