Remembering Bob Reuter: St. Louis Speaks [Multiple Updates]

Categories: Local History

Musician Eric Gebhardt, better known as Red Mouth, wanted to share a story that Bob wrote about the first time they met, as a tribute. It follows here, with minimal editing to preserve Reuter's inimitable tone:

"Me and Red Mouth: Well, I still got no money but am trying to ride loose in the saddle, so I had this cat named "Red Mouth" come in right after the radio show...let me start that over. I met this guy on Myspace -- not even sure how we became friends but he contacted me saying he was coming up here and could I maybe hook him up for a gig. Well, I couldn't but told him I could get him on the radio and then we'd see what we could do.

So I scheduled some studio time right after my show on Friday and he drove up from Springfield, Missouri, 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!!

And the studio's already backed up cause it's Twangfest weekend and they've got bands stacked up like planes over Laguardia, and somebody with a stop watch is policing Red Mouth's one hour jealously... and BOOM! everybody just stops what they're doing at that moment and silently stares into the studio.

So anyway, there's this guy 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...) Anyway, we wound up making like $48 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 we went down to a bar downtown, 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.

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 buy all kinds of railroad salvage bargains for hardly anything. 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 then we went to this party that my band, Alley Ghost, was playing that night for this friend's 47th birthday.

This house is owned by this great couple named Ross and Kim, who are both unbelievable cooks/punks/hippies/really cool folks with a huge garden and about seven dogs and cats, and this wonderfully bizarre house that they moved into and forged out of the ghetto wilderness. They lived there 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 did 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' his tamborine and stompin' his foot for like two songs, and then we got up behind him and jammed on another two songs, which together went about ten minutes. And all we were doing was jammin' around a G chord on either one -- it was like some crazy-ass white boy hill country trancin' shit like ol' RL Burnsides used t'do.

Damn man, my band's the fucking best, too. I mean they hadn't 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 my words by heart -- they were singin' along, pumpin' their fists and just dancin!! Hee hee!

By the time we got done it was like 3 a.m. Red Mouth grabbed him a last beer and I went around with my hat, beggin' Red Mouth some gas money for his trip back to the Gulf. S'mazing how big drunken hearts can be -- he made enough for gas and for us to eat one more meal! It was 5 a.m. 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 week's radio show -- little bits of it anyway! Fuck. What a weekend. Wish they were all this good! -b"


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