Remembering Bob Reuter: St. Louis Speaks [Multiple Updates]
[Update 8/6: We have added two more tributes, one from Larissa Rook of Wormwood Scrubs and one from KDHX DJ Nick Acquisto. Both can be found on page 11 of this post.]
[Update: Since this article was originally published we have added tributes from Kentucky Knife Fight's Jason Holler (page 9), Joe Thebeau of Finn's Motel and local artist and musician Dana Smith (page 10). Click on the names that follow to jump to the pages with individual tributes from the original post: Randall Roberts / Erin Wiles / Steve Carosello / Shaun Morrissey / Little Rachel Fenton / Mario Viele / Ellen Herget / Matthew Frederick / Jeff Hess / Brett Underwood / a story contributed by artist Red Mouth, written by Bob Reuter.]
I got the call early, about an hour and a half before the news hit the Internet. My friend Jim was on the phone. The tone of his voice was calm and reassuring -- gentle, even. Bob Reuter, he explained, was dead. Over the next few minutes we talked each other through the shock as best we could. Then Jim offered a short list of people who would be good for a quote or two on Bob's life.
What follows here is a collection of uncensored stories from many of the people -- musicians, writers, fellow KDHX deejays -- whose lives were touched by Bob Reuter throughout the years. We're working hard here at the Riverfront Times to gather your memories of Bob's work and life. It's something that we take very seriously, and we feel that his story is best told by his friends, colleagues and fans.
Many people have stories yet to share, so check back frequently. This page will updated as the contributions continue to roll in. And please, feel free to write your own story in the comments below.
Like many others, I have my own history with Bob. There are better stories to be told, so I'll keep it brief.
I met Bob in the late '90s when I was just a teenager. He circled me like a hungry wolf and asked me to come over to his house so he could take my photo. (I was his type: artistic with bleached hair, severe eyeliner, short skirts and photogenic breasts.) But I knew Stranger Danger when I saw it, and I told the old perv to get lost.
But he never disappeared and neither did I. We shared the same friends, the same venues and the same scene for years. And as time went by we came to know each other, and I (mostly) forgave him for being such a creeper back in the day.
Bob and I didn't always get along, but it never went past the general head-butting of two people who both like to be in charge and don't take any shit. It was never that serious, anyway. If anything, I think he was impressed by my frequently sassy attitude.
But at no time when I was annoyed with him did I belittle his work.
He couldn't be considered an expert at most things he did, but that wasn't the point. The point was that he did it anyway. His photos, while frequently blurry and and technically imperfect, captured the vibrancy of St. Louis and its inhabitants. In my opinion, his radio show (Bob's Scratchy Records) was the best on KDHX (88.1 FM). And his music was always great, but it became absolutely stellar when he hooked up with the geniuses at Big Muddy Records.
In one of my last private e-mail exchanges with Bob, I praised Big Muddy founder Chris Baricevic as the "biggest badass in St. Louis." He concurred, writing, "He's believed in me from the start and worked selflessly on my behalf. I owe him for a life turn-around." I spoke with Baricevic on the evening that Bob died and was relieved to learn that Bob's family, his bandmates, were all mourning together that night.
It's this kind of stuff about Bob that I choose to remember. He said lots of nice things when nobody else was listening. He often sent encouraging words out of nowhere. He inspired the younger generation, and he made connections with scores of unlikely folks. He was difficult, but he was worth it. And his music, art and tireless documentation of the city and its people will be his legacy.