Sleepy Kitty Delays Release of LP to January; Evan Sult Remembers Bob Reuter
Reuter wrote a column that paired his incomparable photography with his similarly unique storytelling. When reached by phone on Monday night, Sult began by recounting his introduction to Reuter, which also served as an introduction to much of St. Louis' musical culture.
"When we got to town, he was one of the first things I was aware of because his radio show freaked me out and turned me on -- this is what you want from radio," Sult recalled. "His pledge drives were one of the first things I caught, and I really thought that KDHX was gonna shut down because of the way he was acting."
"We became friends; I didn't think he would like Sleepy Kitty. The first time he saw us play, we played between Warm Jets USA and Maximum Effort, so we really amped it up. He wondered why our record didn't sound like that," said Sult. "We all ended up as friends. We were gonna make a book of his columns; we were gonna shoot photos with him this month, and play shows with him this month. It was an active friendship."
Sult was similarly impressed with Reuter's last band, Alley Ghost, which paired him with a group of players at least 30 years his junior. "One of the things I dug about Alley Ghost was that they were giving and taking from each other in equal measure. They arrived at this realization that this would be a really cool band."
"One of the things that hurts the most is that he wasn't just the grizzled old legend -- he was the unstoppable rocker," said Sult. "Watching the unstoppable rocker get stopped is tough."
As an editor tasked with redesigning Eleven into a kind of inside-out exploration of St. Louis music, written by those who perform it, Sult found in Reuter the perfect voice of experience.
"My feeling before was, this was the gem of the magazine. The one absolute thing I know about [the magazine] was that I am delivering one story and one photo by Bob. I was aware of that when it wasn't a posthumous awareness -- it was an active awareness," said Sult. "This is the stuff that makes this scene look and feel and become timeless. His 'Rocking Our Lives Away' columns were something I always had."
"Obviously you can't replace him. Now, honestly, I'm at a loss as to where to get that feeling. That certainty has stopped right now. I still can't picture the magazine without that rock of authenticity in the middle of it."
Like so many struggling in the wake of Reuter's sudden, shocking death, Sult takes solace in the work that a multi-pronged artist left behind. "You gotta be glad that he made so many things so you could see what he made, but he wanted you to see the city the way he saw it," said Sult. "He was the one who created St. Louis for me."
- Remembering Bob Reuter: St. Louis Speaks
- R.I.P. Bob Reuter, St. Louis Music Legend: Man Who Fell Down Elevator Shaft Identified
- The New Seven-Inch Sounds of Sleepy Kitty and Kentucky Knife Fight: Review
- Evan Sult of Sleepy Kitty is the New Editor of Eleven Magazine