R.I.P. Ken Brown: Poet, Mentor, Friend

Categories: Too Soon

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R.I.P. Ken Brown
On Saturday, September 21, RFT Music got word that St. Louis poet Ken Brown had passed away from liver failure. The prolific artist leaves behind a wealth of work and was highly influential in St. Louis' poetry scene. As such, we reached out to Joseph Sulier, well known for helping found the Get Born series of poetry readings in St. Louis, and asked him to write a memorial for his mentor and friend.

"Don't Think Twice, Its Alright"
In Memoriam of Kenneth Leighton Brown
By Joseph Sulier

The first words I ever heard uttered from Ken Brown's mouth, through a landline answering machine, were the perfect introduction to a man I would grow to befriend and admire: "Listen kid, I don't know who the fuck you are, but I think you might like to know who I am!" This was followed by the signature click of his landline receiver hitting the dial, which marked the end of every voicemail I would receive from then on, all of which I would go on to save due to either their comedy or poignancy.

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An Official Statement From Bob Reuter's Band, Alley Ghost

Categories: Too Soon

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Alley Ghost
Big Muddy Records leader/Alley Ghost member Chris Baricevic has released an official statement on behalf of Bob Reuter and his band. Reuter evidently named Baricevic as executor of his estate in his will. A service to honor Reuter's life and art is in the planning stages, and a memorial fund will be set up to help offset the cost associated with the undertaking. Any leftover funds will be used to establish a foundation for disadvantaged artists.

See also:
- Remembering Bob Reuter: St. Louis Speaks
- R.I.P. Bob Reuter, St. Louis Music Legend: Man Who Fell Down Elevator Shaft Identified

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R.I.P. Faye Hunter, Let's Active Bassist and Vocalist

Categories: Too Soon

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Image via
It's been a bad, bad year for 1980s jangle-pop. On Sunday night -- one day after a tribute concert for Scott Miller, the late Game Theory/Loud Family songwriter -- word leaked out on Facebook that Faye Hunter, Let's Active's original bassist, had passed as well.

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Dio Loren Hutto Coglianese: Donate to help Dio's Parents, Nicole Coglianese and Jason Hutto, Deal with Financial Hardship After Dio's Passing

Categories: Too Soon

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This is heart-breaking.

Dio Loren Hutto Coglianese, daughter of St. Louis music mainstays Jason Hutto and Nicole Coglianese, was born on May 31 with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, also known as "brittle bone disease." Diagnosed with the most severe type of the disorder, the baby broke most of the bones in her body upon delivery -- most with this disease do not even survive the birthing process.

Little Dio held on for ten days.

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Years of Wrong Impressions: A Scott Miller Memorial

Categories: Too Soon

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Rest in peace.
"Scott and I have known each other since second grade. We were in bands together in high school. Our first bands were in eighth grade, I think. We didn't do much more than play in the bedroom." - Jozef Becker, 1993

I first heard Scott Miller's band, Game Theory, the summer after my first year of college. Driving around the hometown from which I'd finally escaped the previous year, I heard a song that was half Let's Active, half Big Star. The chorus was huge and melodic; the lyrics were about turning 24 and still being insecure about your place in life. I was an instant convert. Later I bought Real Nighttime, the album from which "24" came. It was endlessly melodic, wide-eyed, a little arrogant. The combination of self-assured, huge power-pop hooks and insecure lyrics was irresistible. It is still my favorite Game Theory album decades later.

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R.I.P. Jon Ashline of the Screamin' Mee Mees

Categories: Too Soon

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R.I.P.
The Screamin' Mee Mees posted a status update via its Facebook page on Tuesday afternoon announcing the passing of Jon Ashline:

R.I.P Jon Ashline - The drumming, (most of the time) lead vocaling and sometimes guitaring half of the Screamin' Mee-Mees. A very sad day indeed. Drink an ice cold can of Busch or Stag beer, blast your Mee-Mees records and shed a tear for dear ole' Ashline.

Ashline was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer in 2002; we have reached out to a few people that were close to him for more details and will update this post when we hear more.


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Rest in Peace Tim Mize - Remembering the Super Fun Happy Hour

Categories: DIY, Too Soon

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R.I.P.
KDHX's Super Fun Happy Hour was a long-running punk-centric radio show hosted by locals Tim Mize and Matt Meyers. In its fourteen years on the air, SFHH remained consistently entertaining and relevant, mixing local releases in with punk classics and rarities alike and oftentimes allowing for local punk bands to perform live on the air from within the studio. On February 28, 2011 the boys put the show to rest, citing the taxing nature of late-night radio and their desire to focus on their lives outside the studio as their reasoning. Senior RFT Music writer and KDHX programmer Roy Kasten conducted this interview with them upon their departure, which seemed to indicate that the hiatus was only to be temporary. "People like me and Matt, we can't sit still for too long," said Mize. "We need to be doing something. So we're just taking a break."

Last Saturday, August 18, Tim Mize suffered a massive stroke and passed away at the age of 45. According to family it was very swift and he did not suffer. Mize was an organ donor, whose kidneys, lungs and liver have already found new homes -- heroism in death should never go unnoticed. A memorial service is being planned; details can be found on this Tim Mize Memorial Facebook page.

In addition to the Super Fun Happy Hour, Mize contributed to the worldwide cause of punk rock in another way: In the late '80s, he fronted the much-loved local hardcore band Laffinstock. Click through for a download link to their demo. Also located below are downloadable KDHX live recordings of eight more St. Louis punk bands: Civic Progress, Sayonara, Dancing Feet March to War, Corbeta Corbata, Dumbledore's Army, God Fodder, The Beating, and Cardiac Arrest. All were recorded for Super Fun Happy Hour and all but the last on the list are no longer active.

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Gore Vidal is Dead: Riot with Skarekrauradio's "Lord of Gore Vidal"

Categories: Too Soon

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Carl Van Vechten
Gore Vidal in 1948, the year he published The City and the Pillar.
Gore Vidal was one of the world's strongest voices and greatest writers. He died last night at the age of 86 of complications from pneumonia.

Vidal had his most famous clash with establishment ideas when he published The City and the Pillar, which featured homosexuality in 1948, making it one of the first major American novels to do so. He was a playwright, a critic, journalist and even ran for office. He will be greatly missed.

The world today may be friendlier to LGBT ideas, but it is still way more fucked up than Vidal might have hoped when he published his first book in 1946. In honor of his legacy, we must never stop asking questions. Famously, Vidal said, "The corporate grip on opinion in the United States is one of the wonders of the Western world. No first world country has ever managed to eliminate so entirely from its media all objectivity -- much less dissent."

To help you sort out your feelings, we suggest the perpetual weirdness of locals Skarekrauradio, who paid some kind of tribute to the author on a 2006 split with Columbia's Jerusalem and the Starbaskets on Apop Records (Apop 012, to be exact). The band likely would have disagreed with several specific tenants of Vidal's political viewpoint, namely his fiscal conservatism, but we have no doubt that they have a kindred disdain for complacency. Listen to "Lord of Gore Vidal" below.

See also:
Documentary sheds light on Skarekrauradio
The new Skarkrauradio album: Sexual poo worship and the death of Kuu.
Homespun: Skarekrauradio The One Eyed Swine Is Queen


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Six Famous Musicians Influenced by The Frogs

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Sad news out of Wisconsin: Dennis Flemion, one half of the Milwaukee-based sibling duo the Frogs, disappeared over the weekend during a weekend family boating trip, and is currently presumed drowned. Of the growing population of rock & roll heaven, surely Flemion is one of the few members already equipped with his own wings, whether he needs them now or not.

It's safe to say that there has never been another band like the Frogs. Starting in 1980, Dennis and brother Jimmy Flemion recorded literally hundreds of cassettes containing ad-libbed "Made-Up Songs." These, more often than not, were extremely scatological and riotously funny. Sounding eerily like an even more debauched Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie, the Frogs couched these outrageous lyrics in pillows of acoustic guitar and fey vocals. Toward the end of the decade, the Flemions broke out of the cassette underground with a 1988 self-titled LP, but it was the next year's It's Only Right and Natural that really became the Frogs' statement. It was a song cycle mostly celebrating homosexuality at a time when that still made people nervous. Or wait: were the Flemions making fun of homosexuals? They sure weren't going to tell. At their concerts, they dressed in silver lame costumes complete with bat wings, and performed these songs in an absolutely deadpan manner. In this way, they made both the hipsters and the squares uncomfortable (while unconsciously anticipating the likes of Flight of The Conchords, who mined a similar absurdist approach with completely different subject matter).

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The Vault's Final Show: The End of an Improbable Music Venue in Farmington

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Cassie Kohler
Kerry and Tim Smith outside their music venue the Vault located in Farmington, Missouri
Bob Reuter's Alley Ghost, the Hooten Hollars and Rum Drum Ramblers rocked a full house Friday at the Vault. The crowd was an amalgamation of twenty-somethings to retirees to families. Children ran under legs. Everyone mixed between dancing up a sweat and savoring the performances with a theater like reverence from the seats. All the while, they sipped on Schlafly products and scarfed gourmet, locally raised hot dogs served with Billy Goat chips. Painted brick walls, open duct work and metal staircases enveloped the event with old factory charm. "We haven't been this packed in a long time," says local and house photographer, Steve Hull. Although the Vault's style seems right out of Saint Louis city, this 80 person venue, owned and operated by Tim and Kerry Smith, is actually nestled in the middle of Farmington, Missouri. Or it was. Friday's show was the Vault's last.

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