The Silver Ballroom Fosters Community Among Pinball-Loving St. Louis Punks

Steve and Shelly Dachroeden, proprietors of the Silver Ballroom. Photo by Jarred Gastreich for Riverfront Times
Steve and Shelly Dachroeden, proprietors of the Silver Ballroom.
Photo by Jarred Gastreich

The Silver Ballroom Fosters Community Among Pinball-Loving St. Louis Punks
By Jaime Lees Wed., Feb. 25 2015

“I want this to be the place where old punk rockers come to die,” says Steve “Doc” Dachroeden of his bar. When Dachroeden and his wife, Shelly, opened the Silver Ballroom nearly five years ago, it was designed around just a couple of key elements: pinball and punk rock. That’s what they liked, so that’s what they provided.

It’s an unlikely business model that has found solid success in south city’s Bevo Mill neighborhood. Since opening in April 2010, the Silver Ballroom has become an internationally renowned destination spot for pinball enthusiasts and a home away from home for St. Louis musicians looking to unwind. Patrons are drawn to the flashing lights of the arcade-style setup and the sounds of the games dinging beneath the blast of classic punk rock provided by a carefully stocked jukebox.

Doc and pinball machines. Photo by Jarred Gastreich for Riverfront Times
Doc and pinball machines.
Photo by Jarred Gastreich for Riverfront Times

The jukebox selection is a well-earned point of pride for Dachroeden. It’s loaded with classic punk albums and selections from local bands including Nineteen, 7 Shot Screamers and the Humanoids.

“If you’re going to have a real punk-rock bar, there’s no Blink-182 in the jukebox,” he says. “When the jukebox stops, nothing comes on. Not the radio or anything. It’s punk rock or nothing. No Nelly songs on after the Dead Kennedys or anything like that.”

It’s a musical place, and not just because of the jukebox. Dachroeden’s connection to the music scene goes back much further than the existence of the bar. In addition to drumming for the UnMutuals, Dachroeden has played in fifteen or so bands since moving to St. Louis from Australia in 1987. He also spent years as the “artist relations guy” at instrument distributor St. Louis Music, specializing in Ampeg amplifiers and Alvarez guitars.

Doc mentions, almost offhandedly, that he’d “have to do things like fly to AC/DC’s rehearsal and make their practice sound good.”

Tim Jamison, singer of St. Louis’ long-running punk band Ultraman, met Dachroeden many years ago while filming an episode of Critical Mass, a late ’80s public-access show not unlike a smarter, St. Louis-based version of Wayne’s World. His favorite aspect of the Silver Ballroom is the inclusion of historic concert fliers, displayed on the actual bar itself.

The bar. Photo by Jarred Gastreich for Riverfront Times.
The bar.
Photo by Jarred Gastreich for Riverfront Times.

“The coolest thing about them is that they’re a totally lost art form,” Jamison explains as he taps a flier near the far corner of the bar.

The flier is for Scream, Dave Grohl’s punk band from the 1980s. It triggers a hilarious story from Jamison, who explains that the show was canceled, rescheduled for a different location and then shut down during sound check, with the bands eventually bailing on the whole thing and hitting a house party instead. A different flier for a Minutemen show at Mississippi Nights has Jamison recalling that the raucous event occurred just a month before the death of Minutemen vocalist D. Boon, with five “hoosier bands” opening the show and fistfights breaking out all night.

The handbills offer a glimpse into St. Louis’ musical past, advertising shows at shuttered venues and one-time performance spaces. Names including the Alley, Animal House, Bernard Pub, Bille Auditorium, Bryan’s, Carriage Bowl, Club 367, Creepy Crawl, Delmar Sports Palace, Frederick’s Music Lounge, the Galaxy, Jefferson Underground, Mississippi Nights, OP-P, Other World, Turner’s Hall, Solid 50’s and Victory Center are all represented in the fliers, and most of them have an accompanying story.

“At Bernard Pub the threat was being mugged,” Jamison explains. “At Turner’s it was getting beat up just for being a punk rocker.”

The Silver Ballroom. Photo by Jarred Gastreich for Riverfront Times.
The Silver Ballroom.
Photo by Jarred Gastreich for Riverfront Times.

Punk rockers are still taking hits, as the Silver Ballroom and its patrons found out last month. On January 12 local musician Joe Manwarren was the victim of an attempted robbery as he left the bar and began walking to his car. Manwarren was shot in both the hand and the leg before he was able to run back inside for safety. The bar provided security-camera footage to the police, but so far no arrests have been made.

Manwarren says he feels lucky, not just for surviving the harrowing ordeal, but also because the incident happened near a place where he feels safe and has some “amazing friends.” In addition to installing extra outdoor lights for security, Dachroeden is hosting a pinball tournament on March 1 to assist Manwarren with his medical expenses. He is also in the final stages of inking a deal with the city to purchase a nearby parking lot, providing another well-lit place for patrons to park.

Despite this senseless act of random violence, the Silver Ballroom has a reputation as one of the friendliest, most welcoming establishments in the city. Dachroeden smiles proudly as he boasts that his place hasn’t even had one bar fight in its entire five-year history. And in many ways the Silver Ballroom illustrates how a noisy little corner bar can help to anchor a whole neighborhood. He keeps an eye out for his neighbors, and his neighbors keep an eye out for him.

Photo by Jarred Gastreich for Riverfront Times.
Photo by Jarred Gastreich for Riverfront Times.

Each day at the Silver Ballroom a staff member updates a wipe board that hangs inside the front door. On it is a list of shows happening that night. It’s an odd move for a bar to highlight what’s going on at other bars — basically encouraging its customers to walk right back out its door — but it’s that type of spirit and consistent dedication to the community that keeps the patrons coming back. They know that customers will return after the show and tell their tales. They’ll make new connections and form new bands. And then it will cycle again.

link: Riverfront Times
link: Silver Ballroom
link: Jarred Gastreich

Premiere: Finn’s Motel Releases New Music Video Made by Blip Blap

Video still from Finn's Motel's "Recurring Dream with Halo's Glow"
Video still from Finn’s Motel’s “Recurring Dream with Halo’s Glow”

Premiere: Finn’s Motel Releases New Music Video Made by Blip Blap
By Jaime Lees
Thu., Sep. 18 2014

RFT Music is proud to premiere the new music video for Finn’s Motel‘s “Recurring Dream with Halo’s Glow,” a bright, warm track off of the bands upcoming album Into the Realm of Jupiter Rex.

With nearly every scene soaked in steep, slanting sun, the video perfectly captures the fading end of summer. The use of light and the clarity of the scenes are representative of the kind of magnetic quality that we’ve come to expect from local production company Blip Blap Video.

This is a family and community affair from top to bottom– everything here is locally sourced:

  • Finn’s Motel is staffed by St. Louis music scene lifers: [in order of appearance] Joe Thebeau (vocals, guitar), Patrick Hawley (drums), Chris Grabau (vocals, guitar), Steve Scariano (bass guitar), Toby Weiss (vocals) and Matt Meyer (lead guitar).
  • Location scenes were shot all around the metro area, including Affton High School and Cahokia Mounds– places that effortlessly echo the lyrics of the song. (“With the light around your face” / “a thousand years of history”)
  • Finn’s Motel songwriter Joe Thebeau’s son, Alex Thebeau, is the featured actor– a little fact that lends an extra bit of sweetness to the story presented in the video.
  • The performance scenes were filmed at the Thebeau family home and proudly feature four-legged cutie “Murphy the Incidental Dog.” The house also has many works by local artists on display. Thebeau offers: “While watching the video, play the game everyone is soon to be playing: trying to identify the St. Louis artists’ work we are fortunate to hang on our walls.”

Check out the new video and song details below:

“Recurring Dream with Halo’s Glow” (Thebeau)
Ⓒ Ⓟ Victory Over Gravity Music 2014
Recorded at Incidental Dog Studio, Affton, Missouri
Mixed by Matt Meyer at IBC Shadows Music, Desoto, Missouri
Video by Blip Blap! Video
Featuring Alex Thebeau (and Murphy the Incidental Dog)
Directed by Brian McClelland
Production assistance by Mary Whiteside

– link: Riverfront Times

The Funs Kick Off Tour with the Breeders Tonight at Off Broadway

The Funs, photo by John Birkner
The Funs, photo by John Birkner

The Funs Kick Off Tour with the Breeders Tonight at Off Broadway
By Jaime Lees
Tue., Sep. 2 2014

Local artsy/DIY duo the Funs has pulled off the unthinkable: a slot opening for its very favorite band, the Breeders. The Funs will play the first five dates of the tour starting tonight at Off Broadway and ending September 8 in Garden City, Idaho.

Alt-rock band the Breeders has a long history with St. Louis — nearly always scheduling a tour date in the area to accommodate its huge fan base here. This allegiance was most pronounced when the band chose the Lou as a place to film a music video, borrowing our Arch Rival Roller Girls to use as its stars.

The two members of the Funs, Philip Jerome Lesicko and Jessee Rose Crane, have made a name for themselves as an uncompromising, inventive team. Last year, Riverfront Times writer Mabel Suen described the appeal of the Funs like this: “The resulting racket… blasts its way out through a tower of amps, a fuzzy, buzzy wall disjointed by sharp drumming. The two rotate roles between drums and guitar, both crooning through a reverb-drenched haze, floating flawed and fraught with inescapable feelings through outer space.”

We contacted the members of the Funs and had a mutual Breeders gushy-love-session where they praised their new tour mates, expressed their excitement and explained their plans for the future.

Kelley Deal supports St. Louis (and women's rights) in 2012, photo by Jaime Lees
Kelley Deal of the Breeders supports St. Louis (and women’s rights) in 2012, photo by Jaime Lees

Jaime Lees: Tell me how you got the opening slot for the Breeders on this Midwest section of the tour.

Crane: Frank Sharp (Mr. Big) from Sharp Records contacted us from his limo and asked us to play.

Lesicko: I sent an email to an address that I thought might reach Kim [Deal, Breeders vocalist]. The Breeders are our favorite band in so many ways. I sent the email because we care about the Breeders, not because we want to open for a big band. They are one of the few bands that keep it real. And I respect them so much for that. When I received a response I felt… I don’t think there is a word for it. I cannot explain how much it means to us to be able to tour with the Breeders.

Crane: No, really, Philip sent her a video; can you believe that? I can’t. I never would have because I can’t believe that this could happen. Kim reaches out to a lot of smaller bands; it’s one of the billion reasons she’s amazing. We don’t have a booking agent or manager or a big label backing us. We done this all ourselves. We told her we could send more music if she wanted and she said no the live stuff is what matters and it’s really good.

Now Philip can get away with anything for the rest of our lives because if we ever get in a fight, he can just say, “Remember when we went on tour with the Breeders?” and I’ll shut up. It’s un-fucking-real. Most people can’t understand what a big deal this is to me. Unless you could go back in time and see me as kid falling in love with them and talking about them ad nauseum. I’m obsessed. Philip told me and I cried. We were recording at Public House Sound Recordings in Chicago when we got the call and I started to cry. I was just screaming and crying and it was raining and I went out in the rain in my sock feet and was screaming. I thought I was having a heart attack. I had a total meltdown in front of this recording guy, Dave, who I barely knew and he started tearing up I think. He’s really the sweetest guy so it was cool. Really there are no words.

What are some of your favorite Breeders songs and why?

Crane: Well, for whatever reason, “Little Fury,” the first song on Title TK always got me. The breakdown when she sings “Hold what you’ve got.” I love that part, and it just starts so fucking raw. It’s amazing. We actually covered that song once at a Halloween show in Chicago; we did a Breeders set. So that’s on the internet somewhere. I’m dressed like a nun. “Off You” is one of the greatest songs ever written, hands down. The lyrics “I am the autumn in the scarlet / I am the makeup on your eyes.” What? Too good. “I’ve never seen a starlet / Or a riot or the violence of you.” Too fucking good. They just put “Off You” in that new movie Her and I heard it and was, like, woah that’s weird. I would listen that song over and over and over.

Can I just say “Cannonball” is not even close to one of my favorites? And I’m not saying that to go against the grain, but it does annoy me that people are like “Oh, the Breeders? They have that song ‘Cannonball’ right?” And I’m like, “Yeah, and dozens of other songs that are amazing.” All their albums are good. You should listen to them all. Oh yeah, back to the question: I love the song “Doh!” Because it’s weird and oddly beautiful. She is seriously underrated as a songwriter and vocalist. Like, Kim is Bob Dylan and Billie Holiday. Name your biggest names. I don’t care who they are, she is that.

Who do you consider your influences?

Lesicko: Honest, hardworking people in life, art and everything else.

Crane: Well, I think you know, maybe. The Breeders. They are really the only one I can count. Kim has always just been herself and stayed true to herself and who she is and what she does. She really cares about the music and recordings and I feel the same way. She has been a great inspiration to just keep doing what we do.

How do you describe your sound?

Lesicko: It is very intense, in a way that hopefully engages the audience in a positive way. We make music that is natural to us. We care about it. We don’t try to do one thing or the other. Its an extension of who we are and what we are. It’s not for everyone. But I think when people connect they really connect. If you are interested, we can easily be found.

Crane: It’s hard, you know. People have told me more than once that we play emotion. That our songs sound like feelings more than musicians. I can agree with that. I don’t consider myself a musician, for some reason. I would say I’m an artist though. It’s innate, for sure, and all that “whatever” comes out. I don’t think about it or analyze it. Our music is Philip and I’s brains transformed into sound waves. That is what we sound like: fucking crazy brain waves.

Aside from playing live, what are some of your other projects?

Lesicko: We run a label called Manic Static. I put everything into that. We are rehabbing our home called Rose Raft in rural Illinois. It will become a residency for working artists and musicians in the not-too-distant future.

Crane: I make hats out of tin foil and glue and costume jewelry. You want one? I spend a lot of time with tin foil. I sculpt flowers out of plastic bags. I draw cats. I sew little dolls out of socks I call Peekers and sell them at shows, because I’m broke and am bad at money. And yes, I am turning my home into an artist residency. Rose Raft.

What are your plans for the future, band-wise?

Lesicko: The band will never end. We will always write songs together and record them. And I know that people out there dig them, and that is so amazing to me. We will be recording a new record this winter. We hope to have it out in the spring. Followed by non-stop touring.

Crane: I plan to keep making music until my life functions cease. So, lets say an album a year ’til that happens. I’ve been doing that a while now, and you are asking me these questions. We are going on tour with Breeders. As far as I am concerned, I don’t need to do anything else with my life.

link: Riverfront Times

Please Kill Me author Legs McNeil on His New Book, Music and Chuck Berry

photo by Jaime Lees
Legs McNeil at the Chuck Berry statue on Delmar Boulevard, photo by Jaime Lees

Legs McNeil became one of my favorite authors when I first read his Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk as a young teen. Even if you don’t own the book, you’ve undoubtedly seen its ransom-note-styled spine on the bookshelf of your music-loving friend. It’s an assertion that’s been made by others many times before, but I’ll say it here one more time: Please Kill Me is the definitive account of the early New York punk scene. (Trust me, I’ve read them all.)

But McNeil’s pedigree far precedes my birth. He has many professional accomplishments under his belt, but he’s probably best known as the cofounder of Punk Magazine, a New York-based pop-culture magazine famous for documenting the CBGB scene in the 1970s. (Through this, McNeil is also frequently credited with popularizing the word “punk” as we know it.)

Exactly a year ago this week, McNeil came through town on a book-reading tour, and I arranged for him and his beautiful, kind-souled assistant to stay with me. (I came in contact with him a few years back when he interviewed me for an upcoming book.) His St. Louis tour stop was set up at the Silver Ballroom, the friendly punk-rock pinball joint. He did his reading there, gave a great interview at KDHX and in between we basically spent a few days hanging out on my porch and drinking tea while McNeil gamely entertained any of my friends who stopped by with delicious insider tales of Patti Smith, Blondie, the Stooges and all of the rest of our favorite artists.

I texted McNeil a couple of days before his arrival and asked if he wanted to see Chuck Berry while he was here. He replied with an immediate “FUCK YES,” and my wonderful friend Jim got in touch with Joe Edwards and they got us hooked up with tickets to see Berry play his monthly gig at Blueberry Hill’s Duck Room. As a proud St. Louis native, I’m always glad when I get to take out-of-towners to see our rock & roll legend in that super-intimate room. McNeil was as impressed by Berry as I was with him, calling him an “original punk.” We stopped for touristy photos at the Berry statue on Delmar Boulevard on the way home.

That night, after thoroughly inspecting my bookcases, McNeil said, “You’re really going to like my next book.” He was right.

Here’s the back-story on the book: McNeil lives in a small down in Pennsylvania and is friends with the man who runs the post office across the street from his house. One day this man’s daughter came by his house to borrow a book, and when McNeil asked her what she’d been reading, she said that the best thing that she’d read lately was a diary written by her best friend’s older sister, Mary Rose, who had died.

McNeil was intrigued. He arranged to meet the girl’s mother, read the journal, and they decided to publish it. Because Mary Rose died when she was a minor, the journal was considered part of her estate and thereby controlled by both of her parents. According to McNeil, Mary Rose’s father was a creep who never paid child support and showed little interest in his child unless he thought he could profit off of her. McNeil and Mary Rose’s mother took him to court to gain control of the publication rights. Six years, four judges and $50,000 later, the diary was finally theirs to publish.

Dear Nobody: The True Story of Mary Rose arrived in the mail at my house last week and, honestly, I didn’t want to put it down. I blew through all 330 pages in two sittings. It’s a fast read and compelling. Mary Rose was resilient, confused, troubled and brave. She wrote about everything she experienced in her young life, from boy troubles to new hair styles to family problems and chronic disease.

At times, I identified so much with Mary Rose’s troubles I worried that I am immature. But Mary Rose’s teenage fretting, lostness and bravery in the face of pain and illness is something that any reader can identify with from time to time. Her words express the kind of deep truths that can only be written in a private journal.

I called McNeil over the weekend to interview him about this new book and about Mary Rose. In the interview he is his usual blend of smart, curmudgeonly and kind.

Jaime Lees: Tell me what drew you to the story of Mary Rose.

Legs McNeil: Nonfiction stuff is just gripping to me, you know. Also, when I read Go Ask Alice I knew it was fake. Even when I found out that the editor had kind of made it up, before that I knew that it was fraudulent. Because no one used the slang that they used in that book. I’d never heard anyone use it. It really pissed me off for some reason, probably because they sold it as a true diary. I don’t know. It just made me furious that they confused everyone. So I’d always been kind of looking for the real Go Ask Alice, and I think I found it in Dear Nobody.

Did you follow the A Million Little Pieces scandal? Do you remember that one, from like, six or seven years back?

Yeah, and what was the one with… the [J.T.] LeRoy book? Yeah, that just seemed like more bullshit, you know.

Yeah, I’d rather read true things any day. But I think I’m weird like that. I think you’re weird like that, too.

You know, you can tell when something is authentic or not. And I think that’s part of what’s great about Mary Rose, is that there’s no doubt about the authenticity. Also, we’re posting original pages from the journals so people know that it’s not another fraudulent literally scandal.

Tell me about the legal issues you had in getting the book published.

Oh, that was a nightmare. In about 2009 when we were going to go out to sell it — after we’d spent a year and a half editing it — our New York lawyer said that because she was a minor when she died that her parents inherited her estate. When a minor dies, the parents automatically inherit the person’s estate. So that meant her deadbeat dad was entitled to half of the money from the mother’s share. And he was really…I mean…this guy was an asshole. I just felt like he wasn’t entitled to anything. So we went to court to open the estate and have him removed as the beneficiary. And that took four and a half years, because no male judge wanted to make a ruling on it, so they passed it to the next judge because they didn’t want it to be overturned in a higher court. I don’t think they knew what the fuck was going on, you know?

It was really frustrating. And it wasn’t until we got a female judge who understood and who ruled on it when we went to court. And I knew the father was a deadbeat asshole, but I didn’t realize how much of a deadbeat asshole he was until the mom testified in court. He wanted to pull [Mary Rose] off life support the week before she died so he could collect on the insurance policy he took out on her. He’s just a scumbag, you know?

So, what do you think is the most interesting part of the Mary Rose story?

Hmm. That’s a good question. I think…she can be so profound one moment and so bratty and just an asshole the next. The main contradiction with her seems to be adolescence, you know? That roller-coaster ride of emotion and mood swings. You know [she wrote things like], “I love him. I love him. I love him. I hate him. I hate him. I hate him.”

I can relate.

[Laughs] Yeah! She just seemed to capture all of those dumb mistakes. She gets high, and she wakes up in the hospital, and they throw her in detention or wherever. I could relate to those fuckups, you know?

When you came across the story, you already knew the ending and you knew that she had died. What if you came across this journal and she hadn’t died? Like, what if you knew her as an adult and she gave you this diary? Is it as interesting to you then?

See, I don’t know. I think I was attracted to it because I knew she had died. It wasn’t until I really read it and realized how shitty this girl’s life was that it really affected me. I think I was just thinking about it superficially when I heard about it, but when I read it and could see all of the pain and torment that this girl went through…it was just shocking.

Yeah, and it wasn’t just that she died, it’s that she knew she was going to die. So she sort of has that hanging over her head the whole time.

Yeah. Impending doom. So, you kind of don’t blame all of her stupid choices. You think about “Well, what the fuck would I have done?” Probably something very similar.

Or worse, even! So, Mary Rose wrote that she liked Nirvana, but what other music did she like? Do you know?

Well, in the actual journals she had all the bands names that she loved, like Hole, Nirvana, Pavement. Who else was in there? She liked those Bikini Kill kind of things. You know, those grrr grrr…

The Riot Grrrls?

Yeah, in the ’90s. I think the book takes place between 1996 and 1999.

Yeah, that’s about the right time period.

Oh and L7, I think, she was into. She had really good taste in music.

She also kept describing that her hair color would change.

[Laughs] Yeah, I know.

Do you have any pictures of her? Or do you know what she looked like?

No, in fact, I refused to look at any pictures of her while we were editing. Because I didn’t want to be swayed by it. I’ve only seen one picture of her.

Are people trying to give you stuff of hers now? Have you become the caretaker of her legacy?

No, no her mom is the caretaker of her legacy. No, I don’t think I’d want that responsibility.

Does this book make you more interested in teenage-girl diaries? Did it change your taste in things that you might find fascinating?

A lot of girls have said to me, “Wow, you should have read my diary.” And I say, “Well, let me read it.” And they say, “I destroyed it.” Or they lost them. And that’s something that is kind of tragic. But I’ve always been kind of interested in teenage writing. I mean, that’s what Please Kill Me is.

It’s teenage writing?

[Laughs] Well, it’s very emotionally retarded. It’s also very smart, like Dear Nobody. But at some point we’re all stupid. Like when Cheetah Chrome throws the guinea pigs out the window, you know? It’s just like, “What are you doing?”

Yeah, there are some adolescent tales in there, that’s for sure.

But you know what? When I was a kid — and I have them all now on the bookshelf right next to my desk — I have all of these gang books from the ’60s. Like Run Baby Run and Down These Mean Streets, and that’s kind of what Please Kill Me was based on. These gang books. I always wanted to be in a gang. I grew up in the suburbs where the only gang of kids were, like, toddlers riding in big wheels. So I always liked the city. And hanging out on fire escapes and smoking cigarettes was always very romantic to me.

Well, you did it!

Yeah! When we did Punk Magazine I did a lot of that, but it was more hanging out on stoops and drinking beer. Talking to girls as they walk by and stuff like that. It was fun. I tried to live out those books, but I was too much of a wimp to join a gang.

Was it as great as you thought it would be? Sitting around on stoops and hollering at girls?

Yeah! And drinking beer! And smoking cigarettes!

Speaking of, when you were here you saw Chuck Berry. Can you tell me about that?

Oh, it was great! I really wanted to see Chuck. I mean, he couldn’t really remember the words, but it was so much fun just to be in the same room with the guy when he’s playing, you know? And he was fuckin’ ancient, wasn’t he?

He’s ancient plus a year, because that was a year ago this week.

Was it? This week? You know, it’s like Chuck Berry will never die. Ever. Even when he physically dies, he will never die.

Well, that’s sort of what you did for Mary Rose, too.

Oh, who knows? It will probably come out and nobody will read it…

Oh, shut up. Now tell me, do you often see bands when you’re out on book tours? What’s your musical intake?

I’m really into garage bands from the ’60s. So over the summer I’m going to try to see a lot of garage bands. I’m going to see the Standells. They’re touring, actually. Their tour starts now. I just want to see them do “Dirty Water” live, you know? And I’ve been buying a lot of records these days. Vinyl is back!

Dear Nobody is available now at Barnes & Noble and other retailers.

Legs McNeil at a Chuck Berry concert at Blueberry Hill, photo by Jaime Lees
Legs McNeil at a Chuck Berry concert at Blueberry Hill, photo by Jaime Lees

link: Riverfront Times

link: OC Weekly 

KDHX Begins Broadcasting from New Location: Photos

KDHX Begins Broadcasting from New Location: Photos
by Jaime Lees
Mon., Dec. 16, 2013

KDHX01
We headed over to the KDHX (88.1 FM) studio yesterday morning to document the last couple of hours of broadcasting at good ol’ 3504 Magnolia Avenue.

At noon the beloved station began broadcasting from its new location at the Larry J. Weir Center for Independent Media. Primarily funded by grants and donations, this brand new multi-million dollar broadcasting hub in Grand Center will offer the proper space and amenities to host the ever-growing station.

This is a well-deserved and monumental step up for the entire KDHX community, but we’re feeling kind of sentimental. The building on Magnolia wasn’t just the base of operations for our award-winning independent station, it also served as the unofficial headquarters of St. Louis music culture.

It was a temporary stop for countless touring bands that stopped in to record a broadcast session. It was a late-night hang out spot for those of us with KDHX disk jockeys as friends. It was a welcoming, coffee-fueled place where many of us involved in local music have spent a decent amount of time. It not only broadcasted music, but also inspired it. It was cramped and dusty. It had squeaky floors and a leaking roof. It was bursting with shelves of albums and mountains of crap and — most importantly — it always felt like home.

The photos here capture some of sights during the last few bittersweet broadcasting moments at Magnolia and a bit of the post-noon hustle going down at Weir. Many thanks to the always friendly and accommodating crew at KDHX for letting us get in your way all afternoon. Check back here for more coverage of the big KDHX move in the Riverfront Times soon.

KDHX at Magnolia Avenue:

KDHX at Grand Center:

link: Riverfront Times

Premiere: New Video By the Finns, Reuniting This Saturday

photos by Toby Weiss, via The Finns Facebook page
photos by Toby Weiss, via The Finns Facebook page

Premiere: New Video By the Finns, Reuniting This Saturday
By Jaime Lees
Mon., Nov. 25 2013

St. Louis indie-rock legends the Finns will reunite to play a show at Blueberry Hill’s Duck Room this Saturday. As with its previous reunion shows, this event is a must-see for fans of power pop or St. Louis music history.

This show also marks a bit of interesting Riverfront Times history. Nearly twenty years ago we “sponsored” a trip for the Finns to play at South By Southwest. In the pre-Internet days, SXSW was one of the best places for up-and-coming bands to get noticed, and we sent the Finns down South to represent St. Louis.

The Finns disbanded not long after that SXSW trip, but fans never stopped loving the music. In anticipation of its big show this weekend, the high-energy band had some old music video footage edited and put online. The video for “SkyVue” is charming and simple, just a bunch of old clips of the band in its practice space and cruising around at night in a sweet old ride.

The footage was originally filmed on VHS (with a VHS camera that cost “eight-hundred 1994 dollars,” according to guitarist Joe Thebeau), but it’s been masterfully edited and modernized by Brian McClelland of Blip Blap Video.

We’re proud to premiere the video of our old friends for you here. Check it out below.

Link: Riverfront Times

Bob Reuter Halloween: This Awesome Kid Went as the Alley Ghost This Year

Dresden
Dresden

Bob Reuter Halloween: This Awesome Kid Went as the Alley Ghost This Year
By Jaime Lees
Fri., Nov. 1 2013

Some kids are just cooler than others. Let’s talk about the lil’ homey, Dresden.

Dresden is a big fan of Bob Reuter, the late St. Louis musician and photographer. He’s also an honorary member of Reuter’s band, Alley Ghost. Maybe you remember seeing him in this photo set from Bob’s memorial show?

As it turns out, Dresden is also the nephew of RFT staffer Bob Westerholt, so we were able to scam these pictures of the wee cutie paying tribute to his friend this Halloween by dressing up in costume as the Alley Ghost, as well as the Reuter-themed pumpkins his family and friends made for the occasion.

Photos and pumpkin carvings courtesy of Uncle Bob and Dresden’s parents, Andy and Natalie.

link: Riverfront Times

Bug Chaser Album Release – Critic’s Pick

photo by Theo Welling
photo by Theo Welling

Bug Chaser Album Release
9:00 p.m. November 2 @ Off Broadway
w/ Pujol, Black Panties

Every Bug Chaser show is a psychedelic future-rock freak out. At last count, the band contains eight band members, all adding a key element to this deliciously unholy monstrosity. Bug Chaser sounds like music to accompany a free-for-all LSD-enhanced orgy — part freedom, part sex, part terror. In the past couple of years it has earned a reputation as a band that brings a serious entertainment factor into its live show, frequently presenting its music as a sixteen-armed writhing creature having a PTSD flashback under swirling lights. It’s authentically weird, and in the best way. This show marks the release of the bands new LP, recorded and mixed by the south side’s favorite engineer, Jason Hutto. Headliners and frequent visitors via Nashville, Pujol, and local sensation Black Panties round out the bill.

— By Jaime Lees

link: Riverfront Times
link: Theo Welling