Chatting with a true original . . .
In true Beatles style, Beatle Bob strolls across Circle Drive, at his alma mater, UM-St. Louis. He graduated in 1977.|
St. Louis is filled with people that make this town colorful. From musicians to bartenders, athletes to bus drivers, certain people stick out and remain in our minds. One of the most recognizable -- and most interesting-can be found out somewhere, at some concert or show, every night. That character is Beatle Bob.
Beatle Bob isn't in any band, he doesn't hang out in just one place, so one would think he would be hard to find. Nothing could be further from the truth. Every single night, for the past 1,000 nights (yes, in a row) Beatle Bob has been out.
He's easy to spot, too. His habit of always wearing retro suits favoring brown colors is only the tip of the iceberg. Besides his Beatle-mania style hair, his most distinguishing characteristic is his dancing style. Slightly off-beat, a sort of enjoyable epilepsy seems to take over his body when he gets on the dance floor.
Beatle Bob is also a UM-St. Louis graduate. Bob graduated in 1977 after taking a few years off between college and high school to travel the world.
On Sept. 25, Beatle Bob hit his 1,000th consecutive night out in a row. To celebrate this event, he sat down to talk about his exploits as a local hero.
TC: "So, you've made it 1,000 nights in a row. What next?"
BB: "I've never really set a goal, but what helps me to go out every night, what inspires me is that there's so many good local bands, even when there's not a national act going on. There's also so many different genres of music. I like anything from reggae to blues to Cajun, zydeco, jazz, roots country music, and world-beat stuff like Irish-American music. Then there's alternative rock, pop/rock and all that, there's just so many groups representing that in this area alone."
TC: "Was it ever a chore to go out every night? Was sickness ever an obstacle?"
BB: "Luckily, I didn't have to overcome sickness, but there were nights where I was really tired, physically or mentally, where I might have had a bad day. A lot of things happen, I could have had a bad day at work or in my personal life, and I just didn't have the gumption to go out. As I've found, though, once you go to the club or whatever venue you're going to, your spirits are picked up not only by the music but also by the people in the club itself. You go out as often as I do, and you get to know the people that work there, the bartenders, people who work the door, the waitresses, and you forget about your problems. Then the music kicks in, and that overcomes anything."
TC: "Who, other than The Beatles, do you see as a major influence in music?"
BB: "I think of David Bowie, I think of anybody in the last 30 years, he's influenced more people than anybody. Even if you don't like him or his music, you cannot deny the people he's influenced, especially in his singing style. It's amazing the influence he's had, even the newer groups that come out today. Not only what he's saying and the dress, but the style of music, it's amazing. I don't think anybody has been more influential in that degree. I'd put him right up there at this peak with The Beatles and Elvis Presley, and even the Ramones should be up there."
TC: "Do you feel like there is going to come a time when you need some time off, or should you keep going out?"
BB: "I'll stop going when the groups aren't very good. But I don't go to shows wanting to be blown away every night, to see 'the next big thing.' If I leave a show and can say, 'Wow, I had a really good time tonight,' then that's what it's all about.