I remember the first time I thought St. Louis was “cool”. I was 14 years old and went to a concert at Mississippi Nights. Driving into the city was a great thrill and I decided right then and there I would live in St. Louis at some point. Many concerts at Mississippi Nights followed and then I started traveling up from Jackson to skateboard on the weekends. My friends and I would head over to T-N-T Skates which was located on Hampton at that time and map out all the spots we were going to hit. The owner of T-N-T, Jim (aka Tiger), was amused by us country bumpkins but always treated us nicely and even made an honorary team called The Jackson Connection. Then when the shop moved to Chippewa, right next to The Famous Bar, I worked there for part of a summer while living in the office area. In the back of the shop was a mini half-pipe and life was great. The other part of the summer I basically lived at my Aunt Jeanne's house which was located smack dab in the middle of South City mere blocks from Oak Hill school, which had some of the best banks in the city. I’d spend countless hours skateboarding with Dee Belmar and Baba Le all over the city. My aunt let me come and go as I pleased and at that time my dream was to move to St. Louis and live on Chippewa.
The image above is from either 2003 or 2004. I’m working from a photo of James Weber shooting pinball at CBGBs on what was probably a typical Monday night. Eric Hall would be tending the bar, playing great music on the sound system and few of us early birds would be there sitting at the empty bar drinking the night away. Then, as now and when I was 14 and even before that, St. Louis was always cool and it’s great people are starting to recognize that, move here, invest in it and help re-build it. Hopefully that enthusiasm will last longer than a couple of years cause the city needs a dedicated population that will invest in it for decades to come.
now playing - Mark Lanegan