10 years ago I called my old friend Mike Cook and asked him if I could borrow his camera. Mike being the great guy that he is said “of course”. He asked what I wanted it for. I told him I wanted to drive around town and photograph buildings that I wanted to do paintings of. He thought that was a great idea and happily lent me his camera. I drove around mainly South City taking photos. First stop was an abandoned building I passed by daily, then I headed over to Cherokee St. to photograph Fort Gondo, then up to Lemp to snap Radio Penny Studios. Also on my list were clubs like Frederick’s Music Lounge and Lemmons as well as restaurants such as Courtesy, The Buttery and Eat Rite. Plus local radio stations like 3WK and KDHX. I remember the day I photographed KDHX, there was ice everywhere and it was cold. I parked my car and got out to snap a quick shot. Standing in the doorway was Bob Reuter, I loved Bob but at that time didn’t want him in the photo, so I wanted until he went back inside and then I took my shot. Do I regret that now. Regardless, from that shot I did this painting and was really happy with how it turned out. Awhile later I was involved with a holiday art show organized by a group known as “The Independent Art Market” which included Eric Woods from Firecracker Press as well as Carmelita Nunez and Daniel Shown from Kung Fu Chicken. They saw the KDHX painting, snatched it up quickly and have owned it ever since. And that was that, the painting was gone almost as soon as I had painted it.
Back then, even before and still now I have a fondness for KDHX. It plays such a vital role in our music community and is central to so much going on locally. Over the years there have been so many shows I’ve enjoyed and loved. Fred Friction’s “Fishing With Dynamite”, Bob Reuter’s “Bob’s Scratchy Records”, Randall Roberts’ “Sovereign Glory”, Rene Saller’s "Suffragette City", Brett Underwood’s “No Show”, plus the shows that are still going on today like, just to name a few, John Wendland “Memphis to Manchester", Jeff Hess' "Afternoon Delight", Tim Rakel’s “Mystery Train”, Steve Pick’s “Sound Salvation”, Cat Pick’s “Emotional Rescue”, Rob Levy’s “Juxtaposition” and my current favorite, Josh Weinstein’s “All Soul No Borders”. “All Soul No Borders” comes on Sunday nights at 10pm and if I’m not reading then I’m painting and that always goes well with whatever Josh plays which relies heavily on jazz and experimental. But check the shows for yourself, I’m sure you’ll find something you can dig.
As most people know, KDHX recently moved their South City location on Magnolia over to Midtown in Grand Center on Washington Blvd. It was a bitter sweet move for sure cause that original location had seen the station grow leaps and bounds over the 25 plus years it was located there. But the new location and building is truly magnificent and fitting for such an important St. Louis institution. I’ve worked in Grand Center for the last 16 years and have seen it changed over the years. I can remember eating my lunch in the grass field that use to be next to the Continental building which is now a multi-level parking garage and apparently more parking garages are on the way. Some of these changes have been great, like more restaurants, apartments and radio stations moving to the area but some have not been so great, like more buildings being torn down or threatened to be torn down. I remember fondly when a row a buildings use to sit on the north corner of Lindall and Grand and you’d have to go down a set of stairs to get to Vito’s which sold pizza by the slice for lunch at only a dollar a slice. I loved going down there, it was all brick and always crowded at lunch time, the price was right too. Those buildings are gone now and Vito’s has moved a little bit down the street. But that’s progress I guess. More buildings are in danger of being torn down but others are being built back up, including the building KDHX is now in which had been vacant for many years. The last thing I remember in that building was the music venue The Creepy Crawl.
Recently I was invited to take a tour of the new KDHX studios and I happily accepted. The new space is simply amazing with offices, recording studios, DJ booths, storage space all on the upper floors. A cool looking performance venue on the bottom floor along with a nice little café named after the old studio, the Magnolia Café.
After this tour I was invited to participate in the decorating of the café. Over the years people at the station had seen the painting I did 10 years ago of the original building. They had initially expressed interest in this painting but I let them know it was no longer in my possession and belonged to Carmelita and Daniel. So they proposed I paint a new one only this time the size would be much larger and they showed me the place it could hang in the café. I was ecstatic, of course I’d paint them a new one, that would be an immense honor. The new painting will be 68x68 inches, the largest canvas I’ve ever completed. My friend and fellow artist, Jeremy Rabus, built the custom canvas and did a fantastic job with it. But it’s too large to fit in my basement studio, so I hung it on the wall of the hallway in my home as you enter the front door and I’ll just work on it from there. Will probably take at least a few months to complete.
now playing - KDHX