Thomas Crone | St. Louis Public Radio

Thomas Crone

Thomas Crone

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 6, 2013 - I spent the entirety of my 20s and the better part of my 30s convinced that I could and would hate The Grateful Dead for the duration of my days on this mortal coil. Changing that impression of Grateful Dead awfulness? Well, it wasn’t that I lacked opportunities. 

Jimmy Tebeau
Courtesy of Vernon Webb | originally in the St. Louis Beacon

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - I spent the entirety of my 20s and the better part of my 30s convinced that I could and would hate The Grateful Dead for the duration of my days on this mortal coil. Changing that impression of Grateful Dead awfulness? Well, it wasn’t that I lacked opportunities.

There was one special moment of possible transition. On June 22, 1991, my then-Chicago-based girlfriend and I walked through the Soldier Field parking lot, ogling the Deadheads as they set up their mobile campground and bazaar on the expansive fields of concrete.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - It’s almost become a bit cliche. When neighborhoods begin the rebound process, a business that helps in the transition is the local coffeehouse. Any urban blog will tell you the same: A coffeehouse is one of the harbingers of good things to come, especially when run independently. When the chains come’a’callin’, the transition’s complete and the neighborhood’s well down the road to gentrification, with all the good and bad that comes with that term.

Luke Ahrens
Thomas Crone | St. Louis Beacon | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - A few years back, Webster University launched a somewhat-aggressive marketing campaign, the ads essentially saying that students at the Webster Groves campus weren’t to be pigeonholed. If 17 years of teaching at the school of communications there has taught me anything, it’s that every-other kid studying that field is a musician of some sort, or a DJ, or otherwise involved in music. It’s downright striking, really, how many players in local indie bands, record store managers, KDHX interns and hip-hop DJs are grads of Webster’s School of Comm.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 7, 2013 - A few years back, Webster University launched a somewhat-aggressive marketing campaign, the ads essentially saying that students at the Webster Groves campus weren’t to be pigeonholed. If 17 years of teaching at the school of communications there has taught me anything, it’s that every-other kid studying that field is a musician of some sort, or a DJ, or otherwise involved in music. It’s downright striking, really, how many players in local indie bands, record store managers, KDHX interns and hip-hop DJs are grads of Webster’s School of Comm.

Brandyn Jones, left, and Ann Haubrich
Photo provided by Andrea Avery

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: On a pretty regular basis, at least two times a week, I travel past what can now safely be called “the old Garavelli’s” near Chippewa and Watson. The classic cafeteria’s been gone for just a few months, but the building has embraced the feel of an abandoned business. The corner signage has been painted over. The window treatments hang a bit haphazardly. Look closely and there might be a weed, or two, sprouting from the cracks.

The location is too desirable for the building to sit vacant for long. But for the moment, the place gives off that forlorn feeling of an institution that’s joined so many others in that special corner of Dead St. Louis Stuff.

The old KDHX building was a converted bakery.
Thomas Crone | St. Louis Beacon | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Tomorrow at 7 p.m., I’ll wrap up a pledge pitching shift at KDHX, joyfully riding shotgun with Art Dwyer on "Blues in the Night,” a show that has aired on the community radio station since its first week of broadcasting. When discussing the merits of becoming a member of KDHX, Dwyer often rolls far away from the script. He riffs on all types of topics, almost always hitting his high goals, by using what could safely be called a “freewheeling” pitch.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Ken Brown scared me a little bit.

That was an impression based on exactly one interaction, when the man read a series of short poems at the Firecracker Press on Nov. 19, 2011. The moment was interestingly intense, one of those experiences of taking in art that burns an impression in your mind, one that lasts for a good, long while.

Big J gets audience members dancing on the stage.
Thomas Crone | St. Louis Beacon | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Last year, I wrote 52 pieces for the Beacon under the weekly title of Second Set. The stories attempted to knit together the music and entertainment cultures of contemporary St. Louis with those of the past three decades; in essence, roughly time in which I’ve been consuming local culture as both avid fan and reporter.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: When The Finns recently opened for Pale Divine at a high-profile show at The Pageant, it wasn’t as if the group was some last-second add-on. Instead, the band re-formed after a direct request from the headliners, bringing together two of the acts that helped define the original music scene of St. Louis in the late ‘80s and early/mid ‘90s. Both groups were headlining then, frequently holding down slots at the popular music clubs of the Laclede’s Landing, where each built a good following.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Both Lo-Fi St. Louis and Show Me Shows have excelled in making contemporary artists look and sound good in neat environments. But there seems to be room: For more live, concert-style videos. More series. More webcasting. Even more narratives, ala Kentucky Knife Fight’s collaboration with First Punch Film Production, “Love the Lonely,” in which vocalist Jason Hollers shepherds St. Louis characters through the city’s streets.

Smash, left, and Twist
Thomas Crone | St. Louis Beacon | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: At some point around half past 4 on Monday afternoon, I had to consider which Kardashian sister I would eat, which I'd chew on and which I'd spit out. Well into my fifth decade, I've spent a lot of time specifically not thinking about the Kardashian sisters. So to be asked about them with a microphone open to a St. Louis audience, well, that's the kind of thing that can only happen inside a guy-talk radio station.

Scan of concert poster

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The move of my office wasn’t such a big deal. My whole operation fits into a large backpack, after all. Of late, my portable office has found a new morning home at the Mud House, in the eastern, antiques district of Cherokee Street. A worker just asked me what I wanted “today,” that word said with a bit of emphasis. As if I were expected “today.” As I should be expected today and probably tomorrow and so on. It’s a beautiful arrangement, hot tea and words both flowing easily here.

Richard Fortus
Thomas Crone | St. Louis Beacon | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Forgive the slight back-patting, but months before The Fortune Teller opened on Cherokee Street, I predicted that the bar would become a hub for the neighborhood, a night-extending destination for both the hyper-local residents and plenty of visitors from outside its growing corner of the City. And so it’s gone, with streetside tables filled nightly, often by painters, musicians, creatives of all stripes.

Tree House Vegetarian
Thomas Crone | St. Louis Beacon | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: For the past month, there’s been noticeable, steady rehab action at the corner of Grand Boulevard and Connecticut Street, where the Tree House Vegetarian Restaurant’s taken over a corner storefront last used by the youth-geared, hookah-friendly Petra. Prior to two distinct incarnations of Petra, the space held a tiny Chinese takeout, with, let’s call it, a modest street facade.

Mary Levi, 2005
Copyright Michael DeFilippo

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Late last week, the scene inside the City Museum’s Cabin Inn was similar the after-hours moments there on a lot of weekdays. With the public portion of the Museum’s day over, a small gang of workers sat at the bar. Not just any workers, but the members of the Cassilly Crew, the artisans who’ve built the place from scratch, done under a little bit of personal peril.

Patty Maher inside building on Wyoming.
Thomas Crone | for the Beacon | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: For the better part of the past decade, a historic structure on the corner of Wyoming Street and Arkansas Avenue was abandoned, left to the elements as boards came and went from windows. The first floor was sealed but the second floor was open, subjecting the building to rain, snow and cold.

For developer Patty Maher, that situation has been a blessing, not a curse.

Jason Deem 300 px only
Provided by Mr. Deem | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: When a fire seven years ago ravaged the Empire Sandwich Shop at 2624 Cherokee St., Jason Deem took note of what happened in the aftermath and learned some lessons.

Tom Hall and Alice Spencer at the Royale
Carrie Zukoski | For the St. Louis Beacon | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: In late 2012, guitarist Tom Hall fell down a flight of steps, broke his collarbone and had to sit out three months of live performance. Along with that injury came a series of benefit shows, including one by the group he calls one of “the best five acoustic acts to ever come out of St. Louis,” his own Geyer Street Sheiks.

The shoulder? Well, he’s back to playing, but there’s still pain.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: There’s nothing quite like buying art directly from the source of creation. That’s true across all media, but music is probably the easiest to exchange cash for product, as directly and affordably as possible. Usually that purchase would take place after a gig, as musicians on the club level routinely mix-and-mingle with fans at merchandise tables, offering everything from vinyl to (believe or not) baby onesies.

Every now and again, though, you can find a musician-slash-label operative who’ll deliver straight to you, and that brings us to Tim Rakel.

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