Beatle Bob: Approaching 5,000th Consecutive Day of Seeing Live Music

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Beatle Bob struts his stuff. - WWW.LYNNTERRY.COM
On Christmas Eve 1996, St. Louis legend Beatle Bob set out on a mission with no end in sight. His goal? Attend a live-music act every day of his life.

Now, 13-and-a-half years later, Beatle Bob is approaching a major milestone: his 5,000th consecutive day of witnessing live concerts. To celebrate, the 57-year-old Beatle Bob (a.k.a. Robert Matonis of Overland), is hosting a concert of his own on August 10. The event -- billed as Beatle Bob's 5000th Show Bash -- takes place at the Blueberry Hill Duck Room with some of his favorite local bands: the Trip Daddy's, Hudson & the HooDoo Cats, and more.

Recently, Daily RFT caught up with Beatle Bob to discuss his record, his bizarre dance moves, how he gets to concerts (he doesn't drive) and just how long he thinks he can keep up his dizzying pace. Our interview follows...

Daily RFT: So how did this begin?

Beatle Bob: Christmas Eve '96, I went to see Brian Henneman (of the Bottle Rockets) at the Hi-Pointe. In the mid-80s I started going out quite a bit and by '96, I figured I only missed about 36 to 40 days the entire year. So, I saw that it wouldn't be that big of a stretch to do it every day. 

What compels you to do this day after day?

I'm just a fanatic about music. It energizes me and helps me forget all my problems. Sure, not every night has great or dynamic music, but as long as I can leave with a smile on my face. That's all that matters.

Explain to us your dance moves.

Well, my major move is to kick my right leg back like I'm bowling while at the same time throwing my right arm forward like I'm tossing dice.

Any idea how many thousands of people you've kicked in the shins over the years with that move?

No. But I do feel bad about it and always tell people that it's totally accidental. I try to shorten up my moves and do less leg movements when the space is crowded.

How do you keep track of what shows you've seen?

I keep a diary. Also, I'm a real stickler for what counts as attending a concert. For me, I have to see at least 90 percent of the entire show. That means if a concert has two opening acts, I'll usually have to see all the performers play -- perhaps missing just a few songs at the beginning or end of a show. Though sometimes I'll leave earlier (or arrive later) because there is another band playing across town that I really have to see.

What have been some of your favorite concerts?I love it all. On Sundays, when not much music is playing, I'll head down to Hammerstones or 1860s in Soulard for some great local acts. I also love festivals. New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. I've been honored to serve as an emcee at Bonaroo and Lollapalooza.

How do you see so many shows without a car?

I have a driver's license. I just hate to drive. I'll get rides from friends. Sometimes if we're driving a long way, I'll volunteer to get behind the wheel for a portion of the trip. I just don't like city driving.

And what do you do for a living?

I work for a Catholic ministry called La Pasado. We help immigrants get green cards, that sort of thing. I can do it mostly from home.

Do you have any regrets with going out day after day? Has it cost you relationships, perhaps a family?

No. I consider the people I meet out at clubs to be almost like family. I get to know the bands. The people working the bars. There's a real camaraderie there.

Is there a Guinness World Record for what you do?

You know, I don't know. A friend of mine is looking into it.

How long can you keep it up?

My health is good. I don't drink -- never have. I don't smoke or do drugs. I'm a strict vegetarian -- darn near a vegan, except for cheese. So I think my body will let me do it for a long time. Ultimately, though, what matters most is the music scene. As long as it stays good, I think I can keep it up for a long time.

P.S. Look for a Beatle Bob iPhone app coming soon! The app will have Beatle Bob's concert suggestions for dozens of U.S. cities.

P.P.S. For more about Beatle Bob, check out this 1999 Riverfront Times feature -- back when Bob was approaching his 1000th day of consecutive shows.
  

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