Soul and Inspiration

A fellow musician shares his memories of John Rudebeck

John Rudebeck played guitar in a band called Mind Over Soul. The band specializes in a brand of blue-eyed soul that draws on funk, rhythm & blues and Motown pop, and you can hear Rudebeck's work on their CD '00. He provided the subtle guitar riffs that weave in and out of the bass lines. Rudebeck, 26, was shot to death two weeks ago while working at Sunshine Daydream in the University City Loop. On Sunday, James Albert Needy was arrested and charged with first-degree murder in the case.

Mind Over Soul bass player Brian Smith formed the band with Rudebeck four-and-a-half years ago. Smith was looking for a guitarist, and Rudebeck was recommended by a mutual friend. "He walks in with his guitar and a small practice amp," remembers Smith. "I'm in a band that had big gear, so I started giving him trouble about that already. He came in sounding like Nuno Bettencourt from Extreme; he did all those fast riffs, trying to prove that he could play or something, and it kind of turned me off -- just a little bit -- because I was like, "Well, I don't know if this guy can do it.' I said, "You're going to have to play like this. We want to get the funk and soul and groove of things, like a funk-rock deal, so you're going to have to learn how to play this style.' So I gave him a couple tapes, a couple ideas to listen to. He came back two days later and had them all down. He was playing the songs. He had gone out and bought a wah-wah pedal. I guess he sat there for two days and learned how to use it, because the guy was smokin'."

The band, which Smith says will be continued in some fashion, mixes original material with cover songs. Explains Smith, "We started doing covers to get money to make CDs. The cool thing about our band, compared to all the other cover bands, is that we did our originals in our cover shows, which now a lot of other bands are starting to do. So I kind of like to think that -- well, we weren't the start of it, because Stir started that off a long time ago -- but we took their lead and did it the way they did it and tried to be as successful as they are."

John Rudebeck: the soul in Mind Over Soul
John Rudebeck: the soul in Mind Over Soul

You can hear that the elbow grease of countless nights was expended banging out cover versions of tunes by Stevie Wonder, the Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye and Earth, Wind & Fire when you pop on '00; though these are originals, they recall '70s funk, with lots of smooth harmonies and flowing grooves. Rudebeck lays back, riffing throughout, never flashy -- though, like most guitarists, he always seems to want to take centerstage. But he resists, simply adding an accent here or there. Says Smith: "A lot of guitar players out there can play the riffs, can play the parts, but John had soul, which you could hear. Stick in our CD. That's John. That's soul. Some guys can play that part, and it sounds similar, but it's not the same." Plus, says Smith, "he was so charismatic, and he was just an all-around nice guy. He helped people out. He was just someone who, when you met him, he was a very nice-looking guy. He drew a lot of people to our show just because of him. But you weren't jealous of that, because it was John, and John's an all-around cool guy. He just touched so many people -- there's no other way to say it."

QUICKIES: The Superstars of Love celebrate their six-year anniversary Saturday, Feb. 12, with "Addicted to Love," a party featuring the city's best techno, house and hip-hop DJs, in addition to (apparently) a few decent out-of-towners (Space Girl, from Russia, and Atlanta's Tommie Sunshine). Though it's not the best lineup the Superstars have ever compiled, on the local front it's all gold, the best of the best, including the hard house of Stan Doublin, the in-yer-face techno of Dan Dysphonix (performing live as Trip Sequence), Jon Gotti's drum & bass, DJ Needles' hip-hop selections and the triple whammy of Solid Union's Ken Dussold, Mark Churchill and Don Tinsley. The show will feature 19 DJs, at least 12 of them local.

The Superstars also threw a much (much much) more low-key evening at the Side Door a few weeks back, called "God Glam It," and it was one of the most ridiculous and curious DJ spins we've ever seen. Imagine Superstar figurehead Dr. Lovestar up onstage -- the two TVs flanking him playing lame '80s videos of hair bands and Michael Jackson, the entire movie Xanadu and a load of other stupid shit -- mixing horrible '80s music, the worst of the worst: Pat Benatar's "Heartbreaker" mixed with the Crüe's "Looks That Kill." Of course, this kind of stuff gets spun in Affton every night of the week, but in the context of the Side Door, where a handful of hipsters lined the walls, grinning and playing along with nary a mullet in sight, it was pretty jarring. It stank. It was great. They're planning on doing another installment next month. For directions to "Addicted to Love, call 314-994-1114.

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