The number of chain record stores nationwide has dwindled. However, St. Louis has become an unlikely safe haven for indie record shops as well as for DJs who prefer to spin the black circle instead of scrolling their iPods. In this weekly column, we'll focus on personal portraits of St. Louis' record aficionados and the rooms where they store their treasures. Meet the last collectors standing. (Know a collector who deserves the spotlight? E-mail us. Miss any previous ones? Read 'em all here!)
For many St. Louis punk fans, October had a bittersweet ending. With the Ramones' "Glad To See You Go" and Roy Rogers and Dale Evans' "Happy Trails To You" playing in the background, Jason Rerun ended his late-night KDHX (88.1 FM) punk show "Scene of the Crime" after twelve dedicated years.
Jason Rerun is the other half of local reissue label BDR Records with previously featured collector Matt Harnish. He's also a die-hard punk record collector. We caught up with Rerun late on election night to discuss the ending of "Scene of the Crime" and how his mom's recipe for Russian tea ended up in the inner sleeve of Killdozer's Twelve Point Buck.
Last Collector Standing: Your KDHX show "Scene of the Crime" had its final show on October 28. What was the final show like for you? Jason Rerun: Very odd. Trying to figure out how to sum up almost twelve years of a radio show in two hours is way more difficult than I thought it was going to be. I was also probably as nervous for the last show as I was for the first show. I knew a lot of people were listening because it was the last show, so I was a little nervous about that. I think I worked myself up trying to think, "I want to make sure to play this song. I want to make sure I cover this. I want to make sure I say this." I probably covered and said about ten percent of what I actually wanted to.
What was the number one song or record that you wanted to make sure was represented on the last show? Iggy's "Scene of the Crime," because that's where I took the name for the show. That for sure, and then the first three songs I played because they were the very first three songs I played [when I started the show]. Suicide Commandos "Burn It Down." That's one of my all time favorite bands, songs and records, and because that was the very first song I ever played on the radio, I wanted to start that last show off with that.
[Editor's note: The other two introduction songs were "Television Addict" by Victims, and "Better Off Dead" by La Peste.]
What's a song that didn't make it into the show? I had the idea that I wanted to play both sides of a couple of 45s or EPs. Just some of my all time favorites, like the very first 45 by the Japanese band the Plastics. I really wanted to play both sides of it. We'd played both sides of it on the radio show a lot over the years. When it got down to it, I got to the station and had everything with me, [and] I realized I wasn't going to be able to play all the single songs I wanted. I really can't narrow it down to one song I didn't get to play. There were probably fifty songs at the end of the show that I was really disappointed I didn't get to squeeze in.
Why did you decide to end the show? I'm pretty much just burnt out on it. I did radio back in Wisconsin [at] a college station. During the summer, Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, would basically let anybody have a show. I did that I guess two summers before I moved down here. I started "Scene of the Crime" three months after moving to St. Louis. After doing it for twelve years - and I work really early mornings - it just... part is being burnt out on it. [The other] part is the music that we were playing when I first started in '99, most of that music a lot of people hadn't heard or couldn't find. With the Internet, ninety percent of what I play you can go out on a blog and find. There are blogs that specialize in obscure early punk rock, like half the stuff we play. So some of the thrill is gone. It doesn't feel like as unique of a thing.
Looking back over twelve years as a DJ, do you have a favorite experience? I had a few people request songs. I had a guy call up and request this old New York band called the Fast. He called a few weeks in a row. He was listening online from Los Angeles. We had played them before and it fit into the show. We found out after a few weeks that it was the guitarist from the band calling. That was probably the oddest thing. I think that's very odd to not say, "Hey, I'm in this band. Would you play our record?" Or, "Have you ever played our record on your show?" But to request it and not say you were in the band, I think that's a little odd.
I've met a lot of people from old bands that had been online searching for information on their band and see that they had a 45 out in 1979 and we've played it a dozen times over a three year period. They'll contact me. That's how I met Bruce Cole [Screaming Mee-Mees].